Please enjoy our first blog post written by a Bridgeview Montessori parent, Leslie Dominguez Santos. Our hope is that other members of our community will be inspired to submit blog posts that celebrate children, learning, Montessori education, parenting.....whatever inspires your voice. Thanks in advance for sharing.
Thanks to Leslie for being our first voice!
I worried about my son, Tony, completing his Sixth Year Project. Intensive research, lots of writing, and the creation of a year-long masterpiece all sounded really challenging for my son who doesn’t always love schoolwork.
Yet, this Thursday, Tony will present his fifteen-page research paper and perform his Sonatina in G Major, Opus 1, composed in the Baroque style. It is an amazing feat, and yet another reason for me to be grateful to Bridgeview Montessori School.
Tony has always loved music. His EI teacher, Melissa, quickly realized that he focused better if he was allowed to play on the piano for a few moments in between works. Courtenay realized that following the lead of this child meant giving him musical challenges like performing for peers, at the Winter Concert, and with the All-State Choir. His private piano teachers have nurtured his passion. Kathleen and Jolie knew that studying Baroque Music was a perfect topic for his Senior Research Project.
In true Montessori fashion, his teachers helped Tony devise a work-plan for his project. They broke down the project into very manageable pieces. There was the right combination of hand holding and firm pushing. Sources were gathered. Research began. Interesting tidbits about Baroque music revealed themselves to him. His enthusiasm for what he was learning brought him to new studies in his piano lessons.
Perhaps the most amazing part of the experience for Tony was the interviews. Tony worked hard to identify a Baroque-style musician, a composer and a conductor to interview. The simple act at Bridgeview Montessori School of teaching children how to shake hands and look someone in the eye was invaluable for these experiences. And, the Montessori confidence of speaking up and representing yourself was on full display in his interviews. Stars grew in his eyes with each interview. After each interview, his dreams grew: conduct an ensemble, compose music, play the harpsichord.
One of Tony’s interviews was with the international harpsichord, Ian Watson. The interview went incredibly well when Mr. Watson realized that Tony not only played the piano, but truly understand (thanks to copious research) how the harpsichord worked. At the end of his concert, Mr. Watson invited Tony on to the stage of Jordan Hall to perform on the harpsichord. Big dreams were made.
Tony’s final project is his Baroque-style composition. Were it not for this project, Tony would not have delved into the world of composition. He realized how challenging composing is. Yet, he also realized how enormously satisfying it is to take the music he hears in his head and shape it in to something. The project was a gift.
I write this, in many ways, as a thank-you. Tony will soon graduate from Bridgeview Montessori School. He is well-prepared, enthusiastic, resourceful and determined as a result of his years at Bridgeview. Follow-the-child worked for him: starting with Melissa letting him do spelling with tiles because he refused to write and ending with an E II presentation of 15 pages of research and writing. Thank you for letting Tony lead his way through his Elementary years. Thank you for nurturing his passions, letting him learn from mistakes, guiding him in time management and patience, and teaching him how to learn. I know that graduation isn’t until June; but, the completion of this projection and the founding of these new passions – that is his true graduation.