“Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.”
Dr. Maria Montessori
Class of 2018
My name is Eleanor and I’ve been a student at Montessori Children’s Community since I was 4 years old. I was named after the former First Lady of the United States of America, Eleanor Roosevelt. She once said, “you must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Only now do I realize how much that quote relates to my life and time at Montessori. In Children’s House, I remember trying to write the number eight, thinking, “I can’t do it.” In Lower El, I remember doing time tests saying, “I can’t do it.” During my 4th Year, I remember trying to follow along in math lessons, truly believing, “I can’t do it.” In sixth grade, I remember working on my Senior Project, crying, “I can’t do it.” In my 7th Year, I remember writing my closing speech for a debate, saying in my mind, “I cant’ do it.” This past year I remember physically walking away from my position paper, whispering to myself, “I can’t do it.
Guess what? I did do it, because of Montessori. Montessori taught me to persevere and problem solve. There is no “giving up,” there is only “getting up.”
The other day, I was talking with my dad and he said something along the lines of “you can’t hide in a Montessori classroom.” That stuck with me; I wondered what I would be like if I hadn’t gone to this school. I would have probably never raised my hand, sat in the back row, and always opted out of group projects. The teachers would have probably forgotten my name, since I would never talk, because I wouldn’t have to. If I was never made to speak up, I most likely wouldn’t have, but I do.
I haven’t gone to a school like that. I’ve never had the opportunity to hide or fade away among a sea of faces. I’ve only been in classes no bigger than 25 with people I know all the names and personalities of. I’ve never sat in a row of desks facing a white board; I’ve only sat in circles where everyone is in the front row. I haven’t raised my hand very often, but teachers who know exactly who I am have called on me whether I like it or not. I’ve had to learn how to work with other people collaboratively, because group projects aren’t optional. In my 5th Year, I worked on an assignment with a partner. When it came time for us to share what we learned, my partner didn’t feel comfortable speaking in front of the class, so I did all the talking. I’ve always thought that I’d be the person too nervous to speak, but there I was doing the opposite. I’ve always been quiet, but Montessori has kept me from being silent.
Decisions and I have a complicated relationship, meaning if I’m confronted by them, I’ll run, hide, and scream “noooooo.” I don’t like making decisions, but I much prefer having choices than not, which is part of the reason Montessori is so amazing. My education has always been full of options and possibilities. Remember when I talked about doing timed tests at the beginning of this speech? Well, the truth is, I never really did accomplish that obstacle. Timing myself made me stressed and lose my focus. The teachers noticed this and suggested I do the tests without the timer, so I did. Learning my multiplication tables was much easier after that.
Little changes like these made learning easier, along with being able to research topics I was truly interested in. Studying subjects I wanted to learn about gave me a deeper understanding of who I am and what my passions are. When I did book reports only on influential women for a year in Lower Elementary, I realized that history wasn’t just men and that I liked reading true stories of brave females who are too often forgotten. When I did a one-woman show on the epic of Gilgamesh in my 7th Year, I realized that acting may not be my strong suit and that I can only stand so much ancient literature. Decision and choices are not easy, but are necessary and I’m grateful that Montessori has always given me access to them.
Another lesson Montessori has taught me is peace and compromise. We learned “respect others,” “the golden rule,” and “to not judge a book by its cover.” We were taught to be kind and understanding, to talk out our problems instead of getting angry at others. Anytime a problem was brought up, we’d discuss it in community meeting, even if it was as small as leaving pencils on the floor. No issue was too small. Everyone matters, everyone’s ideas and thoughts are equal to each other. The other day in humanities, we were writing the Civil Rights Act of 2018. One of its amendments was to teach acceptance of different cultures in schools all over the country. MCC is already doing that by teaching its students understanding and compassion.
Montessori has made me what I am today. The experiences I’ve had at this school I will never forget. I will always remember Slider, the Children’s House pet turtle that is probably older than me. I will always remember Brooke, Anna, and I raising imaginary puppies. I will remember the time we got snowed in at Gettysburg and had snowball fights and made chocolate chip pancakes. I will remember Tess saying that you can’t start a sentence with and, but, or though. At least I hope I will remember, because great stories and things should never be forgotten.
Class of 2017
I have been attending Montessori Children’s Community for the past decade, and started when I was three years old. Ever since, I have been taught correctly, by the Montessori Way, which allowed me to learn at my own pace. It taught me to understand and expand my potential, by giving me the freedom to make my own choices and choose my own way of learning which best fit me. It taught me to be mature and ambitious, by showing me how to be a good role model and how to find my own path. It taught me to be open-minded and creative, by teaching me from an early age to think outside of the box. And it taught me to be confident. But most of all, it taught me to teach, so that when I leave this school, I can pass the lessons I have learned here on to others.
Instead of most schools, which shape students’ futures for them, Montessori has guided me through finding my own unique future. I defined my future. And I couldn’t have done this without Montessori.
In children’s house and extended day, I began to learn about how the school worked and got different samples of various academic subjects, such as geometry when I learned new shapes by the metal inset work. I also made new friends, like Gabriel who has stayed with me through the last ten years. I’d like to thank Mrs. White, Mrs. Fabian, Mrs. Smith, and others for my children’s house and extended day experience.
In Lower Elementary I started to learn how to work more collaboratively, and I got more experience with more people, and learned how to communicate better to others. I would like to thank Mrs. Thimmons, Mrs. Cook, Mrs. Edson, Mrs. Degroot, Mrs. O’Brien, Senora Mabel, and Mr. Stater for my Lower Elementary experience.
In Upper Elementary I learned how to think critically and manage my work-time when the teachers gave me more freedom to organize my academic agenda as well as work ahead. I also learned to become comfortable with learning by my own styles, and began to realize that my teachers were more like my guides, which prepared me for middle school. I’d like to thank Ms. Spargo, Mrs. Keebler, Mrs. Marlovitz, Mrs. Driscoll, Mrs. Schwartz, Dr. Modic, and Danny Rectenwald for my Upper Elementary experience.
In Middle School, I began to ask more questions. Maria Montessori believed that this broadens a student’s learning capacity by allowing them to draw more from a lesson by taking their own path to learn more. I also started to realize my potential as I was given more responsibility, trust, and freedom, such as being given more opportunities like the micro-economy and event manager. When I was a manager, I learned how to communicate better and work on my leadership skills, because I had to coordinate events in which multiple people were needed to run it, like coffee in car line and Open Mic Night.
I’d like to thank Cathy Rohrer, All Sanzo, Carmen Blanco, Courtney Robson, Amber Niedomys, and Tess Riesmeyer for my middle school education in the last two years. I’d also like to thank all of my classmates and peers for being supportive and keeping me on track with my academic work.
Most of all, I’d like to thank my parents who enrolled me in MCC, and Mrs. Modic for creating this wonderful school that has helped me prepare for and shape my future.