Thursday, November 26, 2015

Montessori in action! You can help!

It’s happening! Every day we welcome 15 children into our bright, inviting classroom. Sacred Heart School Montessori Program is at capacity for the first semester and has a growing waiting list. We will enroll three more children in January who missed the age cut-off for the fall.

We need your help! Will you partner with a child in Camden by giving $20/month ($240/year) to keep our program affordable for their family?

Some of the parents are themselves graduates of Sacred Heart School and are relieved and excited that they can now send their preschool age children to the school they loved. Many of the children have already encountered hardship in their early years—such as two who have lost close loved ones in car accidents—along with many other experiences of adversity and stress. Whatever their circumstances, our classroom is a place where children are free to be children – to learn, laugh, grow, and explore. They are happy to be here and are adjusting well, engaged in their work in the classroom and forming friendships with one another.

 If you were to visit our classroom, you would see a hum of activity, with children engaged in a variety of different activities around the room: preparing their own healthy snacks, practicing letter sounds with a friend, scrubbing a table clean, playing a number memory game, examining leaves and pinecones under a magnifying glass, painting at the easel, writing letters on a chalkboard, or exploring any other of the dozens of learning materials on the shelves.

Hundreds of people have played roles, big and small, in bringing our Montessori classroom to this point. I am continually filled with gratitude.  Thank you!

Please consider if you can help to make this education possible by giving financially! 13 of our 15 current students are in the lowest income bracket on our sliding scale. For each of these children to afford our program, we must fund about 75% of the $4,750 tuition cost. Grant support and gifts from individuals have already provided about half of the needed amount, and we still need approximately $20,000. 

Will you give $20/month ($240/year) to partner with a child in Camden and keep our program affordable?  Each child needs six partners.

If $240 is more than you can give, we are grateful for donations of any size – each one brings us closer to the goal!

You can make your tax-deductible contribution by:

Paypal/credit card
Send to:
Sacred Heart Church
4th and Jasper Streets
Camden, New Jersey 08104

Please write “Montessori” in your check memo!
Donate though Paypal via Sacred Heart School’s website

Once you are signed into Paypal, click "Add special instructions to the seller" and type “Montessori” in the memo box so that the Montessori program will receive your donation!

Monday, April 27, 2015

It takes a village... Will you join us?

It takes a whole village to raise our children;
It takes a whole village to raise one child.
We all, everyone, must share the burden;
We all, everyone, will share the joy. 
 --  a West African Proverb 
(Adaptation by Joan Szymko)

The Vision

All children deserve the opportunity to develop to their full potential. In Camden, NJ, the challenged city where my husband and I have chosen to live and raise our family, many children do not have this opportunity (read more about our context). My experiences of living, working, parenting, and interacting with children and their families in this context have compelled me toward the vision of making high quality, life-changing Montessori education economically and geographically accessible to families in Camden city (read more about Montessori education).

Through the support of many, my vision of providing Montessori education in Camden is becoming a reality!
A primary classroom at another Montessori school
  • In September I will open a new Montessori primary classroom in my South Camden neighborhood {read more about our program and curriculum). 
  •  The demand and interest among local families for our new Montessori program is great – as of the end of March we have already filled our enrollment for the first year and have a waiting list. 
  • Several local Montessori schools have given classroom furniture and materials, including a donation by one school of more than $12,000 worth of items! We now have the majority of the furniture and materials we need. 
  • Many businesses have been inspired by our story and given donations collectively worth several thousand dollars, and several more have pledged support.


The Montessori classroom will be an expansion of Sacred Heart School, a parochial school (and the only school in our neighborhood) that serves a predominantly low-income, non-Catholic, African American population. While my primary focus is on providing opportunity for children in Camden, I believe everyone benefits from a diverse classroom community, so we will also welcome a limited number of children to enroll from outside Camden City.

Tuition and Funding

We are offering sliding scale tuition to make Montessori education affordable for families in Camden. I am excited that so many families with limited economic options are now able to choose Montessori education for their children – most of the children who have registered for the coming year qualify for the highest level of financial aid. The challenge is that we need to raise about 80% of the tuition costs for each of these children to attend.

We also have some start-up costs to prepare the classroom over the summer:
  • Minor renovations to the classroom (installing child-height sinks & counters; cabinets, shelving & cubbies; lighting; painting) 
  • Some furniture pieces and materials that we need to purchase 
  • There are also some basic items we need that might be languishing in your closet. If you live nearby you can look at our wishlist and let me know if there are things you'd like to contribute!
Will you help? 

We invite you to join us in transforming children's lives in Camden through Montessori education. We look forward to welcoming our first group of children into a warm, inviting classroom in September 2015, and hope you will support us in providing them the opportunity to experience acceptance, growth, and success!

Checks can be sent to:
Sacred Heart Church
4th and Jasper Streets
Camden, New Jersey 08104

IMPORTANT: Please write “Montessori” in your check memo!

You can also donate though Paypal via Sacred Heart School’s website

IMPORTANT: Once you are signed into Paypal, click "Add special instructions to the seller" and type “Montessori” in the memo box so that the Montessori program will receive your donation!

All donations are tax-deductible!