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  • Overview
  • Programs
  • Our Team

About Canterbury Academy Preschool in Overland Park

Canterbury Academy at Small Beginnings offers families a unique Montessori-based educational environment where preschool, kindergarten, and elementary students thrive! We know that finding the right school for your child is an extremely important decision and we strive every day to provide children a well-rounded educational experience that will serve them for years to come.

Our Programs

  • Infant Daycare (ages 2 weeks to 1 year)
  • Toddler Daycare (ages 1 to 2.5)
  • Preschool (ages 2.5 to 4)
  • Pre-Kindergarten (ages 4 to 5)
  • Private Kindergarten
  • K-5 (ages 5 to 11) – for the 2020 – 2021 school year, we will be offering additional classes for structured small group education in a multi-age setting. New classes will be for grades K-2 and grades 3-5 as separate groupings. We are also offering a virtual/hybrid program to help students with virtual learning support according to local school district programs. We will partner with local school districts to follow learning plans and will help children stay on track with virtual learning.
  • Summer Camp (ages 5 to 12)

Our Montessori Philosophy

Our primary objective at Canterbury Academy is to create enriching elementary and preschool learning centers that facilitate extraordinary development. We believe that every child has the ability to learn and to teach, and that a child who enjoys learning will always seek challenges in life.

Our programs are based upon the Montessori principles of self-direction and experiential education. We promote a thoughtful and sensitive atmosphere in each classroom, and we support cooperation between children as they learn from one another. We have Montessori-based Learning Centers in each classroom, which ensure each child has numerous content-rich activities to explore at any given time. Our multi-age preschool classrooms enhance our learning environment by allowing children to develop at their own pace.

Kind Child

Kind Child LogoKindness is the foundation of our school culture and Kind Child has become a popular part of our curriculum. We introduce social and emotional skills each month and focus on the development of a specific character trait like Responsibility, Empathy, a Positive Self-Image, and Respect every two months. The goal of Kind Child is to elevate the well-being of every child in our care and to enrich friendships.

Our School’s Location

Canterbury Academy at Small Beginnings is conveniently located less than a mile east of the 69 Highway and can be reached by taking the exit at either 151st St or 159th St. Our address is 15801 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS 66223, but you’ll want to turn east onto 158th St from Metcalf Avenue to reach our parking lot. We share the southeast corner of Metcalf and 158th St with Bank of America and Tires Plus.

If you’re looking for before and after care for your elementary student, we provide transportation to and from Blue River Elementary School, Lakewood Elementary, Stanley Elementary, Stilwell Elementary, Sunrise Point Elementary, and Morse Elementary.

Our Team

Sarah Bowman

Sarah Bowman


I have been in early childhood education for over 25 years.   I hold an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Relations and Management.  I am currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education through the online program from Kansas State University.

I am very excited to continue my career here at Canterbury Academy at Small Beginnings.  What brought me here is the mission statement and the true heart this family has for the children in their care.  Providing parents with peace of mind by giving children an exceptional education every fun filled day in a place as nurturing as home should be at the heart of every teacher and childcare facility, I am proud to be part of a team that lives this mission every day.

A few of my favorite things to do in the classroom it to set up fun and messy activities for the children to explore.  It also fills my heart to watch the children learn and grow throughout the year.  I love to read books and laugh and play with the kids, you will also catch me singing with the children.

My husband and I have been married for 18 years.  We have a 11-year-old daughter, Cameryn, and a 9-year-old, son, Charlie.  When we are not at work or school, we enjoy hanging out together in the backyard or kitchen table around a board game.  We love the lake life in the summer, as well as, visiting the Bowman Farm in Iowa.

Nicole Bandera

Nicole Bandera

Assistant Director

I started working in early childhood education for the first time right out of high school. At the time, I was just helping covering lead teachers breaks, and working with the summer school kiddos. I ended up leaving that job to go on a different path. After I had my second child last year, I knew I wanted to begin working with children again prior to finishing up my degrees and a childcare facility seemed like the perfect place. After spending some time helping at a school nearby, I realized I wanted to find a school that I could spend a lot of time and growth within, which led me to Canterbury at Small Beginnings. I started as a lead infant teacher in March and have absolutely loved being here! I love seeing and playing a role in the intricate development of children. I enjoy helping them learn how to independently accomplish things. Creating strong and positive bonds with children during such formative years of their lives when their cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development is rapidly building foundations is so a crucial role in a child’s life and I am so honored to be a part of that development.

In my free time I like to spend time with my family. My husband, Matt and I have two biological children, Milani and Florence (A senior in high school and an 8-month-old) as well as two additional children that we raise in our home, Brooklyn, and Aiden (Brooklyn is also a senior, and Aiden is a junior.) We love spending time with our parents, walking our two dogs, or just going to get a coffee and hangout. Two of my favorite hobbies are sports and music. We are big sports fans in our household. Sports of all sorts. One of our children (Aiden) is signed with our MLS team, Sporing Kansas City and because he is so young and not from here, we have had him living with us since he signed with SKC in August of 2022. So, needless to say- soccer is a huge part of our family. Of course, the Chiefs and Royals as well. I also deeply enjoy cooking and hosting dinner parties. We also enjoy traveling and hope to get to a few new places this year!

Marion Troast

Marion Troast

Lead Grade School Teacher

I have worked for Canterbury for 16 years. I started my career in 2000 as a Pre-K teacher and moved to the grade school program in 2003. I have seen many students pass through my classroom door and I am proud to say that I have given them the foundation to be successful students. I graduated from Bowling Green State University, have a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, and hold a directors license in Kansas.

I have been married for 24 years and have 2 wonderful sons. I am proud to say my oldest son serves in the United States Army and my youngest is a Physical Education teacher and high school soccer coach. I have 2 wonderful grandchildren and a big dog named Boss. I enjoy shopping (especially for antiques) and attending sporting events. I am a crazy KU fan and love Kansas basketball!

When I was hired at Small Beginnings, the director said I want this job to be your career. I am proud to say I have done just that! The best part of my job is hearing from past families. Hearing that their child is successful in school makes my job extremely rewarding!

Reviews from Parents

4.9 Rating based on 69 Reviews Leave A Review
S M • Google
Jacob Reaney • Google
Karley Shirfan • Google
Jennifer Denny • Google
My daughter has been going here for a few months now and she loves it. She likes to play with her friends and learning new things. She loves her teachers too. Since she started I have noticed more of her personality coming out and been hearing her talk more. All of the staff has been great and I am fully comfortable leaving her there for the day. Communication with staff has been great. They have been great with keeping parents up to date on what’s happening in the building during the pandemic (like illnesses and staffing issues they’ve had during this hard time). Everything from her day is logged in a system and and email is automatically sent to me upon heck out. I can see what activities they did, what and how much she ate, if she napped and diaper changes. I even get pictures of her doing activities or playing with her friends and I can see how happy she is. I am really glad I found Small Beginnings for my daughter.

Canterbury Schools

Overland Park, KS

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Preparing Your Child To THRIVE

Your child is unique, and we are happy to provide an educational, fun, and nurturing environment where each child can develop and thrive in order to build a bright future with unlimited possibilities.