As I reflect back on the first half of our first year, and begin our first Spring semester, I am overwhelmed by the thought of summarizing! Urban Garden Montessori opened its doors to students on August 18, 2014, on Main Street in downtown Little Rock. From the first shoots in our garden, which grew into greens and radishes that our children ate for lunch, to the deep and lasting friendships that have been forged between students and between parents and between our faculty and staff, I have felt above all a sense of SPRING. The seeds that were planted a year ago are sprouting and beginning to bloom!
Our classrooms are full of happy children, who have made tremendous progress since August. Our students came from all over Central Arkansas, from private and public and home schools. Now, they are a community, caring for each other and supporting each other in learning. Our parents have formed a parent organization that has already accomplished tremendous things - like coming together to help our teachers set up their Teacher Work Room and supporting new families through an ambassador program. I can hardly put into words the tremendous work that has been done by our teachers. Putting together a brand new Montessori classroom and starting a new class with 24 new students takes an unbelievable amount of work and love, and our teachers have dedicated both over the past six months!
But spring is just the beginning! As things begin to settle into a steady familiarity day to day, there is much work to be done and much to look forward to. This year, we are beginning construction on our upstairs, which will become our Upper School to support grades 7 through 12 in the 2016 school year. We are putting together another classroom to support our new 5th and 6th grade classes in the fall. We are expanding our garden program and incorporating gardening more and more into our students' daily lives. We are dedicated to building greater connections with local farmers to supply food for our lunch program. We are planning an exciting and fun summer program for UGM students as well as the greater Little Rock community (more to come soon!) We are making plans for parent education resources as well as offering additional continuing education opportunities for Arkansas Montessori educators.
The support from the Little Rock community for our school has been amazing, and it is my hope that as our students grow up walking these downtown Little Rock streets, we build ever greater connections to the tremendous community that we are a part of. THANK YOU for telling your friends about us, for donating, for liking us on Facebook, for entrusting us with your children, for applying for jobs and offering to volunteer. WE NEED YOU and we are so grateful you are part of this journey with us!