Montessori program holds open house

July 13, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM


He's a more hands-on learner. He wants to touch and feel everything.

So, Gage Morgan's parents rushed to sign him up for Cascade Elementary School's new Montessori pre-kindergarten program.

Montessori classes emphasize a multisensory experience, and students process information in three different ways: touching something, saying it out loud and seeing it.

Shannon Morgan of Cascade and her husband, Dwayne Morgan, were two of about 25 parents and children gathered Wednesday evening at the school to learn about the new program and the Montessori method. It was the first of two planned open houses. The second is Aug. 1.

Principal Rose Pellegrino said 24 students had applied to the new program. If 40 wish to enroll, the school might open a second class. If not, there might be a waiting list, she said.


Cascade's Montessori program is the county's 13th pre-kindergarten program and is a private-public partnership among The Children's Montessori School of Gettysburg, staff from Cascade and the Washington County Board of Education.

Pellegrino and Christina Placek, Children's Montessori School owner, presented information about Montessori to parents Wednesday and answered questions.

Parents watched a video that showed students learning in a Montessori classroom. Children were working independently, and were using several ways to understand each activity. For example, when learning to write cursive letters, children saw each letter, then traced them in sand.

"We hear that the Montessori method is so good," said Dwayne Morgan. "And so hands on. He would pay more attention in that environment."

Chris Crum of Smithsburg said his son, Alan Crum, 3, may enroll in the new pre-kindergarten class.

"Everyone would learn better this way," he said. "They do what makes sense. They are better able to communicate."

Jennifer Watkins of Cascade said her 3-year-old daughter, Erin Watkins, will be enrolled in the class in August. She said her daughter is eager to go to school and believes Erin will do well in a Montessori program.

"She needs these social skills," Watkins said. "She's so very bright. Better to get her focused now."

She said she was especially impressed when she heard that after one year in a Montessori pre-kindergarten program, students were going into kindergarten already able to read and write.

"This will give her a good head start," Watkins said. "I'm very excited that I can send her."

If you go

What: Open House for information about Cascade Elementary School's new Montessori pre-kindergarten program.

When: Aug. 1, 6 p.m.

Where: Cascade Elementary School, 14519 Pennersville Road, Cascade

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