Murray Lasaine Elementary, a school rich in history keeps students challenged and engaged through Montessori and traditional education. We’re on James Island for our Cool School of the week.
Murray Lasaine Elementary’s history dates back to the 1920’s. “it started as Cut Bridge in the 20’s when schools where segregated in Charleston,” say s principal Meredith Wallace. “It converted to an integrated school and became Murray Lesaine in the 50’s. It’s named after two amazing strong black women. Murray was actually the principal of the school when it was Cut Bridge and advocated for it to be renovated, and Dr. Lasaine was the superintendent when the schools were segregated in Charleston, so it has a really rich history.”
A partial magnet school, Murray Lasaine began a Montessori program four years ago for students beginning at three years old through sixth grade. Wallace says, “Our students in our classrooms do have freedom, but it’s very much within limits. As long as they’re working on productive work, we allow them to work.. we don’t interrupt them.”
In the Montessori environment, students are responsible for their own learning. Primary teacher Laura Getsinger says, “I get to follow them where they’re going. You would come in here and see the children all doing different things. I’m teaching some children cultural or geography works, or I’m teaching some children how to read chapter books. It’s amazing what these little ones are capable of, some are even doing multiplication and division.”
Multi-age classrooms and materials are a main part of the Montessori experience. Principal Wallace gives a demonstration on how the materials are used. “We have a very cool way of teaching kids about cubing and squaring, and so when they’re little our kids work with these bead chains. This happens to be the two chain, and it’s green. The colors are very important too. Our little ones will learn that this is two, four, and that two two times form a square. Now down the road we’ll teach them about square roots and of course the root is the base of something, and so the square root of four would be two. So that’s just one of the ways that we have materials that start with our three years old and run the whole way through sixth grade..and to have that tow offer to kids is pretty amazing,” Meredith says.
Students also have a garden. Sixth-grade Student John Lapolla says, “I like that you have your own individual education. You get to be on whatever level you’re on and it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing.”
Murray Lasaine still offer traditional classrooms as well. They plan to have full Montessori by 2020.
Coming up Friday on News 2, we’ll present Murray Lasaine with our Cool School award.
We want to hear about the good things that are going on at your school. Just send an email to Octavia at omitchell@ wcbd.com.
Murray Lasaine Elementary School