SARAH HOFIUS HALL, STAFF WRITER / PUBLISHED: JULY 4, 2016
In one area of the new classrooms at the Discovery MI Preschool, children will explore gold math beads and numbers. In the practical learning area, the students will manipulate chopsticks and funnels. In a creative play area, the students will pretend to make a meal or care for a doll.
Classes begin Sept. 6 at the new East Mountain preschool, the result of a group of parents who came together when the state forced the Howard Gardner Multiple Intelligence Charter School to close its preschool.
“It’s wonderful to see people responding to what the school can offer,” said Stacy Nivert, president of the new school’s board. “It demonstrates the need for schools like this in the area.”
The school, which is located inside the Irish Cultural Society on Beech Street, offers a Montessori curriculum using a multiple intelligence theory, similar to what was offered at the charter school. The state forced the charter school’s pre-kindergarten program to close last year because state law prohibits charter schools from operating pre-K programs.
Parents like Ms. Nivert looked for other options, and finding little, she and other parents decided to open their own school.
More than 40 students are registered for the preschool now, including about 20 expected through a partnership with the Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency, to allow room for families that receive child care subsidies, scholarship money or receive assistance through Head Start or the state Pre-K Counts program. About six full-day spots and a few morning and afternoon spots are still available, Ms. Nivert said.
Staff is setting up an outdoor classroom and raising money for a playground. Inside the building, the former John Bartram school, two classrooms are nearly ready, complete with stations for independent learning and group play. Students also will have art, music, Spanish, health and well-being, and gym classes. State early education standards will be followed.
“They’ll get everything they need to progress into early childhood,” said Regina Krieger, education director and lead teacher. “And I want to make it fun.”
The private, nonprofit preschool offers full- and half-day, five-day-a-week programs for children between 3 and 5 years old. The full-day program costs $5,900 for the school year and the half-day program will cost $3,950. For information, visit mydiscoverypreschool.org.
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