St. Lawrence preschool has purchased and is using Montessori-based learning materials for student inquiry and exploration. Montessori education is practiced in an estimated 20,000 schools worldwide, serving children from birth to 18 years old. It is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits and respect for a child's natural psychological development, as well as technological advancements in society. Students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction.
The materials aid preschool students in development of life skills, sensory development, language skills and mathematics.
The Robert and Frances Chaney Foundation was formed on June 14, 2006, to benefit the less fortunate in Barry County and southern Oregon. Bob Chaney cared deeply about children and families, with a special concern for public safety personnel, their families and the many organizations they represent, including fire and police departments.
The geographic areas the foundation serves were chosen because the family has resided in both Oregon and Barry County. The foundation has a spring and a fall grant cycle that awards grants in four areas: human services, public safety, faith-based programs and other charitable causes.
St. Lawrence received $2,863 in spring 2008 from the Chaney Family Foundation for the purchase of Microsoft Operating Systems.
Science materials and math manipulatives were also purchased through the grant and are used in kindergarten through grade sixth grades. The students learn when they observe objects and events, inquire how concepts are related and test their ideas.
With the additional materials, students at St. Lawrence Catholic School are actively observing, thinking and making connections.
"I think the benefits of this teaching is that students use as many senses as possible," said Teresa Verhoff, principal at St. Lawrence. "Younger students will remember more using this method of teaching rather than with a sheet of paper that says circle the largest object."
St. Lawrence Catholic School is accredited through the Missouri Non-Public School Accrediting Association. The school offers both morning preschool and extended day preschool and also serves students in kindergarten through sixth grades. Students of all faiths can attend the school.