The headline says it all: Governor Haley visited Coastal Montessori Charter School in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, as reported in the Coastal Observer. It sounds like she got a pretty good picture of Montessori—the article mentions children working in mixed-age groups, at desks or on the floor, with large class sizes (“we like big classes”), using manipulatives that might have looked like games, and enjoying their work. “The adult is not the center of attention; the work is.”
Coastal Montessori, like many public programs, is elementary-only, limited by state funding which doesn’t cover kindergarten or younger. So it’s remarkable that they can have the quality of Montessori described in the article, and it show that it can be done. Still, funding for Montessori Children’s House is an issue in many states. Haley said she “”wouldn’t object” to it, but she didn’t make any promises.
The Governor’s visit came about as part of Montessori Education Week, a project of South Carolina’s thriving South Carolina Montessori Alliance. The National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector’s Montessori Census lists 50 public programs in the Palmetto State, more than any other state listed.