Cedar Rapids, Iowa – More than 125 students enrolled in Cedar Rapids’ only downtown preschool, Cedar Valley Montessori School, are reaping the benefits of a public-private partnership that has resulted in the extension of their daily classroom and the possibilities of learning.

Administrators and family members at Cedar Valley Montessori School raised funds in its annual fundraising campaign to purchase bistro-style fencing for its facility on 5th Avenue, adjacent to the Ground Transportation Center and the former Cedar Rapids Public Library. The installation of the fencing was possible through the collaboration of the City of Cedar Rapids’ Development Services Department, which assisted in securing the necessary permits and served as a point of contact for Cedar Valley Montessori School staff.

“The theory behind our desire for the bistro-style fencing actually stems from the 18th century,” says CVMS Head of School Stacy Cataldo. “When Maria Montessori founded this system of education, she was adamant that children have access to the outdoors to complement their learning. At CVMS, we are committed to mirroring what Maria Montessori ‘said, did and wrote.’ By way of this, the extension outdoors of our five classrooms for children ages 3-6 allows our children to continue their work in the outside environment.”

“We were very happy to play a role in these enhancements,” says Development Services Manager Joe Mailander. “We had the opportunity to take a great improvement idea and bring it to fruition. Our department works every day to facilitate local improvements such as this, and we’re excited to see the project come to life.”

The public-private partnership was one that encouraged parents of students at Cedar Valley Montessori School. “This collaboration has truly shown the parents and students at CVMS that we are valued members of the community,” says Samantha Dahlby, a parent of current students and a member of the CVMS Board of Directors. “We are so pleased that the City of Cedar Rapids was willing to go the extra mile to ensure that our students have the best quality resources available to them to aid them in their learning. We are thankful for their assistance on this project.”