Vineyard Montessori School is unveiling a summer-school program designed to meet daycare needs for ages “2.9” (nearly 3) to 6. They’re running a half-day program Monday through Friday from 8:30 to noon, with an option to stay until 1 pm through the summer. This makes the program similar to a daycare model, rather than a full day of school, which runs until 2:30.
“We were trying to meet a need,” said Head of School Deborah Jernegan. “We were getting phone calls all the time asking if we had a summer program.”
VMS is responding to a community needs assessment released by the Martha’s Vineyard Family Center, which said there was a gap in summer programming for kids ages 3 to 6. There are 20 spaces available for the summer classroom, beginning in September. The spaces are first offered to VMS families, and then extended to outside applicants. Year-round schooling is becoming increasingly popular among educators.
The traditional September-through-June calendar was created to accommodate the needs of an agrarian society; however, now it’s more difficult to rationalize. There are issues around students forgetting material they learned the year before by the time they return to school, and parents having issues with finding daycare options in the summer. Some elementary schools have tackled this problem by switching to models that have the school year continue through the whole calendar year, but with shorter, more frequent breaks throughout. VMS is not changing its break schedule throughout the traditional school year.