For many Springmont parents, the educational experience they have chosen for their children looks very different from their own schooling. As a result, they sometimes have questions about how a Montessori education fits into the bigger picture for their children. We have invited a few of our alumni to answer questions and share firsthand accounts about how their experiences as Springmont students shaped their lives. Here's some introductory information about a few of our panelists (pictured, left to right):
Libby Brandt Ranniger — North Springs High School Class of 2005; Vanderbilt University Class of 2009 with majors in Chemistry and Math; University of Virginia School of Medicine Class of 2013; Northwestern University Pediatric Resident 2013-2016. Libby is currently a Pediatrician at Crawford County Memorial Hospital in Denison, Iowa.
Erin Lemmon— Blessed Trinity Catholic High School Class of 2019; University of Kentucky Class of 2023 with majors in Healthcare Communications and Psychology and a Clinical Healthcare Management certificate
Ryan Restifo— The Galloway School Class of 2019; Wake Forest University Class of 2023 with majors in Mechanical Engineering and Physics.
Gavin Rolls— Kent Denver School Class of 2019; Georgia Institute of Technology Class of 2023 Stamps President’s Scholar with a major in Computer Science.
Shawdon Zadeh— Walton High School Class of 2014; Washington University Class of 2018 with a major in Finance. Shawdon is currently a Senior Analyst at Avascent in Washington, DC.
Join us on Zoom this Thursday, January 14, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Upper Elementary and Middle School students and parents of students at all levels are invited to join us. See you there!
Choosing a school is one of the most important decisions parents make. As a current Springmont parent, you have seen your child thrive in an environment that balances academic learning with social/emotional well-being. Our highly experienced and caring teachers provide an authentic Montessori experience that allows for individualized learning and inspires students to become creative, independent and globally-minded. Our community respects and embraces diversity of all kinds and believes that inclusivity and mutual respect are essential. Springmont is Extraordinary by Design!
Word-of-mouth referrals are the most trusted recommendation for today’s parents and the #1 way new families learn about Springmont. Please share your family’s positive Springmont experience with neighbors, friends, colleagues and co-workers. Invite them to join a Q&A Zoom Coffee (no RSVP needed!), book a Virtual Tour, or attend our January 24 Virtual Open House! Encourage them to click here to learn more!
While planning, cleaning, and organizing are always a part of Faculty/Staff Workdays, so too is setting aside time for professional growth and development. Last Monday, we not only readied classrooms for your children's return but also prepared ourselves professionally and personally by participating in a workshop about how racial identity impacts teaching and learning. By investigating our own personal, social, and universal identities, Springmont faculty and staff took a closer look at how we recognize and challenge unconscious bias and systematic racism in service of all Springmont learners. This important work supports our delivery of the school's mission and core values and provides a framework for instilling a global perspective and respect for diversity of all kinds in our students.
Just as educators benefit from professional development, so do parents! Please save the date for our next Parent Discussion Forum, Raising Anti-Racist Children, led by iChange Collaborative on Thursday, March 11, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Look for more info and the Zoom link in the coming weeks!
Next Monday, January 18, Springmont will be closed in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 92nd birthday. More than 50 years after his assassination, Dr. King’s commitment to ending racial violence and poverty, addressing social welfare, and supporting voting rights are unfinished tasks. As the issues he lived and died for continue to affect us and our children, we encourage you to consider changing the King holiday from a "day off" to a “day on” by using the following ideas:
Read with your child: Use literature as a vehicle to broach conversations about race and equity. Springmont Media Center Specialist Leslie Wachter recommends the following titles as starting points. Toddler and Primary children will enjoy The ABC's of Black History by Rio Cortez. Lower Elementary children can read Let the Children March by Monica Clark Robinson or Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport. Upper Elementary readers can dive into the book Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery while Middle School students (and adults!) can check out the graphic novel series March by late Congressman John Lewis. You can find these books, and many more, by taking a look at the Springmont library collection.
Take a virtual tour: Check out the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C., The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN or Atlanta’s own King Center and National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Many offer ideas for recognizing Dr. King’s birthday and other ideas for children and families.
Discover a passion project: Although COVID restrictions may limit volunteer opportunities this year, be sure to view the list of family friendly projects on the website of Generation On, the youth division of the Point of Light organization. The list is divided into various topics and offers ideas and resources for getting involved in causes that matter most to you.
Listen and learn: YouTube has original footage of many of Dr. King’s speeches. Older elementary and middle school-aged children will be able to follow along and understand King’s message. Viewing can be used as a spark for conversations on issues of inclusivity and acceptance.
What do you wish people knew about Montessori or your classroom? I wish people understood that Montessori is a form of education built in response to the natural course of child development. Many approaches to education work the other way around, with an outcome in mind, and work to fit the child into that desired outcome. Our goal is to foster the true potential of each child.
Do you have a favorite area of the classroom? Is there a particular lesson you like to give to new students and why? My favorite area of the classroom is math. I am still in awe of the manipulative materials that we use to introduce the children to mathematical concepts. During my Montessori training, I saw relationships and came to understand elements of math that had not been clear to me before.
I love to introduce students who are new to Elementary to the Wooden Hierarchical Material. This material is a scaled model of the decimal system from the unit to the million. Watching the connections children make between the categories and the geometric representation of them is such a joy to witness!
What is one thing that you think defines you as a person? One thing that defines me as a person is inquiry. I am constantly asking questions, seeking to understand, expand and clarify my understanding of the universe and my place in it. In my work with children, this manifests in a desire to know the children as well as possible, allowing me to meet them where they are and use their interests and curiosity to help them grow as learners and as humans.