NORTH LIBERTY– Parents of very young children will soon have a distinctive new choice for child care in North Liberty.
La Montessori Nurtury will open July 10 under the ownership and guidance of Lillian Myers, at 70 Circle Dr., Ste. A. The former location of the Montessori Children’s Garden preschool– which expanded into a larger space nearby– has been newly remodeled and designed specifically for infants and toddlers.
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator who, through research and documented observation, developed a philosophy and method of education that became recognized and widely adopted by early childhood experts and caregivers internationally since the early 1900s. La Montessori Nurtury will follow that philosophy in creating a caring, home-like atmosphere for the children who come through its doors every day, Myers said.
“Montessori talked about the ‘prepared environment,’” explained Myers. “The environment should be peaceful, calm an orderly. It’s not so much the bright colors and random toys everywhere. A lot of thought goes into the materials I choose for the classrooms so they are more teaching aids and the child learns something as they go about using the toy or activity.”
The Nurtury will have four classrooms, with children divided into age groups of newborn-12 months, 12-18 months, 18-24 months and 24-36 months. Everything in the center is made specifically for each age group, such as dish washing stations and restrooms, so children can be incorporated into routine tasks throughout the day at their own developmental levels.
“It’s about leading them toward independence,” Myers said. “Montessori said, ‘never do for a child what a child can do for himself.’ You have to have a lot of patience and let them take the time do learn to do things on their own. Our curriculum includes practical life skills, fine motor and gross motor skills, sensorial experiences and language development.”
Each classroom will have a lead teacher with an education background in addition to special Montessori certification, and assistant teachers will also be trained in the program’s practices and philosophy. Each child’s primary caregiver monitors the child’s activities and gives the same warm, loving care a child might experience at home.
“Every teacher we interview, we wanted to make sure it’s a good fit for our center and the Montesori method,” Myers said. “It is important to us to have a strong, enjoyable company culture, because happy and satisfied employees will ultimately factor into the care the children receive. Most importantly, we look for people who really are about little ones, nurturing them and watching them grow.”
The environment is purposefully set up so children, even in infancy, can safely and successfully explore and employ their natural curiosity in the world around them.
“For the little ones, it’s more about individualized care; taking the time to observe the child,” said Myers, and then regularly communicating details of the child’s day with parents. “It’s not so much group lessons as it is watching the individual child and identifying what special phases of learning he or she is in, then presenting activities they are interested in at that time,” said Myers. Scheduling is flexible, so babies and toddlers will be allowed to eat, sleep and play as their own natural rhythms dictate, instead of being regimented by the clock.
For parents, this is the first Montessori center in the Corridor area designed specifically to serve infants and toddlers. For Myers, a Burlington native and graduate of the University of Iowa, the new center is a dream come true.
It will allow her to combine her education background, long-time childcare experience and recent retail management skills into a position that is Myer’s perfect fit.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to open a childcare center,” she said, and when she visited relatives in Houston and learned more about the Montessori infant programs there, “I just fell in love with it. When I came back I got in touch with the Children’s Garden, and they said there was a need for infant toddler care in the area. They had a space they already used, and everything just sort of fell into place.”
On June 8, the public is invited to an open house where families can visit, meet the teachers and get more information. Myers has already had an overwhelming response to the center’s planned opening; with its capacity of 48 children, 30 families are already enrolled, and some of those babies aren’t even born yet. La Montessori Nurtury will open on June 10, and just a few availabilities remain, with full-time and part-time options.
Contact Myers at 319-759-8617, or visit La Montessori Nurtury’s website at www.lamontessorinurtury.com.