As part of a series we’re calling Who We Are, we’re working to build and connect our community by interviewing the talented, dynamic parents and staff who make up the people of Villa di Maria. Today, we meet Michaela Herbst, who is not only mother to a current Villa di Maria student, but is an alumni of Villa herself! Michaela attended Villa for primary and elementary. What a treat to hear from someone who has grown up Montessori and decided to return to the very same space for her children. Michaela and her husband Dan have two daughters and one on the way.
Villa di Maria: What is it about Montessori that is special to you?
Michaela Herbst: Montessori helped me develop into my best self in my elementary years. It brought out my love of learning in a way that more traditional school had not been able to do. This is even more special now as I have watched my daughter experience it from the very early age of 18 months. The way Montessori follows the child is just a very special thing to watch.
VdM: Do you have a specific memory from Villa di Maria that is a favorite?
MH: Wow! That is a tough one! So many amazing memories: the woods, capture the flag, the camp-outs, cooking hot lunch on Fridays… it would be hard to pick just one, but I’d have to say that building the deck as a class on the East side of the main building was one of my favorite accomplishments.
VdM: What was one of your favorite lessons?
MH: I enjoyed most of my lessons, but I ended up becoming so fond of Latin that I continued to take it throughout high school.
VdM: Did anything prove to be particularly challenging in transitioning away from Montessori?
MH: I do remember struggling with the structure and lack of independent learning opportunities granted to me in the public school I attended after leaving Upper Elementary at Villa. To this day I am not a fan of being told exactly when and how I should learn or do something.
VdM: What advice would you give to younger children who will be leaving the Montessori environment and attending a more traditional school environment?
MH: Cherish every moment, every lesson, every friendship. Each one is a unique building block and together they create an amazing foundation for a lifetime love of learning.
Thank you, Michaela, for giving us the unique perspective of a former Villa student and current parent. We are so happy you are a part of our community!