Dear Members of the WMS Community,
Fall is upon us, and with the cooler nights and falling leaves come annual fund drives in the world of independent schools. It is sometimes hard to think about giving after writing tuition checks, but it is important to think about what WMS means to each of us and to our children, and to support the very important work the school does every day.
Tom and I sent three children through WMS and it is a decision we have never regretted. In fact, it is one for which we are truly grateful. WMS was a very good place for each of our very different children, and an invaluable partner to us as parents as our children grew and learned, faced challenges and reached milestones. I think of Montessori as a tiny respite from some of the craziness of today’s world, a place where respect for oneself, others and the larger world are modeled, practiced and learned.
People often don’t understand the Montessori approach, and wonder if kids do whatever they want whenever they choose. When asked to explain what I value in the education I chose for my children, I always return to the fact that it is a very thoughtful education and one with a big picture quality.
No school is perfect, but WMS comes close in the essential and important ways. The education our children receive at WMS is one that encourages them to be thoughtful not only about what they are learning or studying or researching, but also about themselves as learners and friends and community members. This whole child approach to learning is built into the Montessori system so it is not haphazard, but intentional and accomplished in small steps – the kind of approach that actually works, little by little, day after day.
The school is not in a hurry; it is patient. Our children are given the time and the space to grow not only as students, but as people who understand who they are, who take themselves and their work seriously, and who respect others. The teachers and the educational system model these things, and children grow into students who speak up in community meetings, who write thoughtful self assessments that are honest and self aware, who confidently lead their own middle school conferences, who give informed, enthusiastic presentations to parents and other students, who go out into the world and do internships as eighth graders, and who gather all the skills practiced and gained along their journey at WMS to deliver impressive, sincere and confident speeches and performances at graduation.
I know that the school provided my children with strong academics skills, and has played an important role in shaping the people my children are and will become.
Please join me in celebrating and supporting the important work—tangible and intangible—that WMS does.
Ann Hertberg, P ’09, ’11, ‘15