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“Locally Grown” – A Parent’s Perspective of Wheaton Montessori School

Categories: General Knowledge Fund

Last year the theme for the Wheaton Montessori End-of-Year Gala was “Locally Grown,” wherein we celebrated all things local, including our school families.  November P. is a parent of two Wheaton Montessori School students, who were both in our Elementary class at the time she wrote these words.  She wrote this in the days leading up to the event: 


Locally Grown: My personal reflections about what these words mean to me.

Like a bucket of ice cold water to the face… first born is graduating from 6th grade NEXT MONTH! Whaaaaat?! How does it still feel so absolutely shocking when I’ve been grieving it all year long?! It feels like yesterday I was prying my 6-year-old daughter off of me at drop off over to Mrs. Lingo’s outstretched arms. Letting go sucks!…But we are so grateful we did. We let go of tradition and became a family, locally grown at Wheaton Montessori School.

This year I had the privilege to chaperone my first big going away trip to the Teton Mountain Science School. Five days, 3 plane rides, loads of bus rides and plenty of snowshoeing with 30 kids. It was awesome! Not only was I in one of the most beautiful places in the country, but I got see the bounty of WMS-grown children. I’ve never been so absolutely proud of our decision to choose Montessori and WMS as our children’s educational environment.

I’m still discovering new insights that this community and school continue to bless us with. At first I knew very little of Montessori but knew I desired a different experience for them, one more tailored to their specific needs. A good friend where I was living introduced me to the Montessori method. I was drawn to the fact that with Montessori, each child is treated as an individual and encouraged to open and bloom at their own pace. Things in nature don’t all grow at the same speed, why should we? At Wheaton Montessori School, all speeds are celebrated. Lessons and knowledge are presented in a manner that sparks interest and the children are given the freedom to research and explore topics on their own in a manner that suits them.
Children learn to help each other and be open to receive help from their peers. Every student participates with instruction which foster the development of natural leadership skills: “See one. Do one. Teach one.”


Montessori helps reveal who you are by way of your environment, sort of like real life. This environment provides opportunity to give and take, be courteous, work through challenges and ultimately thrive as one. Fluid boundaries encourage growth, curiosity and exploration of one’s environment, frequently beyond the walls of the school, out in the world with real experience.
Montessori doesn’t only meet your student’s academic needs, but become part of your family. I’ve always felt that. Who doesn’t feel like Mrs. Lingo is your child’s school-grandmother?! That is, the most elegantly dressed grandmother you know! If it weren’t for loving care of Mrs.Maldonado in Mrs. Berdick’s class I think my children would still be in diapers. I fondly remember the days of noon pickup with the plastic bag tied to the backpack….laundry day! Mrs. Berdick cultivated the development of a stable, strong foundation that provided the platform for the amazing people they are growing into. Mrs. Fortun patiently guided my children into the fueled, confident and independent (mostly) children they are now. Not only did she tend to the education, hearts and spirits of my children but was a guiding hand to us as parents, navigating the turbulent changes that life and growth bring.

Finally, Ms. Searcy- where do I begin? I had the pleasure of being in Ms. Searcy’s chaperone group on the Teton trip and witnessed first hand her relentless dedication she has for each of her students. She is so in tune with them, knows their strengths and weaknesses and always helps bring out their best. She connects to them on a soulful level and delights in their growing brain’s perspective. She is funny, super smart, patient, tough as nails and wholeheartedly cares for each child and adolescent. It occurred to me after the trip something that I’ve known all along but my children have been loved like family since their first step there as a student. We are bonded through this shared Montessori experience. We and our children have learned to maneuver relationships through ups and downs, life changes, health struggles and ALL OF THE parenting struggles. Rebecca and the Lingo family, all of the WMS staff and teachers thank you for opening. Opening your lives and hearts to share this enriched and expansive experience with us, we are eternally grateful.


John Marc, we are strapped in and ready to take on the teen years….where’s the handle?…..and thank you in advance!


I truly believe the impact that Wheaton Montessori School has had on all of us will continue to ripple out and ultimately change the world. Montessori is truly the change our future needs. To guide one another, be courteous, work through challenges, give and teach love.  It starts with us, our children, the seeds of the future that will grow into the adults that we strive to be. I’m grateful we made the choice of Wheaton Montessori School for my children, who are proudly “Locally Grown.”