My name is Karen Cichy. I’ve been a Montessori teacher for 18 years. I first discovered Montessori when my son was three years old, and soon went on to become a certified Montessori teacher.
I am opening Woodland Nature Montessori School at the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium, in the Iona Schoolhouse. Built in 1909, it was the first one-room schoolhouse in the area, used by the early pioneers of Fort Myers. The building was moved to its current location at the Nature Center in 1977.
Let me tell you how this journey started. I’ve had a great career of teaching at three Montessori schools in this area, and even worked at a public school. I have always had the dream of owning my own school, and earned my Director’s Credential in 2013. Recently, with the encouragement of several parents, I found the perfect location with the Calusa Nature Center and their awesome supportive staff.
We will be opening for the 2017 school year. The vision for the school is to be an authentic Montessori school, with the materials and the philosophy. The unique part is that we are fortunate enough to have full access to the Nature Center and Planetarium facilities and their 105 acres of forest. In the afternoons, there will be outdoor nature-based lessons and science lessons with the help of the Nature Center staff.
There will be music, art, science, and PE, all of which will be provided in the beautiful Nature Center environment. The children will learn through unscripted life experiences. We do not facilitate prescribed play, but encourage creativity in an environment free from external rules.
Quote from Marie Montessori:
"The child has a different relation to his environment from ours... the child absorbs it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear." (The Absorbent Mind, p.56)