Islanders sponsor preschoolers through ‘Appleseed Fund’


In response to a dramatic increase in need for tuition assistance, Orcas Montessori School has launched its new “Appleseed Fund.”

“It’s our mission to make quality preschool programming available to as many island children as possible,” says Director Teresa Chocano, “and this year we’ve experienced an unprecedented number of requests for help.”

Island families are struggling to pay for their children’s preschool education. At Orcas Montessori School 70 percent of the children require financial assistance this year. Nine children receive ECEAP funding and two more have DSHS. Although the tuition rate is less than $6 hour, there are 10 additional children who cannot attend without financial aid.

Orcas Montessori School is seeking “Silent Partners” to provide support for one scholarship student through the Appleseed Fund. Each silent partner will choose a child from a list describing 10 students (names kept anonymous) and will donate $1000 toward that student’s tuition. The silent partner will receive two updates on their child’s progress during the school year and will have an opportunity to visit the school, observe the classroom and enjoy lunch with the children.

In return, Orcas Montessori School pledges to match each $1000 donation with another $1000 raised through efforts such as the school’s annual May Day Auction and upcoming apple crisp and holiday wreath sales.

All scholarship families pay a portion of their child’s tuition.

Three partners already have committed to the program, and two of their donations have been matched through efforts at the Doe Bay Festival and by the Sept. 25 bake sale at Island Market.

“We welcome team funding too,” says Fundraising Chairperson Stacey Lancaster, “Perhaps a group of friends or co-workers would like to partner up to help keep one of our island children in preschool.”

The fund was named in honor of the heirloom apple orchard gracing the school’s play yard.

The school is a 501c3 non profit organization founded in 1988. It provides a three-year program for two and half to six-year-olds.