The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2012, March 24-25

Little Voyageurs Montessori School

Little Voyageurs’ Montessori School (LVMS) was founded in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, in 1968 by a group of dedicated parents. From the beginning, our school’s mission has been to nurture the development of each child’s unique potential.



LVMS has a strong history in the community. Our program has been around since the late 1960s and serves children from all backgrounds - financial, ethnic, religious etc. At one point our program was housed within a nursing home allowing us to interact with elders from the home. We have kept this program alive by bringing elders in from a local nursing home to interact with the children. We believe this keeps us grounded in the community while providing an invaluable experience for both the elders and the children.



LVMS’ intergenerational program, which began in 1988, is unique among Twin Cities Montessori schools. The momentum created by this innovative program led, in 1991, to LVMS’ move into an assisted-living facility, on the Crest View Campus. After the move, the elders and the children were able to interact spontaneously, as well as through planned events. The elders enjoyed the children and were fascinated by what they could do. In 2001, the assisted-living facility did not renew LVMS’ lease, choosing instead to use the space for a childcare facility for children of all ages, hoping that the availability of on-site childcare would help recruit and retain employees. LVMS moved back to its previous site, continuing the intergenerational program through visits between an assisted-living facility and the school.



Research supports the importance of early education in a child's long term success in school. Nowhere is this more important than in lower income neighborhoods like Columbia Heights where opportunities may otherwise not exist. Our program delivers an outstanding educational program taught by trained Montessorians. It instills a love of learning, curiosity and helps kids prepare for school. We believe LVMS kids have an advantage - not only are they well-prepared for elementary school, but they are also confident and excited about learning.



Currently St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church, LVMS’ rented facility, includes space for one large Montessori classroom, which is used for both the morning and afternoon Montessori classes, and two smaller rooms used to accommodate children in the extended day enrichment program and kindergarten extensions. LVMS Board and staff continue to search options for a new home for the school that will allow expansion of services. Ideally, a new facility will be located within or adjacent to a senior housing community that will allow the full-scale resumption of the school’s intergenerational program. Until then St. Timothy's Lutheran Church is the school's permanent home.

What new functionality we are looking for

WEBSITE GOALS

1. Increase Engagement with Prospective Parents

The improved website should lead to an increase the volume of phone calls, emails, and/or visits from qualified prospective parents. Once the prospective parent has contacted LVMS, a simple follow-up campaign will be used to convert them to an applicant.2. Increase Visibility and Recognition

The website should help increase the visibility and name recognition of LVMS as an early childhood education provider in our region. Our region can be described as: NE Mpls, Columbia Heights, Fridley, St Anthony, Mounds View, 694/Central Ave corridor. We recognize that the website is one part of multiple opportunities to increase visibility. Additional effort will be made with our Facebook Page and possibly Google Adwords to support this goal as well. Our Word of Mouth campaign will continue to seek personal referrals via outreach from parents and staff.3. Increase Enrollment

A recent parent survey indicates that at least 50% of our current parents learned about LVMS via a web search.



WEBSITE REQUIREMENTS

1. Content Maintenance

In order to keep the website up-to-date with timely information, the content creation and updating tasks will be performed by LVMS staff, board, or volunteer users. These users should be able to create, edit, and archive content in a constrained and intuitive process. 2. Content for Prospective Parents

Qualified, prospective parents are the primary audience of this website, and reaching them with informative, persuasive content that solicits a real conversation is the most valuable thing this website can perform.3. Up-to-date Information for Current Parents, Community

Our current parents are our customers, and a website that provides relevant and timely information for them will help us provide greater value to them. Involvement with current parents and the greater community help us run our programs, raise funds, and establish and maintain recognition.4. Aesthetic, refined website design

The visual design and layout of the website must, above all, support the content and the goals of the website. Superfluous design elements are not desired. The design should follow current style, format, and layout standards in the education and non-profit genres – bright, light colors, meaningful photos showing real people/staff, audience and action-focused content, clear calls-to-action, etc.5. CMS User Roles, Simple Workflow

