ARCH CAPE — Fire Mountain School recently hired Jim Dott as the Upper Class teacher for the upcoming school year.

Dott has taught elementary school in Oregon and overseas, most recently at an international school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His educational interests include nature study, writing, drama and world cultures. He’s a published poet, a Bedtime Story reader at Coast Community Radio and an avid gardener, living in Astoria with his wife and daughter.

Dott said he’s excited to be joining the Fire Mountain School community and having the opportunity to share his love of teaching with its students and families, adding that he looks forward to the school’s small class size and using the surrounding forest and nearby beaches as a classroom.

The kindergarten/preschool program at Fire Mountain is taught by Hannah Nebeker, a North Coast native who has been teaching and working with children for 15 years. She is a lifelong learner who loves to write, bike, read, dream and practice yoga. Derived from her background in Waldorf, Reggio Emelia and The French Creche philosophy, Nebeker’s teaching method for the program is a harmony of elements from all three.

Having studied classical ballet, literature and fine art from a young age, she has a lifelong background in the creative arts and uses music, dance and visual art forms to inspire curiosity and enthusiasm. Her class focuses on a balance of academics and community building skills in order to promote confidence and nurture positive academic foundations. Students spend abundant time in creative play, outdoors and with their own community of peers from the other classrooms.

Returning as preschool and kindergarten aid is Criss Rueda. She brings a lifetime of interaction with children in a variety of different fields, such as her time spent as a mountaineering guide for children and youths in the Andes Mountains near her home of Quito, Ecuador. She spent time as an au pair and nanny with children in Vienna, all the while making a life for herself in a foreign country. At Fire Mountain, she instills respect, love and kindness in children, teaching Spanish in a method both interactive and enjoyable.

For the second year, the school is offering a summer enrichment arts (SEA) program created by Nebeker and Sarah Lippold. The day camp, happening at the school now from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, runs until Aug. 15 and is a drop-in program featuring workshops taught by local artists and musicians. It’s open to ages 4 to 12 and is a great way to learn more about Fire Mountain, organizers said. Email inquiries to summerenrichmentarts@gmail.com

Fire Mountain School was founded in 1983 by families interested in independent education for their children. The school is a nonprofit located in Arch Cape. The curriculum focuses on interdisciplinary studies. The school uses a unique blend of traditional and progressive teaching methods, creating a bridge between disciplines so that students can understand relationships and the connections that exist in real life. Classroom size tends to be small, which creates a more personal experience. It offers preschool, kindergarten and first-grade programs, in addition to the upper class.

Fire Mountain School can be contacted at 503-436-2610 or FMS@seasurf.net

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