School choice benefits all students

Steamboat Springs

Montessori Charter School Board

We are motivated to create Steamboat Springs Montessori charter school because of our enthusiasm for the Montessori method of education and our strong belief that public school choice benefits all students.

Nearly a century old, Montessori is a proven academic method and philosophy that emphasizes the development of the whole child -- academically, socially, emotionally, intellectually, physically and culturally. Montessori is a nurturing process of educating children that encourages lifelong learning. The basic tenets of the Montessori method are: multi-age classrooms, self-directed learning, integrated curriculum and a prepared environment.

Children in a Montessori classroom spend the majority of their time engaged in individual work of their own choosing and are permitted to develop at their own pace intellectually with the help, encouragement and facilitation of the Montessori teacher, who acts as a trained guide, observer and recorder of student progress.

Multi-age classrooms support the development of leadership, community and respect for others.

The Montessori curriculum is imbued with the very social and personal development that public education is working to add to its curriculum. These include citizenship, self-reliance, self-discipline, self-directedness, peace training and caring and compassion for others. The Montessori method not only works best to develop the potential of many children, it also fits best with the beliefs and parenting of many families.

Additionally, the Montessori method has been proven to work in public education. There are more than 300 public Montessori schools in the United States. Many of these schools are shining examples of educational excellence: Community Montessori public school in Boulder was one of only three schools in Colorado to score 100 percent on the third-grade reading CSAP this year; Dennison Montessori public school in Denver, in its 19th year (the oldest public Montessori in Colorado), consistently has been named a Colorado school of excellence; public Montessori schools across the nation are expanding in response to their overwhelming popularity.

No matter how many students are in a school district, educators agree that no single educational method can fully serve all students. Many of the 14 public Montessori programs in Colorado are in small and rural districts, including Carbondale, Paonia and Gilpin County.

Our drive to bring the Montessori method to Steamboat's public education comes from our desire to make this method available to any and all families who feel it is best for their children. The goal of public education is to provide a free and appropriate education, and it is our belief (as well as that of many educators and legislators) that it is the parents who are in the best position to determine what is appropriate for their child.

Numerous studies show that school choice makes the system better for all students. We are a nation (and certainly a community) built on the principle that healthy competition makes us stronger. Introducing competition into public education creates schools that are more responsive to parents' desires and to students' needs and schools that strive to differentiate themselves and fill different niches, thereby better serving all of the students.

A Steamboat Springs Montessori charter school would be a positive addition to our community.

For more information about the school, please visit our Web site at www.ssmontessori.org, e-mail us at info@ssmontessori.org or call us at 879-8108.

And to tell the Steamboat Springs School Board that you want a progressive school district that supports all students reaching their full potential, vote "no" on the advisory question (Referendum 3B).

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