While not required, simple CMS workflow or content revision support will be a valuable capability for this website. A simple workflow would consist of a contributor/writer role who can create and edit articles, and an editor/approver role who can review and publish articles. This functionality will allow LVMS to delegate content updates to a wider range of parents and staff.A content revision feature set will provide additional confidence to the editor/approver role, knowing that changes aren’t permanent or unrecoverable will prevent hesitation when making larger-scale changes, such as adding a new summer program page or replacing the academic calendar content.6. Mobile-Optimized Version

Also not a strict requirement, but if feasible within reasonable effort, a mobile-optimized view of the LVMS website can help us reach our audience with targeted content and actions for a small-screen, mobile device.



TARGET AUDIENCE

The updated website will contain targeted that strives to reach the following primary user types:

POTENTIAL PARENT

Goals:

- Looking for qualified, valuable early-education program for their child(ren.

- Looking for daycare options in our region.

- Looking for local Montessori providers, or looking for local source of information about Montessori education.

- Wants to know cost, hours, schedule, calendar of LVMS program.

- Wants to contact LVMS.

- Wants to apply for enrollment at LVMS.

Persona/Demographics:

- Positive bias towards Montessori, looking for more than a daycare provider, values early education.

- Has child(ren aged between 2 & 6 years old.

- Lives, works, commutes within our region, or willing to travel to LVMS location.



EXISTING PARENT

- Wants to get contact info, see timely updates/notices/calendar & schedule

- Get relevant forms, parent participation forms, etc



MOBILE USER

- Wants to get contact info, see location map, confirm current/upcoming event details



BOARD MEMBERS, STAFF

- Wants to see timely updates, confirm upcoming events and meetings, use content to help promote LVMS



COMMUNITY AT LARGE/NEIGHBORHOOD

- Wants to learn about program, see upcoming events



PROPOSED SITE MAP

Global/Site-wide

- Contact Call-to-Action

- Donate Call-to-Action

- Global Navigation

- Logo/Mission Statement



Home Page

- Experience - photo slideshow, juxtaposed with quotes/statements from mission

- Eligibility - snippet or content block about ages and grades accepted/served

- Fees & Hours - breakdown/summary of typical monthly tuition/fees, (see tuition calculator described below)

- Events - list of upcoming events (up to 3)

- Mission/Vision Statement - value proposition of LVMS, why LVMS

Contact Us

- email address or form, phone number, mailing address

- map & directions

Calendar

- list of upcoming events

- event details

Academic Calendar

Enroll

- fees & hours

- eligibility

- application process

About LVMS

- involvement

- mission

- history

Staff

- Staff bios, etc

- Policy

Donate



DESIGN REQUIREMENTS

4-6 unique layouts/templates

- Home page

- Events list

- Event details

- Content page

- Blog list

- Blog article



FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS

The following website features will support the content described above:Tuition & Fees Calculator

This is a client-side scripted feature that allows a visitor to quickly estimate the monthly tuition and fees for his/her child(ren).This calculator will prompt the user to enter values or edit/adjust default values for:

- number of children attending

- number of lunch meals per week/month

- number of extended hours per day/week/monthEvents Calendar/List

The events calendar will contain the following information for upcoming events:

- date

- time

- duration

- location

- descriptionThe calendar content should be limited to parent-level or open-to-public events, such as spaghetti dinner, parent meeting, silent auction, etc.Each event listing will link to an events detail page, which will allow for the display of extended description content, pictures, etc.Blog

The blog section is an optional feature, and will only be implemented if we can get commitments from one or more capable article writers.Because this website has been planned for deployment within WordPress, including a blog section incurs little additional development effort. It is assumed that the blog will be kept simple, focusing on one primary feed/category, and potentially one author for all updates.Home Page

- Distinct layout, strong call to action for primary audience

- Cascading navigation to site pages, progressive enhancement, serve as SEO-friendly sitemap

- Introduces global navigation layout

- Includes additional content below the fold - to help SEO

Application Page

- provides clear step to download & submit application, overview of timeline/"what to expect"

