Montessori school opening in Waterloo

Pictured is one of the classrooms inside Foundations Montessori School, located at 726 N. Rogers Street in Waterloo. (Sean McGowan photo)

Though she dreamt for years of providing alternative education to children, Robin Siedle has only recently come to see that dream become a reality.

“For me, it started 10 years ago. As a school teacher, I saw alternatives to teaching young people,” she said. “And I was a first grade teacher that saw children coming into what I thought was restrictive.”

Siedle has 27 years of experience in education.

Her desire to bring a different teaching style into the community gave birth to Foundations Montessori School at 726 N. Rogers Street in Waterloo, which will open for classes Aug. 21. Siedle managed to get the school off the ground with the help of co-owner/director Rachel Kimme.

“I’ve always had a passion from an early age to work with children, and I’d like to pursue my dream in a different, unique way,” Kimme, who has about three years of substitute teaching experience, said.

The guiding principle of a Montessori school is that students learn best when they are allowed to structure learning based on their individual needs. For instance, some students understand and retain concepts better through visual aides, while still others need to learn through listening.

Students in a Montessori school also learn through interacting with their environment. In order to achieve this type of learning, classrooms include sensorial materials.

An example is the commonly used pink tower. The pink tower consists of 10 pink cubes of different sizes, designed to teach children the concept of size. A student is tasked with stacking cubes on top of each other from largest to smallest.

In this case, the student is practicing visual learning. The student can see when the cubes are not properly stacked and keep working out the problem until they are in order.

“That’s what Montessori does so well is to ensure each child has materials that work best for her learning style,” Siedle said.

Another component of a Montessori education is the practical life component. In doing everyday activities, such as sweeping and folding laundry, students learn “independence, coordination, concentration,” and self-confidence, according to Foundations Montessori’s website.

Siedle said some examples of how students will achieve this is cleaning their dishes after snack time and using the Organic Works Greenhouse and Garden next door to grow and pick vegetables for their snack.

Siedle’s daughter, Kayla Siedle, owns Organic Works.

The school will consist of Siedle and Kimme as instructors, as well as Susan Hanlin and Pam Clerc. Hanlin taught nine years at Red Bud.

“I took a break from teaching for a number of years, so this is kind of my step back in,” Hanlin said.

The school can accommodate a total of 38 children. In a mixed classroom, instructors will work with children ages 3-6. Siedle said the school will increase its age maximum each year.

In addition to classroom learning — which is from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. — child care will be available for parents before classes, beginning at 6:30 a.m., and after classes until 5:30 p.m. The school is currently enrolling students.

Among the considerations for admission, children and parents must tour the school as well as attend a child readiness visit for the child to spend a day in one of the classrooms and assess how comfortable he or she is with the environment.

Two upcoming open houses are scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday.

For more information, go to, call 939-3800 or email

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