Michael Montanaro Class of 2007
“The Montessori method helped develop my entrepreneurial spirit. As a founding member of The Breakfast Box and The Lunch Box, I learned how to run a small business and reach our goals by working together. In my 9th grade year, we made enough money from our business to take a trip to the Grand Canyon and hike down into the Havasupai Indian Reservation. Knowing we earned the money ourselves through our business was an incredible feeling. I graduated from Darlington in 2010 and graduated from Berry in 2014 with a B.S. in Finance, but I credit my years at Montessori with developing my ability to think creatively and enjoy the process of learning. I work at Mannington Industries in customer service where my early foundations and work ethic help me achieve success daily. Ms. Shemi, when I have children, I’m sending them to you for their education! Get ready!”
Juhi Varshney Montessori Graduate
“I attended the Montessori School of Rome for eight years. My MSR experience began when I was a third-year primary student in what would be Mrs. Kumar’s last class and continued until I completed seventh grade- and I loved every moment of it. Montessori’s unique teaching style creates a learning environment that encourages questions, values diversity, and enables students, and I could not be more grateful for the skills I gained here.
It seems like education today is all about numbers- about grades and standardized test scores and other forms of extrinsic motivation that seems to stifle the purest form of learning. My experience at MSR was vastly different. Our teachers were wonderful and compassionate and nurturing, and they worked with each student’s individual needs. I remember all of them encouraging me to take on new challenges and work ahead to make sure I was never bored. I got to control my own learning, and they facilitated my acceleration with so much enthusiasm and love. Whether I was hunched over at a desk or huddled around the green lesson table or sprawled beside a rug on the ground, the greatest reward for my hard work was a sense of satisfaction and pride. I looked forward to coming to class each day. I wanted to complete more Albanesi cards that day than I did the day before- write more in my morning journal, copy notes from the board more quickly and cleanly. I think there was a healthy sense of competition, but greater than that was just this drive to be the best that I could be. MSR really helped cultivate my love for learning. I wasn’t embarrassed to be smart, and I wasn’t afraid to ask questions, and I was never ashamed of wanting to learn more. I can’t overstate how far this attitude has carried me and continues to carry me today in college. Even now, I enjoy reading my chemistry textbooks and asking questions in large lecture halls and working for hours on end in preparation for a test. What a gift it has been to truly love learning.
Growing up as an Indian-American in a predominantly white town can be a daunting challenge, but I never felt that identity crisis because MSR was so open to appreciating new cultures. My Indian heritage seemed to fit so seamlessly, and I never remembering being uncomfortable with it. I studied remarkable Indian people of the past for Historical Timeline and delved into Ancient India one International Day where I wore a half-sari and ate Indian food with pride. I remember being a budding Bharatanatyam dancer and showing some of the younger classes a dance I had just learned and their warm response really solidified my appreciation and love for a sacred art that has now become irrevocably intertwined with my life. It almost baffles me to look back on my experience and remember how all cultures –not just my own- were respected and celebrated because such true cultural diversity is just so rare in our world today. We had Spanish and French lessons, dressed up like ancient Egyptians, sang Japanese songs at the Holiday Program, and even traveled to England with our class of four adolescents, a trip that I will cherish forever.
The mixed age classrooms were one of my favorite aspects of the Montessori environment. Getting to help the younger students not only reinforced concepts that I had learned before, but it taught me how to be a role model and how to be a leader. Working with the older students that I looked up to presented a constant challenge of reaching their level- one that I thoroughly enjoyed. The values of honesty, kindness, and integrity that I learned at home were reinforced each and every day in the classroom, equipping me with a high moral fiber that I uphold today. There was never any gender bias- never once did I feel lower or lesser or not enough because I was girl; this was so fundamental to my personal development that I was baffled to learn that many of my fellow female peers in college did not receive the same treatment when they were younger. The idea that teachers favor boys or that girls are conditioned to believe that they can’t achieve as much as boys can is so foreign to me based on my own personal experiences, even though it seems to be a prevalent, if tacit, notion in our society.
I am so grateful to the Montessori School of Rome and to Maria Montessori and her philosophy for creating a nurturing learning environment and constantly challenging me with rigorous academics. For helping me every single step of the way as I developed into an independent, inquisitive, hard-working, honest, accountable, responsible, compassionate Indian-American, woman, student, friend, mentor, role model, and leader. For helping me create friendships with other students and my teachers that will last a lifetime. And for enabling me to love learning, to always work my hardest, to never give up, and to always be the best version of myself.
