SCS discusses bringing Montessori program to county

Published 8:43 am Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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The idea of creating a Montessori program in the county was discussed during the recent Stanly County School Board meeting.

“We have had a lot of interest from a group of parents, mainly in the western end of the district, that has been very interested in starting a Montessori program at one of our elementary schools,” said Lynn Plummer, curriculum coach at Central Elementary.

Montessori is a method of education based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play where teachers encourage independence among the students.

Superintendent Dr. Jeff James tasked Plummer and other curriculum coaches in the county to investigate the Montessori program to see if it could work in the county. They visited Park Road Montessori in Charlotte and talked with teachers, students and the principal to learn about Montessori and what the program would look like if it was introduced in Stanly.

Instead of creating a Montessori school, Plummer discussed creating “a school within a school.” The idea was brought up to start a Montessori program for kindergartners at Oakboro Choice STEM School for the upcoming school year.

Oakboro hosted a Montessori parents night recently to explore the interest in starting the program. Plummer said 18 parents were at the event.

One of the parents who attended was board member Ryan McIntyre, who has a daughter starting kindergarten next year. Though he and his wife were initially uncertain about the program, they were “very impressed and excited about the possibility of this coming to Oakboro or wherever we decide to put it.”

McIntyre said a Montessori program could bring in students from surrounding counties along with homeschooled students.

James said he would like to have at least 20 students enrolled to start the program.

Plummer said the cost for establishing a Montessori classroom would be around $13,500.

A few school board members were concerned when Oakboro Principal Kelly Dombrowski mentioned space for a Montessori classroom would have to likely come from an area currently used for art and music, though it would depend on how many people were enrolled in the program.

Board member Patty Crump suggested looking at another elementary school to house the Montessori program since Oakboro already is a STEM school. She said it would be “fantastic” if there was a program like Montessori in the northern end of the county or in Albemarle.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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