Verona area youth up to the age of six years old will have a new option for early childhood education starting this autumn.
Guidepost Montessori is currently putting the finishing touches on its building at 240 Enterprise Drive and is planning to open in late fall, Higher Ground Education senior marketing manager Karolina Potterton told the Press on June 27.
Higher Ground Education is the umbrella company behind Guidepost, which is an international network of Montessori schools and it’s “on a mission to modernize and mainstream Montessori,” according to its website.
Verona will be the first Wisconsin location for Guidepost. With over 80 campuses across the United States and around the world serving more than 7,000 families internationally, Guidepost claims to be the world’s largest Montessori network.
Montessori is an alternative philosophy to traditional early education, which was developed by the Italian physician Maria Montessori in the early 1900s.
“Montessori helps your child develop a fundamental, enduring love of learning and the deeply ingrained social, emotional, and academic skills they need to succeed as an adult,” the Guidepost website states. “Montessori combines highly intentional learning materials, rich social development, and a joyous approach to practiced independence.”
The Verona location is still growing its “home team” staff, Potterton told the Press, but she said that the team is almost all full.
Guidepost has already received a lot of interest from the community, she added, and they anticipate increased interest as they continue moving forward toward the school opening in late autumn.
The exact opening date will rely on licensing, she said. They plan to set up the inside of the school in August.
“It takes about a week from being empty to completely full, head-to-toe Montessori — perfect and ready for students — we just have to wait for the licensing,” Potterton said.
All Guidepost classrooms across its network are replicated in the same way.
The school will be for children up to six years of age. There are not grade levels in the typical sense, Potterton said. Children are placed more into groups of very young and new students and then older and more experienced students, and that the littler children have an older mentor to learn from.
The student age groups will be: up to 16 months, 16 months through two and a half or three years old, and then a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten group.
With locations across the United States and Asia, as well as new locations opening this year in France, Austria and England, the Guidepost brand is rapidly expanding, Potterton said.
She said a team looks into different locations throughout the United States and assesses where there’s a need for more childcare if or where people are already interested in Montessori. That is how Verona became the first Wisconsin location for the brand.
While she did not mention it, Potterton may perhaps have been referring to The Caring Center/Montessori House, which is celebrating 50 years of serving the Verona community this year.
Guidepost’s 240 Enterprise Drive location in Verona is being built from the ground-up.
“We’re very excited about that,” Potterton said.
Approximately half of all new Guidepost locations are brand new buildings. Renovating existing buildings tends to happen more in urban settings, Potterton said.
“This building is from the ground-up construction, everything is 100 percent brand new,” she said. “We are very excited to expand into Wisconsin, we already have a lot of schools in the Chicago area and greater Illinois.”
To learn more about the Verona location, visit guidepostmontessori.com/schools/verona-wi.