Northfield Montessori Grows Into Its New Building

Northfield MontessoriIt’s been an exciting and busy year for Northfield Montessori.  The “parent/teacher cooperative,” as it calls itself, moved into a new building last September and will soon begin enrollment for the 2006-2007 school year.

The response to the new building has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Joy Mathews, the school’s assistant director. She and other school staff have been surprised at just how strong the public reaction has been.

The new building has made a “huge difference,” according to Mathews. “I still am amazed.” Staff reaction has been just as positive, boosting morale to still higher levels.

The building is a striking, multi-colored structure designed by Portfolio Design and built by Met-Con Companies of Faribault. The 15,000 square-foot structure is located on Highway 3 north of town and holds 186 students. It nearly doubles the capacity of the school’s old location, a 6,000-square-foot building on Highway 19 near Malt-O-Meal.

Joy MathewsCurrent enrollment in the new building is almost at capacity, and there is a waiting list for infants. However, Mathews expects there to be openings at all age levels for next fall.

She is excited by the registration process for new students, which begins in mid-April. “It gives us the opportunity to help more families,” she said. The school enrolls children from 6 weeks to 6 years old.

Mathews says that the school wants to increase publicity for its kindergarten program, which usually attracts children who have summer birthdays. Kindergartners attend class with the 3-5-year-olds, and licensed teachers provide supplemental instruction. Once children have completed the kindergarten year, parents can choose to have the child do the year over at another school or move on to the first grade.

As Mathews begins the enrollment process for next year, she continues to be struck by the public response to the school’s programs. “We didn’t have any concept of how powerful this place was for the people who aren’t here,” she said. “You don’t realize the impact that has beyond your walls.”