Ana North, a University of Washington graduate with a bachelor's degree in English, has had many different teaching experiences throughout her career. She’s owned and operated a child care center on the big Island of Hawaii when her youngest daughter was in preschool.

But the recent Seattle transplant just started her first foray into combining traditional child care with Montessori-based teaching, opening Astoria Family Child Care Sept. 9 in her remodeled 1883 Victorian.

She runs the child care center alone and is seeking up to 10 pre-kindergarten children ages 2.5 to 6 for full- and part-time slots between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Scheduling, pricing, curriculum, North's certifications and other information can be found online at Astoria Family Child Care is located at 813 14th St and can also be reached at 503-325-4097.

Hers is a Certified Family Child Care home in Astoria, meaning it has gone through extra rigor with the Oregon Office of Child Care regarding its operation.

“It’s more intense,” said Betty Cook, a state licensing specialist with the office. “We look for more education. “She went right to Certified Family, because she has a teaching certificate.”

A full day

“It’s quite strong in preparing them for kindergarten,” said North about the Montessori educational approach started by Italian physician and teacher Maria Montessori. The approach, she describes, is based on the spontaneous activity of the child, which is aroused by the interest they take in the material.

North blocks out two times of the day for learning, arts and crafts, story times, snacking and sleeping, guiding children but letting them explore.

“I think mindfulness activities are important,” said North, who teaches breathing, yoga and other methods to help children understand their bodies and become cognizant of their actions. “It’s really more respect for each other that I’d really like them to come away with.”

North said she fell in love with Astoria during a visit in May and bought her house, spending the summer remodeling before marketing her child care.

The first floor of her home is reserved entirely for the child care center. The walls of front room, dubbed by North the “Montessori” area, are festooned with alphabets, numbers, world maps and calendars, with tactile activities accessible near the ground.

Next to the front room in the crafts room is where children eat – two healthy snacks a day from North and lunches from their parents – and learn daily living skills. She has a bathroom solely designed for children.

Her house stands across 14th Street from Star of the Sea, where she holds a couple free play times per day, weather permitting. She also keeps climbers and other indoor activities such as yoga, dancing and music for inclement weather days.

“I play a lot of classical music,” said North, who keeps her personal reading and music interests out in the open for students to explore. “Mozart will be their friend.”

Despite other child care and preschool providers in Astoria, North said she kept hearing there was a need for the child care since St. Mary, Star of the Sea closed.

“I thought ‘Yea; I can fill that market,’ because I love Montessori and teaching,” said North.

After graduating from Washington in 1985, she started her career in the Virgin Islands teaching English and creative writing on St. Croix. She’s also taught in the Arlington School District of Washington and the Joseph School District in Oregon, and she’s worked as a mental health provider, educating adults with mental disabilities.

“I’ve studied (Montessori) for at least a year,” she said. “My youngest daughter was in Montessori, so I’m familiar with it.

“I have a lot of early childhood education from college.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.