DECATUR- Currently, there's one Montessori Program in Decatur Public Schools at Garfield. But with roughly 200 families on the waiting list, the district is looking to expand the program.
Right away you'll notice a Montessori classroom is different. The kids learn on mats on the floor. The teachers it with students and those students are multi-age. The focus is not only on academics, but to develop the whole child.
As a part of the plan, Enterprise School would get three classrooms for 3-5 year olds with three new teachers and helpers. Each class would have 14 students. The plan would be to transform the school into a Montessori program over six years.
Garfield Principal Mary Anderson says the well-rounded way of learning translates also into traditional academic success.
"It isn't about the academics but what we find is that in building a whole child, the academics go hand in hand and our children are very successful on nationalized tests," Anderson says.
There are costs. The first year would be more than 150 thousand dollars and would include transforming the classrooms, training the staff, and hiring new teachers. But the costs would be much smaller each year after that.
The school board will have to vote at its next meeting on November 19th. If it passes, the changes will go through in the 2014-2015 school year.