Eureka Springs Montessori school to open this month
By Samantha Jones
Local parents have a new childcare option.
Christine Vinson and Terry Brewster will open Natural State Montessori School at the same time the Eureka Springs School District begins the 2019-20 school year. Vinson said the school is located at 122 Frontage Road where Miss Mary's Daycare used to operate. When Miss Mary's Daycare shut down, Vinson said, she knew there was a need for more childcare in the community.
"That left a gap of 40 children not having services here," Vinson said. "There's not a whole lot in the way of early childhood education here for the community, so there's a need. I think parents want a quality education, to know it's not just babysitting all day but their children are actually making foundations for the future of learning."
Vinson said the school will serve children 6 weeks to 6 years old, with three separate classrooms for infants, toddlers and primary students.
"I will be over the primary classroom, and my daughter will be the director over the infant and toddler program," Vinson said. "We're both Montessori-certified."
The school will open when Eureka Springs students go back to public school, Vinson said, and will stay open during the summer.
"Parents have to work and there's not programs for young infants in the summer," Vinson said.
When students have a Montessori education, Vinson said, they are directors of their own learning. The educational materials were created by Dr. Maria Montessori, Vinson said, and connect to all five of the senses.
"The importance of that prepared environment is the child can move at their own pace," Vinson said. "They get to learn from their peers. Some of their peers will be leaders and some will be followers, but at some point, they'll get to be both."
Vinson said the students all learn from one another and are not reprimanded for their mistakes.
"There's never a red X on a piece of paper … no stigma that they did something wrong," Vinson said. "There's a lot of self-teaching built into the materials."
After all, she said, curiosity is how people learn.
"We learn through our mistakes," Vinson said. "A lot of the times you don't learn the lesson until you make the mistake. I think that's really important."
Vinson became a certified Montessori teacher 25 years ago, saying she's worked in education and social services ever since. She's taught in Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and more places, Vinson said.
"I've been able to go to conferences and learn so much," she said.
Over the years, she said, she's seen a shift toward more progressive learning.
"I just feel like there's a shift in the public school system going that way," Vinson said. "They're taking desks out. They're incorporating cooperation instead of competition."
She continued, "We've been doing it for a long time. I've been doing it for 25 years. There's a big shift headed toward that independence and creativity, and you get that with Montessori every time."
Vinson said she's excited to get students into the school once renovations are complete.
"I can't wait. The community has really reached out and been very positive about this coming here," Vinson said. "I just feel like it's going to be a good thing."
For more information or to sign you child up for the school, visit www.NaturalStateMontessori.com.