July 24, 2019 1100 PM
ALPINE – As children get ready to return to school, Alpine Montessori School is looking forward its 30th anniversary.
A group of parents started the school in 1989 to educate three- to six-year-old children in the Alpine area. Since then, the school has expanded through 8th grade and been honored by the Texas Workforce Commission’s Texas Rising Star program. It is the only school in the tri-county region to receive four-star certification, the commission’s highest-quality childcare standard.
Montessori differs from traditional schools in many ways. One of Dr. Maria Montessori’s core directives was to “follow the child.” Montessori schools nurture a child’s natural curiosity and independence through self-directed and hands-on learning.
“I love how Montessori is totally in tune with children’s development,” said Megan Wilde, parent of two Alpine Montessori students. “Their curiosity and creativity, their drive to explore, their openness and enthusiasm for the world around them—these parts of childhood are so special. But too much of that gets shut down when a child sits in a desk doing worksheets all day. That’s not what happens here. Children are free to learn how they learn best. I feel like the best parts of my children are nurtured and celebrated at this school.”
Montessori students move at their own pace through lessons, choosing their work within a carefully structured classroom. Teachers function more like guides, sparking children’s desire to seek a lifetime of learning.
At Alpine Montessori, children spend three years in a classroom, building family-like bonds with teachers and peers. Three- to six-year-old children are grouped together in the Primary program, while first- through sixth-grade children are grouped together in the Lower and Upper Elementary programs, like an old-fashioned one-room schoolhouse.
No one has to start from scratch each year, socially or academically. Teachers have three years to learn how to work with each child’s unique interests, personality and learning style. And children learn as much from one another as they do from their teachers. Older children reinforce their knowledge by sharing it with younger peers, while younger children grow into natural classroom leaders.
Montessori also instills in children a deep sense of responsibility and respect for their classroom and community, preparing them to be thoughtful citizens of the world. Children learn important practical and personal skills, like cleaning, preparing food, and resolving conflicts.
“When my children are bored at home, they beg to clean windows and sweep and make snacks,” Wilde said. “I can’t claim any responsibility for this. It’s part of their school culture, and I think they have learned to find real joy and empowerment in making their environment a nicer place and helping others.”
Alpine Montessori is currently enrolling new students, but classrooms are filling up fast. Financial assistance is available. To learn more, visit alpinemontessori.org or contact the school at 432-837-2173.