By Ann McCreary
Opening of Little Star Montessori School’s infant and toddler program at Twispworks has been delayed as partners in the project work to meet the many regulations required for a child care/early education center.
The Little Star South Collaborative (LSSC) hopes to open its doors by Oct. 1, said Dani Reynaud, executive director of Little Star Montessori School.
“We’re working around the clock. You wouldn’t believe all the requirements that go into a facility like this,” Reynaud said. “We’ve reached out to families who have enrolled about the delay.”
Little Star South’s infant program is at full enrollment, but there are a few spaces left in the toddler program, Reynaud said. The center can accept four infants and 11 toddlers per day. Scholarships are available.
The project is a collaboration of Little Star, TwispWorks and Room One, the Methow Valley’s social services agency. Little Star had hoped to open the new facility, which will be housed in a remodeled building on the Twispworks campus, at the start of the school year.
The delay is a result of additional construction work needed to meet building codes and regulations of the state Department of Early Learning, Reynaud said. For instance, separate sinks are required for handwashing, bottle preparation and food preparation, and sinks must be located specific distances from activities such as diaper changing areas.
Little Star received a certificate of occupancy from Okanogan County this past weekend, which completes one item on the checklist.
Little Star South will provide infant and toddler child care and Montessori-based early education. Little Star has hired all the teachers for the program, which has a staff of eight. The teachers took part in a week of Montessori training, workshops and team building during the last week of August, Reynaud said.
Through Little Star’s partnership with Room One, families at Little Star South will receive support from a family advocate to address needs such as housing, health insurance, volunteer legal services, mental health counseling and access to benefits through the state Department of Social and Health Services.
Little Star has posted a “wish list” of items that can be donated to support the program on the Little Star website, www.littlestarschool.org.