News Item

Lander accepting applications for Master of Education in Montessori Education

October 15, 2015

Lander University has begun accepting applications for its Master of Education in Montessori Education program for the term beginning in January 2016.

The program makes it possible for certified teachers to obtain a master’s in Montessori education in as little as 18 months. Montessori Program Director Barbara Ervin said classes are arranged to allow students to continue working at their teaching jobs while attending classes.

Lander is one of the few colleges or universities in the country, and the only one in South Carolina, to offer undergraduate-and-graduate level Montessori teacher education degrees. Master’s candidates can select a program leading to American Montessori Society certification at one of three levels: early childhood, ages 3 to 6; and elementary grades 1 to 3, and 4 to 6.

Ervin, who has been director of Lander’s program since 2001, said the demand for teachers has grown, fueled by an increasing popularity of Montessori education among parents. AMS reported there are more than 4,000 Montessori schools in the nation, most of them privately owned, but there has been a slow, steady increase in public programs over the last 15 years.

According to a July 2015 report by the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, South Carolina was ranked #1 in the nation with 22 school districts in 19 counties offering over 300 classes in 42 public schools.

Laurens District 55 leads the state, accounting for about 40 classes in its five elementary schools and two middle schools. Other counties offering Montessori classes are: Allendale, Anderson, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Greenwood, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry, Pickens, Richland, Spartanburg and York counties.

Lander introduced its Montessori education program in 1998 with a grant from the Self Family Foundation. In 2006, the program was named the Virginia Self Center for Montessori Education, honoring Mrs. Self for promoting Montessori at Lander and elsewhere in the state. Since 1998, over 150 students have earned undergraduate and master’s degrees, received AMS certification and gone on to teach in Montessori schools in South Carolina and as far away as Poland.

Andrea Blackwell, a native of Greer, received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s in Montessori education from Lander, and she is teaching English-speaking 9- to 12-year-olds at Warsaw Montessori School in Warsaw, Poland. Blackwell said she was able to complete master’s degree requirements and still work, attending classes in the summer and completing some courses online.

She added, “Lander gave me a firm foundation about the purpose of a Montessori education and on the education of the whole child.” While it has been a year since she graduated, Blackwell said she still communicates with her former Lander professors, using email to ask them for reminders about things they taught her and for additional advice.

As for her teaching experience in Warsaw, she commented, “The Montessori classroom gives me the space and the tools to really help my students reach their potential.”

Applications for Lander’s Master of Education in Montessori Education are being accepted now, with a filing deadline of Dec. 11. More information can be obtained by contacting Barbara Ervin at 864-388-8751 or Martine Fezler at 864-388-8628. Applications are also available online at Select the Admissions link.

 Andrea Blackwell Montessori-resize

Greer native Andrea Blackwell, who earned her graduate and undergraduate Montessori teaching degrees at Lander University, works with her Montessori class in Warsaw, Poland. Lander is currently accepting applications for its Master of Education in Montessori Education.