“As I prepare to enter high school, I have come to appreciate what Montessori has taught me. It’s more than just pounding facts and citing statistics. It’s about using information to help me create and reach goals. It has taught me the skills that I would need to find my way in life. Montessori is about giving me the tools and opportunities to be the best “me” I can be. Thank you.”
9 years at Lakeland Montessori
Entering International Baccalaureate
Written by Valory Vailoces in 2013. Valory attended Lakeland Montessori Schools for 9 years, from the first year the school opened until she started high school. She currently attends the International Baccalaureate Bartow high school:
“It is true that we cannot make a genius. We can only give to teach [the] child the chance to fulfill his potential possibilities.” – Maria Montessori
I have been a Montessori student for eleven years. And during those eleven years, I have always been asked, “Why do you go to Montessori?”. I would simply say, “My mom told me to.” In reality, I knew that the answer was much deeper than that. Today I’m here to talk to you through my experiences as a Montessorian.
Growing up, the closest I have ever been to going to a regular public school was watching school kids on television. I realized that schools usually have as much as three hundred students mindlessly reciting textbooks and restlessly listen to lectures. And I’ve always asked myself, “How do they learn like that?
A Montessori education is different. The curriculum is molded to cater each different child. It takes advantage of the natural curiosity of students by using lessons and hands-on materials to teach academic concepts in ways kids like me can understand. Students are given a carefully designed environment where materials and teachers are available for guidance. We were encouraged to explore and learn from our discoveries. As young as three years old, I was being introduced to real life tasks, such as writing cursive, cleaning up my classroom, and practicing motor skills. In fourth grade, students would usually struggle with triple digit multiplication, but with the checkerboard, my classmates and I were able to breeze through the topic with accuracy.
Unlike the lower elementary, middle schoolers are encouraged to create our materials that will aid us in our learning process and discoveries. With Montessori education, we are taught valuable skills that we can use in the working world. One example is problem-solving. Every Tuesday, we have a group problem-solving session where we discuss community concerns and reach a consensus about what we want to do to improve our environment. Another skill is decision making. The study guides allow us to individually schedule our homework in a way that works best for us. For example, if I have soccer practice on Wednesday, the assignments are flexible enough that some tasks can be done on Thursday. This helps minimize stress and increase personal responsibility when it comes to our homework. In addition, are practicing how to manage time and money. Currently, we are working on a collaborative project with the Red Door Wine Market across the street. We are working on an organic permaculture garden to provide ingredients for the restaurant and to make our own money for school funds. Equally as important, is that we are learning about awareness of the world around us and understanding ourselves.
As I prepare to enter high school, I have come to appreciate what Montessori has taught me. It’s more than just pounding facts and citing statistics. It’s about using information to help me create and reach goals. It has taught me the skills that I would need to find my way in life. Montessori is about giving me the tools and opportunities to be the best “me” I can be. Thank you.”
Written by Alyssa Walker in 2013. Alyssa attended Lakeland Montessori Schools for 8 years, from the day the school opened until she started high school. She currently attends Harrison School of the Arts in Lakeland:
“Throughout my years at Lakeland Montessori I have benefited in a lot of different ways. I learned practical life skills such as healthy eating habits and caring for our classroom environment I have also learned a lot about social skills, and friendships.
In elementary school I was invited to the Peace Rug many times. I learned to forgive and to apologize, and notice when you do something wrong. At Montessori we played many team sports and learned the importance of good sportsmanship. And during my time in the Explorers classroom I learned a lot about service to our community through our service learn projects with K-kids. In the 4th grade I was public relations on the board for K-kids, it taught me a lot about leadership and how to give back to my community in a positive way. One memory that stands out the most to me about my time in K-kids was when the class got together and took the money that we earned and made a garden where we grew tons of vegetables and learned how to care for plants. It was a chance to really have fun with friends and also help the environment.
But the skill that I learned that most benefits me in high school is time management. In Montessori you get work plans and study guides and you choose when you will finish the work by the end of the week. In high school I have 7 classes in a day and I have to keep track of what I do and when. I also have different project due every week for my classes at Harrison School of the Arts. With the time management kills I have learned at Montessori school I have been able to keep a 4.0 grade point average and have been growing as an artist. I keep all this up while still enjoying high school life such as going to football games and spending time with friends. Montessori has changed the way I think about education. It has helped me grow not only in academics but also as a person.”