More Than Just Literacy

Young student learns to read at Counterpane

October 25, 2017

I often reminisce about the first day I brought my daughter to Counterpane. We attended a literacy workshop. Literacy for a one year old? The workshop was free, and I was curious.

As we walked up to the front door, I felt like we had stepped into another place and time. Down the driveway we saw a chicken coop, and we heard a sheep bleating. Beautiful, neat gardens bursting with color surrounded the small brick building. How often had I seen that meme on Facebook about schools needing gardens? Upon entering through the wooden door, the entry was cozy, warm, and inviting, quite unlike the cold doctor’s office feel of the elementary school I had attended.
It was quiet. I remember thinking, are there really 3 year olds here somewhere? We peeked into a classroom and there was a quiet buzz. The teachers weren’t immediately noticeable; they blended into the background. Children’s voices were heard but were soft, in respect of the other students. Aren’t preschoolers supposed to be loud and unruly?
A few high school age students were in the small kitchen and greeted us with eye contact and a smile or a hello as we walked slowly by. I wasn’t sure they were really teenagers. Aren’t teens supposed to be moody and awkward?
We walked into the classroom where the literacy workshop was to be held and I took everything in about the space, a classic Montessori classroom. I remember thinking, this is where I want my children to grow up.
And now they are. I picture my children’s futures, and I can only see them here. Reading and writing and math can be learned anywhere. My babies will spend a third of their day at school, and where they will spend that time matters to me. It’s in the way the children are treated and taught here that makes me catch my breath and touches my heart, and I know they’re in the right place.
The ideals and teaching methods are in line with what kind of parent I strive to be. Just learning about what Montessori is has made me a better parent, more observant, patient, and kind. I wait and give them the space to make their own choices and do things for themselves, even though they’re still just babies in my eyes.
I see the qualities in the children here that I want to have for my own as they grow into their own person. Able to be reserved and in control yet confident, friendly and outgoing, a positive energy about them. Assertive, curious, interesting, respectful, independent. Yes, all of this from the preschoolers. And yes, even the teenagers, too.
More than just literacy, this school also nurtures their heart, their passions, and encourages children to be their best selves. I am thankful we found Counterpane, the perfect fit for our family.