Montessori is education for life. York School District One provides a Montessori education to children ages three through five. Families must apply for the program, and a lottery approach is used to complete classroom rosters. Through this hands-on, discovery approach to learning, students work at their own pace and experience a high rate of success. Classes are multi-aged and foster cooperation vs. competition. Respect for others and the environment, and responsibility for one's own learning are cornerstones of the Montessori philosophy. Students thrive when they have the opportunity to physically manipulate objects in order to learn difficult concepts.
Montessori teachers are specially trained facilitators who guide students to explore their world and think creatively. Academic achievement is a major focus in the Montessori classroom. As students work independently, they are empowered by the knowledge they acquire and maintain a love of learning. In addition, growth in the effective areas of development results from the emphasis on teaching the whole child.
The Montessori Method is used worldwide; celebrated its 100th birthday in 2007. Since 1995, approximately 44 public schools in 22 districts in South Carolina continue to offer Montessori education as an instructional program of choice for families. Most of these programs are at the pre-school and elementary level.
York School District One offers two Montessori classrooms, hosted at Hunter Street Elementary School.