KINGSTON TWP. — Having outgrown its former Dallas home, the I’m Big Now preschool has moved to a larger site, allowing space to expand services and offer elementary school programming, said Christine Mitten, the school’s director of education.
The 22-year-old early education facility moved July 1 from its previous location in the Hartman Insurance Plaza off Route 415 in Dallas to a second-floor space, which formerly housed Rock Solid Academy in the Westmoreland Business Center at 106 S. Lehigh St., Shavertown.
The move will allow the school to expand current programs for preschoolers but also add programs for first, second and third grades as well as an infants and toddlers.
I’m Big Now will remain the name of the preschool, but the school-aged program will be called Back Mountain Academy, Mitten said Wednesday.
The Back Mountain region is limited as far as educational opportunities for children, she said, noting there is the public school system, but not much else.
“People are driving their children downtown (Kingston and Wilkes-Barre) to take them to school,” she said.
She hopes the Montessori teaching philosophy that sparked a love of learning in so many previous students will continue with older children.
“We want them to be excited to learn,” Mitten said. “They (the students) are capable of so much. We motivate them by using their interests.”
The school’s curriculum combines a balance of hands-on and traditional book learning.
“We also adopted families during the holiday season and hold food drives to show the children the importance of being part of a community,” said Mitten.
The new site will provide a variety of outdoor spaces, including a wooded area where children can learn about plants and other environmental topics; an outdoor play area for scooters and tricycles; and a running area, Mitten said.
Enrollment is ongoing, but Mitten said she has a limit of 12 children per one teacher for the school-age courses and 10 in the infant and toddler program. The first day of instruction for the new school is Sept. 6.
The idea to expand services was a frequent request by parents, Mitten said. When the space became available, the idea developed into a reality.
“Many parents would tell us that ‘they wished their children could stay with us longer,’” she recalled. “Parents are excited to see us grow.”