Livingston County’s new Montessori charter school

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Light of the World Academy in Pinckney offers tuition-free K-6 education

Livingston County has a new tuition-free public charter school – Light of the World Academy in Pinckney. The Montessori school has been operating as a private school since 2002, but starting this fall, it will reopen as a K-6 charter school.

Charter schools are public schools in every way, which means Light of the World Academy will be open and available tuition-free to any Michigan resident. The school is currently accepting enrollments for students that will be entering grades K-6 in the fall. Light of the World Academy intends to add seventh grade next year and eighth grade the following year, so that it will eventually operate as a K-8 school.

Light of the World Academy will continue to operate a tuition-based Montessori preschool.

To enroll or for more information, call 734-878-3301, or stop by the school, located at Shalom Lutheran Church, 1740 E. M-36, Pinckney.
Light of the World Academy is also inviting prospective families to attend an open house on Friday, May 15, from 5-8 p.m. The open house is also open to prospective preschool students and families.

Tours of the school will be given from 5-6:30 p.m., and at 6:30, the premiere of a documentary about Light of the World Academy will take place – a film that was shot, directed and edited entirely by the upper-elementary students at the school.

“We’re excited to be able to offer a free Montessori education to the community,” said Kathy Moorehouse, director of Light of the World Academy. “We’ve enjoyed great success as a private school, but we wanted to be able to offer this type of education free of charge to everyone.”

Light of the World Academy received its charter through Grand Valley State University, and will be managed by GPS Educational Services, which has extensive experience in the charter school world.

When it opens in the fall, it will become just the second elementary charter school in Livingston County (the other being Charyl Stockwell Academy in Hartland). Light of the World Academy will also be the only Montessori public or charter school anywhere in the area; there are currently no other Montessori public or charter schools in either Livingston or Washtenaw counties.

Though its status will be changing from private to charter, Light of the World Academy intends to maintain the same strong values, Montessori program and service-based community outreach that it’s become known for. Students at the school participate in a variety of local and global outreach programs every year, including the Pinckney Food Bank, Pinckney Senior Center, Raincatchers (an organization that provides water resources and more to Haiti), Recreate Pinckney and more.

The Montessori method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Dr. Montessori’s method has been time tested, with more than 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world.

It is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.

There are currently 303 charter schools in Michigan, including several in Livingston County. Charter schools operate with their own school board, and are accountable to both their school board and their authorizer, which sets well-defined academic, financial and other expectations.

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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.