About Us

lifespanpaintingLifespan Montessori History

The original “Lifespan Center” was historically regarded as one of Athens’ premier Montessori child care programs. For approximately 10 years, the Lifespan Center was housed within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When this center announced it was closing its doors, Albert and Emma Laing took the necessary steps to preserve this treasured child care program so many families (including their own!) had enjoyed for over a decade. In 2009, the Laings assumed operation of the program and transferred it to a building located on Research Drive in East Athens. This program, re-named “Lifespan Montessori of Athens, Inc.,” is licensed by Bright From the Start’s Department of Early Care and Learning, and its operation is the Laings’ service to the Athens community.

Two butterflies are illustrated on our school logo, and are intended to show a nurturing relationship between parent/guardian and child or teacher/mentor and child. We also view the butterfly as a symbol of a rite of passage or journey through life communicating history, thoughts, ideas, and dreams from generation to generation. 

Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine.” ~Jeffrey Glassberg

Our Accolades

In August 2010, Lifespan received grant support from Athens’ Quality Care for Children to pursue accreditation through NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Lifespan received NAEYC accreditation in November 2011, and recently received the highest honor (3 stars) and the Inclusion Endorsement from Georgia’s Quality Rated program. Lifespan received the Georgia Association on Young Children’s (GAYC) Program of the Year Award in 2010, and three of Lifespan’s teachers, along with their administrative director, received state-wide GAYC Quality Service Awards in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Emma was nominated for the prestigious Athens Area Chamber of Commerce ATHENA Award in 2013. Utilizing collaborative efforts among our teachers and various community partners, Lifespan was the first preschool in Athens to be named an Athens-Clarke County Green School.

Our Extracurricular Programs

As part of tuition for all classrooms, Lifespan offers weekly exposure to programs, such as:

  • Yoga, using the YogaSprouts curriculum (provided by Ms. Rachel Greb)
    • Taught in a fun, safe, age-appropriate, and noncompetitive environment, YogaSprouts offers a wide-variety of classes to accommodate the needs of all students. Yoga can improve an individual’s mind, body and soul. Yoga fosters cooperation and compassion among children, while working towards physical fitness in a noncompetitive environment. Children who practice yoga have a better sense of body awareness and self-confidence.
  • Music, using the MusiCanopy curriculum (provided by Ms. Cathy Rumfelt)
    • Research has shown that the first few years of life are the crucial years for developing musical aptitude. A young child’s music environment has a dramatic influence on life-long potential for enjoying music and learning to play an instrument. Creating a nurturing musical environment at school is only part of our goal. Bringing the songs and activities home will create a music immersion environment that will enable your child to grow musically. The more your child listens, the more he or she will learn.
  • Italian, using the Athens Language Schoolhouse curriculum (provided by Ms. Rhia Kilpatrick)
    • In our early childhood education setting, exposure to any language is important because it aids in cognitive development. Young children learn that objects can be linguistically represented in different ways, which will happen regardless of the language learned. Language education in these early years is also a way to introduce new linguistic and cultural concepts to children who are developmentally ego-centric and have a hard time understanding that anything can be different from what they know. It also helps to build their interest in communication with a language other than their own. Children learning Italian (as one of the Romance Languages) primes them for retaining foundational knowledge, and gives them an advantage for formal language learning (e.g., Spanish) in K-12 environments.
  • Extracurricular programs for older children, such as martial arts and participation in various Olympic sports, are also offered.

laings3Our Owners

The Laings are long time Athens residents, and are proud parents of two children who have been members of the Lifespan family since 2006. Albert and Emma hold their graduate degrees (M.Ed. from the College of Education and Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition, respectively) from The University of Georgia. The Laings became involved in the continuation of the Lifespan program because they have witnessed through the eyes of their children a love of learning, which they attribute to an early exposure to Montessori education. Emma served on the Board of Directors for GAYC for several years as District 8 Representative and Newsletter Chair, and is currently a member of NAEYC, AMSGEF, and the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce.

Our Presence in the Community

Athens Little Free Pantry
As the first Little Free Pantry on the east side of Athens, Lifespan parents and teachers are making a difference in the lives of needy families. To see photos and obtain more information about our beautiful pantry, please click here. Please also pass along our location to families who might benefit.

Nancy Travis Childcare Project
Lifespan has supported the Nancy Travis Childcare Project (NTCP) with various fundraising events throughout the past several years. NTCP strives “to give every child in Athens a chance to succeed – in school, in work, in life.” This organization seeks to fill gaps between government-allotted assistance and real-world costs to provide children in our community with the early learning advantages of quality care. NTCP provides scholarships for children to attend quality early learning programs while their parents seek employment, attend GED classes, or return to work, educates the community about the importance of quality childcare, and helps to increase the number of quality-rated programs in Athens-Clarke County.

Extra Special People
Lifespan is proud to be a sponsor in Extra Special People’s Plant the Flag fundraiser, which will help fund their new 14,000 sq. ft. facility. Extra Special People (ESP) is doing amazing things in our community, serving individuals with behavior disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Angleman Syndrome, Spina Bifida, among other conditions. ESP provides a safe place where individuals can celebrate their abilities. Lifespan has been a supporter of ESP for years, participating in their Holiday Party in 2010 and inviting their participants to spend time with our children. We are honored to support them in their newest endeavor.

Athens Canine Rescue
Lifespan has been a regular sponsor of the annual Run Your Tail Off 5K and 2K Dog Walk in Athens each fall. This race benefits Athens Canine Rescue, an organization that rescues, fosters, and ultimately finds permanent homes for abandoned and unwanted dogs in Northeast Georgia.

Other projects
Lifespan administrators, teachers, parents, and children join together throughout the year to support causes in our community that are important to us. Examples include the Salvation Army Angel Tree holiday gift program, Soles 4 Souls, Athens Area Homeless Shelter, along with the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia’s Food 2 Kids, hunger bowl, and food and diaper drive programs. We often have friendly competitions among the classrooms to encourage participation to benefit these causes!