The Baldwin County School district opened their Montessori Academy in August of this year, a student-driven way of learning. They offer a daycare program for children 6 weeks to 5 years old. Now only four months into their first year, the program is looking to expand.
Children 6 weeks to 5 years old can come to the Early Learning Center in Milledgeville for a Montessori daycare program.
A program that’s more educationally-driven is what brought Ian McMullen’s 6-month-old and 3-year-old sons to the Montessori Academy.
“When we heard about this, we thought it’d be a neat opportunity to have something that maybe went a little above the traditional daycare experience," McMullen said.
That’s what Director of the Montessori Academy and Early Learning Center, Lori Smith, says is the goal of the program. She calls it a student-driven way of learning.
“There’s a lot of materials out in the classroom, children select what they’re interested in, what they want to do, how they want to interact with those materials, and the teachers are more facilitators," Smith said.
Smith says Baldwin County wants to be able to provide whatever style of education that kids need.
“No educational option is right for every child, every year, so the key here in Baldwin County is to offer a variety of different choices to families so that when you look at a child that learns in a certain way, that you’re able to meet that need," Smith said.
Now in only their fourth month of opening, Smith says they program is ready to expand.
Next school year, Baldwin County Schools will be adding a Pre-K Montessori class option, and potentially beyond that.
It won’t cost the school system anything in addition, and it’ll be a free program for students, just like all the other curriculum options Baldwin County currently offers.
“What we’d like to do is take these children and if they want to stay in a Montessori situation, open up Montessori options in the elementary school," Smith said.
And that’s something McMullen says he and his wife are looking forward to.
“We said, ‘Well, what’s going to happen when we get to Pre-K, are we going to have to send them somewhere else,’ so it’s a huge thing for us that they’re going to expand into pre-k here and possibly even beyond to elementary school," McMullen said.
The Ear;y Learning Center is a partnership between Baldwin County schools and Georgia College in Milledgeville.
Registration for next year’s Montessori Pre-k program is from January 14th-31st. To apply for one of the 22 spots available, you can pick up a packet at:
Early Learning Center
325 Stadium Dr.
Milledgeville, GA 31061