School Spotlight: Montessori School of Huntsville
Rocket City Mom recently interviewed Allison MacKenzie, Head of the Montessori School of Huntsville, to learn more about this unique school. Located at the foot of Green Mountain in south Huntsville, MSH acommodates students in Preschool – 6th Grade, and is an independent, nonprofit, parent-governed school. They practice the Montessori Method, and the four distinct areas of Montessori education: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, and Math. Each area works in turn to help develop the complete child and allow them to function successfully within their environment now and in the future.
Name of School: Montessori School of Huntsville
Website URL: www.montessorihuntsville.org
Grades/Ages of Students: 18 months through 6th grade
Religious affiliation: None
Teacher/Student Ratio: Varies by age 1:6 toddlers, 1:10 preschool, 1:13 school age
The Montessori School of Huntsville educates children to prepare them for a life of purpose, integrity, and academic accomplishment. We develop independent learners, critical thinkers and tomorrow’s leaders.
We accomplish this through:
- Providing a curriculum that adheres to the principles established by Dr. Maria Montessori, informed by current thinking and research on child development and learning;
- Encouraging each child to grow to his or her fullest potential academically, emotionally, physically and socially;
- Presenting individualized instruction that inspires children to think, question, discover and to work to their full potential regardless of chronological age;
- Partnering with parents to ensure that appropriate challenges and support are provided to enable each student to prepare for the social and academic transitions he or she faces;
- Providing educational opportunities in music, art, physical education and foreign language for all students;
- Recognizing that personal growth involves responsibility toward others and toward the environment;
- Increasing our understanding of child development and sharing this understanding with parents and the broader community;
- Developing understanding and appreciation for the value of a Montessori education and the value of our school in the community.
What is your school’s predominant educational philosophy?
We follow the Montessori method of educating children. We view each child as a unique individual and supply the child with a prepared environment that is optimal for their learning. Our classrooms are multi-age in order to form communities in which younger children learn from older children. Learning at a Montessori school engages all of the senses and child is provided with self-correcting materials that enable them to make errors and learn from those errors. The Montessori materials help children evolve from concrete, experience-based learning toward increasingly abstract thought. Teachers “follow the child.” They recognize that each child learns at a different pace and has different periods of interest, and they allow that individual growth to take place.
What sets your school apart from other area programs?
Our campus is in southeast Huntsville – a state-of-the-art day lit school on Chaney Thompson Road between Hobbs Road and Green Cove Road. MSH’s rich curriculum integrates cooking, gardening, music, art, and Spanish with math, reading, writing, history, botany, zoology, physical science, and geography. We seek to ensure educational quality through small class sizes, low teacher/child ratios, and close communication with parents. Our staff and students come from all over the world and speak a wide variety of languages. This cultural, religious, and racial diversity is one of our most prized strengths. We are affiliated with the American Montessori Society and are SAIS accredited. We also provide extended day childcare from 7am until 6pm.
What extracurricular opportunities exist for your students?
During the school day, elementary-age students have art, physical education and Spanish. For a fee, some students participate in Soccer Shots or piano lessons after the school day.
What advice do you have for parents looking for a school for their child(ren)?
You as a parent are an expert on your child. Visit schools and learn about their curriculum and educational philosophy. Ask to see if you can observe a classroom. A few minutes in the environment will tell you if the school is a good fit for your child.
Describe your admissions process.
We invite all families to tour the school prior to beginning the admissions process. Families must complete an application and pay an application fee. All new children are conditionally accepted into the school following an interview with the lead teacher. Parents must provide pre-registration form, pre-admission record and record addendum. A current State of Alabama Certificate of Immunization or a state-issued Exemption, an access control request and their enrollment contract. We offer several Montessori Parent Education seminars throughout the year and encourage anyone in the community who is interested in learning more about the Montessori experience to attend. Call 256-881-3790 for details and a list of dates.
Montessori School of Huntsville Details
Two Locations: Hampton Cove Campus (map) | Main Huntsville Campus (map)
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Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.
Fabulous school! Our twin daughters went there for two years. We particularly loved that MSH is flexible enough to look beyond birth dates when deciding who should be in which grade level. Our girls’ birthday is in October and MSH allowed them to be “a year ahead,” which has worked out wonderfully (3rd grade this year instead of 2nd).
We love MSH and the special attention they give our son! Highly recommended!
We enrolled my daughter in the toddler program when she was two. She is now approaching her fourth birthday and she is in the pre-primary program. It’s tough (at least for me) to fully describe our experience. I can tell you it’s great/wonderful/fabulous and I do feel that way, but I feel like you don’t really “get it” until you see it. I didn’t fully understand until I actually saw the classrooms and watched the kids in their environment. I encourage you to schedule a tour and spend 20 minutes or so observing a classroom. It is truly amazing! The school coordinates “Sharing Night,” which allows parents to visit the classroom so their children can show them what they do at school. My little girl is always SO proud to show me what she does at school, and I am continuously astounded by the things she is able to do. I’m also incredibly grateful that she is experiencing so many different and interesting things every day.
My son started at MSH at 20 months and within a few weeks we saw amazing changes in his independence, confidence and communication. Now at four years, he loves his school and can’t wait to be a kindergardener. He looks forward to learning and loves to share what his accomplishments every day.
When we moved here last year, we enrolled both our children at MSH and it has been one of the most wonderful experiences for them and for us. The school offers extended care from 7am until school begins and also after school until 6pm, which has been great since we work full time. Our kids love that they can explore the area of learning that interests them the most – for our son it’s math and our daughter it’s reading. Our 7 year old is doing multiplication and division while our 3 year old is reading. They are also encouraged to develop in other areas and are guided by their teachers. The only thing I ever knew about Montessori school before we enrolled our children was that that kids I knew who went to a Montessori school were “joyful learners”. And now our kids are just that – joyful learners who have developed an internal love of the learning process. I highly recommend you to schedule a tour to see for yourself what a gem this school truly is.