VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 19, 2012) - While the BC Ministry of Education tweaks its vision for Personalized Learning, students at Victoria's Maria Montessori Academy (MMA) are already walking that talk in their brand new high school wing. With the official opening of their new 'Omega' wing on Wednesday, November 21, MMA becomes the only school in Western Canada where students can participate in a self-directed, inquiry- and project-based Montessori education from pre-school all the way to Grade 10. And, in less than three years, the school will see its first ever graduating class walk across the stage as they earn their Dogwood Certificates.
Principal Brenda McDermitt explained the relevance and importance of the new high school in today's educational climate: "Montessori educators have known for over a century that how you teach is more important than what you teach. Children and youth have an innate desire to learn and they do their best work when learning is relevant to their individual learning styles and needs. Academic research agrees, and it's wonderful to hear the Ministry of Education saying the same thing. I'm optimistic that someday all schools will follow our teaching model. For now though, we're ahead of the curve, and I have to admit...that feels good."
Established in 1983, Maria Montessori Academy purchased a former elementary school in 2007, in order to have adequate space to build the secondary program. One wing of the building underwent extensive renovation this year to build a space specifically designed to serve the educational needs of young adults. The school has invested $1.9M to ensure the program melds Ministry of Education learning outcomes and Montessori philosophy.
Barb Gunn, the Board member who has spearheaded this initiative is optimistic. "As more research becomes available it is clear that an interactive, integrated approach to learning is best. Even universities are now adopting a less lecture centred more interactive model. We are very excited to offer a program to young adults which encourages their natural curiosity about the world around them and hopefully develops a lifelong love of learning."