LAURA EANES MARTIN ’86
I can still hear my mother telling the story of why she and my dad decided to send me to Washington Montessori. She would pick me up from preschool and my teacher, as lovely as she was, would shove my chubby arms into the sleeves of my down jacket instead of teaching me how to do it myself. I’m sure this isn’t the entire reason, but the anecdote is part of our family legend.
I began at WMS when I was four, but some of my first teachers are still on the faculty. The school seemed to grow as I did, adding classrooms just in time for me to move up. I have many vivid memories of my years at WMS, including learning all the countries and capitals of Africa (with Marsha), weekly adventures at White Memorial, and having Pat pull out my loose teeth. I can also, without a pause, tell you exactly who my teachers were every single year from age 4 through 8th grade. And, they were different every year.
Now, in 2010, hanging on our wall is my daughter, Isabel’s Paul Cryan picture at age 4 and my Paul Cryan picture at age 4. Down to the hairstyle, mousy brown and stick straight, the pictures are almost identical.
Isabel began at WMS when she was just 3. She was quiet, apprehensive, and very young. But, she walked into her classroom without crying and never looked back. To this day (she’s now about to enter 3rd grade) she has not once balked at going to school. She has loved every minute of her five years at WMS. And, in turn, she is growing into an increasingly assertive and confident girl. Whereas at one time she hesitated navigating the playground, and looked to her teachers to help her choose a work, she now enters her classroom with a plan, chats with her friends and settles down independently with something to do.
Isabel is blessed to be attending WMS in the “new” building. She has PE in a real gym, and watches performances in a gorgeous theater. There is a flourishing vegetable garden outside and playgrounds on three sides of the building. But the beauty of the facilities is not what is helping Isabel become a curious and interested student. It is her teachers. Since the day she began, she has enjoyed the connection with her teachers. They have supported and challenged her in ways perfect for Isabel. They understand her and they push her…just enough.
After 10 years at WMS I proceeded to The Gunnery and then attended Colby College in Maine. My first job out of college was as a mathematics teacher at Blair Academy, a boarding school in New Jersey. There I met my husband Richard and shortly after Isabel was born, we took jobs at The Gunnery. We still live there, and Richard continues to teach English and coach, together we run a dormitory.
This summer I began a new stage in my life, as the Director of Enrollment at Washington Montessori. In many ways, I’ve now come full circle, experiencing WMS as a student, a parent, and now as an ambassador for the school. While I am enjoying the opportunity to meet prospective families and help shape the next generation of WMS, my third child will be entering her Montessori classroom for the first time. This fall I will have a 3rd grader, a 1st grader (Luke) and a 3 year old (Amelia) all enrolled in the school. I can’t imagine a more fitting place for all of us to be in September.