Keeping the practice of Montessori teaching alive, Acreage Montessori Academy recently opened in The Acreage. The school is located in the former Planet Kids facility, across from Western Pines Middle School.
Acreage Montessori Academy owner Michele Kincaid took over the location in October and has transformed the traditional-style preschool to include a Montessori learning center. Acreage Montessori Academy teaches children from eight weeks up to 5 years, when they are ready to go to elementary school. “We will also have a daycare center open to the public regardless if their children go to our school,” Kincaid said.
The day after Thanksgiving, the school launched its new expanded holiday hours to make it more convenient for parents when doing holiday shopping. “We will be open until 11 p.m. every night of the week, all day Saturday and from 1 to 8 p.m. on Sunday through the entire holiday season.”
Kincaid has been in the education industry for 22 years and owns four other schools. She has been successful in ensuring that children are well prepared for elementary and beyond. “My school ABC Montessori in Jupiter Farms scored a perfect score of 100 in VPK readiness for three years in a row,” she said.
Kincaid attributes this to the Montessori method of learning. “With the Montessori environment, they are already in pre-reading and learning sight words by the time they’re ready for elementary school,” she said. “They absorb information so much better because we expose them to as much information as they can take.”
The Montessori method is a hands-on, interactive approach to learning in which children learn at their own pace by using special materials in a prepared environment. Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori developed the method in the early 1900s.
Over the years, Montessori has become a unique form of teaching that attracts some of the most passionate educators. Kincaid first became aware of the method more than 22 years ago, when her oldest child started school. She witnessed first-hand how the method transformed the learning capacity of her children. “Montessori is a passion,” Kincaid said. “A passion for creating a learning environment for children that is interactive and hands-on.”
Acreage Montessori Academy Director and lead Montessori teacher Patty Paige believes in this unique method of teaching. Paige was attracted to the Montessori method because of the way the children learn. “It’s more on an individual level,” she said. “Everyone can learn at their own pace.”
Everything the children learn is hands-on, from math, for which students count beads, to practical life skills, such as fine motor coordination, concentration and independence.
“They use tweezers and tongs to move objects, and it helps them to develop their hand muscles,” Paige explained. “It simulates as if they’re writing because they’re using the same muscles, but they’re not just sitting and working out of a notebook. They are still learning but in a different, more fun and interactive way.”
Lessons are first taught in a group setting, and then the teacher sits with each child individually to ensure that he or she understands the material. “This way no one gets left out,” Paige said. “Whether the child is advanced or not, they can get that one-on-one attention needed.”
Acreage Montessori Academy is located at 5700 140th Ave. North. For more information, visit michelekincaid.vpweb.com or call (561) 784-0078.
Above: Acreage Montessori Academy owner Michele Kincaid, Director and lead Montessori teacher Patty Paige, and Director Johanna Moyett.