Are there plans to offer more grades for toddler, elementary and middle school? How will the school adapt if enrollment levels are lower than expected?
The school is expanding the phases for new programming cautiously, and the phases are driven by demand. As the Expansion Committee of the Board of Directors is evaluating potential sites, it is looking at capacity for long-term growth.
Want to know about the Expansion Committee and the drivers of this process? Please click HERE.
And, many hands make light work. If you have a skill, a connection, or passion for this project, we would love to connect with you! Click HERE.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS...
Why is the GBMS program expanding? What's the impetus behind growing?
Many years ago when Great Beginnings first opened, the single location was sufficient to meet the student and family needs. The number of students at Great Beginnings has grown, and last year we analyzed the home school location of our current students and learned that they are not concentrated to any one region of the Valley – rather, our families were scattered all over the Valley, and driving to specifically access the quality and community of our unique school. Many of these families live in areas that are adjacent to existing Montessori schools, and they still choose to commute to Great Beginnings.
Additionally, by expanding programming, many of our families will benefit from having all of their children attend the same school in their community. And, Great Beginnings will continue to offer after-care for all grades, including the upper grades. According to a report out of Princeton University, after-school programs that provide additional educational instruction and social interaction "not only support healthy, positive development during [ages 6 through 14], they will also put in place the kind of safety net needed to support healthy, positive passage through early and middle adolescence.”
Does Great Beginnings work better for some children to have a consistent environment K-3?
For years Great Beginnings families encouraged us to extend our program into higher grades. With a small, nurturing community with a high student/ teacher ratio, a high level of personalized programming, and innovative nature-based Montessori curriculum, Great Beginnings is unique. For families who are seeking an alternative to a traditional elementary school, Great Beginnings could provide an excellent option.
What do you see as Great Beginnings’ biggest challenge and how will it be solved?
The school is facing the challenge to get our stakeholders to actively engage as part of the expansion process. To address this for 2017/8, our school has invested in an administrator with the responsibility to 1.) develop parent and community relationships and, 2.) work on development and giving to fiscally support the school's dreams of growth.
We encourage all of our families to express their opinions, and talk with the current teachers and Board members.
What is a "green" school?
Great Beginnings is growing to fill a niche within our community, because Great Beginnings recently become the first recognized Eco-School in Bozeman, recognized through the National Wildlife Federation. The Eco-School program strives to model environmentally sound practices, provide support for greening the curriculum, and enhance science and academic achievement. Additionally, it works to foster a greater sense of environmental stewardship among youth.
Our school’s commitment to nature, children, and the outdoors is enhanced with our expansion, as we want to focus on reducing environmental impact, enhancing occupant health and well-being and educating a generation of sustainability natives.
How will these expansions be handled? Will they be phased in or will it happen all at once?
The expansion will be handled in phases as determined by the schools’ readiness, through fiscal responsibility and adequate enrollment, as evaluated and approved by our Board of Directors.
goals for ages/ classrooms/ grades is linked HERE.
Our children on our school's "Very Hungry Caterpillar" float in the Sweet Pea Parade, August 2017
Can you just give me a quick overview of Montessori? What is it and would it be a good fit for my child?
While conventional schools focus on curriculum, Montessori focuses on the child first. A Great Beginnings education combines the time-tested and visionary insights of Dr. Maria Montessori with the combination of outdoor exploration and leading-edge Montessori study. The results are confident, curious and academically- exceptional students prepared for an ever-evolving world. Great Beginnings students are innovators, creators, and leaders.
The video above gives a quick overview of Montessori.
How sure are you that GBMS can compete with "free" public schools and established private schools for grades 1-6?
Public schools in Bozeman still remain a great option for many families. However, some families have educational philosophies that dovetail better with Great Beginnings Montessori School for additional grades.
With our school’s focus on collaborative, interactive learning featuring small-group work, we are designing our new school to include environmentally friendly buildings and flexible spaces that can be used for multiple purposes. At the end of the day, this is about providing additional educational experiences for the children of Montana.