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Aspen Park Montessori, We Are the Change December 24, 2022

It is time for change. Look around. It appears our world is literally falling apart. Systems like education and healthcare have fallen to an all-time low, and that only names a few. It is fair to

say we could examine many systems and find lack on so many levels. Although there is a vision to provide support and improve circumstances, many institutions are saddled with a lack of help, support, resources, and healthy work environments. We also cannot forget about plain old-fashioned work ethics and values which seem to have gone out the door.

Where is the accountability, responsibility, empathy, compassion, the desire to do right? What happened to our humanness? Does it really all come down to profit and personal gain? We are failing on so many levels, and it is epidemic. Or, it at least appears to be that way. Many would say the world is a dire place to live right now. It is survival of the fittest. Aspen Park Montessori disagrees. Change begins within each individual, and at Aspen Park Montessori, our staff is the change. We work individually and as a team to make our children the priority. We have the opportunity to do things differently, to center our care around the needs of each child. Lessons are not based on what the teacher is told to teach, but on what the teacher wants to teach. Group instruction encourages child participation and involvement. We look for engagement. If we are not getting it, we need to change things up and do things differently. Individualized instruction focuses on the uniqueness of each child. We want each child to feel special, to experience the world as a nurturing and caring place. We also want our children to learn at their pace. We go to great lengths to make sure they get it all. Some children learn very quickly. Others take more time. That is O.K., because we take the time to pay attention and notice where they are and where they can go. We know our children. Can other schools say that about each child? At our school, we have the privilege, opportunity, ability, and liberty to do what we feel is right. We do not answer to the bureaucracy of a high profit corporation or a committee of individuals that lack experience and knowledge in the educational field. We do not have to answer to an organization riddled with politics and personal gain. We do have to answer to the proper agencies that support us and make sure we do things legally, equitably, and rightfully. We have rules to follow and objectives to meet. We have obligations to our students and families and requirements that must be met in order to deliver a quality education. Because of our vision, we can undoubtedly say that we do the right things for the right reasons.

What is doing the right thing? Is it putting in the extra time and effort to get an equitable solution that helps everyone? Is it sitting down with a child to “listen” and really hear the words that are spoken? Is it taking a moment to look into a child’s eyes and tell them they matter, that they are special? Is it taking a hand in a moment of need and giving them a hug?

Is it helping a child navigate through feelings and emotions they are having a hard time processing? Is it holding them accountable for their actions while helping them find solutions

to their problems? Is it going against the grain and doing what is right in a situation, no matter the backlash it might create? Doing the right thing takes effort and time. It requires a devotion to excellence and a commitment to patience. It requires a deep sense of trust, trust in our ability to deliver a quality education, and trust in the relationships we form between our students and families. Finally, it requires peace of mind, an awareness that going out on a limb always pays off. Have you heard of the classic book “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck? We highly recommend it. Taking the road less traveled requires a commitment to doing what is right no matter the difficulty or struggle. According to Peck, “confronting and solving problems is a painful process that most of us attempt to avoid. And the very avoidance results in greater pain and inability to grow both mentally and spiritually.” This book suggests ways to confront and resolve problems. Suffering through the changes can enable us to reach a higher level of self-understanding. It is through self-understanding that we change. Ask yourself if you take the Road Less Traveled. We walk it every day at Aspen Park Montessori.

In times when resources are minimal and staffing is a constant challenge on many levels, it seems near impossible to meet the expectations of the industry. And many institutions don’t.

They barely get by providing the minimal requirements and resources needed to get the job done. At Aspen Park Montessori we do what it takes to get the job done properly by offering

whatever is needed. Our classroom is loaded with educational toys and manipulatives that make learning fun. We want to make sure we have many options available to all of our children. We are committed to having enough of the most popular items making them assessable and available to all children (this includes sharing and taking turns). We utilize microscopes, drones, electronics, and many STEM products and activities. We have daily art sessions in which the children can express their creativity. But it is so much more than that. It is also about discipline, following instruction, and practicing patience. Of course, we are also developing fine motor skills and gross hand movements. It’s about sharing materials and working as a team to get the job done individually and within a group setting. Many schools will say that they also provide these items and activities. That might be true, but what makes us different? We put a lot of time and effort into finding materials and activities that not only stimulate and engage, but teach at the same time. When talking about resources, we must also mention student to teacher ratios. We make sure our student to teacher ratio remains below the current recommendations. Although there are many fluctuations when dealing with ratios (number of children present and the age of the child) we do our best to provide the necessary support. So how does this relate to change? Change means putting our kids first. It means doing whatever is necessary to provide a quality education, no matter the time or cost. It means thinking outside the box, becoming creative, going the extra mile to engage and teach our kids.

Finally, change means justice. It means that our school embraces the importance of being objective, fair and equitable. It is our duty and responsibility to carefully weigh all circumstances of a situation that result in a decision and action. It is many times easier to make and enforce a decision that would simply make a problem “go away”. That is what many establishments do. They get rid of the problem without trying to fix it. Problems are headaches that can cause backlash and upheaval. Most do not want to go there nor deal with it. Again, they do not want to go out on a limb and do what is right. They want a quick fix that makes the problem disappear. But we all know there are no quick fixes. And problems do not simply “go away”. Time, dedication, and a commitment to doing what is right always pay off.

But the vast majority of people might disagree. They do not take into account the long-term effects decisions could have on an individual, a family or society. Every child matters and deserves the opportunity to excel and grow. We take the time and put forth the effort needed to find a resolution that works for everyone. At Aspen Park Montessori, we see past the problem. We look for the solution that serves everyone’s best interests.

Change is here. But change requires a breakdown of the old. It requires a disintegration of the things not working. It requires a collapse of dysfunction, irresponsibility, lack of caring and compassion, and lack of righteousness. This is our opportunity to make things better. We can create a brighter future, a time when doing the right thing for the right reason matters. Aspen Park Montessori is the change. If you don’t believe us, simply look at our results. Our kids are learning amazing things while having fun. Isn’t that what it is all about?

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