Ivybrook Academy preschool to open in east Bradenton | Eastern County
After tax season in 2021, Bethany Carr of Greenbrook started getting what she called the “COVID itch.”
She wanted to try something new after 20 years of stressful tax seasons as a certified public accountant.
Seeing the impact of a Montessori philosophy in education on her four children, Austin, 14, Evan, 8, Ethan, 7, and Eli, 5, she decided to own and operate a nursery school.
“We love the Montessori philosophy, which meets kids where they are,” Carr said. “It’s very child-led, interest-driven. This allows children to move at their own pace, and the model works well for so many students. »
Carr is opening Ivybrook Academy, a Montessori and Reggio Emilia-inspired half-day preschool, for the 2022-2023 school year. The school will be a new location for the national franchise which has at least 50 schools across the country.
Ivybrook Academy supports space behind the Whole Foods on University Parkway and Honor Avenue which is currently a daycare. The preschool’s lease will begin in June when Carr, the owner and director of admissions, will have some renovations completed before opening the school for tours in July.
She said most preschools in the area require parents to commit to full-time programs or year-round programs.
“There is definitely a demand for a part-time program that focuses on education and prepares your child for elementary school,” she said.
Carr said she knows parents who are on six-to-nine-month waiting lists for a spot at a local preschool. She said the Ivybrook Academy could help meet the demand.
“Ivybrook will fill a gap in preschool offerings in our community,” Carr said. “There is a real need for families who have a stay-at-home parent or who have a caregiver but still want a preschool experience for their child. They don’t want to have to commit to year-round kindergarten.
The school will follow a schedule similar to that of the Manatee County School District with a targeted first day of school on August 10.
The school will only start with a morning session available, but Carr said the school will add an afternoon session based on demand. Ivybrook Academy can accommodate 200 students.
Carr said Ivybrook Academy will provide individualized learning as teachers adapt to the level of the student. The children will be divided into small groups according to their abilities.
“The Montessori method is very child-friendly, and the teacher works alongside the child instead of standing in front of the classroom instruction,” Carr said. “If a child is interested in dinosaurs, for example, the teacher will use that interest in dinosaurs to help them learn letters or see words or help them with their math. It keeps the child engaged because that it’s something he’s interested in and yet he’s learning the skills he needs at the same time.
Reggio Emilia’s approach focuses on children as active participants in their growth and development process. Carr said the approach is hands-on and collaborative.
Classrooms also won’t look like typical classrooms, Carr said.
Classrooms can often have bright primary colors to try to provide a fun and welcoming environment, but Carr said the environment can sometimes be too stimulating for children. So at Ivybrook Academy, classrooms will have soft colors with natural materials to bring the outside world inside.
“It’s a much quieter environment that allows kids to tune out the excess noise and overstimulation, settle down, and learn,” Carr said.
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