Seton Montessori Preschool joined the Ottumwa public schools this fall for the 4-year-old voluntary preschool grant. This provided for free preschool programming for students who were 4 by Sept. 15, 2008. For Montessori Preschool, that meant 18 of 40 students qualified for the grant.
Teachers Barb Scott and Sarah Johnson have been attending the monthly professional development offered by the Ottumwa School District. Principal Terri Schofield attends the monthly director meetings that plan evaluation of the various programs and collaborative program offerings. Seton’s preschool staff and Schofield recognize that this is an exciting time to be in the field of early childhood education, and they have enjoyed the opportunities for networking and professional development that this grant has provided.
In preparation for applying for Iowa’s Quality Rating System rating, Schofield and Scott attended the evening class for early childhood environmental rating. After this training, an extensive evaluation of the classroom took place. The evaluation included a closer look at all materials in the classroom. From this evaluation, Montessori staffers were able to align their grant dollars for purchasing materials according to standards for early childhood education.
Because of Seton’s partnership with public schools, it has been able to provide a more enriched classroom and more opportunities for extended play.