A private primary school with a distinctive curriculum will open its doors for the first time next week in East Northport.
The School House has moved into the building previously occupied by St. Paul’s Lutheran Elementary School and later the Long Island Lutheran Day School.
Entrepreneur John Tunney and his wife, Mimosa Jones Tunney, are using the American Emergent Curriculum, which they describe as a multi-disciplinary approach to learning that uses elements of traditional education as well as a blend of Montessori practices, and draws from such concepts as project-based Learning, Reggio-Emilia and Socratic Method.
The curriculum for the pre-k to 5th grade students includes an emphasis on tactile learning, kindness and team building activities. The school also emphasizes learning other languages and exposure to nature, such as studying and caring for chickens, as well as working with augmented reality in sandboxes.
Mimosa Tunney, a long-time education writer, said she was looking for a way to reform education.
“We tried not to do this for a long time,” Mimosa Tunney said. “The last thing we wanted to do is take on the enormous task of building a school.
“I really wanted to start looking at how to re-imagine learning family engagement,” she said, and parents are expected to have a significant role in their children’s educational path.
She said the school will have 125 students who are mostly drawn from public schools in Huntington and Northport, and elsewhere on Long Island.
The school will follow a schedule of longer hours four days a week, and a half day on Fridays. The school also offers after-school care for pupils.
Educators include a musician in residence and two ambassadors of kindness as well as teachers versed in Montessori and other educational techniques.
Tunney himself is no stranger to innovation. He was one of the founders of Coo Coo, which provided real-time transit schedules and e-ticketing to commuters. He also established Besito Mexican Restaurants, Ballo Italian and The Shed restaurants, as well as Honu Kitchen and Cocktails and other establishments.