Even though the school year just started, and there might not be little ones walking across a stage just yet, Sophia Montessori Academy is celebrating its own “moving up” of sorts. Five years after the founding of this school, which blends Byzantine spirituality with the Montessori education method, the school community has moved into a new, larger space next door to St. Francis de Sales Parish in Denver.
Founded in 2018 by Irene Ortega and Pauline Meert, Sophia Montessori originally opened as a one-room schoolhouse in the Cory-Merrill neighborhood in Denver. With full student rosters, long waitlists and ever-increasing demand for this unique kind of education, the successful school quickly outgrew its small storefront location. The availability of the old school at St. Francis de Sales was an answered prayer for Sophia Montessori, even though it required several updates to be move-in ready by the academic year.
“So many community members pitched in,” said Pauline Meert, co-founder and director of Sophia Montessori Academy, as she recalled a hectic, busy summer of packing, unpacking, painting, cleaning and organizing.
“I was floored because I realized I can’t do this alone,” Meert said. Providentially, she was far from alone. A corps of dedicated volunteers from all over the Denver Metro donated their time and talents to beautify and prepare the school, she remembered, from a board member who restructured the entire playground, to a friend who repainted a mural, to countless individuals who moved materials and cleaned the new space.
“God was like, ‘It’s okay. Just do the most important things and I’ll send you the people,” Meert said.
After long hours of preparing the new space for the new academic year, including a litany of inspections and approvals, Sophia Montessori Academy officially opened its new doors earlier this month.
“We feel like we’ve hit the jackpot with this school. Amazing teachers, a beautiful new building, top-notch Montessori education, and with the Catholic faith centering it all. Could not ask for anything more for our children,” read a statement in a press release announcing the new location.
In the new space, Sophia Montessori will be able to expand their mission to “guide the children to their God-given full potential,” Meert said. Through the unique blend of Byzantine spirituality and the Montessori education method, which encourages hands-on learning and uninterrupted time, the school forms students holistically.
“The three big things that have come from starting this school were really educating the whole child – so the spiritual as well as the intellectual, the physical and the emotional – and then fostering community and fostering a life of prayer,” Meert said.
In addition to celebrating with the Sophia Montessori community at their upcoming gala, Meert invited the community to come and see the good work happening at the school.
“The biggest thing with Montessori is that it can be hard to explain. You kind of have to see it to believe it and to understand it,” she said, recounting the progress of her four- and five-year-old students who have learned multiplication through Montessori methods.
“Please come. Schedule a time. Come and see it. It’s been huge, trusting God to take this next step. It was a big leap of faith. But I think the biggest thing is, come and see it.”
For more information about Sophia Montessori Academy and to contact them to arrange a tour, visit www.sophiamontessori.com