Quest Montessori School Breaks Ground in Narragansett
Friday, June 08, 2012
GoLocalProv Features Team
The architect’s vision for the new Quest Montessori School, breaking ground this month in Narragansett.
Next week, Quest Montessori School breaks ground on a project that not only puts Rhode Islanders to work but ultimately helps provide affordable quality education to Rhode Island families—all thanks to the help of $2.5 million low-interest loan funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
After three years of planning and strong community support, Quest Montessori is celebrating a ground breaking for its new, permanent home. A celebration will take place at noon on the 13th at the new site, 1160 Boston Neck Road, in Narragansett. A line of Quest students, joined by Quest staff and faculty, parents and community members will lift shovels-full of soil to mark the official beginning of the long-awaited project.
Quest Montessori School
Founded in 2002 by a small group of parents with children in an early-learning Montessori School, Quest was created to provide a continuation of their Montessori education—an approach to learning that focuses on creating an emotional, socially and educationally supportive environment in which children develop a love of learning and social responsibility. Until a year ago, the school leased a temporary home on the Canonicus Campus in Exeter. But as the school outgrew the space, the “quest” for a permanent home began.
In December 2009, the USDA announced that Quest had been granted nearly $2.5 million in low-interest financing, which amounted to 90% of the funds needed to complete a new school project. The next few years were spent searching for the right parcel, securing it, and then working with planners and architects. In 2011 Quest moved to another temporary home at the South Road School in Wakefield to better accommodate the growing student population and need for more space until the permanent home could be built.
A long time coming
“We’ve waited a long time,” says Kathy Bowen, Upper Elementary Teacher at Quest and one of the school’s founding parents. “We’ve been lucky to have the temporary space on South Road which has allowed us to open our preschool and toddler program and enhance our theater, world language and music programs. But our whole community has waited for this day. The teachers, parents and students are all incredibly excited.”
“It’s taken a lot of hard work to first find financing, then find the right piece of property, and then to work with the town to ensure we are meeting all its requirements for the area,” says Paul Raymond, Head of School. “But it was worth it. This site is perfect for our school. The building will be 12,500 sf, a much larger, more open environment to better facilitate opportunities for growth and education and can accommodate the broader range of activities in the Montessori educational experience. This location also offers an ideal mix of woods and fields and provides an excellent opportunity to study the ecosystem right outside our classrooms.”
The road to Narragansett
After identifying the site, a 6-acre wooded property just a short walk from Narragansett Bay, Quest worked diligently with town planners, community members and architects on a building plan to meet the school’s needs, the town’s building priorities and the community’s goals.
“The community really came together on this. There is clearly an understanding that we need more individualized approaches to learning in order for our children to succeed. Anyone touched by Montessori understands the difference a Montessori education makes in the lives of the children and the families,” says Elisa Cardone, Chair of the Quest Montessori Board of Directors. “I have never experienced such a group of well-rounded, bright and secure individuals as I have at every Quest commencement. And the parents, teachers and administration truly embrace a sense of community and ownership in all the school does.”
“We’re so proud of all that our community has accomplished,” added Raymond. “From students to parents to complete strangers who have come forward to support us, we want to thank everyone who has helped make this day possible!”
To learn more about Quest Montessori and its individualized and experience-based approach to education, visit www.questschool.org or call 401-783-3222.