Assignment: Education – Tomah Montessori

Could Montessori Education Come to Tomah Public School District?

This small group of parents are working hard to make a big change in the Tomah School District.

“It’s very overwhelming but very exciting at the same time,” said Tyna Van Beek, parent in the Tomah School District.

They are hoping to start a public charter Montessori school.

“It’s just a different type of education,” said Van Beek. “There’s not one type of education better than another type. It just depends on the child.”

Tyna’s daughter is in first grade at Lemonweir Elementary School in Tomah. Tyna says her daughter was struggling in a traditional classroom.

“I was trying to figure out how can my daughter learn so she’s not feeling like she’s being left behind in school,” said Van Beek.

“I’ve been involved in Montessori since the 70s,” said Nancy Schaitel, Tomah Montessori committee advisor.

That’s when Tyna was introduced to this former Montessori Teacher from Sparta who immediately began working with this group to see if the community of Tomah was interested in this type of education.

“I graduated from here and I really wanted to give something back to this community,” said Schaitel. “I felt like I had had a good education here, and wouldn’t it be nice to do something.”


“We know that having choices is very important to parents today,” said Cindy Zahrte, Tomah School District superintendent.

Zahrte says her district is always willing to listen to new ideas.

“If this is something parents in our community feel is important then we need to be spending time examining it and making sure it’s good for kids, and it’s something that we can support,” said Zahrte.

So this group of parents is working on writing a grant to possibly bring Montessori education to the public school system in Tomah.

“I think it’s something really wonderful for the entire community,” said Van Beek. “A lot of kids are going to definitely benefit from it.”