Where your little light can shine!

Welcome to Firefly Early Learning Center, and thank you for your interest in our program!

My name is Sherry Peterson; as the Owner/Director of the Center, this school is the culmination of a dream for me. I have over 24 years of experience in the field of Education as an Elementary teacher, Reading Specialist, Assistant Principal, and Principal. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Montana, a graduate level Reading credential from Montana State University-Billings, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Montana State University @ Bozeman. Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to experience schools in the inner city of Los Angeles, the Crow Indian Reservation in Crow Agency, the resort town of Park City, Utah, a one-room schoolhouse in Nye, Montana, and a public Montessori school in Charleston, South Carolina.

While in Charleston, I was deeply inspired by the Montessori curriculum and values. Rather than teaching all children in the same way at the same time, regardless of their interests or developmental level the way that we often do in traditional educational programs, Montessori believes in “following the child” – giving them choices in their own learning in a multi-age environment, and respecting that every child is unique. The model reminded me of what I loved about teaching in the one room schoolhouse, and I was moved and inspired by the respect that Montessori programs show children. After experiencing the Montessori environment, it became my goal to create just such an environment, and after two years of saving, preparation, and a lot of hard work, I am thrilled to open the doors of Firefly Early Learning Center!

Our mission at Firefly Early Learning Center is simple: Learning and fun for children – Peace of mind for parents!

We believe that every child deserves a safe, fun, memorable and special childhood. We are not just providing a childcare service; we are helping to build childhoods. Our business is built on the passion and respect for the wonder of early childhood. We believe that young children have the right to play, to be collaborators in learning, and to be treated with respect. We are inspired by the Montessori and Reggio Emilia models of education, as well as the multi-age one-room schoolhouse model, where children have choices in their learning, are able to work at their own pace, and where the principles of respect, responsibility, and community guide the curriculum.

As a parent of three children of my own, I understand the importance of quality childcare where we know that our little ones are safe, loved, and happy in a learning environment. It is my goal to create the type of learning environment that I would want for my own children. Thank you for your interest in our program!

Sherry Peterson

Curriculum and Staff


Curriculum at Firefly Early Learning Center includes child-initiated and teacher-directed activities and experiences that support and enrich our students’ development physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively. Firefly ELC utilizes the Montessori curriculum to teach academic subjects while following the principles outlined by Dr. Maria Montessori:

  • Respect for the child

  • Sensitive periods for learning

  • The absorbent mind

  • Mixed age groupings

  • The prepared environment

  • The curricular areas of Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics, 
    Language, and Culture

  • The role of the teacher

  • Uninterrupted work periods

In addition to the Montessori curriculum and principles, we are influenced and inspired by elements of the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Our classroom includes the following elements of Reggio Emilia:

  • A construction area

  • Mini-atelier art area

  • Musical instruments

  • House play/dress up

  • Reading/library area

  • Bulletin boards honoring and showcasing student work

  • A sense of community

  • A respect for the wonder of early childhood

  • Development of the environment as the “third teacher”

The classroom is set up in centers including construction, dramatic play, fine motor, gross motor, library, and art studio. Areas are clearly defined, with obvious boundaries. Quiet areas are located as far as possible from noisy activities. The room décor consists of children’s artwork rather than commercially prepared materials. The room arrangement is prepared by the teacher to encourage independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order. Mixed age groupings are a hallmark of the Montessori method; younger children learn from older children, and older children reinforce their learning by teaching concepts that they have already mastered. This arrangement mirrors the real world, where individuals work and socialize with people of all ages and abilities.


Uninterrupted blocks of work time are build into the schedule each day, and Montessori learning materials are attractively arranged and available for the children’s use. The daily schedule and activities create a balance between active and quiet times, large group, small group, and individual work, small and large muscle activities, outdoor and indoor play times, as well as times for self-selection and teacher-directed work. Because children thrive on consistency, routines are in place for arrivals and departures, meals and snacks, resting or nap times, personal care routines, transitions, and classroom procedures.

Children deserve a fun and memorable childhood, and we pride ourselves on having a loving staff and home-like environment in our Center to make that happen. Our teachers and staff are specifically chosen for their caring attitudes, knowledge of child development, and enthusiasm for teaching young children utilizing the values of the Montessori method. Our goal is to encourage, innovate, and facilitate development for a fun and developmentally appropriate preschool experience.