Next week The Schoolhouse Reimagined—a Danvers preschool–will celebrate their first anniversary. Bianca Marchetti and Erica Monteiro launched their business last January with a combined 26 years of early education teaching experience and a desire to get back to basics in the classroom.
Both women are local moms–Bianca has an 8 year-old and an almost-2 year-old and Erica has a 4 year-old and a 2 year-old. When they were both home on maternity leave with their now 2 year-olds, they came up with the idea to start their own school. They are both really passionate about play-driven education and felt that public school education was moving away from play and hands-on activities in the classroom and toward rigorous academic training at a young age.
Erica said, “There is so much problem solving involved in dramatic play, and we just weren’t seeing that in the classroom any longer.”
When they first started out they were serving mostly homeschool families as a playgroup that encouraged social interaction. From there they developed into a Microschool, which is defined as a reinvention of the one-room schoolhouse, where class sizes are typically smaller than 15 children per classroom and include a mix of ages. Microschools typically meet less than 5 days a week and are viewed as a mix between homeschooling and traditional private schooling. Bianca and Erica are both state certified early childhood teachers and operate The Schoolhouse Reimagined under a private ministry association.
The Schoolhouse Reimagined now offers both a Toddler and a Preschool Room, with the Toddler Room enrolling children ages 18 months to 2.9 years and the Preschool Room enrolling children ages 3 and 4. They have rolling admissions (with current openings) and classes are held Mondays from 9-11:30am and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-1pm for the remainder of this school year, transitioning to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays from approx. 8:30am-1:30 pm for the 2023-2024 school year.
When I visited The Schoolhouse Reimagined this week I was drawn to the soft colors, and efficiently organized classrooms. The school is welcoming and includes homey touches like checkered curtains and fabric banners, many of which were handcrafted by Bianca. You can tell that both women are very passionate about teaching and the school community they have created. Both of their toddlers, who are students at the school, were also there to give me a tour and were enthusiastic tour guides!
Erica teaches the Toddler Room and Bianca is the teacher of the Preschool Room. Both teachers also have aides that work in their classrooms. At full capacity the school would have a classroom ratio of 10 children to 2 adults, small enough that each child could receive the individualized attention they need. And also small enough that the interests of the enrolled children can help lead the activity choices for each class. For example, on a recent rainy day, the children were interested in the thunder and lightning from the storm. Bianca and Erica saw this interest and turned it into their math and science unit for the day, counting seconds between each clap and flash and talking about the weather.
The school follows The Good and the Beautiful Curriculum but has adapted it to include skills in reading, writing, math, science, social studies and social emotional development. They teach these topics through hands-on experiences, student-lead activities and play. Their vision is to grow the school to include an elementary school program in addition to the preschool program, and if the interest is there for the 2023-2024 school year they will be expanding to offer a Kindergarten Room. Enrollment for all 2023-2024 programs closes on March 1, 2023.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Schoolhouse Reimagined you can contact Bianca and Erica at [email protected] with questions or to set up a tour. You can also find more details on their website at theschoolhousereimagined.com and follow along with them on Instagram at @theschoolhousereimagined or on Facebook at @theschoolhousereimagined.
This post is sponsored by The Schoolhouse Reimagined but all opinions present are my own.