Content Pages



How the new functionality will help

Our dwindling enrollment represents a gap in our ability to effectively market the strengths of our school. Parents of young children turn to the web more than ever when searching for education and care for their child. However, we do not have budget to hire or even contract an IT resource so our website has been managed by parents whenever they have time. We need to get our web presence up to par in order to effectively compete with other schools with much larger budgets (ie the Columbia Heights preschool program, other chain montessori schools) and we need a site that can be easily maintained by even the most novice user.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Before & After Snapshots

Thumbnail_beforevoyageurs Thumbnail_voeyaguersafter

35 Messages from Supporters

2012-02-24 16:57:23 UTC
Ingrid Case

Our son's time at LVMS was wonderful. The teachers genuinely met him where he was, offering appropriate help and challenges. They also enjoyed him for the quirky person he is, which we appreciated enormously. Our son benefited from the small class size, personal attention, and genuine bonds between students and between students and staff members. I highly recommend the school.

2012-02-24 23:23:30 UTC
Melanie Ault

We had searched all over for just the right place for our daughter and were delighted when we decided on Little Voyageurs. The teachers and extended care providers were attentive and knew just how to interest and challenge her with new materials. The Montessori program and the extended day options were very affordable, and offered a lot of flexibility as our needs sometimes changed week-to-week. And - they offered hot lunches, which got our daughter to try some new foods, and were more nutritious than if we had packed a lunch everyday.

The teacher and administrative staff turnover rate is very, very low, which offered consistency and good teamwork. And parent involvement is always welcomed.

Eight years later our son came along, and Little Voyageurs was an easy choice to make for him. And many of the same staff were still there.

Our daughter and son each made lasting friendships with the other children that they still hold dear.

2012-02-25 03:24:00 UTC
Sheri Bodell

My son was in a in home day before coming to Little Voyageurs and was behind his peers in class, the staff took the time to work with him to nuture him to slow down and explain to him that which he did not understand. The staff was and is wonderful the teachers truly care about the children and you can tell there is great joy in what they do. They have left a lasting impression on my son and he still talks about his teachers. They really do a wonderful job of working not only with the children, the parents but the family. It was wonderful to know that if i wanted I could go a sit in the classroom to observe what my son was doing on any given day. I always felt as welcome walking in the doors as my son was. They truly are a wonderful school.

2012-02-27 13:58:03 UTC
Ryan Kucera

I'm a parent and a board member at LVMS. I see the dedication and talent of the staff and teachers both from the classroom and from the operations point of view. They provide unending hard work and sacrifice to provide an excellent learning experience for our children. I am inspired by their dedication. I want to see LVMS continue to fulfill its mission and its service to its parents and our community. I truly believe that a new website tailored for visibility, marketing, and recruiting will give LVMS the boost it needs to stay on a sustainable growth path. And I know the teachers, staff, and board will utilize and maintain this new asset to its full potential.

2012-02-27 19:41:28 UTC
Gina Cisneros

I have had 2 children at LVMS (one currently) and I have been very pleased not only with their progress academically, but also socially and emotionally. The teachers and staff really take the time to get to know each child and work with them at their own pace - they encourage and nuture their love of learning. There is a real passion for teaching/learning that you don't see everyday.

The blended age classroom gives kids the opportunity to act as mentors and share their knowledge with the younger kids in the classroom. My oldest son particularly enjoyed this and I saw a wonderful, patient, caring side of him emerge throughout his time at LVMS. The excitement for learning really is contagious and spreads from child to child.

It pains me to see the enrollment dwindling at such a wonderful school; to see the staff taking pay cuts when they're doing such an amazing job and are a vital part of so many childrens' lives. A new website would help spread the word about our little school and reach many new families in the community who may otherwise be unaware of LVMS.

2012-02-27 20:11:26 UTC
Dianne Proulx

We had the opportunity of having both our daughter and son attend Little Voyageurs. We searched all of the Twin Cities for an environment that would be educationally challenging while providing an enriching environment. We found it at LVMS. The educators are caring and knowledgable in working with young children and their learning styles. Our children are now in middle school. They are honor students, on the A honor role and are leaders in their organizations. A strong foundation was established through their LVMS experience with who they are, what they know and how they know. I recommend LVMS every chance i get.

