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Mon, Oct. 14

Acorn Montessori School expanding

PRESCOTT VALLEY ­ Administrators are hoping that by April 1, Acorn Montessori will open its new site and go from being a one-site, 300-student school to a two-site school serving 510 students.

Acorn Montessori School bought the Arizona Montessori School site this past Friday, and opening that second site will allow the school to serve more children and to specialize better for the different age groups, according to School Director Cynthia Puplava.

Once the second site is open, Acorn will shift from "stuffing at the seams," Puplava said, to being able to better serve all of its students plus some new ones.

The original, 15,000-square-foot Acorn school is at 8556 Loos Dr. in Prescott Valley, and the second, 9,000-square-foot location is at 7555 Long Look Dr.

Puplava said that once the second school is functional, pre-schoolers through second-graders will attend it, and third- through sixth-graders will attend the original school.

Separating the two age groups will allow teachers to serve each group better, Puplava said.

Dawn Grantham, director of the pre-school through second-grade site, added that separating the younger students will mean more space for more materials and enrollment of students 2 years old and older, rather than 3 years old and older.

"The younger you get them, the better off they are," she said.

Montessori schools focus on tactile learning in small groups with direct instruction, Puplava said. The Acorn Montessori schools add an "extremely structured traditional" approach to that philosophy.

Grantham, who taught Montessori education for several years before becoming vice principal at Acorn and then site director, said the younger site will have more of a strictly Montessori direction, which she said will allow teachers to adapt lessons to each student's learning style.

"With this kind of material, they don't realize they're learning," she said.

The new Acorn site has five classrooms and a media center. The media center includes a full library and several computers, as well as technology that will allow students to make movies. Because the new site is only eight blocks from the old site, the older students will be able to walk over to use the media center.

"The whole idea," Puplava said of Montessori education, "is that it's interesting, intriguing. They come into class and can't wait to get to their lessons each day."

The Arizona Montessori School went out of business about a year ago, Puplava said, and its site went up for auction this past Friday.

Acorn Montessori School is accepting open enrollment now for both its sites. People may call 772-5778 or visit acornmontessori.com for more information. As a charter school, it is free for kindergarten through sixth-graders to attend. Pre-school tuition is $425 per month, and people who register their children by April 1 can save half of that cost for the first month.

Contact the reporter at hdartt@prescottaz.com

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