Montessori For Big Kids
Charlotte Parent|Education Guide 2019-2020
Nestled near the intersection of interstates 85 and 77, on the north side of Charlotte, is a class of 12 Trailblazers. This small group of students at John Taylor Williams Secondary Montessori will be the first class to graduate from North Carolina’s first-ever public Montessori high school.
Meagan Church

Zayna Sheridan, one of those seniors, has been a Montessori student since prekindergarten. She and her family advocated for the expansion of the Charlotte- Mecklenburg Schools Montessori program that resulted in the creation of the high school. She has spent a lot of time explaining what Montessori means to her.

“I feel like if I went to a regular school, I’d know how to read a book. But along with academic skills, Montessori has given me a lot of other incredible skills,” she says. “Of course we learn the academics, but Montessori is more about the whole person,” Zayna says.

THE MONTESSORI PHILOSOPHY

The Montessori method was developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. Born in 1870, Montessori developed an educational philosophy that is still in practice today. The essence of her belief is in her statement, “Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.”

“The Montessori Method encompasses both the academic and social development in a student as it nurtures order, concentration, and independence,” says Dolores Murgolo, head of school at Guidepost Montessori at Lake Norman. “The curriculum is based on stages of development and is divided into three-year cycles rather than individual grade levels.”

In other words, Montessori schools take a child-centered learning style and work to develop the whole child through a multifaceted approach that combines academics, service-learning, environmental care, community involvement, and personal development.

In the preschool and elementary years, putting Montessori methods into practice means providing carefully prepared, multiage classrooms where students explore and work independently at mastering skills. The classrooms have low shelves that are full of specially designed manipulatives that teach practical life, math, science, and reading. But what does a Montessori classroom look like in the adolescent years?

MONTESSORI ON THE OTHER SIDE

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