Welcome to Locally Grown! Locally Grown introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County businesses. Today it is our pleasure to introduce you to Vickie Promenzio of Nature Walk Montessori School.
It’s almost springtime, which means parents are on the hunt for schools for their youngsters for next year. Our Locally Grown Owner for March used to be in your shoes as well. Vicki Promenzio, owner and director of Nature Walk Montessori School in Round Lake, emigrated to the United States from Argentina as an English teacher to other immigrants. When it was time to teach her own children, she discovered the philosophy of Montessori education: a philosophy that centers around the needs of each child and guides them to develop to their fullest potential.
“I entered the Montessori world as a mom, observing, as my daughter freely explored the carefully chosen elements of a beautiful room. I immediately knew that I wanted to be a Montessori teacher. I became a Certified Infant and Toddler teacher and joined a local school. I loved my job, but I always knew I could bring Montessori to a whole new level.”
Vicki left her job to pursue her dream of being an entrepreneur and offering Lake County a nature-based learning center.
“Nature Walk Montessori School is an environmental school that offers three programs: a preschool (Children’s House) for children aged 3 to 6, a Parent-Infant Community for children from birth to 36 months with a parent, and a Homeschool Support Group for children in grades 1st to 6th. All programs are nature-based and centered in the Montessori philosophy and method of education.”
As the driving force behind her dream, Vicki has had a hand in every aspect of the Nature Walk Montessori School. Her interior and industrial design skills were invaluable as she designed the school building herself, as well as most of the furniture. With a degree in education, she is the head of the school and administrator, the human resources manager, the marketing specialist, the landscape and playscape designer, the special events director, the receptionist, the facility maintenance technician, and some more. Vicki’s daughters, ages 10 and 13, and her husband of 23 years have also been involved in the school since the beginning. They have joined her in touring prospective properties, meeting with attorneys, loan officers, and engineers, applying for building permits, and getting a first hand look into the entrepreneurial life.
“We got a space at the Grayslake Farmer’s Market and my daughters lead the activity of planting seeds with the visiting children as I talked to the parents. They also gave demonstrations of Montessori materials when prospective families toured an empty school. As they continue to be home schooled (add that to my list of hats), they help around in the school by answering phones, laminating school materials, reading to the children, and being role models.”
In addition to the incredible goals that she has already realized, Vicki has lofty plans for the future that include:
- Building a second building
- Adding green features including geothermal heating and windmill electricity
- Offering a nature immersion camp this summer
- Installing a rain garden, butterfly garden, vegetable beds and more
- Implementing an inter generational program that brings younger learners and older adults together to interact and support each other.
- Expanding their Children’s House Program and creating a full time Elementary Program
Later this month, read as Jessica shares her experience enjoying the great outdoors with Nature Walk Montessori School. For a free trial class in the Parent-Infant Community, register and choose “Free Trial Class” from the menu. The Parent-Infant class dates are listed in the same page. Nature Walk is also offering a summer camp early bird special right now: 10% off tuition if you register by March 31st and an additional 10% off if you register for all four sessions. Nature Immersion Summer Camp information is available here.
Disclosure: Nature Walk Montessori School is our featured Locally Grown Business of the Month. This series of features is part of a paid partnership with Little Lake County. Contact littlelakecounty[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our monthly series.