Bryant Woods Montessori Children’s House in Columbia first opened in 1969. For the past 50 years, hundreds of children have gone through those doors, representing a variety of cultures and ethnic backgrounds.
Mercy Luguterah, the school’s executive director, said it’s “always a delight” to have students attend Bryant Woods Montessori each year without speaking a word of English and watching them grow throughout the year, maintaining their native language while becoming fluent in English.
The one-classroom school had 25 students enrolled for this academic year, ranging in age from 3 to 6. The school, a nonprofit, has two certified Montessori teachers and one classroom assistant.
On Thursday, seven kindergarten students will graduate from Bryant Woods Montessori, honoring the five decades of students before them.
Luguterah said it is the school’s hope that the students “learn not just numbers and languages, but [gain] a sure sense of who they are.”
The school’s “greatest hope and desire” is for students to leave as independent and creative people, Luguterah said.
Bryant Woods Montessori focuses on five areas of curriculum, including mathematics; language, where students are taught phonetically; culture, where students not only learn about different parts of the world but also animals and insects; practical life, where students engage in activities “to enhance their motor skills,” including tying their shoes and cleaning up after themselves; and sensorial activities that enhance a child’s senses.
Last week, the school held its annual end-of-the-year picnic. There was a timeline at the event that showcased the school’s history. The school will celebrate its 50th year until the end of 2019, Luguterah said.