2012-02-27 20:18:03 UTC
Dirk DeWester

We have had two children attend LVMS and we couldn't have been any more happy with our relationship with the school. Our children were well prepared when they moved on to public school in first grade (frankly, they were far ahead of their classmates) thanks to the great variety of experiences they had at LVMS. The school serves a wide variety of families and is one of the few options of it's type in that part of the community. The school survives on a very limited budget and could use a new website to help draw attention to their great programs.

2012-02-27 20:19:17 UTC
Kaye Ann DeBlieck

My daughter attended LVMS as a four year old. We were so pleased to watch her grow, learn, and have such a caring and enriching environment to thrive in. LVMS has dedicated staff who care about children, families, and community. They are true to the Montessori Method, and have built up a truly nurturing environment that follows the needs of each child enrolled. A new website would allow them to showcase what LVMS does best....a beautiful Children's House environment, and an excellent extended care program. I also recommend LVMS to people in the community that are looking for a strong, child based experience for their child/children. As a current Montessori teacher at the E1 level, I really appreciate the type of foundation that a school like LVMS provides for children. My daughter got an excellent start there, and has continued with Montessori learning, currently in third grade and thriving. Thanks for everything staff at LVMS...you're awesome and need a good place to showcase it!

2012-02-27 20:25:10 UTC
Jaime Reynal O'Connor

My son(3) attends LVMS. He started in January 012. Before LVMS, he was attending an in home day care. My daughter (8) attended a Montessori school through kindergarten and we loved it! I decided to enroll my son this year considering that costs were about the same, yet the education being so much better at LVMS! We have noticed so many positive changes in him since he started two shory months ago. His vocabulary has increased 10 fold! His social skills have improved, he is more independent, and he is learning how important it is to share and listen. If this website will help LVMS, then our school is the one who deserves it. The staff is wonderful! LVMS has so much to offer to our little ones and it is time to inform other parents in our community that there is a place like this for their young ones! Please help LVMS!!!

2012-02-27 20:25:52 UTC
Don Franke

My daughter attended Little Voyageurs for three years and she and I are both very pleased with the experience. She looked forward to attending every day, and she had wonderful experiences with the staff and other children. LVMS positively contributed to her academic, social and emotional growth. My daughter now is in 5th grade and she has been reading at a 12th grade level for almost a year. I am confident that her academic development would not be where it is today had she not attended LVMS. The School and its staff are committed to each child, to identifying her or his needs, and to fulfilling the promise that each child offers. The staff are also very caring and conscientious; they know how to run a school effectively and safely. I believe so much in the program that LVMS offers that I served as an officer and director for seven years, including 5 after my daughter had graduated.

2012-02-27 20:29:47 UTC
Chris Johnson

Our daughter's time at LVMS was wonderful for her; the environment created by the teachers and staff allowed her to deeply engage with the fundamentals of learning and self-direction, and we can still see the positive influence of her time there today. What really struck me about the LVMS program, however, was the genuine commitment to community engagement. Bringing in elders from a nearby care facility to work with the children for a day, and engaging with educational resources from the city and county (such as the "Bug Guy") are just two examples of the way LVMS demonstrates a drive to create a network of community awareness and involvement. This drive puts LVMS step above simply providing an excellent Montessori education to its students.

2012-02-27 20:32:05 UTC
Jessica Peterson

LVMS would greatly benefit from a new and improved website! I have had the wonderful experience of having two children at LVMS and have seen first hand the hard work that goes into the children's amazing experience. My children have received an incredible education - academically, socially, and emotionally. LVMS has been working so hard to increase their exposure and enrollment. A new website would help exponentially and would be such a gift to the hardest working, most dedicated and loving staff. They treat each child with incredible attention and have gone above and beyond to make sure the children are supported in every way. The staff would be everso greatful for the website help and would be able to reach many more families that could experience LVMS. They spend extra long hours creating community outreach and need some help! More people NEED to know about this school. I credit this great school every day for the my children's recent growth and development. My kids are polite, respectful, honest, and well-rounded; all skills that are fostered at LVMS! Please support their expansion and visibility!!

