Desert Garden Montessori grows with community - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Communitylife

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Desert Garden Montessori grows with community

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, April 2, 2010 11:00 pm

Desert Garden Montessori started small, with 10 students gathering in owner Shetal Walters’ living room about 14 years ago.

Since then, the school has blossomed into 250 preschool through sixth-grade students at its own location in Ahwatukee Foothills. And now, Walters hopes the school grows even more.

Desert Garden kicked off an effort to raise money to expand its current facility and eventually open a new location this week. The school will need that additional space, since middle school grades are added to the program this fall.

Walters explained the Montessori approach as inquiry-based, applied learning that empowers students. Students will take a big question – for instance, how water loss affects a community – then use that question to explore history, literature, math and other subjects.

A math approach could involve students identifying water sources for a particular village, calculating how much water that village would need and identifying how the actions of other communities could affect the water supply, Walters said.

“It’s not about fact finding and regurgitation,” she continued. “It’s relevant to their life. They answer the questions with us as guides.”

That’s an approach parent Katrina Ontiveros likes. Ontiveros drives two of her children to Desert Garden Montessori from Laveen, and her third child will start in the toddler program this fall.

Ontiveros, who taught in a local school district for about four years before becoming an entrepreneur, said Desert Garden Montessori is more individualized and plays to children’s individual strengths in a way traditional classrooms don’t.

For instance, students who are drawn to books can focus on books, while kids who are drawn to the outdoors can incorporate that into their learning, she said. At the same time, students are challenged to try new things.

Ontiveros believes that the environment has had a positive effect on her children.

“Everywhere we go, people comment that my kids are more mature than their age,” she said. “Well, that’s because they’re treated like adults. They’re respected.”

Walters tried to start a middle school program last year but was only able to attract five students.

This year, school staff made a concerted effort to bring people in for tours and build partnerships with community groups, including individuals in environmental movements and groups like Save the Family.

Walters said that has made a difference in encouraging people to try something new and look at Montessori. She already has 12 spots filled and, while she needs to have at least 25 seventh- and eighth-graders, she’s willing to take more.

Plans are for Desert Garden to grow as those additional students come in. The school needs to raise nearly $600,000 to add about 6,600 square feet to its current building, which Walters hopes to have completed in 2011.

And once that goal is accomplished, Walters would like to build a new campus nearby just off of Warner and Priest roads.

The new facility, which would include features like community gardens and areas for student-run businesses, would eventually house elementary through high school students, Walters said. The current building would remain for toddler and kindergarten programs.

Walters would like that new building to open in 2012, but timing, size and ultimate cost of the project will depend on financial support from the community.

Desert Garden Montessori is hosting tours for prospective families and others interested in the school. The next tours will be from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. April 6 and 9 at the school, 5130 E. Warner Road.

Future tour dates and information about tuition, scholarships and admission is online at www.desertgardenmontessori.org.

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Phoenix's Zombie Walk Is Coming Back from the Dead

Benjamin Leatherman A A It turns out that Phoenix’s Zombie Walk isn’t dead after all. In fact, just like the brain-eating hordes that inspire …

Published: August 24, 2016 - 10:33 am @ http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/arts/phoenixs-zombi…

Off-Roading to the Summit in a Tacoma, Tundra, and 4Runner

View Special Offers Change Car It was 6 a.m. when the alarm went off. The 40-degree weather and rain from the Colorado Rockies led to a rude a…

Published: August 24, 2016 - 9:56 am @ http://www.motortrend.com/news/toyota-off-road-war…

El Zocolo owner buys Binkley’s, will turn it into 2 Mexican eateries

Back in February, perennial James Beard Award nominee Kevin Binkley announced his intention to close his flagship restaurant, Binkley’s in Cav…

Published: August 24, 2016 - 9:57 am @ http://mouthbysouthwest.com/2016/08/24/el-zocolo-o…

Maybe my last tweets: Man stuck inside university under attack in Kabul

Driving in Canada Canada - a home away from home Canada, it's time to change! Living with a disability in Indo-Canadian society The empire str…

Published: August 24, 2016 - 9:54 am @ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asi…

Turkey′s Syria offensive aimed at Kurdish YPG

Turkish forces have crossed into Syria in an attempt to wrestle control of Jarablus from "Islamic State" fighters and thereby prevent Syrian-K…

Published: August 24, 2016 - 9:25 am @ http://m.dw.com/en/turkeys-syria-offensive-aimed-a…

Court weighs whether Kansas voters must prove their citizenship

DENVER — A federal appeals court will decide whether Kansas has the right to ask people who register to vote when they get their driver’s lice…

Published: August 24, 2016 - 9:23 am @ http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/court-weighs-w…

The ambitious plan to 're-stitch' Atlanta's urban core

Growing up, one of my favorite parks was a modernist expanse of concrete and foliage perched directly atop a major interstate. Forty years aft…

Published: August 24, 2016 - 9:27 am @ http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/transportation/blogs…

The Stress of Navigating Unwalkable Bus Stops With a Wheelchair

Pedestrian access to transit is important. A recent study by TransitCenter found that people who use transit most often tend to walk to the bu…

Published: August 24, 2016 - 9:26 am @ http://www.streetsblog.net/2016/08/24/the-stress-o…

Big Pine North Fork, California Hike

Move over Big Sur! The Golden State reaps lakes, beaches and mountains… but the best of California hikes are those undisturbed.. and undiscove…

Published: August 24, 2016 - 8:33 am @ http://www.travel-break.net/destinations/inyo-nati…

Guardians of the world’s ocean icons convene in Galapagos to chart sustainable future

Paris, France – From 27-31 August 2016, managers from the 49 marine sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List will convene in the Galapagos Island…

Published: August 24, 2016 - 8:31 am @ http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1544

Facebook

ahwatukee.com on Facebook

Twitter

ahwatukee.com on Twitter

RSS

Subscribe to ahwatukee.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px

Most Popular

Online poll

Loading…