By Patty Crocker
A Whole Education for the Whole Child
MISSION: Montessori of Macon is concerned with “educating the whole child for a whole world.” In their philosophy, “wholeness” incorporates not only the intellectual but also the social, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of being human.
Montessori of Macon (MOM) is the only school in the Central Georgia area that offers the benefits of a Montessori education to children ages two and one-half through 14. You might ask, “What is a Montessori education?” The Montessori system of education is both a philosophy of child development and a rationale for guiding such growth. It is a learning experience based on the work of Dr. Maria Montessori (1870–1952), the first woman in Italy to qualify as a physician. Her system focuses on the child’s developmental needs for freedom within limits, as well as a carefully prepared environment which guarantees exposure to materials and experiences. Through this, the child develops intelligence as well as physical and psychological abilities. The program is designed to take full advantage of the child’s desire to learn and the child’s unique ability to develop his/her own capabilities. This teaching philosophy balances freedom with responsibility in the classroom and also sets high standards of intellectual and social development for children.
Tanya Melville, director of MOM holds a Master of Arts (Education) degree from Lenoir-Rhyne College in North Carolina. She began her teaching career in her home country of Ireland and then taught for eight years in Hickory, North Carolina, before coming to Montessori of Macon as a middle school teacher in 1995. Melville became director of the school in 2000.
Like other Montessori schools, MOM’s main objective is to provide both creative and stimulating intellectual, artisitic, and developmental experiences for children. It is an independent school serving about 108 students. The curriculum, classroom, and teacher’s role are all carefully designed to honor self-paced growth while encouraging group awareness and social cooperation.
The Montessori of Macon School is comprised of four classrooms: ages 2 1/2 years attend the Primary I and II classroom; ages 6–9 attend the Lower Elementary I and II; ages 9–12 attend the Upper Elementary; and ages 12–14 attend the Middle School.
The teaching staff includes certified Montessori teachers who have been trained by accredited Montessori teacher training centers. Teacher training prepares faculty to create dynamic, interactive learning environments which encourage each child to reason, cooperate, collaborate, negotiate, and understand. The Montessori teacher functions as a resource person, role model, demonstrator, record-keeper and meticulous observer of each child’s development. Montessori of Macon continues to add specialty teachers to enhance the education of their students. In addition to the traditional academic subjects, art, foreign languages, and music are a part of the curriculum.
The classrooms are carefully prepared environments where children are enabled to work at their own level and pace. Multi-age-level classrooms offer older children the opportunity to serve as teachers and role models for youger children. All classrooms are fully equipped with Montessori educational materials, which provide a progression from concrete, hands-on learning to the abstration of concepts and development of critical thinking skills. For example, take the average Middle schooler who is encouraged to examine the interrelationship between subjects. When studying the concept of time, he or she is examining the mathematical aspects of time, the cultural signifigance of time, the history of clocks, the scientific aspects of time, time zones, and more. This integrated approach provides students with a thought provoking, thoroughly holistic, challenging, and interesting way to learn.
MOM has been empowering children since 1991 by instilling in each child a sense of acceptance and understanding through a diverse learning enviroment. The school was founded by a group of parents interested in the Montessori educational style which fosters a love of learning and educates children to be caring, socailly-responsible citizens of their community and world by applying the Montessori philosophy in a family-oriented environment. By ensuring the wholeness of their students, the school prepares them for a lifetime of learning and joy that will enable them to contribute postively to a whole world.
The school is fully accredited by the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Unlike most traditional schools, MOM follows a year-round calendar. The school year starts mid-July, and runs on a cycle of four nine-week (45-day) school sessions separated by three-week (15-day) breaks in the fall, winter, and spring, with a longer six-week break between the spring and summer sessions.
MOM welcomes applications from a wide variety of students as it is committed to providing its students with a rich and varied social environment. It offers multi-age groupings with each program, where children learn from each other and help each other, both academically and socially. The school’s community is a diverse group of individuals. Many students, parents, and staff members are bilingual, and many nations are represented in this microcosm of the world.
Recognizing that each child develops in a unique way, Montessori of Macon recognizes its limitations in meeting some highly complex or specialized learning needs. The school practices a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of race, gender, disability, religion, and national and ethnic origin regarding the receipt and review of applications for admission.
MOM expects their students to be non-judgemental and accepting of the diversity of others. The school believes in the importance of integrity in order that a child’s values remain congruent with their behavior. Students take part in community service projects where they are presented with an opportunity to give something back to their community. While doing so, students learn compassion and develop awareness about peoples’ economic and personal differences
MOM’s well-rounded approach to education has been met with tremendous success. Graduates of the program have gone on to become National Merit Scholar winners, and thanks to the school’s Spanish program, that teaches children from as early as age two and one-half—there are Spanish Scholars as well. Clearly the proof is in the pudding, when it comes to Montessori students there’s a lot to be proud of! #
Montessori of Macon (MOM)
436 Forest Hill Road
Macon, GA 31210