Reflections from MMM Parents

11 Years of Montessori Musings
by Dina Glassman

This June, our son Noah graduates from MMM. It seems impossible that we are about to become parents of a high school student who, just the other day, was scooting on his bum. This Montessori education has nurtured the fiercely conscientious, brave and sensitive young man he has become. In honor of the journey, here are four musings, from Children’s House to MMM.

The Gift of Being Seen
I distinctly remember our first parent teacher conference with Stephanie (Maple Room Guide). She described our boy in ways I thought only we as parents could. She saw him for the unique little person he was; way beyond his superficial presentation. Could she possibly have tuned into all of the children this way? I now realize that her ability to see each individual child is a hallmark of a gifted guide. We have been honored by so many.

Embracing the Quiet
Noah is a fast talker and exudes tremendous energy. On first glance, it is easy to miss his deep love of order and quiet. Thoughtfulness and love of structure have become defining qualities, each seeded and cultivated over the last eleven years of Montessori education. Years of encouraging time with himself, in quiet, has bred Noah’s self-reliance and confidence, which manifest themselves every time he opens his busy little mouth.

Nurturing the Love for Children
Noah is an only child. While he may not have siblings, he has had countless opportunities to guide and be guided by his peers. He tells us that he knows the name of virtually every child in the community. Really?!? His face lights up when he sees one of the elementary Spanish students he works with on Thursdays, or one of the toddlers he read to years ago. And then there is Poppy (aka Penelope). Poppy, Teacher Andrea’s remarkable little girl, rocked Noah’s world (“the coolest baby ever”). If he should become a dad one day, she will have been his first guide. These gifts he will carry with him for the rest of his life.

Empowering Boldness
As a parent, buying into the Montessori method required some letting go of standard operating procedures. Noah has been primarily guided by his curiosity, rather than some fixed external curriculum. In the Juniper and Larch Rooms, he chose a steady diet of geography work. His interest in far-off places was fed, and seamlessly integrated into other more standard subjects. Noah was empowered to follow his own unique learning arc. As he gets ready for Lincoln High School, there is a sense of boldness about him. He feels ready to test his wings out there, and they are strong on the inside because they are uniquely his.

Growth and Evolution 
by Peggy and Tessa Taylor

As the end of the school year is drawing near, I have taken time to reflect on our daughter, Dana, and her journey with MMM. I have had the privilege to watch her as she has blossomed in this wonderful community.

With the encouragement and leadership of the guides, she developed new skills and explored the urban environment. MMM also provided the students with numerous opportunities to be involved with the surrounding community—anything from cleaning up the river bank or Forest Park, to spending time socializing with residents in the Alzheimer's unit, or working in the garden. These were all experiences Dana valued and enjoyed.

She was able to express her opinions in a safe environment even when they differed from the majority. This supportive community, being an undeniable impetus in her growth as a person, fostered her desires to try new endeavors and reach for her dreams. She has grown into an outgoing adventurer, always welcoming more responsibility. Dana, who began her journey quietly taking it all in, now finds herself on the other side, ending with confidence, compassion, and love of leadership, encouraging others to try new things alongside her.