This is what the literacy specialist from the South Carolina Read to Succeed program said to Dr. Hunt and me when she visited our school last week: you are living in a dream. That day was a long one, observing in each classroom, explaining our Montessori materials and philosophy, discussing our schools reading and writing goals, but it was also a very good one. It was especially good because living in this world now for three years, I forgot how special we were, that this school, its very existence IS a dream.
Obviously, our Montessori philosophy sets us apart. We are unique, valuing a curriculum of hands on and real world learning, a curriculum of doing. We want our students to learn math and geometry concepts, to read and write well, to see and understand the science and history that run through our lives, but we also want our students to hold the door for the person behind them, to learn how to wash a dish properly, to make a plan for their day, to be mindful, to understand that our lives are full of both joys and sorrows, and that we must bear both well. You do not find this type of school every day.
After observing every classroom, Dr. Files said that I was lucky that I got to work and coach alongside this staff, all of whom are excited to learn, to discover, to be the best. Imagine that- they are already grand, but they just keep working harder, the most amazing group of teachers I’ve seen, and I’ve worked in many schools in three different states. The first thing I thought, but didn’t say was, “Of course they are trying to be the best, why wouldn’t they be?” but then I remembered, yes, the dream, we are living in a dream. Because other schools are not like ours. When I moved to South Carolina, I observed at sixteen different schools. I admit that this was extreme, but I kept going because I didn’t see what I needed to see as a parent or as a teacher or even really as a human being wanting a healthy planet full of educated, kind, and interesting citizens. The world we want just can’t happen without great teachers, and we are lucky to have so many of them at CMCS.
We are a charter school that has to fight for every dime we have, but our charter is what gives us freedom to teach the way we know is right for students. We have a philosophy of teaching and a curriculum that has been working for children all over the world for over a century. We have a staff and an administration that work tirelessly to meet the needs of our students. We have children who love our school and love to learn, and parents who support them and us. Yes, we are living in a dream.