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Montessori School for Big Education Changes in Small Town

Organized by: Terie Rousseau

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THE STORY:

Terie Rousseau here, adminstrator/director and owner of Montessori Day Academy of Hartsville.  I would like to share our journey with you, in hopes you will see the benefit of our school, not only to our students, but to our awesome community!

The Backstory

I grew up in the small, idyllic town of Hartsville, South Carolina. After graduating college, I moved to Florida for 11 years to pursue my Master's and Doctoral degrees. During that time, I started a family. Soon after our daughter was born, we had the opportunity to move back to Hartsville, and I was very excited about her growing up in this amazing town. Upon my return, I found that much hadn't changed for the youngest members of the community in regards to education opportunities. You see, we have a college, a state-funded Governor's School for high school students who excel in math and sciences, and several large corporations who employ our nation's most educated and talented individuals; to me, if education is such a top priority for the big humans, it should be for the small ones as well.

Hartsville's current education landscape for children under the age of 5 years is limited mostly to faith-based institutions and programs, with a sampling of private daycares. While these childcare centers offer our children wonderful daycare settings with educational components, our community lacks an environment crafted for the sole purpose of learning: an education-based institution.

What Makes Us Different

In Florida, Montessori schools are the most sought after learning environments due to their emphasis on whole-body learning (in opposition to rote memory tactics). In a town like ours, offering this type of education for our youngest community members was a no-brainer to me. So, 2 years and another daughter later,  Hartsville's first (and only) education institution for children 6 weeks to 6 years is nearing its final stages of production.

We are not a daycare; we are classified as Class E, which is Education with the State of South Carolina. We are also accredited by the American Montessori Society as an Associate Member, which holds rigorous hiring and operating guidelines. Our teachers must hold Montessori certification at all levels, and most of our faculty are in the process of or do hold higher education degrees (even the assistants). Lastly, we are working towards a higher ABC standing with the Department of Social Services once our application is approved.

Our Current Situation

To date, we have full enrollment of 26 students who are children of families in our community who are excited that education is finally an option for our littelest members. Our school is at room capacity per the Department of Social Services, and we can't be more thrilled. This was accomplished in a matter of 2 1/2 months after opening enrollment to the public. Now, the time has come to ask for your help, as construction will soon be complete and we can move into our learning space and prepare for our August, 2016, opening date.

Why We Need crowdrise

What all of this means, in a nutshell, is we are striving to offer the best education we can to the children in our community; but, this desire doesn't come without a price tag. In order to bring our vision to reality, we must offer our faculty the best employment packages we can, especially pay that is commensurate with their education and experience. You can't have great teachers without their great educations. In addition, Montessori classrooms are expensive due to the high quality of the learning materials (most are made of wood and organic materials - no Fisher Price here). On average, a Montessori classroom to be outfitted from the ground up can cost close to $10,000.00 each! We are also looking to bring innovative technology to our classrooms that will help us offer safe environments for our students; this is inclusive of breathable mattresses and Owlet monitors for our infants, as well as iPads for use in all classrooms to document student activity.  

These and many more reasons are why we are reaching out to our immediate community and beyond: we need your help to bring this amazing learning opportunity to fruition!

You matter to us, but mostly, to our students.

Would you consider donating to give our children the best possible foundation for their educational futures? Research states that the most important developmental learning happens within the first 12 months of life; our school will offer students beginning at 6 weeks of age the opportunity to explore their world, while learning in independent and self-led ways to master not only mental, but physical skills that will be carried with them throughout their lifetimes. All donations matter, and all donations are appreciated. Please help us meet our goal!

Want to know more specifics about the materials we need?  Would you like an open dialogue with me about the mission, values, and goals of our school?  Feel free to email at montessorihartsville@outlook.com, visit our website at www.montessorihartsville.com, or message us on Facebook at Montessori Day Academy of Hartsville.

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Organized by

Terie Rousseau

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