*Update July 10, 2018: This program was a 3-year program and is no longer available.*
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dunham Fund to sponsor Montessori education for low-income families
Aurora, Ill., June 15, 2015 – Preschool is for everyone.
That’s the idea behind a new locally-sponsored, locally-hosted program aimed at toddlers and preschoolers from low-income working families. The program, called the Fox Valley Montessori John C. Dunham Early Childhood Outreach, will provide education at Fox Valley Montessori School in Aurora for up to three years for children starting at 2½ and 3 years old who come from qualified families.
“More and more research is showing us the importance of early childhood education in preparing children for successful lives,” said Denise Monnier, Head of School at Fox Valley Montessori. “We want parents in the area to be able to say, regardless of income level, ‘That’s something I want for my child.’”
Early childhood education, or ECE has long been a focus in the Montessori education style, which stresses learning through personal interaction and individual discovery. But ECE has become a topic of increased national interest in recent years, with moves in Congress and from the Obama administration seeking to expand the availability of high-quality ECE in 2013.
This effort finds support a little closer to home, with the patronage of the Aurora-based Dunham Fund. The mission of the Dunham Fund is to encourage innovation and collaboration in educational and community development programs and projects to effect positive change in the community. In this case, the Fund will sponsor up to 20 qualified children for as many as 3 years each, typically starting at age 3 and continuing to the end of Kindergarten. To qualify, families must meet the criteria of the Department of Human Services’ Child Care Assistance Program: Parents should be working or enrolled in school, with a total household income of less than 185% of the Federal Poverty Level.
If the Dunham Fund and Fox Valley Montessori School can show the program works, Monnier said, it could become a model for more widespread future efforts.
“Of course it’s great to show the good the Dunham fund and Montessori education can do,” Monnier said. “But really, this is about creating a community of parents across all income levels who share a high expectation for their children. This is about being able to say, ‘My child will have a better life than me, earn more than I do, and be a more positive part of the community than I was.’ Every parent gets to have that dream.”
Parents interested in the program are encouraged to attend a no-obligation open house and program orientation at the school at 6:30pm Thursday, June 25. School teachers and staff speak both English and Spanish. To register for the event, call the school at 630-896-7557 or visit foxvalleymontessori.org/EveryChild.
For more information:
Denise Monnier, Fox Valley Montessori School
630-896-7557 or firstname.lastname@example.org