Deciding where to send your child to school is one of the most important decisions we make as parents. With plentiful options—private, public, charter, magnet, alternative, and homeschool—it is more imperative than ever that parents do their homework!
For many, a Montessori education is a breath of fresh air in today’s educational arena, with its heavy emphasis on standards-driven practice and high-stakes assessment. At The Montessori School of Winston-Salem (TMS), a school day may start with an elementary student harvesting vegetables from their organic garden, a preschool-aged student manipulating cube pieces to create a binomial cube or a toddler carefully hanging up a child-sized broom after cleaning up a mess. No matter what the age, the children at TMS are deeply and enthusiastically engaged in their learning. “Our parents tell us that their children are happy and eager to come to school, and we see children daily running and skipping into school,” says Jon Churn, Head of School.
The architectural design of the school is an outgrowth of the work of Maria Montessori (Italian physician and educator) who understood that the child needs to “live nature.” Toward that end, a unique feature of each classroom is its outdoor patio, extending the learning environment into the natural world. Jon states, “Every detail in the indoor and outdoor learning spaces exists to afford children an inviting, safe space where they can learn at their own pace, satisfy their curiosity, and follow their passions.”
What is a Montessori approach?
When asked what makes a Montessori approach, Trish Corbett, Director of Admissions, shared the short answer—“Montessori.” “We start with the end in mind, preparing our students each and every day to be successful adults in the 21st century.” The Montessori approach nurtures a child’s natural curiosity, fosters a deep love of learning and connection with nature, and promotes a more peaceful world…one child at a time. Churn added, “Two key tenets of an authentic Montessori approach are the importance of choice and the belief that children are active participants in learning throughout their academic careers. Teachers (called guides) thoughtfully prepare a learning environment and guide children in that environment to promote the development of the whole child. This approach, centered on providing ‘real world’ experiences, is time-tested and scientifically grounded with data that span over a century,” states Churn.
How does a Montessori approach differ from a Conventional approach?
|Emphasis on Cognitive, Social and Emotional Development||Emphasis on Rote Learning and Social Behavior|
|Teacher has guiding role||Teacher controls classroom|
|Environment and method foster self-discipline and exploration||Teacher acts as primary enforcer of discipline|
|Mixed-age groups encourage peer mentoring and collaboration||Same-age groups hinder or discourage collaboration and peer teaching|
|Child is active participant in learning through hands-on work with materials||Child is passive recipient of learning, guided to or given concepts by teacher|
|Child sets own learning pace, accelerating when ready and slowing down when needed||Instruction pace set by group or teacher|
|Child reinforces own learning by repetition of work and internal feelings of success||Learning is reinforced externally by repetition, rewards and punishment|
Why The Montessori School of Winston-Salem?
“Our mission is to develop curious, engaged, confident, self-motivated, capable, passionate, globally-minded adults, and nurture these qualities every single day with every single child. We seek to prepare children for the dynamic, ever-changing 21st-century world they are growing up in, and to become competent, contributing adults.” The Montessori concept-based curriculum is carefully and deliberately structured for each developmental stage, with one concept building upon the previous one. “We teach individuals within a group, not a group of individuals. Children are not all the same, and they do not need to artificially slow down or speed up to stay with the group,” said Churn. Corbett smiles and suggests, “Take a look inside our classrooms and you will see harmonious learning and respectful interactions where children are engaged and constructing their own knowledge.”
The Montessori School of Winston-Salem has served children for over 40 years. Current enrollment is approximately 200 children, encompassing ages 18 months–6th grade. In August 2018, TMS will add an Adolescent Program (grades 7–9) of 40 students on a separate 6.7-acre site, just one block away from the main campus.
If you are interested in learning more about this innovative approach to education or to schedule a tour, contact Director of Admissions, Trish Corbett, at email@example.com, call 336.766.5550, or visit their website wsMontessori.org. The Montessori School of Winston-Salem is located at 6050 Holder Road in Clemmons.