As part of the Montessori Institute of America’s national conference (https://mia-world.org/annual-conference/), I attended the school tours on the Friday morning. For Montessori teachers, the school tours are always a big highlight of any conference! This tour was really brilliant because we got to see three very different versions of Montessori, yet all three were very authentic. One school was large and very corporate, one was small and homey, and one was in a rural setting. Big differences from Washington State, where I live and work, is that in Georgia there are more children per teacher : 15 children – 1 teacher, versus 10: 1 in Washington. The group sizes can also be larger, especially in the toddler range. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into the schools with me!
Below, photos from Montessori Academy of Sharon Springs. This school serves children ages 18 months through 15 years of age. The school is run by an educational corporation called ‘Endeavor’. The building is purpose built for a school, with each classroom having direct access to the outside. The environment is very polished and perfect. I loved the photos throughout the building with the Montessori quotes, the awesome rug in this classroom, the flags at the entrance that signal diversity and the greenhouse that is being built by the middle school students – great practical life for big kids!
Below, photos from Stepping Stone Montessori School. My first impression of this smaller school was that it is a very warm, homey environment, serving infants through kindergarten. I loved the sculpture out front, and the emphasis on nature (composting, feeding the birds, herb garden for sensory exploration) and their beautiful infant environment.
Finally, take a glimpse into Children’s House of North Forsyth. This school is in a rural Georgia setting. This school has a very full set of Montessori materials. As an example, for exploring landforms, there were 3 D models, landform wooden puzzles, nomenclature cards, felt versions of the landforms, and materials for the children to make their own versions of the landforms. The classrooms were very quiet and peaceful. The adult to child ratio was about 1:6 in the preschool and 1:5 in the elementary, so the children received a lot of adult attention. The school has a chef (yes, a chef, not a cook) and I was very impressed with the delicious smell of lunch cooking. The photos below are of the elementary classroom and the awesome outdoor music feature on the playground.