2012-02-27 20:35:23 UTC
Sarah Walker

Our daughter attends Little Voyageur's Montessori in Columbia Heights and she loves it, and so do we.

The teachers are wonderful and are always communicating with me about my daughter's progress, even when it's just in passing.

The biggest thing that I walk away with is our daughter's academic and social acceleration. She has become a more articulate, confident girl. She has become more focused and patient, and her curiosity for the world around her has soared. She's four years old and already understanding the fundamentals of reading, language, math, history and science. We can't express enough how happy we are that she is at Little Voyageur's.

2012-02-27 20:45:01 UTC
Joe Peterson

My wife and I currently have our second child enrolled at Little Voyagers. LVMS is a special place that provides a great education and safe learning environment. They have long-term staff who truly care for and invest in the children they serve. LVMS also does an outstanding job supporting families who need assistance and otherwise would not be able to provide their children with a Montessori education. An updated website would help other's find this truly special progam.

2012-02-27 20:47:14 UTC
Kelley Bortnem

At first glance, the outside of Little Voyageurs Montessori school is not overly impressive. It's tucked away on the lower level of St. Timothy's Lutheran Church in Columbia Heights. There's no neon sign, no expensive facility. It's a small school that could easily be overlooked should you drive past it. For the parents of current and past students, we all know it is so much more than the building it's housed in. Little Voyageurs is an amazing community, one which I am so proud to be a part of.

My daughter attended LVMS for her preschool and kindergarten years and still stays in touch with classmates over 4 years later. My son is currently attending and I am just amazed at the personal growth in him in just the few months since he began. The staff is the key to the success of Little Voyageurs. They are so passionate about what they do, taking the time to lead each child on their own separate journeys of learning.

My wish for LVMS is a chance to help sculpt more children into self-assured kids with a love of learning that will carry on into the rest of their school-age years. They need this website update as a neon sign, to help make sure that they do not get overlooked. This school has the potential to change lives. They just need to be more visible, get more people's attention, and I think that a new website is the key to a new and exciting chapter in Little Voyageurs' history.

2012-02-27 21:01:42 UTC
Vicki and Chris Hovda

Our son attended LVMS for 2 years and it was a great experience for him and for us. We thought this was the perfect stepping stone into public school because it offered a perfect balance of classroom structure and just plain fun in the aftercare program. What we didnt realize was how much more our son was able to experience attending LVMS. The relationships with other children have been priceless as many of his fellow LVMS mates are attending his school now. He reads at grade level higher than his classmates and all of his teachers have commented on how they can tell he has had many interesting experiences in his 8 years, from Bob the Bug Guy and attending plays to planting vegetables. The gentle nature of the staff and the commitment to the children is like none other. They are a needed resource for the parents in our area as there are no other Montessori schools with reasonable rates and an aftercare program that is priceless.

2012-02-27 21:52:41 UTC
Justin Graff

My daughter attended LVMS for two years and those two years i saw my daughter blossom into a very smart and outgoing child ready for public school. The staff and interns here are so wonderful and full of patience and love for the children, they take the extra time to concentrate on growing and focusing on independence.My daughter has meet so many warm hear ted people at LVMS.They are so passionate about what they do, taking the time to lead each child on their own separate journeys of learning and life. Thanks for all your work in helping create a great memory for me and most importantly my daughter. The school is so welcoming, the staff is great!!!! Thanks LVMS

2012-02-27 21:43:18 UTC
Natasha and Nick Erickson

My husband and I searched for the best school suited for our three- year-old daughter and we found it with Little Voyageur’s Montessori School. We needed a school that provided a safe, nurturing environment yet pushed her to excel academically as well as socially. We are very pleased with how caring the staff is not only with our daughter but with us - the parents. The teachers and staff keep track of her day-to-day progress as well as struggles and keep us posted at all times to allow us to step in if and when needed. Thank you, LVMS!!!

