Starflower Montessori is a new school seeking a permanent home in North Minneapolis, where it can empower both children and teachers.
Early childhood education lays the foundation for lifelong learning. The Montessori method is a type of education that involves children's natural interests and activities rather than a formal teaching curriculum. Classrooms place an emphasis on hands-on learning and developing real-world skills.
Founder of Starflower Montessori Krista Lucas says even though the concept has been around for more than a century, it often was only accessible to wealthy families. For decades, in the United States, the vast majority of Montessori schools were private. However, she says the charter school movement has made more public Montessori schools possible.
“Today, what Montessori can offer is a lot of empowerment. Because there's a focus on choice, and following the interests of the child and what they want to learn. There is a focus on taking initiative on being independent on learning how to solve problems and resolve conflicts. Those are skills that children take with them, to wherever they go after their Montessori School. Also the self confidence of being successful, being successful at learning, being successful at working together in a group with other children. All of those things are really important and empowering for Black and brown children,” said Lucas.
Starflower Montessouri is a Wildflower School and part of a national network of small teacher-led schools. So rather than having a director and teachers who report to that director, they have “teacher leaders” – staff who divide their time between teaching children and doing administrative work.
“We are also part of the Montessori Partners Serving All Children collaborative,” explained Lucas. “That is a group of culturally rooted Montessori schools in Minnesota and South Dakota that are committed to serving low income families.”
Once open, Starflower will serve children aged 6 months to 6 years old. Lucas continues to look for the school's physical home on the Northside, make connections with residents and recruit teachers. She plans for the school to open in the fall of 2024.