Montessori Schools Growing in South Carolina - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Montessori Schools Growing in South Carolina

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Myrtle Beach, SC -

By Chandi Lowry - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina is the first and only state in the nation to designate Montessori education as an approved area of teacher certification, according to the South Carolina Department of Education.

The plan is to get more Montessori trained teachers in South Carolina because these types of programs are growing.

Learning Tree in Myrtle Beach is a school that blends traditional and Montessori styles of teaching.

In a typical classroom all the kids are about the same age, but at learning tree... The owner says different age groups learn together.

Bonita McMenamin is the owner of Learning Tree and said, "Younger children learn from the older children then the older children serve as leaders and helpers."

Pawleys Island Montessori Day School has the same setup, but uses no traditional methods.

Sarah Wilson is the director at the school and claimed Montessori schools teach kids to be very independent.

There are no set schedules or assigned seats and the students understand their duties and work to get them done by a certain deadline.

Teachers and parents exclaimed that freedom gets them ready for middle school and for life.

Wilson said, "One of the things that Montessori  teaches them is to be responsible. I don't tell my kids do your math today, do this, do that, they know they have to do these four things before lunch."

Antoinette Ursits is a teacher and said there are no grades, but the staff makes sure the kids are mastering the lessons.

She said, "Every student gets almost their own curriculum written out for them.  Each child gets to learn at its own pace to move ahead to get the one on one. They need to master something before they are pushed forward."

Because there are no grades the downside is that parents must have a good relationship and communication with the teachers and a lot of trust.

Students do take some tests to show parents goals are being met.

Ursits says she's excited that South Carolina is leading an effort in recognizing Montessori schools by letting teachers get their Montessori certification added onto their state teaching certificate.

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