When my children were young, going to my job every day meant leaving them, the most precious thing in my life, to be cared for and nurtured by others. I was concerned about their safety, and about their basic needs being met. I also wanted to be sure that they would receive the loving attention, encouragement, and education that they needed to prepare for school, and for the rest of their lives.
I searched for an educational day care program, getting recommendations from friends, researching different philosophies and different organizations, looking at centers vs. home day care vs. preschools. Finally, I decided to place my children in Montessori programs, because of the quality of the program in providing the support and stimulation I wanted for my children. They thrived in their preschools, developing independence, confidence, and curiosity. I was amazed at what they could do for themselves at a very young age. My only concern was the lack of attention paid by preschools to the quality of their “before care” and “after care” programs. It was also difficult to arrange care for my children on days the school was closed, or closed early. However, I was never in doubt that a Montessori program was right for my children. I wished I could have gone to a Montessori school when I was young!
As my children grew into adults and left home, I recognized that I was no longer satisfied by my career, and I began to think about what might be next for me. After years working in an office, I felt a need to contribute more to helping others. As I reflected on my experience with Montessori programs, I was surprised to learn that Maria Montessori developed her methods and materials while caring for the children of working class families who were leaving their children home alone while they went to work. She was a physician in Italy in the early 1900’s who worked with special needs children, when the government asked her to establish a program to care for the children left at home while their parents worked. Through careful observation and experimentation, Dr. Montessori learned what materials and activities engaged the children’s interest and taught them the skills they needed to enter school, and to prepare them for life. Her goals were to help them develop according to their natural growth timeline, and to teach them practical skills, academic fundamentals, respect for others, and care of self and the environment. So I decided to create a program in the image of Maria Montessori’s “Casa dei Bambini”, to serve working families in Montgomery County.
Top Hat Montessori is the place I looked for when my children were young. I have found wonderful Montessori teachers who provide a nurturing and stimulating program where children thrive. It has been a guiding principle for me that Top Hat Montessori is open for the convenience of working families, with prices competitive with cay care centers. As I walk through our bright and airy classrooms, I know that Top Hat Montessori succeeds in offering what all working families need – quality care at affordable prices, with children’s happiness, safety, and development as a priority.
I am proud to watch children in my school today learning and growing as those other children did many years ago under the care of Maria Montessori herself.