I am so blown away by the work I see going on in our classroom environments. Recently, I took a Head of School, who now teaches leadership at the University of St. Louis, on a tour through our campus, and he was deeply impressed with how our students remained focused – even with guests in the room. I shared with him this fitting Montessori quote, “The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, the children are now working, as if I did not exist.”
We started our tour in the preprimary classrooms and progressed through the (6-9) and (9-12) spaces. In each environment, my guest noticed some of the same materials being used at each level. I explained how Dr. Maria Montessori designed concrete materials to explain abstract ideas that allow learners to return and deepen their knowledge as they develop. The pictures below demonstrate (6-9) and (9-12) students working on a Montessori work called The Timeline of Life. Each year children return to this work. Each year they develop a more intimate understanding of how life came to be.
It was such a joyful experience to take someone on a tour through our campus. Fresh eyes provided a reminder of how special TNSM is. Our guest was in awe of the architecture of the mansion, the friendliness of staff, the wisdom of the Montessori method, and the obvious impact it has on the lives of students.
In the evening, the visiting Head of School met our Board of Trustees and was again taken aback with the amount of time, talent, and treasure they passionately pour into the school. I shared that even with a pandemic, our school has found ways to support each other and remain a community.
I will be joining the (9-12) community at their one-day visit to Camp Ernst this fall. It is one of my favorite field trips. I love how the students encourage each other as they navigate rope courses, harness up for wall climbing and find out what courage means to them. Many of these students I have known since they were 3 years old. To witness their development over the years, transforming into individuals who understand the value of kindness, collaboration, compromise and discipline is truly an awesome experience. Camp Ernst is one of those field trips that spotlights how great our kids are.
Being in a different environment, whether touring someone who has never seen our campus or seeing our students’ confidence in action on a field trip, allows us to see our students a little more clearly. It dusts off the sometimes clouded vision that routine creates and allows us to see our children as they truly are: AMAZING!