After a Charles County Planning Commission public hearing, the county is one step closer to passing a law that will allow the expansion of private primary and secondary school education in Waldorf, which will give families more options on where to send their children to school. 

Following the testimonies given Monday evening by several parents who have enrolled their children at Discovery Lane, a progressive private preschool in Waldorf, the planning commission proceeded with their recommendation for the county Board of Commissioners to approve the zoning ordinance.

The land that the school sits on is currently restricted by an outdated zoning law that allows colleges, universities, and libraries, but not schools, which Discover Lane co-owner and co-founder, Shante Lane, said was an “oversight.” 

When Lane first approached the Maryland Board of Education about adding kindergarten instruction to the Discovery Lane curriculum, she was blindsided when they told her that it would not be permissible due to zoning laws in her area. 

“We were like okay, what do we have to sign? And they were like ‘no, no, no, you have to change the law,’” the experienced educator and applicant of the text amendment said. 

This culminated in a year-long journey to see the law changed in order to progress Discovery Lane’s mission in bringing their holistic approach to learning to children of all ages. Since 2014, Discovery Lane, helmed by Lane and mother, Alice Lane, has been offering children ages 2-5 an education influenced by concepts like art and play. 

“Progressive programs have a lot of research that really supports that through a holistic approach to learning that it supports their overall success, not only in school but in life,” Lane said. 

The planning commission heard from several families of children who have benefitted from the unique brand of education their children receive at Discovery Lane. Parents expressed the values that Discovery Lane instilled in their children like the importance of wellness and mindfulness.

Given the overwhelming response by the community to the planning commission, the planning commissioners unanimously supported the amendment that would allow for education growth in Charles County.

If approved by the Charles County Board of Commissioners, Lane’s next step will be to get the final decision from the Maryland State Department of Education before August 15 so they can implement the change for the upcoming school year. 

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