The Winnipeg Chamber: What’s your story? Why did you both found Montessori?
Kristen Shipman: Megan Turner and I were both hard working mothers who were in need of quality early childhood education for our children. Much research was conducted and we were certain we wanted our children to have an authentic Montessori experience, in order to give then the best foot forward for their academic future.
Megan Turner: We found this was not something easily accessible. It was then we decided to build our own authentic Montessori preschool centre, creating 32 new childcare spaces for families in Winnipeg. We knew in our hearts there were other families who shared the same desire and only wanted the best for their children
WC: Manitoba struggles with early childhood literacy and numeracy. What should parents look for in a childcare centre when it comes to daily learning? What’s your approach?
KS: Parents should research the educational curriculum that is followed by the school. Traditional childcare centres follow a play based emergent curriculum, focusing on free play, with less of an emphasis on academics.
At Making Roots Montessori Centre we follow an authentic Montessori curriculum designed specifically for our preschool, exposing children to Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language, Culture, music and yoga. We offer an Art program featuring artists and composers of the month, a French immersion Montessori curriculum and a French Immersion Kindergarten. All custom designed for our preschool and the needs of our students.
Manitoba currently has the lowest school readiness in the nation. We foster individual growth in each child, in order to best prepare them for school and foster their natural drive for learning. The Montessori method lays the foundations for literacy and numeracy, as well as promotes brain development, builds confidence, independence, and attention span.
WC: As a location relatively close to downtown, most of your parents must work in the core. How do you stay flexible to business people’s schedules?
MT: Making Roots Montessori Centre operates year round, with minimal closures. We are open from 7:30am-5:30pm in order to accommodate working families. Parents are provided with an annual calendar, so they are aware of any closures far in advance.
We service a variety of areas, such as Sage Creek, Southdale, South Transcona, Island Lakes, St.Boniface, and Windsor Park. We also have students from as far as Wolseley and River Park South, as their parents felt Making Roots was the best fit for their family.
WC: What’s the best feedback you’ve ever received from a parent?
KS: We truly love hearing parents feel 100 per cent comfortable knowing that their children are happy, safe, engaged, and learning while they are with us. We often hear from parents that Making Roots feels like a family.
MT: Many childcare centres appear to be focussed on “care," which is critical for all children. However, at Making Roots Montessori we are a pre-school offering not only quality care, but an environment of learning. Many families continue to realize the readiness of their children once they commence grade school, having the Making Roots Montessori foundation prepares them for a head start in early grades.
WC: If you could ask for one change to how childcare works in Manitoba, what would it be?
KS: It would be for the Province to allow Inclusion workers for children with disabilities to work in private child care settings. Currently, Manitoba will only fund Inclusion workers in non-profit centres. This is taking the choice away from families. Montessori was initially designed for children with disabilities; the Montessori environment would allow these children to flourish.