A new Montessori campus is planned in Apollo Beach for the 2021 school year.

By Gwen Rollings

What do Bill Gates (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google founders), Stephen Curry (NBA MVP for the Golden State Warriors), Gabriel García Márquez (Nobel Prize in Literature winner) and Katherine Graham (owner of the Washington Post) have in common? They all attended Montessori schools in their early years.

Good news for the Apollo Beach and SouthShore areas: there will be an additional Montessori campus ready for the 2021 school year to prepare our future tech, literature and artistic leaders.

Rohini Rustogi, owner, president and CEO of The Brandon Montessori, The Riverview Montessori and The SouthShore Montessori Schools, is excited to announce their newest campus in Apollo Beach, Edward J. Samuel, named in honor of Rustogi’s father, who was an educator in India and recently passed away. Early childhood through fifth grade are accommodated between these campuses.

Entering a Montessori school is like stepping inside a busy, productive beehive. Children who are 2 years old and VPK and elementary school ages are surrounded by a plethora of tactile learning tools. Two 6-year-old girls might be examining the wonder of a large sunflower, while a boy completes a personalized reading assessment activity. Other small groups could learn about famous artists and ‘duplicate’ their styles through projects prepared by instructors.

Each busy bee is intently involved in hands-on exploring the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of things. Students use materials to explore topics like grammar and multiplication, learn how to internalize thinking and figure things out by observing, questioning and absorbing instead of memorizing words and facts.

Teachers are guides, and there can be three or more guides in each classroom. Instead of a grade-by-grade, one-size-fits-all curriculum, lessons are tailored to challenge each child’s interests and learning style.

Jacky Dickerson, director of The SouthShore Montessori School, said, “I witnessed the success and love of learning when my niece and nephew attended Riverview Montessori. Now the Montessori Method has allowed my son, Bailey, to learn naturally and conceptually, which has supported him becoming a lifelong learner as well. I couldn’t be happier.”

Children learn while at school and can finish their work in the classroom with a teacher present if help is needed. Homework usually consists of daily readings and practicing spelling words.

Rustogi said, “We are a family, and we look for ways to encourage each child, teacher and staff member to recognize the best in themselves and one another.”

For more information, visit www.wearemontessori.com or call 677-5000.