I look back on my days at MSR fondly, and I wholeheartedly recommend it for high-achieving children of all ages and backgrounds.”
Denise Mullaney Montessori Parent
“The commitment of the teachers as they guide our children toward the path of a love of learning, and an environment devoted to diversity, curiosity, and creativity are just a few reasons we love this school. To watch our daughters delight in a discovery over something they have learned, or take pride in an accomplishment and then to take that confidence and use it to help other students in nurturing, encouraging ways is simply beautiful to observe as a parent. Our girls are growing into thoughtful, creative, caring citizens of the world, and we are grateful to Montessori School of Rome for fostering an environment for that to happen.”
Jessica Mauer former student
“I will always remember getting to pick the sun on my birthday and doing the birthday walk! I also remember the peace rug and working out difficulties with my classmates. This approach helped me to problem solve and build relationships. I bonded with my classmates in such a unique environment that has led to friendships which have lasted through the years. Doing the golden chain in the lobby was one of my favorite memories!”
Mary Beth Cauthen Mother of two Montessori graduates
“Best school in the world! My kids turned out pretty darn great and I credit MSR with most of it!”
Elisa Montanaro 2009 Graduate of MSR
“I began MSR in the toddler program, and I was in Ms. Kumar’s last Primary class. On my first day in her class, she discovered within three hours that I needed glasses, and it changed my life. As a +8 power in glasses, I desperately needed them. After the world wasn’t just a big shadow, I really began learning. Montessori made my childhood experiences fun, and I learned so much without even realizing it. There were some tears in Lower El as the work expectations increased, but I am so thankful my parents stuck it out and listened to Ms. Dolores and Ms. Diane that I could do the work. They believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself, and I left Lower Elementary ready for the challenging program of Upper Elementary. That’s what we called the pinnacle where it all came together for some of the best days of my education so far. I’m still disappointed that there wasn’t an adolescent program for my group! I told Ms. Shemi to please begin the adolescent program again because she should offer the opportunity of a Montessori education for as many years as possible. When I graduated and went to Darlington, I really began to understand just how valuable my education had been–not just academically but because it taught me to be confident in my abilities and face the challenges of middle school and high school with the skills I needed. Now, I attend Belmont University where I am pursuing a Music Business degree. I am so grateful for my Montessori education, and my advice is to stay in the MSR bubble as long as you can! It’s a great place to learn!”
Caroline Finn 2016 Rome High School Valedictorian & Star Student
Growing up at the Montessori School of Rome shaped me into the person that I am today. At MSOR I learned the value and power of knowledge; I now love to learn, and I yearn for answers. This has set me apart from many of my peers in high school and has contributed very much to my academic success. I also learned from a very young age how to be an independent student, and this has been invaluable in my high school experience. Additionally, growing up in such a diverse environment gave me a realistic view of the world and all of the different kinds of people and cultures that fill it; this helps me to work well with all kinds of people. I am forever grateful to have been blessed with a Montessori education.
Bridget Ivey Montessori Graduate
“I enjoyed being able to work at my own pace without feeling pressured. After I graduated from MSR and went to middle school, I was surprised at how far ahead I was in my studies. Also, I noticed my work ethic was strong, and my thinking patterns were more independent than some of my classmates. Recently, I was admitted to the McWhorter School of Pharmacy, and I know that my foundations will help me during the difficult journey ahead!”
Isabella Carlton 2012 Graduate
“Montessori is the root of my education. I learned things much differently than students in traditional classes. The teacher/student interaction has helped spur my success. I learned math facts, geography, and many other things using manipulatives. I learned how to step up and not be too shy in front of crowds, and I learned how to voice my opinion without being concerned about others’ opinions of me. This has helped me succeed both in the classroom, and beyond, and for this I am grateful.”
Chase Watterson Chase Watterson, parent of Tripp and Annie
“There’s no better environment for a young impressionable mind than the Montessori School of Rome. The self-guided discipline the students receive here serve them for a lifetime. My children have benefited greatly from their Montessori foundations, and when I work with these students, I benefit as well. I’m amazed by their curiosity, wonder and appetite for learning new things.
The Montessori teachings are for every child to lay the foundation of learning. In a society of dependent thinkers, the method creates independent thinkers which is invaluable to society.”