2012-02-27 21:48:22 UTC
Dominique Greer

i have been a teacher at Little Voyageurs for 8 years now and i cannot imagine a better working environment for me. The turn aound is pretty low here and it s nice to start each school year knowing who we are working with. We are well trained by the MTCM of St Paul and operate under the same understanding of the children and their needs.
We also have a nice cultural melting pot among staff and children; i come from France and teach french at certain times of the week, another staff teaches music and comes from Korea. The children dont necessarly speak english when they start the school year but they quickly adapt and soon are bilingual.
Overall, it's like having a second family here where children grow, change, mature during the three years they spend here and we enjoy witnessing them thrive.
Although the staff is the same over the years and the families tends to stay with us as some have several children, no two days are ever alike. And it's just fine by me.

2012-02-27 22:02:05 UTC
Annette Koch

We have had 3 children go through the Montessori program at Little Voyageurs (LVMS) with a fourth to enroll this fall. We chose LVMS for a number of reasons: First, it offered our children a very diverse learning environment. There are children attending from a wide variety of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. The friendships our children established with kids who look or speak differently than they do has established an open-mindedness that has carried through into their elementary school years. Secondly, the curriculum allows kids to learn at their own pace, based on their interests but encourages teamwork and peer-to-peer mentoring. For example, a kindergartener acts as a coach and teacher to help younger children learn different Montessori activities. This fosters many great characteristics like cooperation, caring for others and at the same time builds self-esteem by allowing the older child to feel like an “expert”.
Because LVMS opens its doors to families of various socio-economic backgrounds, their funding is often tight. An update to the LVMS website would allow them to reach out to more families that could benefit from the great learning environment they have to offer.

2012-02-27 22:26:29 UTC
Nathan Rinne

LVMS has been a wonderful blessing to our children. My wife and her brothers attended it when it first opened many years ago. Now, because my wife was sold on the kind of education that she received there, we have put our first 3 children through the program all the way up through kindergarten. The staff is fantastic and I know for a fact that generous donors make it possible for kids from all different socio-economic backgrounds to attend. My wife and I have taken the time to learn about Maria Montessori's educational philosophy and we are convinced that she was a genius ahead of her time. Many times, when people hear about Montessori education, they get the impression that it is a free-for-all, where kids can do whatever they want. This is a misunderstanding. The student is free in many ways to choose what to learn, but the choices they are given have been carefully considered by the teachers, and there is a reason for each item being included in a Montessori classroom. And of course, the teachers are there to provide constant guidance. In her day, using the methods that she pioneered, she was able to work miracles in the classroom with children society had labeled hopeless. Since that time, her methods have been taken up by other educators and used to great effect. I hope you will seriously consider supporting this fine school and staff - they do very good work.

2012-02-27 22:43:55 UTC
Mike S.

Little Voyageurs is a Children’s House that has the support of the parent Board and administration who ensure that Montessori education persists and flourishes! The idea that children learn skills they will use all their lifetime is very much a reality at Little Voyageurs. Good examples of things they are in the process of learning are:
- self awareness and self control. (I consider it Meditation 101). The children call it the quiet game. The peace inside them really helps them be more excited about their learning.
- large motor exercises are open for the children to do at anytime. They strive for balance and perfection and in discussing, co-operating with friends they become excellent communicators and valuable teachers to each other.

2012-02-27 22:53:57 UTC
Karen Smith

My 3 children and a grandchild attended Little Voyageurs’ and I became involved with the school after seeing the benefits it provides for children. The Montessori Program offers a hands-on learning environment where each child progresses at his/her own rate laying a strong foundation not only in reading, math, geography, science, and music but also social skills and problem solving. The dedicated staff reaches out to parents to work with parents in the best interest of the child. The school participates in community events and works with families that otherwise are unable to attend a Montessori program due to financial challenges. Families attending Little Voyageurs come from a variety of socio-economic and ethnic/cultural backgrounds which adds a wonderful dimension to the school community. Many children develop friendships that continue for years. Having an updated website is vital for the school in reaching both prospective and current families.

