Never too young to learn hands on

Published 9:29 am Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Learning practical life and self-help skills through hands-on activities is what Montessori school is all about.

That’s what Kim Carson said she teaches her class of four toddler students at Agape Montessori Christian Academy in Vicksburg.

The school accommodates children from infants 6 weeks old all the way to seniors in high school.

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“It’s a different way of learning,” she said. “It’s like real-life.”

One method Carson uses is letter sounds when teaching the alphabet, which she said helps students learn to read by giving them context.

Recently the class was working on the letter “N” with Nikki the Narwhal, and they have also been learning the true meaning of Christmas through Bible stories.

As for hands-on learning, she said her students often work with puzzles and blocks so they can really see and feel their lesson in front of them.

“We do a lot of things they can do with their hands and they can see,” Carson said.

Her favorite thing about being a teacher is watching the children grow up and knowing she was able to help them along the way.

“I just love the kids, and making a difference in the kids’ lives,” Carson said.

In addition to having a heart for her students, she also has an appreciation for the Agape school.

“This school is like a big family. Everyone helps everyone out. It’s small so you know everybody,” she said.

Carson is in her sixth year at Agape, and she has taught the Montessori curriculum since 2003. She began as an assistant and then became a lead teacher in 2005.

The Vicksburg native started her teaching career in Seattle where she taught at two schools during the first seven years of her career before she moved back to Vicksburg. Carson graduated from Warren Central High School and trained in Montessori teaching at Montessori Institute Northwest in Portland, Ore.

“It’s just like going to school for any other teaching,” she said. “It’s two years for toddlers. For elementary or to be a high school teacher, it’s four.”

Carson always wanted to work with children, but she didn’t discover Montessori until moving to the northwest. She enjoys the style of teaching and working with younger children has been her passion.

Carson has two daughters — a freshman and a senior at Warren Central.