Explore Your Choices

Jessica Germain, Bridgeview Montessori teacher & alumni parent

I started worrying about preschool pretty much at conception. Not my own, of course, but my son’s. After all, I was resigning my position as a public elementary school teacher to raise this child. And, in truth, it was my frustration with the stressful, impersonal environment in my current school that first planted the seed of desire to escape and start my own family. It made sense that I wanted things to be different for my child. I deeply wanted him to discover the wonder in the world around him and develop a passion for learning about it. As he began to emerge as a person in his own right, my resolve was strengthened. We had talked so much about inspiring “lifelong learners” in my teacher training, but every day in the classroom all I did was teach to a standardized test that seemed aimed at creating standardized human beings. How could I take this naturally curious child with a mind of his own and put him in that environment?

As I began to consider preschool options for this curious child of mine, many independent preschools presented themselves as options, and friends recommended everything from Catholic education to homeschooling. I explored them all, but in the back of my mind there was my mother’s voice. When I was growing up she had always told me that a Montessori education would have been her first choice for me. My father, a traditionalist, was against the idea on principle, so I was off to the mainstream. But my husband, also a traditional person, told me that my Masters in Education qualified me as the family decision maker on this topic. Thus empowered, I forged ahead in my quest for the perfect preschool.

 Eli, age 4.

Eli, age 4.

Many schools received high recommendations from other moms. A woman I had recently met in our Sandwich Library playgroup had an older son that went to Bridgeview Montessori School in Sagamore. When she spoke about her son’s experience, I knew I had to check it out. I had visited other schools that either felt like extensions of home play or seemed like roads directed towards traditional education. When I visited Bridgeview Montessori School, I was invited to view a Children’s House classroom in action. The moment I saw it, I knew. It felt like we were coming home to a bright, peaceful, welcoming place. This place was about learning. And work. The children were spending their days joyously exploring their work as the classrooms were filled with extraordinary Montessori materials prepared meticulously by trained Montessori teachers.

 

When we observed the a classroom at Bridgeview Montessori, we saw materials that were colorful and engaging, not garish, but carefully maintained and meaningful. Each child was working industriously and seriously in a way that seemed incredible for a group of three or four year olds. My husband said skeptically, “He could never do that.” But I knew. Our son could do that. He craved that kind of purpose and his intellectual curiosity demanded that kind of direction. What wonderful things could he discover if he was surrounded by other children whose mutual curiosity was guided and encouraged by teachers. I was sold. I cancelled all future appointments to visit other schools and never looked back.

 Eli, age 14, swims for a medal at Blodgett Pool, Harvard University.

Eli, age 14, swims for a medal at Blodgett Pool, Harvard University.

More than a decade later, I still haven’t looked back. Though our now-teenage son has graduated from Bridgeview Montessori School, I can still see its benefits rippling through him every day. He retained his natural curiosity and become a middle school student who challenged himself to learn more outside of the classroom than in. In high school, I still see the ability to manage his time and workload with ease and to set his own internal expectations for excellence. At work and play, he is confident to approach new situations and tackle novel problems with innovative solutions. He learned all of that through the independence and respect afforded him in a Montessori program. We could not have made a better investment in his future than to begin his educational journey at Bridgeview Montessori School.

About the Players

As for me, Jessica Germain, I never returned to teaching in the public school. I decided to pursue Montessori training instead and am currently a teacher at Bridgeview Montessori School in the Elementary I (1st - 3rd grade) program.

My husband Greg Germain is the General Manager of Accu-Seal Corporation and is proud to be raising an independent, self-confident son. Greg served as President of the Bridgeview Montessori Board for three years from 2013 to 2015.

Courtenay Harrington Bailey, my friend who first recommended Bridgeview Montessori, started the popular Dramafun! program in Sandwich and became the Music and Drama teacher at Bridgeview Montessori School. Courtenay and our families remain close friends to this day.

Eli Germain is an A student at Sturgis Public Charter School in Hyannis. In his spare time, he writes poetry, plays board games, and trains more than 23 hours per week for Cape Cod Swim Club where he holds numerous age group records and is currently ranked in the top 20 nationally for the 200 yard butterfly. His first coach at CCSC, Adrienne Fontes, was also his Fitness teacher at Bridgeview Montessori School. Eli will turn 15 this month.