MONTPELIER — The Montessori school of Central Vermont is moving this fall from its current location along Route 2 to a former Knights of Columbus building located at 84 Pine Hill Road in Barre. The move will allow it to serve more children under one roof — students are currently housed in two separate buildings. The new location will meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, making it unique among independent institutions of its kind in Central Vermont.
Head of School, Kristen Martin, has 28 openings in the three to five-year-old class. There are currently a total of 59 children at the school, including 16 elementary students. By the Fall of 2017, the school expects to nearly double its three to six-year-olds, from the current 36 to 60, and toddlers from eight to 12 students.
“We are really excited about the space because it’s just under 10,000 square feet, and just under 10 acres of land. It’s off the beaten path enough that it feels rural, yet it’s still really accessible to families traveling in and around central vermont. Paved roads surround it, so it’s not rural in that we’re going to be dealing with mud season as much,” says Martin.
From its humble 1999 beginnings as a one-room schoolhouse in Plainfield, through its 2005 expansion to Montpelier’s Spring Street and subsequent consolidation at the Route 2 location in 2006, the focus has always been on child-centered learning, emphasizing social responsibility, independence and respect, said Martin.
According to Board of Directors Chair Julie Bond, most of the $1.8 million needed to buy and renovate the old Knights of Columbus building, has been raised through a combination of loans, grants, cash and gifts, although they still need to come up with more money. The building was purchased and a number of bids are expected by a March 30th deadline — mainly for work involving windows, walls and baby toilets.
Starting in July, as long as a child is three by Sept. 1, a new law (Act 166) will require districts to offer options for families who request public pre-k, including assistance to pay for 10 hours at qualified providers — the Montessori School of Central Vermont is one of them. While no money will be given directly to families, $3,092 will be taken off the cost of tuition. Families will be responsible for the balance, to be billed at market rates. Central Vermont Montessori School offers tuition assistance to those who qualify.