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Published: Tuesday, 7/5/2011

Small Christian Montessori preschool to open on Sept. 6

Room enough for 14 children ages 2 1/2 to 5

BLADE STAFF
Reese Brennan, 3, prefers to wear her crown during a Safe-T-City class in Crossroads Community Church in Ottawa Lake, Mich. At the new school also, the Montessori method will let children learn in a relatively unstructured environment. Reese Brennan, 3, prefers to wear her crown during a Safe-T-City class in Crossroads Community Church in Ottawa Lake, Mich. At the new school also, the Montessori method will let children learn in a relatively unstructured environment.
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OTTAWA LAKE -- A small Christian Montessori preschool will be opening here in Crossroads Community Church, a mile north of Sylvania.

Denise Szenderski, the proprietor, and a Montessori-trained and certified teacher, said she'll have room for 14 children aged 2 1/2 to 5.

The school days will be 2 1/2 hours long.

For children attending two days a week, the monthly fee will be $130, for three days $160, and for five days $210.

Ms. Szenderski said the school, called Small Steps, Big Dreams, will start Sept. 6 at the church, 6960 Sylvania-Petersburg Rd., but have no affiliation with it.

Children of all religious backgrounds are welcome, she said, but hastens to add that she is not qualified to offer instruction in non-Christian faiths.

The instruction will be carried out with the Montessori method, which emphasizes independence and allowing a child to develop at his or her own pace in a relatively unstructured environment. All age groups are taught together.

Children will be introduced to math, science, and geography, she said, along with practical skills such as folding napkins and other manual tasks designed to help them develop hand strength and coordination.

Cameron Manthey, left, and Preston Worth, both 4, listen attentively to a guest speaker during a Safe-T-City  session held in the classroom at Crossroads Community Church in Ottawa Lake, Mich. Cameron Manthey, left, and Preston Worth, both 4, listen attentively to a guest speaker during a Safe-T-City session held in the classroom at Crossroads Community Church in Ottawa Lake, Mich.
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The religious component will include Bible stories and craft projects, such as making small crosses or other artifacts to go with a particular story.

Ms. Szenderski said she decided to give her Montessori school a Christian orientation after an experience she had with a boy while teaching at a Montessori school in Monroe.

"He asked me if there really is a Jesus," she recalled. "I told him there is, but I couldn't say any more. That bothered me and inspired me."

The religious instruction would be "generic," she said, and not follow the doctrine of any particular Christian denomination.

Last week, Ms. Szenderski held Safe-T-City sessions for preschool children in her classroom at the church.

The instruction included a presentation with Dr. Anna Brown, a Temperance veterinarian, who told the children how to behave safely around animals.

For more information on the preschool, visit smallsteps-bigdreams.com.

-- Carl Ryan



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