As Miami Gardens continues to push for alternative education and enrichment for children in the city, a native is bringing a Montessori school into the community.
Samiya Spencer, 32, the school’s director, grew up in the Scott Lake neighborhood and said that after spending time teaching high school students in Broward County school system she felt something was missing.
“It seems as though they got lost somewhere from kindergarten to elementary school and then when they got to middle and high school there was a big gap in processing of their writing and their reading skills,” Spencer said.
That gap inspired her and her husband Roderick to find a location to open the school, eventually finding the site at 18690 NW 2nd Ave.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
For Spencer, finding new ways to reach students was also a personal mission, as she wanted to find a unique educational approach for their 2-year-old daughter.
“I began to look into alternative curriculum and alternative education and I stumbled upon Montessori,” Spencer said. “Immediately I just fell in love with the curriculum and how advanced the kids were.”
She spent a year studying the curriculum at a the Von Wedel Montessori School in North Miami, and then began working on establishing her own space. Spencer said beyond the goal of educating students and allowing them a chance to grown in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines, she wants to educate the public about Montessori.
“The myth is there’s no structure in Montessori, which there is,” Spencer said. “The model is basically a hands-off approach so that the teacher is the observant and she guides them.”
Registration is open for children ages 13 months to 5 years old; the school is permitted have up to 96 students.
The students will be split into two groups: 1- to 3-year-old students and 3- to 6-year-old students. The curriculum includes instruction in language arts, math, practical life skills, geography and culture.
The school plans to have an after care program, summer camp and monthly field trips for students.
Spencer also hopes to eventually teach subjects like zoology, botany, Spanish and computer skills. If the school proves successful, she hopes to expand and open more locations and eventually become a landmark in Miami Gardens.
“We’re hoping to provide safe and quality education and we want to be a pillar in this community,” Spencer said.
For more information, or to schedule a tour of the facility, visit mgmontessori.com or call 305-974-2063.
Follow @LDixon_3 on Twitter.