A pair of child care workers have teamed up to launch a new Montessori nursery in Lancing, which they strive to make affordable and accessible to all.
Tarra Pitman, 34, and Carla Wilson, 22, worked together at a nursery in Hollingbury for almost two years before deciding to open their own business, The Beachside Montessori Nursery, based in the South Hall at Lancing Parish Hall in South Street.
The nursery will use the Montessori method of education, a child-centred educational approach developed in Italy.
Carla, who has worked in childcare for five years, said: “A lot of people have the misconception that it’s very expensive, or for a certain type of person.”
But Tarra said their Montessori nursery would be affordable, adding: “We didn’t want it to be elitist.”
Describing the educational approach, Tarra said: “There is a lot of independence and freedom, but also structure.”
Children are given space to freely explore the nursery’s specialised games and equipment, all of which have an educational purpose, for an uninterrupted period of time.
As there is only one of each item, Tarra said: “They learn about turn taking and sharing.
“It’s all about being respectful.”
With an emphasis on encouraging a child’s ‘natural urge to self develop’, Tarra, who achieved her Montessori Diploma in Bournemouth in 2005, said children left Montessori nurseries better equipped to start school.
The nursery will be open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and take a maximum of 24 children, who will also be able to grow their own vegetables in a newly created garden area at the hall.
Carla said they had so far received ‘phenomenal feedback’ from people about the nursery, which plans to open in October.
“People are really interested in it,” she said.
Tarra thanked Lancing parish councillors for their ‘amazing’ support with setting up the nursery.
Gloria Eveleigh, chairman of Lancing Parish Council, said was ‘sorely needed’ in Lancing.
“It is great to know that the Parish Hall is quickly becoming the community hub that this Parish Council has been working towards since May 2016,” she said.
“It will be lovely to see young children enjoying themselves and learning at the same time.”