Montessori Community School follows a philosophy that nurtures intrinsic motivation as well as independent and collaborative work. We’re in West Ashley for our Cool School of the week.
Montessori Community School is a county wide magnet school in Charleston county, and the first public Montessori program in South Carolina. The school serves 252 students from 3-years-old through the 8th grade in authentic, high quality Montessori environments.
MCS has four levels, primary classrooms for 3 through 5 year olds, lower elementary for first through third grade, upper elementary for 4th through 6th grade, and middle school for seventh and eighth grade. Students are responsible for their own learning. Multi-age classrooms foster peer learning, uninterrupted blocks of work time, and choice of work activity.
All students spend time working in the class gardens, which helps to promote a peaceful environment. Principal Kim Hay says, “The students have had a really unique education here. They have a strong since of kindness and fairness towards others. They are generous in their spirit. They care about their fellow students and in addition to the rigorous academic program they’re getting. I think they learn a lot of life lessons that they will carry with them out into the community.” Second grade student Isa Jickling says, “I think it’s fun when we get to start our work and we get to do it by ourselves, or we can do it with a friend. We get to sit on rugs or at tables.” Instead of sitting at a desk all day, you get to move around, and everyone doesn’t have to work on the same thing as you,” says fifth grade student Deon Richardson. Teacher Heather Atkinson says, “Montessori Community School is a Cool School because we really are a community. The students work together not only at their grade level but they work in multi- age rooms. They work with big kids in middle school, primary lower classrooms. We really are there for everybody. Our student teacher relationships are really strong.”
The classroom teachers at MCS are both state and Montessori certified. They spend from one to three years earning Montessori certification to teach.
In addition to Spanish and art integration classes,MCS has a chess club, chorus as well as ukulele and guitar clubs.
Coming up tonight on News 2 at 5, we’ll take a closer look at the Montessori Community School experience.
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