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Montessori to open small school

By Elisabeth Arriero
earriero@charlotteobserver.com

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    An information session is scheduled from 9 to 11 a.m. July 13 at the education building of Sedgefield United Methodist Church, 2830 Dorchester Place. For information, email hawley@keystonemontessorischool.org.



A nonprofit Montessori school will open this fall near two public schools that offer similar programming.

Keystone Montessori School is expected to open at the education building of Sedgefield United Methodist Church.

For the 2013-2014 school year, Keystone will have a primary class for 3- to 6-year-olds. An elementary class will be added in fall 2014.

Nearby Park Road Elementary and Sedgefield Middle schools also offer Montessori programs.

Hawley Hoggard, who has worked in Montessori schools for 23 years, said she was inspired to start her own school after she was laid off from a private Montessori school.

“There was a lot of parental support,” she said. “It’s come about pretty fast but we’re looking forward to opening.”

Allyson Creel, who has also worked for several years in Montessori schools, will also teach at the school.

Montessori schools are characterized by independent teaching methods that allow children to learn at their own pace.

“It’s a program that’s in high demand,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools board member Eric Davis. “It’s very hands on and they take this sort of continuous approach that starts with pre-k and continues as long as you’re in the program.”

Davis said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is also looking at expanding its program to include high school students.

But Hoggard said that public Montessori schools are not available to children as young as 3. And to be most effective, she said, learning needs to start then.

Younger children will attend the new nonprofit school from 8:30 a.m. to noon, five days a week. Tuition will be about $6,500 a year, said Hoggard.

Those students who are ready for longer school days will stay until 3 p.m. Parents will pay higher tuition for those extended hours, said Hoggard, although she did not specify how much.

Hoggard said the tuition amounts are subject to change, pending an upcoming committee meeting.

There will be a rolling admission for the school and Hoggard said she expects there to be about 15 students the first year.

Orientation will begin the last week in August, with the first school day set for Sept. 3.

Arriero: 704-358-5945; On Twitter: @earriero
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