Montessori Principles Embraced by St. Louis Center

St. Louis Center was provided with three days of specialized training in the Montessori Inspired Lifestyle ® method for older adults with I/DD by Dr. Cameron Camp and his associate Mr. Vince Antenucci from February 20 – 22, 2019. Dr. Camp is the Director of the Center for Applied Research in Dementia in Cleveland, Ohio, and his presence was provided for by a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.  

Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play, and Dr. Camp’s research has shown that this training; first developed for children, is also effective for older adults with special needs. 

On the evening of Wednesday February 20th, forty-five people from the local community visited St. Louis Center to attend a Special Needs Forum open to the public, where Dr. Camp laid out his vision for a Montessori Inspired Lifestyle ® program that will make St. Louis Center a “Center of Excellence” in the State of Michigan. Then on February 21st & 22nd, he trained forty members of the St. Louis Center staff in the application of Montessori methods to St. Louis Center’s diverse mix of residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

According to Dr. Camp, “The amount of time you can engage your residents in meaningful activity, is the amount of time you won’t have to deal with problems. Montessori will give you the tools to engage your residents. ‘Normalization’ is returning someone to who they used to be, and meaningful activity provides them with independence. In today’s world, we must now look at things in a different way with new eyes.”

Dr. Camp will be a regular visitor to St. Louis Center during the next two years, and in the second year, will be inviting first responders and other community members to St. Louis Center to participate in this training. 

St. Louis Center in Chelsea, MI has been providing residential care for children and adults with I/DD since 1960 and is managed by the Servants of Charity Congregation of Catholic priests. Visit www.stlouiscenter.orgfor more information about the Center. St. Louis Center is located in Sylvan Twp., five miles west of Chelsea.

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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