Kate and Brooke Van Cleve learn to tend a garden at Inspire Kids Montessori

Inspire Kids Montessori of Ahwatukee is adding a new program to teach toddlers manners as well as how to take care of themselves and the environment beginning Jan. 16.  

The school incorporates its Practical Life Skills program as part of its early education curriculum for toddlers and has scheduled an open house 9-11 a.m. Friday for families to observe classroom activities and take a tour.

“Practical Life exercises are organized into three main areas:  care of the person, care of the environment and the concepts of grace and courtesy—skills they will use throughout their lives,” said Inspire Kids School Director Veronique Bevali.

“These activities introduce personal care through basic skills such as buttoning, zipping, tying and handwashing, and care for the environment through cooking and cleaning and learning how to take care of animals and plants,” she added.

Students are also taught how to greet and to respect others, manners (“please,” ”thank you” and “may I”), how to politely interrupt teachers or friends and how to properly pass objects and open and close doors and other social skills.

Practical Life Skills is part of the curriculum developed by Italian educator, Dr. Maria Montessori, in the early 1900’s.

“These skills are a stepping stone for further learning and focus on purposeful activity to develop motor control and coordination, independence, concentration and a sense of responsibility,” said Inspire Kids founder Diana Darmawaskita.

“A child learns to master his or her environment by learning skills for independence. Mastery of these skills paves the way for intellectual learning,” she added.

Montessori programs have been surging in popularity after it was revealed that England’s Prince George was to attend a Montessori nursery. Famous Montessori graduates include Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, and the founders of tech giant Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Founded in 2010 by Darmawaskita, Inspire Kids Montessori aims is to “provide a safe and loving environment in which a child’s individuality and uniqueness is respected and their creativity and independence are celebrated.”

The campus, located at 4025 E. Chandler Blvd. in the Trader Joe’s Plaza, features bright open classrooms designed for collaborative learning, back-to-nature playgrounds and school gardens.

Inspire Kids offers individualized programs for children from 6 weeks to 6 years of age to introduce young children to reading, writing, math, nature study, art, music and movement, social skills and problem-solving.

Information: 480-659-9402 or  www.inspirekidsmontessori.com. Tuition and enrollment discounts will be provided to parents who register their child during the open house.

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