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Montessori School of Northampton’s fall fair supports scholarship program

The Montessori School of Northampton is in its 36th year of serving over 100 families in Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin counties. The Montessori School currently has 117 students from 2 to 12 years of age, of which 34 are receiving financial aid.

“We try to make it possible for families who want their child to get a Montessori education to be able to obtain it,” said Kathy Murri, who is the school’s business manager. Last year’ the fair raised more than $7,000, a total organizers hope to top this year.

The school holds the Children’s Fall Fair and Open House each year to raise money for its scholarship fund, which awards need-based financial aid packages to enrolled students. The school gives out $170,000 annually to students at all age levels and in varying amounts.

To receive assistance, parents submit an online financial aid application, after which the Montessori School’s financial aid committee decides upon the size of the award.

Murri said the scholarship fund is a completely “in-house financial aid program” and is funded by the school budget and fundraising through two major annual events, the Children’s Fall Fair and Open House, and the annual spring auction. The fair raises money through activity and food fees, a raffle, as well as sponsorships.

This year’s fair is taking place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the school campus at 51 Bates St., Northampton.

The fair will feature many family attractions, such as a petting zoo, pony rides, live music, children’s games, arts and crafts and a bounce house. While admission is free and open to the public, some activities will require a ticket purchase at a minimal charge. School tours and admissions information will also be presented during the fair.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

“We will have fabulous food and great activities, said Murri. “We hope to have a great day of fun for our community.”

Based on an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori, Montessori schools emphasize independent learning, respecting children’s psychological development, as well as society’s technological advancements. There are some 20,000 Montessori schools worldwide.

— MISHAL HALIM

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