HOWARD, Wis. (WFRV) – A new school is coming to the area and they’re determined to put a unique twist on teaching.

‘New Leaf Prep Academy’ is an independent charter school located in Howard, Wisconsin. It’s a 4k to 8th grade school and it will offer 15 seats per classroom. They’re set to open their doors for the 2021-2022 school year.

It’s a tuition free school and anyone from inside or outside the school district area can apply. Students who apply to the school are choosing ‘New Leaf Prep Academy’ because they’re excited about the school’s offerings.

‘New Leaf Prep Academy’s building is custom made and it’s being built from the ground up to fit the student’s needs and learning styles. Christoff tells Local 5 to expect a lot of natural light, open classrooms, low fixtures, and more.

“What makes our building really special is that it helps leverage our mission and our vision for this school. We have two libraries linking the entrance, so hands-on learning rather than a lot of screen-time. The kids are going to be immersed in books, 3D materials, and hands-on education”, says Christoff.

The type of teaching and learning style ‘New Leaf Prep Academy’ is bringing to the area is what separates them from others. They’re putting an emphasis on nature-based learning and the Montessori method of teaching.

“If you’re not familiar with the Montessori philosophy it’s hands-on curriculum. So all of the materials really teach a skill”, says Founder of ‘New Leaf Prep Academy’ and Principal, Paige Christoff.

Some of the unique features that ‘New Leaf Prep Academy’ will offer are separate art rooms, music rooms, and the school will offer a gymnasium.

Some hands-on learning the students at ‘New Leaf Prep Academy’ will be doing is helping prepare the food in the kitchen.

Christoff says the kitchen is a ‘special’ part of the school and that she’s learned with younger students if they’re helping out and preparing the food, they are more inclined to eat the food.

Christoff’s favorite part of the new school is the indoor atrium that will include living trees, plants, and turf.

“It’s Wisconsin and we’re not allowed to go outside when the temps reach so low. So, at our current school, the kids have felt kind of cooped up and we’re really really excited to have this atrium to bring some of the outdoors inside of the school”, Christoff explains.

The community support for ‘New Leaf Prep Academy’ has been overwhelming. When Christoff came out public with idea for the school, a petition received more than 700 signatures in support to bring the school to the community.

Christoff is very excited to bring her vision and new school to the community.

“Our vision is very very different and it stemmed from a lot of different teacher’s collaborations to make the vision come true and really see what the community needs”, says Christoff.

‘New Leaf Prep Academy’ is currently accepting student applications and they’re looking for teachers from 1st-8th grade.

To learn about the application process, the school’s vision and more, visit their website or Facebook page.