Swimming Pen Creek’s Montessori classrooms create unique approach to learning

By Wesley LeBlanc Staff Writer
Posted 8/14/19

MIDDLEBURG — The children are back in school, and Swimming Pen Creek Elementary’ s Montessori classrooms are starting their second year.

SPCE transformed a few of its classrooms for voluntary …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

Swimming Pen Creek’s Montessori classrooms create unique approach to learning

Posted

MIDDLEBURG — The children are back in school, and Swimming Pen Creek Elementary’ s Montessori classrooms are starting their second year.

SPCE transformed a few of its classrooms for voluntary pre-kindergarten through second grade Montessori learning last year and now, a few more classrooms have been transitioned to welcome third graders to the unique educational experience. Montessori classrooms are exclusive to SPCE and feature an observation-based approach to learning.

“It’s an approach to education where the children don’t follow our lead, we follow theirs,” teacher Leah Norton said.

The Montessori approach is based on social, emotional and scientific observation between a teacher and the students, and the students and their peers. If you walked into a Montessori classroom, you’d find a classroom filled with students in their socks or slippers interacting with each other in a unique way.

Instrumental music fills the classroom along with the voices of first graders-through-third graders.

Instead of raising hands in a traditional back-and-forth response, you’d likely find any of the four Montessori teachers waltzing around the classroom, observing how each child responds to and interacts with the lesson, along with what they’ve just learned.

The teacher is still there to guide and focus the students, but the lesson plan often is created by both the teacher and students.

“It’s quite a bit different than a traditional classroom,” Norton said. “We follow the child. It’s a whole-child approach and each child learns uniquely in here.”

In addition to the way education is presented, Montessori classrooms offer unique experiences like zoology, art, music and gardening.

Superintendent Addison Davis and the Clay County School Board walked the halls of a number of schools, including SPCE, during the annual tour of the district Tuesday for the first day of school.

“This is an A-school and you can feel that energy in the hallways and classrooms,” Davis said.

Davis said the classrooms at SPCE are a highlight of the county and serve to show the district’s commitment to more creating more choices for students. A student and parent simply has to request it and show the ambition, Davis said.

Because the program is so popular there is a long waiting list, according to Davis.

Davis and the school board were just as amazed by the Montessori classroom.

“It’s incredible what we have in our district,” Davis said.

School Board Chairwoman Carol Studdard said the first day of school is always her favorite because it’s a day that represents the work of so many people. SPCE Principal Rodney Ivey was happy to show off his school.

“Our staff plans and works all through the summer to make sure this day is perfect for every child and the first day of school is where you first get to see all of that hard work and dedication pay off,” Ivey said. “It really is an exciting time.”

That excitement was a sentiment shared by everyone during the annual tour through a district that’s ranked eighth in the state. For Ivey, Norton, Davis, Studdard and the rest of the school board, the first day of school was a celebration as the district continues to improve its ranking with the state.

“We should celebrate the first day of school and not just the last day,” Davis said. “This is what it’s all about.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment