Montara Kaimana, a new preschool and kindergarten, plans to open this fall with outdoor classes that give children the opportunity to use their senses to play and explore the environment. 

“It’s all about the environment being the natural classroom that we can continue learning and discovering, so the format’s totally outside,” the school’s Head of Community Pamela Fellows said. “And the idea is that education, it happens in the experience of things. The outside is always also educating and informing as the children are doing activities. It’s inspiring the curriculum in many ways.”

The name of the school, Kaimana, comes from two Hawaiian words: “kai,”  meaning “ocean” or “sea,” and “mana,” meaning “power.” The word itself means “diamond,” serving to represent a school the founders hope will be “an example of this oceanside community and what can be created when we work together,” the website states. 

Fellows, along with Noemi Vega, head of people and development, and Martha George, head of learning, want to set a foundation for children to be happy in the 21st century. 

“They’re going to need all these skills of being able to problem-solve,” Fellows said. “It’s setting them up for the world that is ever-changing.”

“We also believe the natural state is happiness,” George said. “You don’t have to go anywhere to be happy. You don’t have to reach anything to be happy. If you’re whole and complete in yourself, you are happy.

“To be able to stay in the center and operate out of that, that’s an art. It’s probably, I would say, almost a lost art.”

Enrollment applications are being accepted for the 2019-20 school year. 

Tuition ranges from $525 a month to $1,550 a month depending on age and whether a student is enrolled part time or full time. Sibling enrollment discounts and need-based financial assistance are available. 

“The longer kids can play and be outside and naturally explore environments is what’s really stimulating and giving them those opportunities to be creative, bold learners and confident in themselves,” Fellows said.

To inquire about the school or apply, visit montarakaimanaschool.com

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