One of the biggest questions I’m often asked by parents is, “What does SOLA mean?”
The truth is, SOLA – or School of Learning Arts – encompasses so much more than just the arts. And it’s not just a school. In fact, I wish I could come up with a different name for preschool. To be absolutely honest here, I wish I could come up with another name for school in general.
Simply stated, I feel like we have used it up. Often, it’s said as if it’s a bad word. Where did we make that mistake? School isn’t happy for kids anymore. In far too many instances, school is seen as a necessary evil. But with SOLA, we change the tide and strive to find a child’s greatness and enhance it.
We are 18 years old. And throughout our presence here within the Port City, we have centered on creating an environment that fosters confidence and gives kids space where they aren't under the pressures of bullies or peer pressure. We intentionally have small class sizes – typically eight students to one teacher in preschool – and a close connection to our parents. And SOLA mentors treat each child like the individual he or she truly is.
SOLA is, succinctly put, Art, Music, and Play. Or, as we like to say, AMP it up! It’s also important to mention there are some things SOLA is not: trophies, boredom or easy.
Since SOLA opened in 2000 under Montessori teacher, artist and noted “Super Mom” Kathy Alstrin, our vibrant little schoolhouse off the quiet and heavily tree-lined Pine Grove Drive in Wilmington has grown into a thriving preschool that boasts a wildly popular and highly regarded after-school program for elementary-aged children in the afternoon.
In addition, at SOLA, we offer a fun-filled summer camp with weekly themes like textiles, recycled art, face masks and printmaking. My team of educators and I strive to give students the respect and nurturing they need to have confidence in order to make positive choices and find and embrace their own unique voices in life.
And every day, in some way, there is art.
Led by art director Maya Murano Simonson, who has a degree in art education, students will without a doubt find hands-on ways to discover themselves and their importance in the world in which they live.
Let SOLA help lay the creative foundation for your child’s life this summer and beyond. SOLA is located at 216 Pine Grove Drive in Wilmington. Call them today at (910) 798-1700 for more information or to schedule a visit. Check out SOLA’s Facebook page for updates and photos.
Steve Adams is the owner and director of SOLA. Although his journey to SOLA was unexpected, he has always had a talent for mentoring kids and creative design. Since graduating from UNCW in 1992, he has spent 20 years coaching baseball, basketball and Ultimate Frisbee locally. He left a 12-year career in the art of landscaping in 2004 before leaving the field to pursue a career for which he was passionate. He began working at SOLA that year and purchased the school in 2006. Originally from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, Steve has a twin brother and a younger brother, and enjoys the outdoors, especially the mountains. Contact Steve at [email protected] or (910) 798-1700.
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