I am now the parent of an independent school student. Just this week, my son started at an area Montessori school. The process – the tour, the interview, the application – gave me some insight into what the families who visit my school encounter. More importantly, by thinking through the possibility that this school represents for my son as he develops, I came to better understand what families hope their children might get out of an independent school education.
I want my child to be known. One of the reasons we selected this school at this moment is give him the chance to work with teachers who will give him individualized attention. He is a sweet, curious boy, close with his little sister, a picky eater, and striving to be independent. I wanted him in a school where he was celebrated for who he is and nurtured to be who he will become.
I want my child to love learning. At such a young age, I am impressed with the questions he asks to make sense of his world. “Why do clouds move?” “Is there gold in goldfish?” These are *GREAT* questions and I want him to be in a place where he is encouraged to ask the types of questions that will always leave him wanting to learn more.
I want my child to develop a strong sense of independence. Although he is in a developmental stage when independence is prized, I want him to be independent throughout his life: as a learner, as a worker, as a citizen.
While I know as a parent I have a major responsibility in helping him develop in these ways, I am grateful to have an independent school as a partner in helping me do this work.