Published: Jan 11, 2012 02:00 AM
Modified: Jan 10, 2012 08:38 PM
A bilingual arts and sciences Montessori preschool called Renaissance Montessori opened in November 2011 in Cary serving ages 2 through 6. Co-director Marc Seldin, a Maryland native, said people in the Cary area are interested in education, but there are fewer alternatives to public schools here than he would expect - in his estimation, about 20 percent fewer Montessori schools than the population can bear.
And Seldin has done his homework. When he says Montessori education is "in my blood," he is not being flippant. His father, Tim Seldin, has spent more than 40 years touting the benefits of Montessori schools, has written several books on the subject and is President of the Montessori Foundation and Chair of the International Montessori Council.
While Marc Seldin attended Montessori school through sixth grade, he said he wasn't planning on basing his career on education. He spent the first part of his career in technology and continues to consult in technology services. But his passion to share Montessori education with others led him to found The Center for Guided Montessori Studies and open Renaissance Montessori.Q:
Montessori schools don't always have a strong language component. Why did you choose to open a bilingual preschool?A:
It is fairly unusual to be a bilingual Montessori school. The first thing I would say is that we are not trying to be all things to all people; I have a defined vision. One teacher in the classroom speaks Spanish, and one speaks English.
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, and while I don't want to wade into the political issues associated with that, it is clear that Spanish is becoming more and more widely spoken in the United States.
Researchers have found that bilingualism is important to brain development. We are providing a gift to the children. There are so many benefits. There is this whole other world of literature and culture out there, and how wonderful to be able to read literature as it is written in its native language! We believe children are capable of great things.Q:
You are allowing people from the community whose goals correlate with your mission to use space at Renaissance Montessori. Who have you approved to use your space so far?A:
We are thrilled to have Jen Blakeslee as our artist-in-residence. (Blakeslee is a Cary artist who has worked in ceramics, metal, lapidary, printmaking and textiles, as well as archaeology.) We gave her one of five rooms, and sometimes she works with the students or lets them observe her work.
We have also welcomed our first outside group, a nutritional educator who conducts cooking classes. We have a commercial kitchen, and it is great for someone to use it.
Another possibility is a woman who would like to host meditation classes for families and older (not preschool-aged) children.Q:
Who would be welcome to use the space at your facility?A:
Anyone who approached us with a vision for making the world a better place would be someone we would consider. Our goal is to make Renaissance Montessori a part of the community. We believe in lifelong learning.