News Item

Lander and Greenwood District 50 sign Montessori Agreement

June 30, 2015

Lander University and Greenwood School District 50 have agreed to partner in establishing and operating a Montessori Early Childhood laboratory school at Lakeview Elementary School in Greenwood. Both sides said the agreement will provide exemplary educational opportunities for children and an enhanced environment for Lander to deliver its Montessori Teacher Education program.

Lander is the only university or college in South Carolina to offer a Montessori education curriculum and one of the few accredited university-based Montessori teacher preparation programs in the U.S. It offers a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education with Montessori emphasis, and a master’s in Montessori Education.

Barbara Ervin, director of Lander’s Montessori program, said the agreement benefits both Lander and Lakeview. The school will provide year-round classroom space to Lander teacher education students as well as office and teaching space.

She said Lander hopes to attract Montessori Teacher Education students from other states and countries. “We need to build capacity for our students and the Lakeview agreement will provide a location for students to complete practice teaching requirements.”

Ervin added, “Lakeview will benefit from the expertise of Lander’s Montessori teacher education faculty. We will be able to provide professional development and free course work for their teachers.” 

The program at Lakeview will begin in the fall with two preschool classes for 4- and 5-year-old children and one class for first- and second-graders. Several Lander undergraduate teacher candidates will be placed at the school to perform clinical work.

In the 12 years since the Virginia Self Center for Montessori Education was introduced at Lander, 150 students from across the state and region have graduated and received certification by the American Montessori Society. The university’s goal is to provide greater accessibility to the program to a wider audience.

Superintendent Dr. Darrell Johnson said District 50 is excited about the partnership with Lander. “It will bring a model Montessori early childhood laboratory school to Lakeview and provide our students with another quality choice option that focuses on self-discipline and independent learning."

 Dr. Daniel Ball signed the agreement as one of his final acts before retiring as Lander president on June 30. He said, “Lander’s Montessori program has continued to grow and flourish in the 12 years since it was introduced as part of the university’s curriculum. The guidance and expertise of Director Barbara Ervin, with the support of the entire College of Education, has been instrumental in the program’s success.”

He agreed that the new partnership with District 50 will benefit Montessori teachers and youngsters at Lakeview. He added, “It will also enhance Lander’s efforts to continue to be a leader among Montessori teacher education institutions.”

Under the agreement, Lander will appoint a Montessori education curriculum coordinator, pay American Montessori Society accreditation fees and assist with the application process, and provide one teacher each year with tuition waivers for nine Montessori education certification courses.


Representatives of Greenwood School District 50, Lakeview Elementary School and Lander University gather after signing an agreement under which the district and Lander will partner in creating an operating a Montessori program at Lakeview in September. From left: District 50 Superintendent Dr. Darrell Johnson; Molly Smith, Lakeview school principal; Dr. Judy Neufeld, Dean of Lander’s College of Education; and recently retired Lander president Dr. Daniel Ball.