PLYMOUTH — Marcy Prochaska is opening the ‘Little Way Montessori School’ this fall.
She earned her Montessori certification from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies (CGMS) in January 2019.
CGMS is approved by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE).
She is certified to teach children ages 3 to 6.
Prochaska also has a Master’s Degree in Teaching from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Her endorsement was for English and Math for grades 6 through 12.
Prochaska highlighted that the Montessori method of education offers self-directed activities in open space.
She summarized the Montessori approach as, “Freedom within limits.”
The Montessori method was developed by Maria Montessori.
According to Prochaska, “Maria Montessori was put in charge of the State Orthophrenic School for ‘defectives’. These are the children who were deemed so learning deficient that they were basically institutionalized. They had nothing to play with and nothing to do. She was given the responsibility of caring for them and educating them. They eventually got to the point where they took the state exams and they performed equal to ‘normal’ children.”
The success of her methods with children who faced challenges inspired her to apply them to all children.
Curriculum areas of the program include language, mathematics, practical life, sensorial, cosmic, arts, music and movement.
Concentration, Coordination, Order and Independence (CCOI) are emphasized with the practical life and sensorial activities.
Being mindful of the present and aware of the process enhances proper order and creates independence.
“There is a great amount of peace and order in the classroom by the way it is set up.”
Prochaska detailed that the program does set expectations and upholds healthy boundaries while promoting autonomy and individualization.
Prochaska shared, “It offers executive functioning, working memory, planning, reflection, and remembering the steps of a process. All of those skills can be summarized in being an individual person with autonomy. Instead of being dependent on a teacher giving you an assignment, tell you how to do it, when to do it and when to turn it in; you get to and have to exercise your own thinking, own interests within an ideal environment.”
Prochaska emphasized, “Offering choice makes the learning more efficient. It is treating children as people and respecting that they do have their own interests and have their own unique abilities and desires.”
Prochaska offered, “The Montessori environment is rich with learning opportunities. Montessori children have a reputation for doing well academically.”
The teacher’s role is to prepare the environment to make sure that the materials that are available are appropriate to the needs and abilities to those in the group.
The teacher may work independently with a student or lead a small group activity occasionally.
The teacher also conducts observation to ensure that proper modifications are made to keep the environment engaging for learning.
Grace and Courtesy
Prochaska shared that ordinary social skills such as grace and courtesy is also part of the curriculum.
“That involves things like moving around the classroom without bumping into someone else’s work or knocking something over. Making sure that you respect other people’s work space and keep your voice low. Also the courtesy aspect which includes how to greet someone who comes into the room. How to celebrate someone’s birthday. How to receive a gift.”
The materials used in Montessori programs are unique.
The products are designed to isolate the difficulty of the skill being developed.
The materials are precise to avoid overstimulation.
Combination of students
Children within the program are not divided by age, instead the combination of students offers the older children leadership opportunities.
The younger children are also inspired by the accomplishments of the older children.
Prochaska explained, “An older child who gives a younger student a lesson, they solidify their own learning.”
Location and contact information
Prochaska is renting space at the St. Thomas Episcopal Parish Hall in Plymouth to open Little Way Montessori School this fall.
Prochaska emphasized that although the school meets in a church that this is not a religious program.
The program will start in August and will follow the Plymouth Community School Corporation academic calendar.
The day will run from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. five days a week.
The fee is $200 a month per child. A discount is offered for additional siblings.
Enrollment applications and more information can be found online at www.littlewaymontessori.org.