As parents, choosing a school for our children is one of the most difficult things we do.  We have so little information on which to base our decision; the more we learn, the more confusing it becomes.  What kind of education will work?  Which curriculum is better?  Is the fit right?  Will my child learn?  What skills will he or she need and when?  What will help my child to get ahead?  Will it be enough?

When I tell people what motivated me to start this school, I tell them that I am first and foremost a parent.  I am not a Montessorian, nor an educator, nor an entrepreneur.  Like each of you, I simply wanted what is best for my child.  My son had to spend two bored, unhappy days in a traditional preschool after a year in a Montessori classroom before it dawned on me that Montessori was different, extraordinary and, most of all, essential.  Unfortunately, at that time, the next nearest Montessori schools were in places like Springfield, Edgewater and Guttenberg:  If I did not want to drive my son back and forth to school for hours every day to get him to school, I was going to have to build a school myself.  Once we had opened, the addition of the elementary school and then the middle school were inevitable:  With the extraordinary results we saw in our own children each year, why would we want to send them anywhere else?

Many years of research later, I remain committed to Montessori.  The more I read, the more I learn about current thinking in education, current thinking in what our world will be, and current thinking in 21st Century skills, the more admiration I have for Maria Montessori and her method.  More than one hundred years after Montessori opened her first Children's House, through neurology, pediatrics, other scientific study, and all the sophisticated technological tools to which we have access today, we are coming to many of the same conclusions about child development, childhood intelligence, learning and ways to foster growth that Montessori came to through mere observation.  She gave us an educational system that nurtures independence, critical thinking, integrative acquisition and creative disposition of information.  It trains thinkers, it trains leaders and above all, it gives us children whose joy in learning makes us yearn to be able to start school all over again.

There were times that I was not sure that my son was getting the “right” education.  I crossed my fingers and cautiously waited them out.  Now I am sure.  My son just began his first year of college.  What he has become is far, far beyond what I had hoped for, socially, emotionally and academically.  I am astonished by his knowledge, his abilities and his passion for what he learns and can create.  Regrettably, I cannot claim credit as a parent:  I was far too busy for most of his childhood building the vehicle for his education.  The credit goes to his school and to the wonderful teachers he had along the way -- to Waterfront Montessori, where my son was just one of a group of students who are just as extraordinary.

Amazing things are happening here.  Please do not take my word for it.  Come and see us!

Thank you for your interest in Waterfront Montessori.  We would love to share what we have learned with you.


Karen Westman
Mother of Hank, Founder and Head of Waterfront Montessori



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