Wilmington Montessori School, an alternative to traditional western education, is an education style based on self-directed activities, collaboration, and hands-on learning. With guidance from teachers, the children practice an independent learning style based on their needs rather than follow one method given to all children. Rather than speaking to a class of students, learning is separated and targeted. Montessori education focuses on students’ different needs, strengths, and interests to create a personalized learning experience.
Wilmington Montessori School (WMS) has been transforming the lives of its students for almost six decades. In 1963, a group of Delaware parents advocated for their children’s independent and individualized education options. As a result, the school began with 14 children enrolled in a storefront. The school follows the beliefs and practices of Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator. She studied how children learn naturally, particularly students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This method of education offers a “meet-you-where-you-are” approach. In addition, the educators at Wilmington emphasize the importance of self-discovery and self-sufficiency from a young age.
For this reason, students can begin schooling at 12 months until eighth grade. Today, WMS has over a hundred students, a 10:1 teacher ratio, and an established ecosystem of educators. The campus sits on a 25-acres with over 30 classrooms, stages, music and art rooms, and a gymnasium at 1400 Harvey Road in Ardencroft.
The curriculum at Wilmington Montessori School is ungraded, open-ended, and choice-based. The school’s core values include promoting education for life, a joyful environment for children, individualized learning, teachers who focus on children, and parent partnership. Children learn in mixed age groups, a strategy to encourage older children to mentor the younger children. Groups include ages 12 months to 3 years in the Toddler Program, ages 3-6 in the Primary Program, ages 6-9 in first through third grade, ages 9-12 in fourth through sixth grade, and ages 12-14 in seventh and eighth grade.
WMS has several options for financial aid, as a Montessori education often has private school tuition rates. The Board of Directors created a program that covers up to 50% of tuition. In addition, the School & Student Services by NAIS provides need-based financial services. The school also offers three different tuition payment plans. Tuition includes low student-to-teacher ratios, technology-filled classrooms, free parent education programs, guest speakers, home learning plans, STEAM materials, and extracurricular programs like music, Spanish, art, and physical education. The school also has a 1:1 iPad program. Wilmington Montessori School has an email titled Family Relations dedicated to communicating efficiently with parents. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling, first-come, and first-served basis. In addition, you can schedule a virtual or in-person tour online.
Camp Montessori is a summer camp for Wilmington Montessori School enrolled students. The school also hosts a Core Camp for children entering preschool through fourth grade and specialty camps that offer a rotating focused experience. This year, Archery and Literacy programs are available for students to enroll in for the summer. Archery I teaches students the basics of archery. At the same time, Archery II provides more intermediate challenges for those who have completed at least one archery class. The Literacy Camp is a 1:1 program that offers tutoring in reading, writing, and reading comprehension by year-round instructional support specialist Trish Harkins. In addition to summer camps, WMS provides before and after school care and “School’s Out” care for days the school is closed. Additionally, after-school enrichment programs include drama, dance, art sports, science, and yoga.
The new school year brings several upcoming events for parents and students at WMS. These include Back-to-School classroom visits, a family picnic, Grandfriends Day, and a family education program called The Journey. The Journey provides the opportunity for families to learn about Montessori education. They step into the classroom to view the process in person. In addition, peace Park is located on the school property. WMS built the park in memory of Dr. Montessori’s dedication to social justice and world peace. The peace pole represents justice for all, and our differences are critical to becoming influential leaders and good citizens. To stay in the loop of what’s going on at Wilmington Montessori School, subscribe to their community Wednesday Weekly Newsletter. The school publishes weekly during the school year (except on school breaks) and bi-weekly during the summer.
Now with thousands of Montessori schools worldwide, WMS is one of the most-esteemed Montessori schools in the United States. The school’s wealth of resources may give insight into why the school is so accredited and impressive. If you’re looking for more individualistic schooling for your child, you might consider Wilmington Montessori School.
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