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 Kim Roberson, mother of one child in Lower Elementary who has been a part of the Villa di Maria community since he was four years old. Kim is also working to develop a diversity committee for parents at Villa di Maria sometime in the new year. Welcome, Kim, and thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!
Villa di Maria: What do you do (career-wise and any hobbies)?
Kim Roberson: Career wise, I currently work in marketing and development for a nonprofit under AmeriCorp and am pursuing a master’s degree in education. Prior to this, I spent the last 20 years working as a public relations executive for both corporate and nonprofit organizations. As far as hobbies go, I really enjoy reading and movies. I’ve been reading a lot of books about education recently. A Light Shines in Harlem and David & Goliath are two I’ve really enjoyed.
VdM: How did you get involved in Montessori?
KR: Our son started at my husband’s work daycare when he was three years old. We then started looking at private schools. The first private school he attended didn’t work out; he was regressing. He went into preschool knowing all these things, but by the end of the year he had lost his confidence and somehow didn’t fit into their mold and they wanted him to repeat preschool. We said no and that’s when I started looking for other schools. We just wanted to find quality education where he would fit.
At first, I looked at all kinds of different schools. Montessori happened to be one of them. At the time, I didn’t know much about it. I observed a Montessori class for 45 minutes and I realized this was something different and just might work! I asked my mom, who has been in education for many years both in Chicago and St. Louis) and she said she had only heard good things about Montessori.
We enrolled our son in Montessori at four years old, and we saw a complete turnaround. His confidence came back, he came home happy and excited about what he had learned, counting by 100’s, etc. I was hooked. I loved that he got to do his work for his desired amount of time.
VdM: Do you have any Montessori Moments you’d like to share?
KR: Yes! There are so many of them! I remember when our son was in primary, over Christmas break we had gotten him a volcano kit. He had made the volcano and even gathered acorns to decorate it. He has always been into weather and science. He really wanted to take the volcano to school to show his peers, so we asked the Directress and she welcomed the idea. At age five, he took initiative to share what he had learned with his classmates. I love that. I also really like the flexibility with the staff here.
I think one of the things I like most about this form of education is that there is this love of learning. My son doesn’t know about grades. He is curious and enthusiastic about learning. If something interests him, he dives in and learns about it. He doesn’t do work for a grade; he does it because he loves it!
VdM: What recommendations do you have for parents who are interested in Montessori education?
KR: Go visit a classroom. Try to go without preconceived notions and compare it to your own childhood experiences. I think the Montessori method would benefit many children.
Thank you, Kim, for taking the time to chat with us, and to share your thoughts on Montessori. We are so happy that you and your family are a part of this wonderful community!