All Year Montessori
After careful consideration and months of researching year round academic calendars used throughout the lower 48, Spruce Tree Montessori School will pave a new way for Alaska educational experiences. Beginning this Fall, Spruce Tree Montessori will implement a year round academic calendar with the first day of school set for September 2.
The All Year Montessori (AYM) program provides families with consistent academic support year round with more frequent, but shorter breaks well suited to enrichment activities or family travel. Spruce Tree will follow a 7 weeks on / 2 weeks off template providing six academic sessions averaging 7 weeks in length; each session followed by a 2-week break September through August. School holidays will include Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, the Monday following Thanksgiving, and Memorial Day. (Christmas, New Year’s and Independence Day fall during scheduled breaks.) There are four calendared staff professional development days throughout the year: two around the holiday break and two days in mid-March.
Director Sabrina Binkley shared her excitement for the concept at a parent meeting on June 11 saying, “Part of our mission is to be a resource for families. This AYM program makes sense for today’s parents. However, the academic benefits, particularly at the elementary level, are what make the program so attractive to Spruce Tree staff. Teachers working in schools following a year-round calendar (both public and private) report that students retain greater amounts of information and achieve greater depth of knowledge when long summer breaks are omitted. Fewer hours spent on review translates into more time for students to enjoy lessons on new curriculum. Educators and parents alike realize that “summer learning loss” as well as “the burnout factor” are real. An all year calendar significantly reduces, and in some cases virtually eliminates, learning loss and provides students and staff with all-important breaks at opportune times. On another note, the program offers consistency of routine and environment for families and provides a schedule aligned with “real-world” vacation practices for the majority of professions.
In recognition of the importance of breaks, Dr. Sasha Ericksen, local psychiatrist and Spruce Tree parent commented, “Breaks are essential to the learning process, and help consolidate knowledge and foster creativity. Shorter, more frequent breaks provide students, staff and parents the time needed to reflect and recharge.” This calendar gives new meaning to the “3 R’s” — we’re talking about reflection, rejuvenation and reorganization.
The AYM calendar adds 26 days to Spruce Tree’s traditional calendar and exceeds the Alaska state minimum of 180 days by 16 days. Spruce Tree students will continue to enjoy a 7-hour school day, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. Extended day programming options will be offered during the academic sessions for parents in need of additional care.
Optional “Break Camp” programming will be offered during the Fall, Winter and Late Spring Break sessions. Spruce Tree staff will transform our classrooms for relaxed enrichment… creative, inquiry-based, active days… to inspire kids to follow paths less traveled within our academic curriculum. Break Camps will not only provide added value for your family but give your child the break he/she needs in a familiar environment.
Enrollment for preschool through sixth grade is ongoing through July – Admissions Application