Northern Neck Montessori School Receives Wiley Grant

The Northern Neck Montessori School recently received a grant from the Nettie Lokey Wiley and Charles L. Wiley Foundation.

The grant will fund certification and training for two teachers, reported director of administration Emily May.

“American Montessori Society (AMS) certified Montessori teachers enable NNMS to be an exceptional and impactful option for early childhood education in the Northern Neck. These qualities are something that, time and again, the Wiley Foundation has helped us pro-vide and deliver,” said May. “We so appreciate the Wiley Foundation’s support now and in the past and are thankful for all it does within our community.”

Jen Walden and Stephanie Price Hamrick are eager to undergo this training and in return each has given a three-year commitment to the school, said May. Both of these professionals have proven dedication to children and deep ties in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.
Walden, the current Children’s House assistant, has been with the Northern Neck Montessori School for five years, making her the second-longest tenured employee. Before that, her background is in a variety of childcare set-tings.

Hamrick has been the Lower Elementary assistant for the past year. She brings prior experience as a preschool teacher at the Learning Center in Kilmarnock and has been an early literacy specialist at a library in South Carolina.

The cornerstone of a Montessori teacher’s training is the rigorous certification process overseen by the AMS, said May. The school’s lead teachers in Children’s House (preschool-kindergarten) and Lower Elementary (grades 1-3) have AMS certifications.

However to have a stronger foundation and ensure long-term stability, additional certified teachers are key to fulfill and follow through with our succession planning and goals, said May.
Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, NNMS will open a Toddler House and an additional building, she said. Because of the catalyst of the Wiley Grant for the professional development, the NNMS board of directors voted to open the Toddler House this fall.

Hamrick will become the lead teacher of this program to serve children as young as 18 months—a new demographic for NNMS, and one that is underserved in the Northern Neck, said May.

The new school building is scheduled for completion in June, she said. The NNMS will then have the facilities and space needed to accommodate the Toddler House, program (ages 18-36 months), the Children’s House (ages 3-Kinder-garten) and the Lower Elementary program, (grades 1-3), a multipurpose room and library.