Denison will soon be home to a new Montessori preschool. My Montessori School will be moving into the building at 2527 FM 691, the former site of the American Red Cross field office in Denison.


Building owner Dru Landrum said the school reached out to him almost immediately upon learning it was available. He said he had been working with the city to get the building zoned in accordance with the needs of the tenants.


The school will be run by a mother-daughter duo who will each serve as directors and teachers at the facility. Teresa Smith will be operating the preschool jointly with her daughter, Bonnie Pickel. Smith has more than 30 years experience as an educator having work at schools in Plano and Frisco in the past. She moved to Tom Bean recently.


“I always wanted to have a school,” Smith said. “My daughter and I have it together. We found a place in Sherman we could lease for a year. Then people in the community came to us and told us there was a need for childcare here. We didn’t find what we wanted in Sherman so we decided Denison was the best place for us. There are two other (Montessori) schools in Sherman so this town is covered in that respect.”


Smith said she is aiming for a small class ratio with a very traditional Montessori education. The school will limit enrollment to 25 students in order to provide Smith and Pickel the ability to work individually with the students. The school will take students from two-and-a-half years to five-years old.


Smith said one aspect that makes her Montessori unique is her and her daughter will serve as directors of the school as well as teachers to the students. The school will focus more on education without the aid of technology. The students will work in 3-hour work cycles with breaks in between. It will be a basic program for the children to allow the teachers to focus all their attention on the students.


Now that the city has approved the rezoning, the pair are waiting for final inspections before moving in. The first day of classes has been scheduled for Sept. 4. Smith said the school is already taking students and will keep enrolling until classes are full.


“Our goal as educators is to offer a style of teaching that prepares a child in an advanced way for kindergarten and first grade,” Smith said. “We don’t want to grow in the sense that we want to expand our numbers. We want to grow in a way to expand with different schools. We believe keeping the numbers down makes it more workable and we can offer quality care.”


What do you think about the city of Denison getting a Montessori school? Let Denison area reporter Richard A. Todd know at RTodd@HeraldDemocrat.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter @RichardAToddHD.