As a young college student at the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk Jayhawk!), I worked as an assistant teacher at a Montessori school off-campus. Raintree Montessori School was a place to behold and set the bar very high in my early teaching experiences. The owners and staff at Raintree also made a big impact on me as a young adult. To this day, 30 years later, I receive a birthday postcard in the mail!
Raintree is located on several acres with horses, large garden plots, and a strong focus on teaching children about respect for all living things, taking care of our world, science, nature, and fine arts. My experience there helped to define my personal philosophy of early childhood education and leadership style.
To say that Raintree is very near and dear to my heart is an understatement. My grandmother passed away suddenly during my first month at college. I was five hours away from home and heartbroken. A few weeks later, at the end of my interview with the Raintree assistant director, I was shocked to learn that she is the daughter of my grandmother’s best friend. My hometown has a population of about 1000. The population of Lawrence was approximately 67,000. There are 265 miles between the two. What are the odds? Definitely a God moment!
So.... Why am I sharing all of this with you? Why would you care about a Montessori school in Lawrence, Kansas?
First, it is my hope that by engaging with you and sharing a little about myself through this blog, you will feel comfortable coming to me anytime you would like to visit about your Day School experience.
I also want to share the following excerpt from a parenting blog post, written by owner and director, Leanna McReynolds. I couldn't have said it better!
The Fear Factor
“There seems to be what I can only refer to as “a fear factor” that hovers over parents decision-making these days. Technology has opened up the world to us, but it has inundated us with so much information, it can be paralyzing, especially when it comes to raising children. At every juncture from birth to adolescence and beyond, parents are caught in a web of second guessing. The list of worries and fears is endless. When should I start potty-training? Does my child have friends? Does he have a speech problem? Should I vaccinate him? Is time-out appropriate? What is bedtime for a 2 year old? Should my child have a bedtime? Or a computer in her room? Should we be gluten-free? When do I buy my child a cell phone? Or should I buy my child a cell phone at all? Is my child involved in enough extracurricular activities? Should my children have chores? What about an allowance? My neighbor’s child was reading when he was 5. Why isn’t my child reading? And on and on.
Add to those worries, baggage. Each of us carries a certain amount of baggage from our own childhoods. That baggage may have originated generations before. The adult who never had the opportunity to take piano lessons may be hellbent on making sure his children take lessons even if the child has absolutely no interest. My mother, for example, was fearful of water because her mother had almost drowned when she was a child. Therefore, I was afraid of water and passed that onto my children.
Why all that worry? All that fear and guilt? Wasted energy.
As we begin a new year, my advice is to trust your instincts. Don’t be afraid. When we are anxious or worried, children can sense it, and then they take on those worries subliminally. Misunderstood or misplaced anxiety can manifest as another parcel in that baggage they carry into adulthood. My recommendation is to spend time with your children. Your time and attention will make them feel valued and loved. Go outside. Play games. Read to them. Tell stories. Make a pie for a neighbor. Shovel snow for that neighbor. Don’t be afraid. And raise the bar. Your children are capable of much more than you can imagine.”