September 17, 2014
This is an open letter to all persons gathered to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Washington Montessori School. Having just 3 months ago celebrated my 30th wedding anniversary to my one and only wife, this anniversary has touched me.
Due to some extra parental duties and my wife being out of town I am very regretfully not able to attend this gathering. But I would like to share with you my family attendance at the Washington Montessori School and how it happened.
The reason I knew I wanted a Montessori school germinated in a 10-minute conversation I had with an older sister on a train in NYC before I had gotten married. She had just finished college and gotten married to a teenage friend and was planning to home school her children. After this short conversation of the Montessori philosophy I was convinced that this was the education for a rational person.
Five years later while living in Dallas, Texas my wife and I decided have a child. After we had conceived but not yet given birth, I had visited a local Montessori school. After explaining I not yet had a child to enroll (not to mention it would be five years before they were school-age), they would not even let me take a tour of the school. That’s what they gave me for planning ahead!
When we moved to Connecticut 3 weeks after our first child was born, I was thrown into work and had little free time. But when I started visiting in late 1990 my wife’s family business near Marbledale, I happened to hear about a local Montessori school. Of course then in 1991 it was at the old New Preston hill location. Upon my going to the school for an introductory meeting with Pat Werner, a student (whom I never remembered again) held open the door for me to enter, saying “Here Sir” or “Hello Sir”. It was done with such nonchalance, simple niceness, and ease that I immediately decided that this was the school for my son.
Our first son started in the parent-teacher-child part time class at the age of 14 months in the winter of 1991. He stayed there until graduation in 2003, the first graduating class at the current location. He was followed by a second son who started a little later in life but also spent all years until 8th grade. Our third child was another 6 years later, he left after 6th grade but would have finished 8th grade also at Montessori.
With the Montessori education philosophy and Pat’s guiding hand of over 25 years, the school teaches children to think by themselves, to explore life, and be reasonable. These are some of the greatest (if not the greatest) attributes a parent (or by extension) a school can teach children.
We had children at the Washington Montessori School from Feb 1991 until June 2010. Though it was not 20 years in full months, it was over 20 straight years. Overall the 20 year-experience has been extremely beneficial for our family and certainly fond to remember.
Treat the teachers well and they will return in kind.
Gerald (Jerry) Luhman, II
Father of Austin (Class of 2003), G Grant (Class of 2007), Garrett (could have been Class of 2013) and of course husband of Loretta!