Montessori method takes the spotlight

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— Every child learns differently, and a presentation tonight is aimed at helping parents and community members understand the Montessori method of educating children.

Renowned Montessori educator Sonnie McFarland will talk about the Montessori method, including its strengths and how it fits into education as a whole, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Strawberry Park Elementary School.

The goal is for everyone, regardless of their familiarity with the Montessori method, to leave the presentation with a better understanding of the popular education model, said David Patterson, president of Steamboat Springs Montessori.

"I think it's an exciting opportunity for people who are interested," he said.

The event marks the first step in an ongoing effort to provide Montessori education and outreach for parents, he said.

McFarland, who has been involved with Montessori for 35 years and is an educator, teacher trainer and workshop leader, will provide details about the Montessori method, such as how it is different from traditional methods of education and how Montessori students transition into traditional classrooms.

Even if parents don't choose the Montessori method for their children, it can be valuable for them to understand their options, Patterson said.

Steamboat Springs Mon--tessori, a private, nonprofit preschool, invited and paid for McFarland to appear in Steamboat.

Strawberry Park Elementary School, which houses the Steamboat Springs School District's Montessori class for first- through third-graders, and the Montessori teachers at the elementary school and the preschool also helped organize tonight's presentation, Patterson said.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail scunningham@steamboatpilot.com

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