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!