2012-02-27 23:09:49 UTC
Tanager Polowchak

My daughter was a student at Little Voyageurs' Montessori School three years ago, and she still talks about the fun that she experienced, the teachers she had, the friends that she made, and all that she learned during her time there. Social and educational foundations were laid of which she and our family are still reaping the benefits. Our decision to send her to school there was one of the best we've ever made.

2012-02-27 23:56:08 UTC
Amy and Ryan Campbell

Sending our daughter to Little Voyageurs has been the best decision that we have ever made. Our daughter was diagnosed as having articulation disorder at a very young age. We were told that she would need to have a speech therapist throughout her entire elementary education as she could barely speak a full sentience at the age of 3 and mumbled her words. In April my daughter will be there for 1 year and in that time she is now able to hold a normal conversation with you, sing ABC’s, tell you how her day was and the best part is that strangers can now understand her. Her improvements are astonishing and because of the staff’s dedication, patience and compassion, they have given her the boost that she so desperately needed in order to catch up to the rest of her peers. In her last review for kindergarten through our school district, we were told our daughter will no longer require special needs and speech therapy. Our hearts are truly in debt to the staff and teachers at Little Voyageur’s as they have helped our child succeed and overcome this challenge.

2012-02-28 00:09:07 UTC
Mary Jo Cisneros

I have had 2 grandsons enrolled LVMS, with one still attending the school. Both boys have learned so much and really enjoy going to school. It is amazing to hear little Nico, at age 4 talk about the continents and countries he has learned about, for example. Richie, age 8, is so patient and caring with his younger brother and his little cousins. My husband and I look forward to Grandparents time at the school and their programs they put on for the families and of course the annual spagetti dinner. It is always enjoyable and enlightening to see them interacting with the other children and teachers and watching them learn. Hopefully LVMS can continue for many more years so other children can take advantage of this great school.

2012-02-28 00:12:47 UTC
Julie Haugstad

Our son attended Little Voyageurs' Montessori School several years ago and is now in middle school. He has fond memories of both the staff and his fellow students. We chose LVMS for academics, staff and the flexible hours before and after school for working parents. We were intrigued by the Montessori method of education and the staff had a special way of bonding with each child individually to make them feel secure. We were pleased to find that our son thrived in this environment. I highly recommend this school for your child's education.

2012-02-28 00:41:09 UTC
Linda Ruetz

My three daughters attended Little Voyageurs' Montessori School and are now in middle school and high school. I felt like they got a great start to their education and were very well prepared for elementary school. The excellent Montessori program, flexible after-care program and elder program were what attracted us to the school. The staff was great and really cared for the children.

2012-02-28 02:23:34 UTC
Paul Adelaide

Our son, Adam, will turn 6 April 29 this year, 2012. He attended LVMS for about three years; he is now enrolled in a Spanish Immersion kindergarten program elsewhere. The Montessori's open and self-discovery method have helped Adam to transitioned seemlessly and successfully into the new school environment. His teachers regularly report on Adam's boundless curiosity and energy when assigned new tasks. He is always included in the "leaders" group in his class weekly. Members of the "leaders" group are assigned the roles of guiding and supporting other classmates - from passing out pencils and papers, co-ordinating line-formation at lunch times, to helping other kids having difficulties with assignment. We are most pleased that Adam is flourishing in his environment, and we thank LVMS for the great head-start. LVMS staff were great and supportive at all steps along the way. We will surely recommend LVMS education to any parent.

2012-02-28 02:41:48 UTC
A proud grandma

I would like to thank the staff and classes at LVMS for the excellent job they do in giving the young children in their classes the most fantastic ground work for their future education. From the teaching and helping in the classroom to the interacting with each and every child they go above and beyond in giving these children the start they need to become happy secure children. I have watched my two grandchildren learn and grow with the staff and children at the school. They are so far ahead of other children in their learning and social skills. I have no doubt they will be leaders in their classes in years to come as a result of the excellent support and encouragement the staff at LVMS has given. Thank you to each and every person involved in making LVMS the excellent school that it is.

