Local parents looking for a new pre-school option have the opportunity to help bring an innovative learning opportunity to Dothan.
Dothan residents trying to bring a Montessori pre-school to Dothan will hold a meeting on Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at 942 South Oates Street.
Montessori schools teach children to be self-directed learners through activities that harness the child’s innate curiosity and desire to learn. Environment plays a big role in the Montessori method – furniture, teaching tools and other materials are tailored to fit children and the materials in the classroom are used to teach various skills. Children choose what teaching and instructional tools they wish to work with, and teachers help guide learning.
“It’s much less of a top down method than traditional schools,” Emily Heersink, a parent helping to organize the school, said. “If we prepare the environment and have an adult guide, children can guide their own education and learning and experience their own satisfaction and sense of fulfillment and realize their own potential in a self-directed way.”
The intent of the Montessori method is to produce students who are pro-active and self-disciplined learners. Some criticisms of the method include concerns that students may not become proficient in areas of study that they are not interested in learning.
Heersink said plans are to open a Montessori school for 3-6 year olds in Dothan. The Jan. 17 meeting will help determine whether there’s sufficient local interest to go forward. Heersink said the school will likely incorporate as a non-profit, and funding will come from private fundraising. Grant opportunities will also be considered.
Heersink said school organizers are working with a Montessori-certified instructor to help start the school and they are recruiting a Montessori teacher for the facility.
Heersink said she felt the school would give the local education market a needed alternative for pre-school education.
The proposed Montessori school has a Facebook page, Dothan Montessori School, and also a blog at www.dothanmontessori.blogspot.com