A community education night is planned for Jan. 25, 4 to 7 p.m., at Monitor School, 12465 Meridian Road. Parents will have an opportunity to learn more about Montessori, see what a classroom will look like and ask questions
By Kristine Thomas
Jennifer de Jong wants her three daughters – 3, 5 and 7 years old – to be in a school where they are free to explore and learn about things that excite them. She also wants her children to be in a community that supports them with skills that not only will help them academically, but help them find satisfaction in life.
“I believe that a Montessori education will do this for my girls,” de Jong said.
That’s why she and 11 other parents have worked tirelessly for more than a year to provide parents in the Silver Falls School District with an additional educational choice for their children.
Community Roots School, a tuition-free, public charter Montessori school sponsored by the Silver Falls School District, will open in September.
The first year, the school will occupy an unused classroom at Monitor Elementary School and will provide instruction for up to 30 students in first through third grades.
In subsequent years additional grade levels and classrooms will be added so the school will eventually serve students from kindergarten through eighth grade.
The school’s leadership team is Sarah and Matt Miller, Frank and Mandy Petrik, Jennifer de Jong, Miranda Traeger, Erika Lanning, Jennifer Traeger, Jacquie Curtis, Jennifer Kimball, Bart Banks and Jennifer McCord.
Two years ago, de Jong said, she was introduced to the Montessori philosophy and quickly understood that it was a positive educational option for her children. The reason she spent countless hours working to start the charter school, not only for her children but for others as well, is she believes “that an investment in a child’s education is the best approach to achieving and maintaining a healthy society,” she said.
Community Roots School is the second charter school in Silver Falls School District with Bethany Elementary being the first. The board is accepting applications for students from now until Feb. 28. If the board receives more than 30 applications, it will select students based on a lottery system.
Montessori is characterized by an emphasis on self-directed activity on the part of the child and close observation on the part of the teacher. It stresses the importance of adapting the child’s learning environment to his or her developmental level, and of the role of physical activity in learning academic concepts and practical skills.
Sarah and Matt Miller are the parents of 3-year-old Mateo. Sarah Miller said she believes public schools do a great job of educating students and cannot thank the Silver Falls School District staff or board members enough for their support in helping start the school.
Mandy and Frank Petrik are the parents of Charles, 5, and Cecelia, 3. Mandy Petrik said Charles attends Eugene Field and has an “amazing teacher.”
“She uses different approaches, has such a good spirit and it has been a wonderful experience,” she said. “Cecelia is in a Montessori preschool and is thriving.”
One reason she looks forward to Charles attending Community Roots School is because he will be in a multi-age classroom.
“I think the teacher or guide gets a very good understanding of the child and his strengths and weaknesses,” she said. “They also learn to lead as well as learn from other children.”
Miller said the reason she supports the public Montessori school is because she believes parents need choices.
“Not every kid learns the same,” she said. “I feel this school gives parents a choice for a tuition-free Montessori school that many people normally could not afford.”
For information call 503-873-7153 or see www.crmontessori.org