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
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Stephenie has worked with and around books and authors for over 12 years, both at retail booksellers and public libraries. She is a rare Huntsville native, mother of two high-energy boys, wife of one, and eerily addicted to community volunteering. When she's not being the Managing Editor for RCM she likes to stalk her favorite authors online, cook with way too much butter, and also manages to conduct freelance marketing and PR work.