By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
The Ancona School will be rolling out new Montessori program offerings for its pre-primary students in the fall. The programs will offer a longer day and include dual language instruction, according to Ancona Head Bonnie Wishne.
Starting September 2014, parents of 3 to 6 year olds will have the option to choose between the half day, all day and all year programs at Ancona, 4770 S. Dorchester Ave. The school’s half-day program, which is already in operation, runs from about 8 a.m. to noon for 3 and 4 year olds and until 3 p.m. for kindergarten students. The schools impending all day program will start with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and classes will begin at 8 a.m. Students will be able to go home at 3 p.m. or stay until 5:45 p.m. The all year program offers families 11 and a half months of school.
Wishne said the school noticed that with both parents working, more students were staying in school longer, utilizing its before-school care and afternoon and late afternoon care. Each offering meant the children would have to change spaces and interact with multiple staff members every day. The multiple transitions are what prompted the school to look for an alternative program.
“We’re always looking for ways to improve the learning experience for children,” Wishne said. “We’ve never been 100 percent comfortable with our youngest children going through the most transitions during the school day.”
She said the new programs would provide a unified, consistent, integrated program that kids need.
Montesorri-trained teachers will be staggered throughout every part of the day that will include academic and enrichment programs. The longer streamlined day will allow the students to spread their work out over more hours and have more time for indoor and outdoor play, Wishne said.
She said it would also allow the school to implement the Montesorri grace and courtesy curriculum. Examples of this curriculum include allowing the children to prepare, serve and eat meals together then participate in the clean up and learn table manners.
“We can pay more attention to practical life,” Wishne said. “If a kid is in school all day they may not get to have this type of experience at home.”
Ancona’s dual language program will have two head teachers, one who will only speak Spanish to the children and another who will speak English. There will be an assistant teacher who is able to speak both languages.
Wishne said based on Ancona’s research this is how most children in bilingual families learn both languages.
“We are excited that we can give children much more of a home-like experience,” Wishne said about the school’s new program offerings. “It will set a strong foundation that each child can apply to learning.”