Every family and every teacher finds Montessori education through different paths. We all have our own stories about our discovery of this magnificent educational method. I interviewed a parent, Marianne T., from one of our schools to learn about her families story.
KR: Why did you choose Twin Parks Montessori School for your child?
MT: As the parent of an adopted little girl, I wanted to have her grow under the Montessori approach [by] letting our little ones find what interests them the most and then following their spirit and instincts that way. I felt that [Montessori] would help me learn more about her since we don't have the biological tie-in. I also wanted a gentle, sweet, nurturing and respectful environment for our little girl to first go to school so that she could learn and trust going somewhere other than home. We chose Twin Parks because of the program, facilities, and [the] staff that we met. We fell in love the first time we came - and in fact, we chose Twin Parks for our girl and then moved from Brooklyn (where we did not like our Montessori prospects) to Manhattan to have her attend. It is also pretty amazing to have Central Park right outside the school door - our daughter knows so much about nature, and this from a kid who lives in Manhattan! We also chose Twin Parks due to the diversity in the school, both in terms of staff as well as students. There are students from all over the world, and as a transracial family, it was important to us [that our daughter] have a racially diverse classroom. I grew up in NYC and attended public schools in Queens as well as The Bronx High School of Science back when it was very racially diverse. Diversity is something I think benefits all children, no matter their race or ethnicity - I wish more private schools in NYC cared about diversity the same way Twin Parks does.
KR: What about Montessori has been most surprising to you?
MT: I can't say I am surprised by anything about Montessori other than I am always delighted by the endless patience and kindness of the teachers. Goodness - how they can maintain their beautiful energy and equilibrium all day with little children is a true skill set that I, as a parent, am grateful for every day (and wish I had the same aptitude!). Actually, I am surprised sometimes when I hear about things my daughter does in school that she doesn't tell me about (I have one of those children who doesn't normally talk about what happens during her school day). The creativity, passion, and thoughtfulness of the programs - which change all the time - are so impressive. I'm always surprised to hear about the foods she has tasted at school because at home she's a super-picky eater!
KR: What would you tell a parent who is thinking about enrolling his or her child in Montessori?
MT: I would say they should definitely go observe a Montessori classroom and the children within it, like at Twin Parks. When you see how children are so self-possessed, respectful, independent, creative, inquisitive and playful (yet polite), it reflects on how the teachers interact with them with such respect and care. I think parents should always trust their intuitions about where to place their children because there is no shortage of opinions out there. I just know that for my family, I wanted to leave my daughter at a school where I didn't have to ever worry about her once I left her at her classroom door. In fact, I know that she would have so much more fun and would learn so much more than hanging at home with me. That is the best feeling as a parent - knowing that my little girl is in the best hands possible and surrounded by people who love her.
KR: How has your child flourished/grown since attending our Montessori school?
MT: Our daughter attended Twin Parks since she was 2 and a half, and now she's 5 - so she's grown in all ways possible! However, I do have to say that our daughter has always kept that playful spark in her eye, and you can tell she is a child that is surrounded by love. Even when she has had issues in the classroom, or has experienced consequences related to classroom conduct, she knows she will be treated with respect and understands there are repercussions to behavior. Our daughter is also a very compassionate child and dotes on the younger ones in her classroom. It has been so lovely to see that part of her spirit and her heart nurtured and supported in her classes.
One thing we also really appreciated about Twin Parks is that because [the staff] knows our daughter so well, they were very supportive in terms of helping us choose a kindergarten environment where we knew she could thrive. Not only did we make a decision related to what was right in terms of our family, but what we know from teacher and administrative input would be best for our daughter's academic growth. We are so sorry to be leaving Twin Parks, but it's time for her little wings to fly even higher!