Dawn Laguado has a passion for teaching, and she is building on that passion by bringing a home-based program focusing on the Montessori teaching method to Ahwatukee Foothills.

Called d'Clique Village School, Laguado will offer all-day enrollment at her home in Ahwatukee Foothills for children up to 6 years old and an after-school enrichment program for first- through eighth-grade students.

Laguado said the Montessori method of teaching stood out to her because it instills self-reliance early on in childhood and develops good study habits that stick with the students throughout their academic careers.

"I want to help to develop their mind, develop order and sense," she said. "A lot of it is hands-on work with the students manipulating whatever they are working with. It's about instilling good discipline at a young age."

Laguado is currently enrolled in the Montessori program at South Mountain Community College. She has a degree in education and is certified by the state in physical education and health. She is also registered with Arizona Child Care Resource and Referral program.

Laguado said she studies Montessori philosophy extensively and focuses on the key aspects of the program developed in the early 1900s by Maria Montessori.

"I have a great focus on practical life and its application," she said. "And everything in (my home), I created based on the philosophy of Maria."

With the economy struggling, Laguado knows the price tag of a Montessori program is obviously an issue for parents.

"When I was growing up in New York, we kind of saw the people as elite because it definitely is expensive," Laguado said. "But this is my passion and I want to be able to offer this program at something people can afford without breaking the bank."

Currently, she is offering her all-day enrollment program for $125 per week. The program goes from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The after-school program costs $40 per week.

To find out more, contact Laguado at (480) 283-2656 or e-mail dbreakofday@aol.com.

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