This is a very exciting time in our school's history! Together, we continue to rely on the many resources made possible by your support of Vineyard Montessori. Donations benefit every aspect of our school. Not only do they support the scholarship fund for working families, but they also help to bridge the gap between tuition and the cost of educating each student.
About 7 years ago, the trustees at VMS began steering us in a new direction, with a “big picture” look at the island community. We asked ourselves how can VMS, this small school, make a mighty difference in the island’s workforce and economic development?
A study conducted prior to the pandemic by Vineyard Youth showed data that 87% of families with toddlers on MV do not have access to toddler care. In addition, the number of spaces for preschoolers was low. VMS set out to be a part of solving this community scarcity. Prior to Fall of 2021, VMS had 40 spaces for preschoolers. In the Fall of 2021, VMS added 19 preschool spaces and — for the first time — 18 toddler spaces. This expansion propelled VMS into becoming the Island’s largest provider of early childhood education and care.
We designed a strategic vision to take us from vision to implementation, focused on enhancing people’s living standards by tackling challenges and gaps oppressing our island — working towards and executing real change for our island because we want to be part of the solution.
We fully audited our school’s diverse population and its mission to create classrooms representative of our island community.
We audited our school from entry, professional development, staffing, and board makeup, better building diversity throughout our organization.
We established the Strong Start Scholarship program offering financial assistance annually to working families enrolling in our school. VMS now offers families a 3-year scholarship, taking the worry out of reapplying and wondering if they can continue at our school.
We’re heading into our 4th year of our Business Partnership campaign. When it launched in 2020-21, it brought in $2,600. This past school year we raised over $35,000 from donations from island businesses that have invested in our mission. We have asked businesses to imagine the Vineyard having equitable access to quality childcare for all its children, and they are answering the call. Communities that invest in quality childcare for working families reap immediate benefits in the current workforce and are investing upstream in tomorrow’s workforce. It’s a win-win.
We opened a successful summer camp for young children when there was very little offered for children aged 2.9-7. We now host over 80 children at our camp and we’re one of the larger camps on MV. The camp has been described as “magical,” with thanks to the artistry and vision of Lisa Augustave, our summer camp director. We fill for the summer quickly, and have to turn away a huge wait pool of children. As you know, MV is a largely seasonal economy, and our largest need for care is the summer.
There is still so much more to do, though. Our school has a large wait pool of year-round families — over 130 kids with nowhere to go. Our current capacity is 79 children. This is simply not enough.
We now have an aggressive goal for 2024: to open 4-preschool classrooms to support the toddlers moving up and to accommodate more Island children. These classrooms will be erected on a piece of property owned by VMS, located adjacent to the current school. Once completed, we will renovate the former preschool building to allow the main campus to accommodate Grades 1-8 (currently in a rented satellite classroom) and staff housing. By 2025, Early Childhood capacity at VMS will be increased by 43% and our entire community will be on a unified campus.
We’re excited to expand our ability to truly make a difference for the Vineyard and look forward to your engagement with this project, because the evidence is in. Quality early education and care delivers positive child outcomes and enables economic mobility for families. High quality childcare maximizes children’s prospects to succeed in school and in life. Significant gains are realized through better outcomes in education, health, social behaviors, and employment. Quality early education and care allows families to work, gain skills and grow family income. This improves the economic prospects of families, allowing parents to enter the workforce and increase earnings while their children gain the foundational skills to make them more productive in the future workforce.
Investing in children today will make our island stronger tomorrow.
VMS has prospered due to a strong heritage of giving. Through our families’ time, energy, and financial support, we have been able to offer exceptional programs to many students since 1975. Contributions through the years have allowed us to continually update classroom materials, equip classrooms, maintain a faculty composed of educators of the highest quality, and bridge the gap between tuition and the cost of educating each student.
Our community sponsors show a deep commitment to our mission with their large contributions to our school.
As a partner, your company and brand are aligned with the Island’s largest early childhood care provider. Shine a spotlight on your organization and join the company of other leading business owners in support of one of the Island’s most trusted non-profits. You’ll be recognized and represented in our communications and gain visibility to a highly desirable audience and the greater Island community while supporting the Vineyard’s workforce and the education of local children.
We encourage our community to support those who support us! Visit our list of current Business Partners.
With a culture of generosity, VMS has awarded over $203,000 in equitable access grants (previously called Strong Start Scholarships) to working families since 2017. Make VMS a philanthropic priority and help enrich the lives of children, inspiring them to be bold thinkers and engaged citizens. Over 25% of our students receive need-based access grants, and your tax-deductible gift makes a Montessori education more accessible to all.
Since 2020, VMS is the Island’s largest provider of early childhood education & care, and our ever-growing campus helps to meet this need. Contributions to our Campus Expansion allow VMS to continue to be a leader in early childhood education & care.
Since 1996, Big Night Out has been VMS’s largest yearly fundraiser! This community event is a super fun party for the whole Island. Money is raised through sponsorship opportunities and auction donations.
Want to help VMS the easiest way possible? Simply download the Box Tops for Education App and earn money for our school just by doing your regular grocery shopping! More details about Box Tops can be found here.