For five weeks, a group of education majors made the 15 to 20 minute drive down Interstate 30 to visit the Montessori Children’s House.
All six students in the group are part of Ranae Stetson's Intro to Early Childhood Education class. According to Stetson, the class is the first in a two-year program all education majors must complete.
This class consists of 44 students split into groups of six. They are sent to local schools to observe and apply concepts taught in the course. The class is set up to educate the students about the four domains of children: cognitive, social, emotional and physical.
“I believe the best way to understand theory is to see it and practice it, so I have always been committed to the field base part of this program,” Stetson said.
Amy Henderson, head of school, said the students' initial objective was to develop a case study for a good grade. But at the end, the students got more than what they asked for.
“I think it is a bonus for students visiting a Montessori school,” Henderson said. “They get to see all the different ages together and compare the behavior of a 4-year-old and a 5 or 6-year-old in one class.”
Katie Gazda, a junior education major, said she would miss visiting and working with the children.
Gazda's classmate, Laura Robertson, had similar feelings about the time they spent at the Montessori House.
“I have absolutely loved working with the kids at the Montessori Children's House," the sophomore education major said. "It was such a new experience, watching a classroom embody what Maria Montessori believed in and advocated for."
Julie Sphar, an eighth-year preschool teacher, said the college students were not the only ones benefiting from the experience.
“The children became very interested in showing the TCU students their work and are taking pride in showing the older students their skills.” Sphar said.
Pat Williams, a sixth-year preschool teacher, said the children enjoyed the group's visits.
“It is an excitement for the children and a change in the day," Williams said. "The TCU students have been very sweet and very attentive to the children."
This article was corrected to show the correct spelling of Julie Sphar's name.