The Jackson Public School District has offered the Montessori Program for more than a decade. Students, parents, teachers, and the community continue to be pleased with and excited about this program.
Montessori education offers multi-aged classrooms with a strong emphasis on interactive, self-directed learning for pre-school and elementary children. At the heart of Montessori education is the emphasis on developing a child's sense of independence, responsibility, and respect for others. Each class includes students from more than one age group. For example, in a 3–6 classroom there are 8 three-year-old children, 8 four-year-old children, and 8 five-year-old children. The 6–9 classrooms also have a three-year age group of children—8 six-year-old students, 8 seven-year-old students, and 8 eight-year-old students. The three-year age span provides a family-like grouping in which learning takes place naturally. The children stay with the same teacher for three years.
Montessori is offered at McWillie Elementary School located at 4851 McWillie Circle.
The McWillie Montessori Program has 3–6 year, 6–9 year, and 9–12 year classrooms. The McWillie site serves children throughout the school district.
About Montessori Instruction
Parents are very vocal and pleased with the Montessori program. Montessori is a philosophy, which supports each individual child's unique development within a social environment in a home-like setting. This environment encourages social interaction for cooperative learning, peer teaching, and emotional development. The environment is filled with developmentally appropriate materials that provide experiences for children that help them grow into self-motivated, independent learners. Each child progresses at his or her own rate in any one particular domain—gross motor, fine motor, math, language, etc. The environment contains a variety of multisensory, sequential, and self-correcting materials, which facilitate the learning of skills and leads to the learning of abstract ideas.
The teacher acts as a facilitator of learning. Each teacher has participated in extensive training specialized for the age group they work with. The children build meaningful, complex activities and thought processes based on previous simpler ones. Concepts are always approached in the same manner—left to right/top to bottom movements, meaningful experiences developing the five senses, increasing organization and attention span. The children develop meaning from the environment moving from concrete to abstract understanding while increasing independence. The children make choices and manage their own time, as they become active, self-directed learners.