Holistic Education

Hi everyone. I write a lot about “post-grad life”, but I want to retrace my educational path and show how my unique learning shaped me into the woman I am today. I also want to showcase an exciting new opportunity that continues to shape young leaders.

I was held back from preschool for medical issues, but I eventually started at Oak Hill Montessori, a K-8 school in Shoreview. I love Oak Hill and I stayed there for another ten years.

Oak Hill embraces Maria Montessori’s education model, which she created in Italy in the early 20th century. This model allows children to work at their own pace on projects that excite them. There are lessons, books, and toys all around the classroom and children can take out whatever they like, as long as they clean up after themselves. I spent a lot of time in a corner chair reading, and I wrote a report on white-tailed deer after finding an antler in my backyard in third grade. One fun thing my school did was “Halloween Heroes”. We all picked a historical figure, wrote a report on them, and then presented our report in costume around Halloween.

Another key aspect of Montessori is that children of different ages and “grades” are intermingled. At Oak Hill, we had preschool/kindergarten, 1st/2nd/3rd grades, 4th/5th/6th grades, and then 7th/8th. Each section is distinct, but grades didn’t really matter within the classrooms. This also allows children to learn at a more advanced pace in certain subjects and take their time on others.

I took this autonomy and creativity in education for granted, and I didn’t realize how rare it is in modern schools. Going to a more “traditional” high school was a shock for me, but I’m glad I had both styles of education. Especially in my younger years, I was allowed to shape my interests and identity, and I think every child should have this opportunity.

I was so excited when I learned my cousin Kristin is opening SKOLA Microschool, “a modern one-room schoolhouse” in Roseville. “SKOLA” simply means “school” in many European languages.

The school is focused on allowing children to be outside as much as possible and giving children the gift of working with multiple age levels in the same classroom. SKOLA will always have a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio, so kids can receive more personalized instruction from a teacher. This is very similar to my Montessori education, which focused on small classes and individual learning.

Kristin and her co-teacher Ginger Montezon are committed to education that works in the real world. “I don’t think anyone denies that the current school ‘assembly line’ no longer matches the skills required to be a modern thinker or citizen. I love multi-ages mixing with one another and it supports both our highest values of Collaboration and Community. This more closely resembles real-life relationships and provides a setting for really authentic learning Students can work on collaborative projects,, and use the time more efficiently. Skola is a happier and healthier approach to a school day. “

The school is held in Rose Hill Alliance Church in Roseville, and 18 of the 24 slots are already full. Waiting lists will begin on August 1st, so curious parents can look into registration here.

Kristin’s background as a semi-traditional middle school teacher has given her plenty of experience, and her graduate research into alternative education models prepared her well for her new adventure. She and her co-teacher have been dreaming of SKOLA for almost four years, but frustrations during the pandemic pushed them forward. Kristin and Ginger are excited to form this partnership and educate the next generation of modern thinkers and equipped citizens.

I am so grateful to have had an independent and creative education, and I’m excited to see how new students learn from SKOLA. As Kristin says, “This microschool is my gift to my own kids and to the profession that I love. It’s the way I want them to experience school and also the way I want to teach from here on out.”

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