New Montessori school to open in Saluda this fall

Published 10:49 am Monday, March 26, 2012

A Thousand Forests Montessori School will open its doors in Saluda this August. (photo by Barbara Tilly)

Enrollment currently under way
Local parents seeking a unique learning community for their young children will have a new option in the fall. A Thousand Forests Montessori School will open its doors in Saluda this August. The half-day program will follow a Montessori curriculum designed to serve the unique intellectual, social, emotional and physical needs of children 2½  to 6 years old.
Allison Daugherty, the school’s founder and lead teacher, said she was inspired by her own experience attending a Montessori school as a child and by observing her mother’s Montessori classroom later on. After completing her primary training at the Montessori Institute Northwest in Portland, Ore., Daugherty earned a master’s degree in Montessori Primary Education from Loyola College in Baltimore, Md. and is certified by The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), which was founded in 1929 by Dr. Maria Montessori.
Dr. Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator who began working with children in the late 19th century. Through observation, she developed a new approach to education that followed the child’s natural path of development, emphasizing independent discovery in a mixed-age environment and the freedom for each child to choose their own activities.
Dr. Montessori said she believed the ultimate goal of education should be the creation of a peaceful world. As a six-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, she saw in children a natural tendency to love, to reach out to and respect other human beings and to act as stewards of the natural world. Today, Montessori is a household name, and there are about 20,000 Montessori schools in operation across the globe.
At A Thousand Forests, children will explore nine areas of curriculum: practical life, sensorial, language, mathematics, art, music, science, geography and peace education. The primary program is designed to foster confidence, compassion and independence by providing a child-centered learning environment filled with concrete, self-correcting materials that meet the developmental needs of the young child.
The new school is currently under construction in Top of the Morning, the Saluda music store of Allison’s mother, Jan Daugherty. In addition to closing her retail shop to make way for the school, Jan is selling her entire inventory of musical instruments at reduced prices, with proceeds going to support A Thousand Forests. Jan will continue to teach music lessons in the community after the store has closed and will offer Suzuki violin lessons to enrolled students during school hours in the fall.
A free information session will be held on Sunday, April 15 at 4 p.m. at the school, located on Main Street/Hwy. 176 in Saluda, across from the Green River Bar-B-Que. The session will offer parents the opportunity to learn more about the school and the Montessori Method. An open house for prospective students and their families will be scheduled closer to the start of the school year after construction is complete.
Space is limited to 12 students for the upcoming year, and enrollment is currently under way. To register for the information session or to learn more about the school, call 828-606-2899, email or visit
– article submitted by Allison Daugherty

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