2012-02-28 02:43:10 UTC
Neal Family

My four year old has only been attending LVMS for two months and it's has been a wonderful experience. You know your child is in the right place when they wake up EVERY morning at five ready to learn and cry when you pick them up. My little guy has florished in his vocabulary and willingness to be independent..love it

2012-02-28 03:10:50 UTC
Andrew Koch

Three of my four children have attended Little Voyageurs, with my youngest set to attend this fall when he is old enough. I see that in itself as a glowing recommendation.

The three that have already graduated from LVMS transitioned nicely into grade school. I truly believe they had a significant head start over where they would have been had they attended a traditional preschool. I strongly believe in the montessori approach, how it lets the children choose their own focus alongside appropriate guidance from experienced and caring teachers and staff.

LVMS offers wonderful learning opportunities in a safe environment with professional staff. They do well with the financial resources they have, but I know this represents a significant challenge. Any support that can been offered would be guenuinely appreciated by the staff as well as all of us parents who fully endorse the program.

2012-02-28 16:47:33 UTC
Phaedra Wilson

When the time came to look for a preschool for my son, I knew that I wanted a Montessori program to compliment what I was already working on as a stay at home mom. I was lucky to be home with him but, even in a one-on-one environment, there were many things he was missing particularly social opportunities with kids his own age and developing independence. We looked at several schools but fell in love immediately with the 'feel' of the school that the classroom and staff provided. I also appreciate the input I am granted as a parent because LVMS's parent-run board of directors, of which I have been a member since my son attended. Parents are expected to be active at the school, attending meetings and helping with various tasks to keep the school running smoothly.
My son excelled at the school, where his interests and curiosity led him to science and math but also rounded his experience with culture, geography, and real-life skills. He guided our decision to continue at Little Voyageurs' for his kindergarten year because he didn't like the look or feel of the kindergarten program in the public school, even though it was a much more convenient option just around the corner from our house. He loved every day there and was sad when the time came, as a kindergartener, to graduate and move on. His transition to 1st grade at the public school was smooth, thanks to preparation by the staff at LVMS, and he continues is love of learning there as a 2nd grader. When the time came for my daughter to start preschool, the decision was simple. She is now in her first year at LVMS and is being given the same loving attention and encouragement.
It is scary to see the drop in enrollment in the 4 years since my son attended and consider the risk this forms to the future of the program. I think this can be attributed, at least in part, to the lack of enticing presentation on our website. Web searches are more and more becoming the way customers find and research service providers. The website currently in place for LVMS is barely adequate. It would be wonderful if there was a website in place that would not only attract prospective families to learn more about LVMS as a school and the Montessori program, but also provide a resource for current families and the community to catch a glimpse of the wonderful activities happening in the school.
Several attempts have been made to create a new website, but it could only be a side project of an already busy parent who may or may not have the time or expertise to create a truly successful website. We are excited at the prospect of a functional, professional website that we can to add information to and, hopefully, spread the word of our amazing program.

2012-02-28 17:48:34 UTC
Sarah Whiting

I cannot say enough good things about this school. They have taught my children school skills like reading and math, but also they have taught many social skills like compassion and acceptance. The activities and the tools they have are amazing, and the teachers are fully invested in the children. This is not true for the place I tried first, where they thought sitting a child down in front of "Scooby Doo" was appropriate for school time. The difference between LVMS and the previous one we attended was absolutely striking. Believe me, not all preschools are the same, and LVMS utterly shines.

2012-02-29 05:06:31 UTC
The Baileys

LVMS is a special place and the people there seem to really want to be there -which makes a world of difference. The attention we were given after just stopping in and inquiring was enough for us to know the type of environment our son would be entering into. He's one of the youngest at the school and we were concerned at first but he's been able to be supported and guided by the teachers and surprisingly, the other students. We are proud advocates of the school!

Our Mission

Our Mission: Little Voyageurs’ Montessori School is an educational program whose purpose is to nurture the development of each child’s unique potential promoting independence, respect, lifelong skills, and an appreciation for elders. Explanation of the mission: We educate and care for young children, nurturing the development of each child’s unique potential promoting independence, respect, lifelong skills following Dr. Maria Montessori’s educational principals. Montessori education teaches children how to learn instead of just what to learn. It instills in children a life-long love of learning.