Montessori program launched at St. Aloysius
Scott Kapperman, principal at St. Aloysius Regional School, said that parents in the community showed intense interest and support for a Montessori program, which focuses on child independence, freedom and respect for a child’s natural, psychological development.
“We found, during a survey, that parents wanted this kind of program for their kids,” Kapperman said, during the Montessori classroom’s first day of operation. “When we were looking for ways to boost enrollment, Montessori was a route we looked at and parents were very receptive to the idea. It’s going to be an exciting year.”
Inside teacher Colleen Smith’s classroom, children were buzzing around the room, investigating everything from small containers full of trinkets to wooden blocks that had been spread across the floor. After taking a 16-year hiatus from teaching, Smith said she was delighted that she was going to teach the St. Aloysius class. Currently, she is in training in the Montessori method and said she sees the benefits it has had on children.
“I wish my daughter had been able to go through [Montessori],” she said. “She’s an independent type and this program would have really fit her needs.”
In addition to the traditional classroom, which had to be refurbished to accommodate the Montessori method, there will be an outside classroom, as well as a small greenhouse, which will allow children to grow plants and flowers.
“[The children will] work at their own pace,” Smith said. “There’s structure, yes, but the program takes into account each individual child.”
In the St. Aloysius Montessori program, participating children will learn social techniques and manners and participate in singing songs and reading stories individually or in groups. In one offering, children can choose an activity that is related to an activity they had previously completed, which helps with structure and individual decision making.
Dr. Rosemary Henry, superintendent of Catholic schools, was in attendance on Tuesday, playing with the children and overseeing first-day operations.
“It’s very innovative and unique,” Henry said, adding that she believes this one is the first Montessori classroom offered in Springville.
Henry said she is familiar with Montessori from her exposure to it at a school in Buffalo, where she said it has been enthusiastically received by both parents and children. She said she hopes that parents embrace the concept in Springville, as well.
The program at St. Aloysius can accept as many as 24 children, ages 3 – 5 and enrollments are still being accepted, but Kapperman noted that the school would most likely have to hire an aide to help Smith if the classroom reached those numbers.
There is a cost for enrollment. More information about the program can be found at www.staloysiusregional.com or by calling 592-7002.