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A new school year, location for Bilingual Monotessori School

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By Kirsten Laskey

Along Longview Drive in White Rock, there are rows of empty buildings and a sidewalk outlined with weeds. It has the atmosphere of a ghost town – there does not seem to be a soul around. But further up the road, things dramatically change.

The weeds along the sidewalk are replaced by orange colored flower boxes and the building, located at 115 Longview Drive, is being renovated, making it look sharp and new.

This will be the new home of the Bilingual Montessori School.

 It may only be just steps from the school’s current location at 111 Longview Drive, but the changes are huge. Offices are being transformed into classrooms to accommodate the 53 students who are enrolled in the school.

This is a big jump from the 34 students enrolled in the school when it opened only a year ago. It is also the reason why they decided to move. “We have to expand,” said Bilingual Montessori School Director Odalys Fernández. “We get to service more families.”

She credited Dan Partin and Roger Waterman for helping secure the building.

With a larger student population, two more toddler classrooms are being added, Fernández said.

Plus, younger students are coming to the school. The minimum age limit was 3-months-old and now the age has been expanded to 6 weeks-old.

The playground is also being changed. Fernández said it will feature natural structures and rain barrels.

All these changes have generated a lot of excitement.

“Students are telling their parents (they’re) excited because (the school) is going to be bigger,” Fernández said.

The parents have also been involved in the relocation project.

“We have awesome parents,” Fernández said. “I think we have the best parents on Earth.”

Parents have contributed ideas for the design of the new playground and when the school staff wants to get something that is not covered by the budget, the parents will step in to help raise money. Several parents expressed their appreciation toward the school and their eagerness to get the new location. “Actually, I think the space they already have is really nice (but) anything bigger is just icing on the cake,” said Bilingual Montessori School parent Karen Alaniz.

Another parent commented, “I’m just happy with the school the way it is. I just like the way they treat with the kids … that’s the most important thing in my opinion.”

Its appearance will change, but the school’s work will not. Fernández said the same curriculum will be used and school run on the same hours. The classroom will continue to offer Spanish and English speaking teachers.

“It’s important to have a second language,” she explained.

Fernández added the younger students are, the easier it is for them to grasp another language.

Students are not just learning in the classroom, they take numerous field trips to different areas in the community.

They explore the local museums, ride the Atomic City Transit and visit the Farmers’ Market.

“The learning is not only in the classroom,” Fernández said. “When we take them out of the classroom, they learn, too.”

With everything occurring at the school, she said the highlights of running the school are in the day-to-day activities.

The highlights are “just seeing how (the students) are growing and maturing,” Fernández said. “Mainly it is just fun being able to offer a safe, happy place where they come explore and grow.”

The new school year begins Aug. 17, and there are a few openings available. For more information, visit www.bilingualschools.com or call 672-1800.