Red Bank's new Heritage Montessori School is enrolling preschool students ages 2-5 for the fall semester.
The school has nine students enrolled, with room for only three more. Three teachers will direct classes.
"I feel Montessori is the best form of education," said school director Sharon Shedrick, who moved to Red Bank in 2000 from Macon, Ga., where she owned a Montessori school for six years. "Heritage Montessori is everything I've dreamed about for 10 years. Students at Heritage Montessori School can explore the classroom at their own pace. So the curriculum is tailored to the students. We will teach indoors and outdoors."
Complementing the indoor curriculum focused on traditional subjects like phonics, the senses, math, art, geography and science, the school's outdoor classroom will hold a planting station, an easel painting area and other learning activities. Shedrick said through her recent experience teaching at Ivy Academy in Soddy-Daisy, she gained an understanding of the importance of incorporating the outdoors in the learning environment.
"Montessori loves hands-on instead of students running on a playground," said Shedrick. "We will do a nature walk and other environmental exercises daily to compliment what we study in the classroom."
She said the school schedule will begin at 8:30 a.m. with breakfast followed by a group session to introduce lessons. Then, students will go outside to collect items on a nature walk. The day will also involve lunch, rest time and snacks.
She said the Montessori curriculum involves teaching students how to garden and about trees, bugs and birds.
"We will study birds and make bird feeders," said Shedrick. "I have seen a robin, red bird, mockingbird, carpenter bees, brown rabbits, butterflies, ants and ladybugs at the school."
She said that through observing nature students will also identify fig, pear and pecan trees on the property.
Students will also learn practical applications about grace, courtesy and how to properly use various utensils in the practical life area.
"I don't want to turn anyone away because they can't afford to come," said Shedrick. "I want to be competitively priced, so that the average person can afford to send their children here."
• Heritage Montessori School, at 3304 Dayton Blvd. in Red Bank, can be reached at 877-2751.