New Montessori school to open in Midway
A new school for grades 1-6 is opening in Midway, with an open house for interested families Friday, Jan. 5.
Educator Melissa Ray believes schools shouldn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach for students.
“I struggled in the public education system, and when I had my son, I’m like, I don’t want him to go through that same thing,” she said.
That experience motivated her to bring a new education option to the Heber Valley: Rising Heights Academy, a Montessori school for first through sixth graders. It’s opening now on a new campus located at 232 S. Michie Lane in Midway.
The Montessori approach emphasizes giving children independence in their learning, with lessons in small groups and a more fluid structure than traditional classrooms. Ray, the school’s director, says Rising Heights won’t assign homework.
“If they don’t understand it in school, they’re not going to understand it at home,” she said. “Kids do need to be kids – they need time to spend with their family.”
Rising Heights will have four classrooms, two for grades 1-3 and two for grades 4-6, and eight teachers. Ray says she hopes to enroll about 80 students in the school to keep class sizes small and avoid teacher burnout.
Stephen Pemberton, the school’s administrator, says Utah’s large class sizes can be challenging for both students and teachers. He says he came to the school because he believes in the Montessori mission.
“When you can give a child their interest, and they can see how that interest is valued, they’re much more likely to investigate or educate themselves on other things,” he said.
The new school will have limited screen time for students.
“It’s more minimal, I would say probably around 90% less than what is often used in other places,” Pemberton said.
The school is enrolling new students now for the spring semester, and registration for the fall opens later this winter. It’s just shy of $17,000 per year for younger students and $19,000 for older students.
The open house is Friday, Jan. 5 from 3-7 p.m.