Montessori school uses 5K to foster learning

Published 7:21 pm Thursday, October 19, 2017

Washington Montessori Public Charter School is partnering with Smoke on the Water organizers for the first time to host a fundraiser 5K.

The Montessori school has hosted 5K races before, but last year was the start of a setup where almost all organizers are middle school children and their parents. Proceeds go to fund end-of-year field trips for those children.

“WMPCS has hosted 5Ks in the past, but recently started to focus on them more as our cross-country program has grown,” said Austin Smigel, director of administration and finance. “We would like to especially thank Anita Purser, parent of an alumni and seventh-grade student, who was integral in making this a reality for our students.”

Partnering with Saturday’s Smoke on the Water events is a way for the Montessori school to spread the word about its learning operation, according to Smigel.

“Smoke on the Water is such a great regional event. We feel fortunate to be able to have it at the same time,” he said. “It provides excellent exposure to the school, our mission and is a great way to stay healthy.”

Smigel said all grades hold fundraisers to help pay for end-of-year field trips. The middle school students are planning a trip to Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, where they will be able to go whitewater rafting and zip lining.

Darla Prescott, directress of academics and education, said the Nantahala trip is just one example of how the school emphasizes hands-on experiences.

“As a Montessori education emphasizes educating the whole child, it expands the limited environment of the classroom to allow children to experience the wonders of the world in which we live,” Prescott said of the trips. “As students mature and display appropriate levels of responsibility, they ‘go out’ for real-life experiences that are designed to foster independence and resourcefulness.”

Prescott said she thinks the outdoor environment of Nantahala can be a good learning tool for the middle school students.

Smigel agreed. He said the trip will expose students to conservation, as well as a different part of North Carolina. By supporting fundraisers like Saturday’s 5K, participants are also supporting these types of adventures for Montessori students.

The 5K will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on East Water Street in Washington. Registration is $30, and T-shirts will be available on a first-come, first served basis.

Online registration ended Thursday, but those interested can register the day of the race.