By John Lynch
Providence Montessori School will open a new Montessori middle school for the 2014-2015 school year in the historic Florence Crittenton Home property on West Fourth Street.
Providence will renovate the 120-year-old building this spring and open its doors to seventh- and eighth-graders in August.
The school’s name will be Providence Middle School Erdkinder Campus.
The Florence Crittenton Home, which had provided care for single pregnant women and girls for 119 years, closed in November because of funding issues.
Providence also plans to start discussions with Montessori High School of Kentucky in Lexington to bring ninth-graders onto the campus the following year to complete the three-year learning cycle for adolescents.
In the elementary school, students are grouped in grades 1-3 and 4-6.
The long-term goal is to house the high school and the middle school on the same property, thus offering a Montessori education for children 18 months to 18 years.
“We’re dreaming large,” Providence Head of School Carol Hiler said.
“We can now say that we have a continuum for students with Montessori right here in the Bluegrass.”
The two-acre site on West Fourth allows the middle school curriculum to be land-based, a key element to the adolescent experience.
“Having a land-based curriculum is a unique and important component of Montessori education,” said Vicki Sword, member of the middle school committee.
“Montessori programs for younger children are much more commonplace, but the opportunity for Montessori education to continue through middle school and high school is not seen as often. We are very excited to have this opportunity.”
Providence expects an enrollment of 35-40 students. Vivian Langfeld will be the head of the school and the faculty will include Bernie Deville, Shawn Lucas, Chris McGinley, Amy Sither and Marilynn Spitz.
All are certified Montessori teachers with experience working with adolescents.
Providence is a parent-owned Montessori school offering a toddler through upper elementary program at its main campus on Texaco Road.
The school opened in 1965 at St. Peter Claver Church on West Fourth Street, a block from the Florence Crittendon property.
“It felt providential for us when we visited the new site,” Hiler said. “This is like the school coming full cycle and back to our roots.”
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