If you are heading east on Montauk Highway, you’ll pass the elementary school and then the church and if you keep on going, just past Eastport Music Scene and Tuttle Mower Shop is East Pond Lane. Turn left and about a half a mile up the road is our town’s newest school, Duck Walk Montessori. I had the privilege of meeting up with owner and director Nicole Valenti and I cannot wait to share the good things that I learned.
First off, Montessori schools are awesome. They focus on a child-led approach that seeks to educate using natural interests and activities. As I toured Duck Walk Montessori, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the beauty and simplicity of each room.
Nicole Valenti grew up in Eastport, just down the road from her new school. She is also friends with our friends the Einfeldts, so that was a neat connection as well.
During our time she shared her heart for her new school and it was so exciting to hear about her love and passion for teaching Montessori. She earned her Bachelors and Masters and also has her NYS certification in childhood education in addition to being Montessori certified.
Duck Walk Montessori offers a full day program and follows the ESM school calendar. Nicole shared that she also has early drop off and late pick up options for families as well as before and after care for elementary aged children.
I learned a lot about the Montessori approach to education while we toured the school.
I’ll be honest, it all sounded quite delightful to me.
Nicole shared a strong desire to focus more on the children and their natural learning pace. She had beautiful materials all throughout the rooms that were ready and waiting for her new students.
There were various stations for different subjects, and each had a very simple but welcoming appeal.
Nicole led me through each room and as she talked it was so exciting to hear of her dreams and vision for her new school.
We also checked out the outdoor play area and it looked quite fun to me.
There were lots of different areas for the children to play and it made me happy to think of the fun that they would have at this wonderful new school.
When I asked Nicole to share her educational philosophy she told me,
“I have always enjoyed working with children and it has always been a dream of mine to open up my own preschool. When I first started teaching in a Montessori classroom I was amazed at what the children were working on. I saw a 3 year old practicing one to one correspondence with little gems, a four year old complete the trinomial cube, and a five year old fluently reading a book to a younger child in the cozy area.
It has always been a dream of mine to open up my own preschool and I knew I wanted to make it Montessori based especially since there weren’t any in the area. I love how the Montessori way is to follow the child and go at their pace. The children are given the freedom of choice in the Montessori classroom and it is amazing to see that they will choose the academic works on their own. As a teacher it makes me really happy to see children get excited about learning. It is also really enjoyable to watch the children work together, and how the older children really take on the roles of being leaders and teachers to the younger children.
I truly believe that being in a Montessori environment in the early years will help set children up for success when they move on to elementary school because it teaches them things like concentration and independence.”
So, all that being said, I am so excited to share that if you are looking for an alternative approach to traditional education for your young child, you most definitely should check out Duck Walk Montessori. The environment is welcoming and engaging and it was a delight to spend time with Nicole and to hear about her beautiful approach to working with children and encouraging their passion for learning.
Duck Walk Montessori is currently enrolling children ages one and up. More information can be found at their website: www.duckwalkmontessori.com
Or you can contact Nicole at 631-801-2652 or email firstname.lastname@example.org