Belleair Montessori Academy Serving families for the past 70 Years!
“It was during World War II. All the men were away at war and the women worked six days a week in the factories. The women with preschool children were faced with a problem: Who would take care of their children? There were no nurseries or day care centers, so I opened one in my home.” Evelyn Eshbaker Twedt remembers those bleak years. She remembers what it was like to get up at 4:30am, get dressed and trudge out into the frigid, snow-covered world and drive along dark, icy Michigan roads – driving for miles and miles to pick up the children to bring them back to her home. Those were difficult, tough years. Mrs.Twedt forgot the exact feeling of being physically and mentally exhausted, but she did not forget when the war was over…. she took a long, long rest. “I was sooooo tired,” she said. So she and her husband and young daughter Joan vacationed in the Clearwater area and liked it so much they
18 • June 2017
returned to Michigan, sold their home and moved here in 1945. Although the war was over, Mrs.Twedt noted there weren’t any nursery schools in this area and decided to go into business again. In the very beginning Tiny Tots Nursery School was located at 611 Clearwater-Largo Road in Largo, it was “just a day care center” Mrs.Twedt explained. But gradually the enrollment expanded and she decided it was time to offer education. It was also time to look for a new location, she said, because the small building could no longer hold the growing number of children. A new school site was selected in Belleair Estates in 1947. Sixty four years ago, it was suggested by Belleair Town Officials that she purchase property adjacent to the former Town Hall, which is presently the Garden Club. In 1948, thanks to two town commissioners and friends of Mrs. Twedt, Tiny Tots Private School opened its doors
Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper
at 905 Ponce de Leon Boulevard with an enrollment of 15 students. Growing pains during the years between 1958 and 1967 resulted in additions to the first floor and construction of a second story. More teachers were added to the staff. While on a European vacation in the mid 1960s, Mrs. Twedt visited schools in Holland, Germany, Belgium, and Italy. These were schools that had the same thing in common. They were Montessori schools. “I just couldn’t believe there was an educational system like it anywhere,” Mrs. Twedt recalled. “Tears ran down my face.” What moved her to tears was the fact that students of all ages were quietly working alone or in groups – and there were no discipline problems. By this time, Mrs.Twedt’s daughter had graduated from college and was teaching at the school. The daughter,
Published on Jun 1, 2017
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