North Star hopes to expand Montessori method to their middle and high school

MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Music, mats, and methods are just some of the aspects of the Montessori approach seen at the North Star Montessori Academy.

"For the most part, education in the U.P. is very traditional, so we serve a need here of offering something a little different," said Andrea Ballard, the prinicipal of North Star Monessori Academy. "It’s a follow the child approach."

The daily schedule is broken down into three hour un-interrupted work cycles where students can select what they want to do on their work planner and fully immerse themselves in it.

"The teachers then go to each individual student or students in the same pace and do our individual lessons with them," said Autumn Bates, the first through third grade teacher. "We literally go from child to child to child, teaching."

"I like how they sort of know what I’m doing and go along at my pace and teach me," added Conner Henry, a North Star fourth grader.

Children working on their own for three hours typically causes distractions, however teachers have many options to keep their students on track.

"We rotate things on the shelves and we teach things to the students so there's always something new that sparks their interest," added Bates. "Naturally they are going to be a little distracted, sometimes we have to move people around, but it works and they are like a family."

With no desks or assigned seating students feel comfortable to challenge themselves to harder work.

"I like how how you don’t have to do all the same things at once," said third grader, Bailey Francisco.

"You can always learn a few works that are a grade ahead of you and I like how we can switch rooms like the language, math and culture rooms," added her cousin, Izzy Francisco another third grader.

This year North Star Montessori Academy is seeing its largest enrollment in several years. Right now, the Montessori Method goes to 6th grade at North Star, however it might expand to middle and high school in the near future.

"I think it will help these kids be more developed more well-rounded better members of the community and society," explained Ballard.

And with their Thursday open house, North Star not only wants to celebrate their success over the years, but also encourage others to join their unique community.

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