The Montessori School of Raleigh is the Triangle’s modern embodiment and mindful practice of the time-proven Montessori philosophy, developing agile thinkers, poised communicators, and gracious collaborators—engineers of authentic and fulfilling lives.
We often say at MSR that the school is our legacy, a gift handed down through generations. As Laura Morrison, Class of ’03, describes her path to teaching, the concepts of legacy and inheritance begin to form. “My mom went to a Montessori school,” she says, adding that her grandmother had her doctorate in child development and taught in a Montessori training center in New York State. It is no surprise then that Laura was brought to MSR when she was two years and nine months, and, says, Laura, “My mother sort of finagled me into Children’s House even though I wasn’t yet three.”
Laura and MSR were a good match and she continued through sixth grade. That was in 1996, three years before MSR’s Middle School was created. She explains that she and her classmates didn’t want to leave and begged teachers to “start a make-shift seventh grade,” but the time was not right, and she moved on to a public middle school in the area. From there Laura enrolled in an IB magnet high school because she had her heart set on attending UNC and knew the IB credentials would increase her chances. She was correct; she was offered admission and entered Carolina in the fall of 2003.
Enjoy these pictures of our terrific Toddlers making all kinds of fabulous food, students practicing peace, kids getting ready for Garden Day and other students studying really hard.
Peace is taught as an important part of the Montessori curriculum and September 21 was International Peace Day, so our Lower Elementary classes gathered around the peace pole on Ben’s Field to celebrate. Maria Montessori began her teachings around the time of World War II when the world was immersed in violence and acts of aggression. She firmly believed that people should be taught to spread peace from a very young age in hopes that our world would be free from violence one day.
Montessori’s curriculum held the idea that we are all one small piece of a larger world regardless of our ethnicity or background. Starting in Lower Elementary, our students are taught that as humans we all have the same basic needs to survive and we must use peace and kindness to help each other grow every day. Montessori also teaches students that they have the ability to make positive change in the world. Children are often given the misconception that they need to be an adult to improve the world when in reality people are never too young to make a difference in a peaceful manner.
It happens when I listen to sports announcers describe a game on TV or when the conversation turns to pop culture—fashion, music, recording artists, etc. I recognize words being used as English but that’s where the recognition ends. This is a bit how I felt talking recently with the very highly accomplished videogame designer Randy Nash ’02.
Randy is senior technical designer at Playful Studios, a premiere independent game studio located in McKinney, Texas. His journey to this position of great responsibility has been swift and reflects his eagerness for challenge and opportunity, a posture cultivated at MSR. Arriving on the Lead Mine Campus as a toddler, Randy continued through the final year offered, which at that time was 6th year. He believes his father ‘s educational viewpoint—teach children how to teach themselves—is what led his parents to choose a Montessori school. “My dad was all about teaching the man to fish, not just giving him a fish,” says Randy. He recalls that even on summer breaks and vacations, his dad was coaching him in how to “take things apart, physically and intellectually, and put them back together.” After MSR, Randy was enrolled in local public schools for Grades 7 through 10, but at that point his parents decided they could do a better job, and Randy was homeschooled through high school.
To honor Dr. Maria Montessori on her birthday, The Montessori School of Raleigh thought we’d share a brief insight into her extraordinary life.
Dr. Maria Montessori was born in Chiaravalle, Italy on August 31, 1870. As a young woman, Maria began her education at Via di San Nicolo da Tolentino and then proceeded to conquer the barriers for the restricted careers of women.
“Mrs. Boyd’s asymmetrical haircut—a one-sided bob—and one long, beautiful earring” is what first popped into the mind of Dr. Candace Waters as we were reflecting on her many years at MSR. She arrived at the school when she was “very, very young,” a toddler, before she has memories, and was here through kindergarten. Her parents then enrolled her in a magnet public school for gifted and talented. She recalls that one day the children in the school were starting to learn to write, and she began to write in cursive “because I had learned it already at MSR.” Her advanced skills were not appreciated, and she was told she couldn’t use cursive. “I was humiliated and embarrassed,” Candace told us. The next thing she knew, her parents had re-enrolled her at MSR, and she stayed through sixth grade, the final year in those days.
Candace’s love of learning was well nurtured at MSR, and she recalled a moment in Children’s House when her teacher honored her unique learning journey and tailored the program accordingly. “I was thumbing through division math cards one day. My teacher began to explain what the cards were about, and I said, ‘I want to learn this.’” Multiplication was mentioned, and Candace noted that she didn’t yet know how to multiply. To that her teacher said, “Well, then let’s begin with multiplication.”