More students from around the world will have the chance to learn from OCU faculty.
The university and the National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences in Taiwan agreed to create a Master’s degree program in Montessori early childhood education. The program will operate in Taiwan by OCU faculty who will travel to the country.
“This is an exciting time for this program,” said Charlotte Wood-Wilson, director of the Montessori teacher education program. “There are only a handful of universities in the states that teach this type of program so being able to spread this across the globe is exciting.”
Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori based on an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical and social development, according to the American Montessori Society.
This education method calls for free activity within a “prepared environment,” meaning an educational environment tailored to basic human characteristics, to the specific characteristics of children at different ages and to the individual personalities of each child.
“The program is tailored around the child’s needs,” Wood-Wilson said. “We also observe the child, see what they know and don’t know and what their interests are and then make sure we have that in the environment for the child.”
Wood-Wilson said they started the discussion to have the agreement with NTUNHS when they noticed several international students in the program at OCU were concerned about the education systems in their home countries.
“Montessori is very popular in other countries but finding a university that teaches it can be hard,” said Wood-Wilson. “I also ask students why they end up in Oklahoma and they say because they wanted to come here to OCU so we thought why not take OCU to them.”
Students said they are excited about the agreement.
“We are helping others who have the same goal and mission as us,” said Kara Klamm, elementary education senior. “Some people might not have been able to complete the degree because they can’t travel to the U.S. so by having this agreement we can help them follow their dreams.”