by Max Brantley
“We’ve been looking for the perfect downtown location for the school, and we could not be more excited about the Kress Building,” says Chris Moses, president of Moses Tucker Real Estate and president of the Urban Garden Montessori Board of Directors. “We’re thrilled to join the progress that’s happening on Main Street and look forward to being front and center as this area comes into its own as a vibrant, thriving part of downtown Little Rock.”
Head of School Vera Chenault looks forward to providing students in pre-Kindergarten through 4th grade with opportunities to explore the performing arts in partnership with The Rep, Ballet Arkansas and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. All three organizations will have a presence on Main Street by late summer.
“We’ve always planned to have strong arts curriculum,” Chenault notes. “Being a part of the emerging creative corridor means our students will be able to take advantage of all the area has to offer.”
The Kress Building was built in 1943 and still retains much of its original charm and appeal. Constructions crews will spend the summer retrofitting the interior to meet the needs of students and teachers. The school will use a portion of the parking lot on the corner of 6th and Main Street for its playground and school garden.
The mission of Urban Garden Montessori is to “foster joyful and independent learning for a lifetime; create a community that respects the dignity of all people; encourage a lifestyle that is healthy for our bodies and the earth; and hold its members to high standards of integrity and responsibility.” Ultimately, it will serve students in grades Pre-K – 12.
The school is now accepting applications for the 2014-2015 school year in grades Pre-K – fourth. Classes will begin this August. The upper grades will open in 2015. The school will seek accreditation from the American Montessori Society, which is a rigorous two-year process.