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After 44 years of serving students ages 3 and older, Mountaineer Montessori School in Kanawha City is expanding its programs to meet the need for high-quality early education for younger children through the Montessori toddler curriculum.

The first of its kind in West Virginia, the toddler program will begin in August. A live information session on the program will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 17, with in-person and online options available. Registration is required for both options.

MMS will accept program applications on a first-come, first-served basis starting at noon Friday, June 18. More details are posted at www.mountaineermontessori.org.

The information session and the program will be housed at the MMS campus, 308 20th St. in Kanawha City. (Primary through middle school classes will be located at the former St. Agnes School, 4801 Staunton Ave., starting in August.)

Key components of the Montessori toddler program include: opportunities for self-care and care of the environment, refinement of large motor skills and fine motor skills, opportunities for language development, and social development. One of the primary portions of the child’s day will be the uninterrupted work cycle, during which the children are free to choose from lessons in the prepared environment while receiving guidance as needed.

The program will also incorporate a short “group time” each day during which children will participate in songs, stories and movement activities. Additionally, the day will include outside time, rest time and an individual snack time that the child can elect to have at any point during the day (with help as needed). Children will also be supported in “toilet learning” as they show interest and readiness.

The Mountaineer Montessori toddler program will provide support and guidance for families through programs that may include parent education and parent/child group experiences.

Samantha Van Den Berghe-Lynch will lead the new program. A graduate of Baldwin-Wallace University, she holds an American Montessori Society credential at the early childhood (2.5-6-year-olds) level, and she will complete the AMS Infant/Toddler credential training this summer at the Virginia Center for Montessori Studies in Richmond, Va. She has been a member of the MMS early childhood team for six years.

Financial aid is available for MMS enrollment.

For more information, visit the MMS website, www.mountaineermontessori.org, or call 304-342-7870.

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