When the doors open at Vineyard Montessori for the first time this school year, students will greet a new face in one of the primary classrooms.
Tyrene (Ty) Johnston, a veteran Montessori educator who just moved to the Island full-time, will teach in the mornings at the private school in Vineyard Haven.
Mrs. Johnston, 65, comes to the school from Milton, where she taught at a Thacher Montessori School for 34 years. A Vineyard homeowner for 18 years, she has taught in the Montessori tradition since 1973, and brings great enthusiasm for the Montessori method to the school, she said. “I really am committed to Montessori and I am totally committed to it being a successful program on the Island,” she told the Gazette by telephone.
She will fill the position left by Deneen Convery, a “fundamental guide for children and a support for families,” who left the school last year, said Debbie Jernegan, head of school at Vineyard Montessori.
Mrs. Johnston will work with three, four and five-year-olds. Her prior school enrolled 250 students, so she’s excited to teach at a small school with only three classrooms.
“I am delighted to be on the staff at this very cute little school,” she said.
The Montessori method was developed by Italian educator Maria Montessori, and teaches children to develop independence and to care for the environment, Ms. Jernegan said.
Montessori education is taught worldwide, and there are 55 schools in Massachusetts.
The school is located at the corner of Tashmoo avenue and Main street in Vineyard Haven and has 36 families enrolled for the fall.
This year, families have the option of enrolling children ages 2.9 to three years old in a three-day program.
While the school considers a five-day schedule to be optimal for the child’s integration into the school environment, this year they are offering a shorter school week to families who prefer that model.
“It’s a slower start for newer parents who want to ease into the structured environment,” Ms. Jernegan said.