New school to open at former Accotink Academy site

Collage Day School accepting applications for 2017-18 school year


Nearly a year after its planned purchase of Accotink Academy By the Sea fell through, Keystone Child Development Center is moving forward with a new plan to open a day school for infants through grade 5 at the former Accotink site in Palm Valley.

Collage Day School is currently accepting applications for the 2017-18 school year at the former Accotink campus located at 171 Canal Blvd. Plans call for classes to start Thursday, Aug. 10, with the school following the St. Johns County public school calendar.

According to CEO and Founder Katie Falwell, Ph.D., the school will provide a personalized curriculum that encourages creative thinking.

“We are dedicated to educating the whole child – head, heart and hands,” Falwell said. “We do this through a well-balanced curriculum of academics, arts and practical experiences with the goal of engaging the students intellectually, emotionally and physically.”

In April 2016, Keystone announced plans to purchase Accotink Academy By The Sea and open Keystone By The Sea, keeping the Accotink staff on board to serve children ages three months to 8 years old. Keystone also planned to move its Keystone Child Development Center from its existing Southside location to the new campus.

Approximately six weeks later, however, Keystone officials confirmed the deal had fallen through as the parties could not reach an agreement over the sale of the property. Accotink Academy By the Sea subsequently closed at the end of the 2016 school year.

Keystone officials said they were not able to discuss the details of the recent transaction involving the sale of the former Accotink Academy. Director of Marketing and Communications Karen Rieley noted, however, that Keystone’s plans for the new school have changed since last year.

“Since then, we have expanded our educational philosophy to include educating all children from 3 months old through fifth grade and are now opening a brand new school called Collage Day School,” Rieley said. “We will continue to serve children with special needs at our Southside location, which includes Mosaic Day School and Mainspring Academy.”

Keystone also plans to open a Palm Valley clinic that will offer a range of health and wellness services.

“We have spent years developing an approach that is thoughtful and balanced,” Falwell said. “It is also developmentally appropriate and based on the best practices in the education field. We are inspired by a variety of philosophies and approaches, which we blend together into a program that reflects our commitment to helping children lay the best possible social, emotional, physical and cognitive foundations.”

Rieley said the new school’s name refers to the process of transforming existing materials into a work of art.

“Collage art takes an open mind and willingness to explore,” she said. “The beauty of collage art is that each piece is unique and there is no way of making a mistake. We will be shaping young minds and bodies to create a work of art.”