SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) A typical school day at Marquette Montessori in South Bend is busy yet calm.
“So you just don't do paper all day,” explained Dylevi Nguti. “You can choose whatever you want to do.”
Dylevi is a second grader who does a lot of third grade work. He loves math and language arts.
“You can learn it by touching it,” said Nguti. “And see it with your own eyes.”
Marquette's program is for early childhood and grades one through three combined.
“When I go in the Montessori classrooms, the students are always engaged,” said resource teacher Fran DeFreeuw. “They might be engaged in different areas, but they're all engaged.”
But it's not always easy for some kids, especially the ones who haven't worked with a Montessori program before.
“They're coming in with skills that they just don't have yet,” said principal Deb Cyrier. She says those kids need time to adjust.
“They need some time to work to regulate their emotions and have their basic needs met first,” said Cyrier.
The money from Martin's Super Markets' $1,000 One School at a Time grant will go toward materials and staff instruction for a “reset room.” It’s a mindful place where kids will go to settle down and refocus.
“If you get mad or you get really excited you can go in there and calm down,” said Addie Hunter-Bowman, a first grader.
“Because we can make the mindful room and a lot of kids here probably need it,” said third grader Emani Wright.
“They have all of these outside influences that they come to school and their head's not in the game,” explained teacher Jessica Lane. “They're thinking about what happened before they got here. They're thinking about maybe going home and not eating. So I feel like having a reset room for the kids will sort of get their head in the game.”
The teachers say that will help build confidence too.
“Now they have a little more confidence to do life instead of not just school but out in the world too,” said Rosalind Ruis, instructional assistant.
The staff hopes to have the reset room ready for the start of the next school year.
If you would like to nominate your school for a One School at a Time grant, just fill out an application online.
Apply by going to michianaschools.com