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Montessori programs coming to city

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Posted: Sunday, May 3, 2009 12:00 am

Parents will soon have another choice for where to send there children to school in Rio Rancho.

On Monday, the Rio Rancho Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimouslyto approve starting a 3- through 8-year-old Montessori program this fall. The program will be in classroom space at Sandia Vista Elementary.

The program will start with two, 20-student, multi-age classrooms.

Cathy Ferris, executive director of elementary curriculum and instruction for RRPS, explained that the program will give parents another option in the method their child is educated.

“Montessori provides additional training for teachers in a particular program and it provides a deep understanding of how children learn,” Ferris said. “It’s also an excellent observation for students and their learning skills. The programs are individualized for students and it’s just one more opportunity for families to have a choice that might fit their child’s needs.”

RRPS spokeswoman Kim Vesely said the district has received phone calls for years from parents wanting the district start a Montessori program, but until now the district hasn’t had space.

“There has been some parent demand over the years and we’re finally in a position where we can do it,” Vesely said. “The issue was we had no space to start a program until now.”

The program would be free to students ages 5 to 8 and the district would receive money for those students through the same state funding formula in place for other children enrolled in the district.

Students would be accepted into the program through application and interview.

Parents of children ages 3 and 4 would have to pay $6,000 per school year.

Montessori is a comprehensive educational approach from birth to adulthood based on the observation of children’s needs in a variety of cultures around the world.

According to a brochure provided by Rio Rancho Public Schools, Montessori classrooms are principally directed by the child within a carefully-structured environment where ground rules and expectations are clearly stated and enforced by both students and teachers.

To learn more about the Montessori program, visit http://rrps.net">rrps.net, or call the school district at 338-0078, ext. 202.

RRPS will host an information session on the Montessori program from 6 to 7 p.m., on May 6 in the library at Sandia Vista Elementary, 6800 Franklin Rd., NE.

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