Building a Foundation for Alpharetta Children
Passion for education runs deep within Chris and Allyson Morris, owners of the Alpharetta, Georgia, campus for Ivybrook Academy. As Georgia natives coming from long lines of educators, including superintendents, principals, librarians, counselors, and teachers, education is in the couple’s blood.
For Principal Allyson Morris, establishing their family-owned business in the Alpharetta community was a return to the family’s foundation.
“It takes us back to our roots. This is what we’ve grown up in and been exposed to since we were children,” she says. “It’s funny how, when you grow up and think you’re charting your own path, you still return home to the things that you know. This is what we know. These are the conversations we have during the holidays with our parents and extended family.”
Allyson says her passion for education began as a young child with her own family and her mother’s academic journey. She spent much of her childhood learning alongside her mother as she completed her post-graduate degrees.
She says this experience further reinforced the importance of education in her life and provided her with a perspective that forms her approach to education today.
“It gave me a plethora of experiences that a lot of children don’t get,” she says. “I was sitting in meetings with educators and assisting my mom when she was a counselor. I even sat in my mom’s graduate classes as a child,” she says. “Now, as an educator, I’m very involved and do everything I can to support our educators, administrators, and our families.”
Georgia Natives With a Commitment to Their Community
As lifelong Georgia natives, Chris and Allyson share a commitment to their community that is unmatched. Their dedication to the education of their own two children has helped mold what they wanted to see in early childhood education in Alpharetta.
Chris Morris is the business manager of the Alpharetta campus of Ivybrook Academy. A current sixth-grade math teacher, Chris earned his master’s degree in education from Georgia State University.
With more than a decade of experience as a teacher, he knows all about the importance of building a strong foundation for children at an early age to help them be successful down the road.
“In my experience, when children struggle, it is often due to not having the right foundation,” he says. “That foundation usually begins prior to kindergarten. Kids that don’t have the opportunity to develop that early base of knowledge and socialization skills, sometimes struggle when they reach elementary school. Our mission is to work together with families to help build that foundation together.”
Keeping Alpharetta Families Involved in Education
Chris and Allyson both feel that the hybrid curriculum is uniquely designed to engage children in the learning process while also encouraging families to take a larger role in their education. Allyson says that although there are other pre-schools offering Montessori in the Atlanta area, none offer the innovative progressive curriculum of Ivybrook Academy.
“Incorporating the project-based approach of Reggio Emilia helps bring a different classroom environment,” she says. “Your child is actively participating in their learning experience. That’s something I appreciate much more as a parent.”
Chris says that incorporating Multiple Intelligences research as part of the curriculum meets children on a level that speaks to their individual strengths. He explains how this helps instill confidence in children that is crucial to later success.
“In a more traditional school, you can really struggle if you’re not a verbal or quantitative person,” he says. “Everyone has a higher intelligence level in something. When you focus on that, you boost a child’s self-esteem during a very important part of their life.”
Safety and Small Class Sizes Keep Focus on Students
Beyond the progressive nature of the curriculum itself, the Lee’s explain how the focus on smaller class sizes improves child safety while also creating more opportunities for one-on-one interaction with educators.
Evan explains that child safety is always paramount at Ivybrook Academy.
“Safety is obviously something that is very important to Ivybrook,” he says. “Our top priority is making sure each child has the opportunity to learn in a safe and comfortable environment. Part of that is maintaining the Ivybrook educator-to-student ratio, which is less than the state teacher-to-student ratio requirement. This advantage can start a child’s education on the right path so that students have the opportunity to learn more and feel more comfortable asking questions in smaller groups.”
Amber says the ratios of educators to students in each room help Ivybrook Academy stand apart and offer the individual learning experiences parents want for their children.
“I haven’t seen any student-to-teacher ratios that are similar to what we have,” she says. “I also think the more parents learn about Montessori and Reggio, the more parents are seeking these methods and settings to tailor to the individual needs of their child. Every child learns differently; our curriculum allows for all types of learners.”
Teaching Children How to Be Active Members of Their Community
Chris says he appreciates the curriculum’s focus on providing each student with the guidance and support they need to thrive later in life.
“I like the individuality of it. You set the curriculum based on what you see is needed for the individual. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to education,” he says.“It’s important, as a teacher, to meet kids where they are. Everybody is different, and some kids might need extra support. Our curriculum is designed to provide that support while also respecting that individuality.”
For Allyson, she sees Ivybrook Academy as an opportunity to further connect with the Alpharetta community both now and for future generations.
“We both have such a passion for both children and learning,” she says. “At our core, we want what’s best for their children, as well as our own. Ivybrook Academy’s curriculum is built to meet children where they are and help them discover the right learning style to carry them forward.”
Learn more about how you can find the right approach to learning for your child at Ivybrook Academy. Connect with Allyson and Chris to schedule your tour of the Alpharetta campus of Ivybrook Academy today!