Isla Montessori School in Dandan will incorporate the island’s culture and history, setting it apart from other schools on the island, according to founder Susan Book.
Speaking before yesterday’s Rotary Club of Saipan meeting at the Hyatt Regency Saipan, Book said the school would be the newest Montessori school in the CNMI.
“We are a school that is striving to provide an authentic Montessori education here on island, bringing it for children [and] making it more accessible for different groups around the island,” she said.
Currently, the Carolinian Cultural Affairs Office, Northern Marianas Trades Institute, and Commonwealth Council for Arts and Culture are assisting the program by building shelves and shaping the courses of Saipan historical study for children to grasp upon.
Also, Isla Montessori children house guide Diana Silveira and Book are adding the first language curriculum highlighting Chamorro and Carolinian. Book also said reef awareness will be part of their learning program, “I am actually using a model of a coral reef to teach language and grammar in the classroom.”
“We are working to connect our children with our plants, our animals, our ocean, and our land. Wonderful, wonderful folks are helping to develop a learning garden,” Book said.
Their purpose is to provide the needed training for children to become Montessori teachers in the future by teaching them the Montessori method.
“We want to hold their hand as they open up another classroom and another village.” She adds by following this agenda, the Montessori school will keep growing.
“It’s going to take some time. But this is how much we believe in this and we want a classroom in every village, we want a classroom on Tinian, we want a classroom on Rota,” said Book.
She goes on to say that children should connect with their elders in order to gain the insights of the island heritage and the better understanding of the world.
Similar to Maria Montessori, Isla Montessori School holds an impression of community service. During Maria’s time in Italy from 1922-1934, she taught this primary aspect to orphans. Book relates Maria’s objective to her mission, “…giving back to our community is something that our elementary-age children is an requirement—service hours, participation, beach cleanup…”
In August, they will be presented with the 501 (c) (3) non-profit status through the contributions of the Education Tax Program. Book indicates that they are recently gaining simple donations, feeling accomplished for it.