The very best part of Villa di Maria is our people. Our community of families, faculty and staff is something to be proud of. In this series, We are VdM, we’ll highlight the energies, talents, humor and wisdom of some of our amazing people. Today we’ll feature one of our newest families, the Donohues. They joined VdM and Ms. Braud’s Children’s House this fall and we hope they will be with us for a very long time! In the interview below, the Donohues answered our questions from the perspective of their current VdM student.
Villa di Maria: Tell us a bit about you and your family.
The Donohues: We are one of the newest additions to the Villa community and we have loved it so far. I am four and a half and in P2, and my one and a half year old little brother will hopefully join me there later next year. My mom has played the violin since age four and she has just started giving me lessons. My dad is the oldest of twelve and knows how to speak Latin. As a family, we love traveling and exploring new places. We enjoy hiking outdoors especially when we can do so while checking off National Parks and monuments from our bucket list; maybe one day we will visit them all! From our most recent home in Cheyenne, WY we were able to visit six of these incredible national wonders. Our favorite was probably Arches National Park in UT, which was breathtaking, and totally worth the trip.
VdM: Where are you from and what brought you to St. Louis and Villa di Maria?
The Donohues: Mom and dad are both originally from opposite ends of the East Coast (mom is from FL, dad from NH), but they met in the middle while they were both working in the DC area — and the rest has been history! I was born in VA, and my little brother was born in WY. Dad is an Air Force JAG lawyer and his job requires that we move a lot. We are hopeful, however, that we will get to spend several years in the Saint Louis area before we have to move again.
VdM: What is your experience with Montessori? How did you find it?
The Donohues: My mom went to Montessori schools as a child and it was her experience as a Montessori child that sparked our family’s love for Montessori education. Mom is also an AMI Montessori teacher by training. Before she had me, she worked in DC for four years as a Montessori teacher. As soon as we found out we were moving to Saint Louis last winter, Mom started researching schools in earnest. On our first visit to the area we visited all of the AMI schools and absolutely fell in love with Villa. The beauty and order of the campus and classrooms combined with the vibrancy of the community were readily apparent, making our choice relatively easy. We look forward to continuing to build friendships and contributing to that community!
VdM: What is your favorite family tradition in the winter months?
The Donohues: We love celebrating the winter season in every way we can. This includes playing outdoors in the snow, sledding, making snowmen, and snow angels. Since we have lived in four different states over the last five winters, our winter activities have varied a bit from year to year. Last winter I learned to ski in the Rocky Mountains, and my dad has promised he will teach me to ice-skate this winter. Given all of that change, our favorite winter tradition would have to be our celebration of the season of Advent. Each week throughout the month of December we light another of the four candles in the Advent wreath combined with the songs and prayers for that week. The three purple and one pink candle all help us keep in mind where we are in our journey towards our celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas. Our Advent celebrations are also interspersed with the feasts of Saint Nicholas and Saint Lucy. On Saint Nicholas’ day on December 6th, we make special cookies and then leave out our stockings and shoes when we go to bed. On Saint Lucy’s day (December 13th) we make cross shaped saint Lucy buns and I wear a special crown with candles.
VdM: What is your favorite thing to do on the playground?
The Donohues: My favorite thing to do on the playground is to play “dog” where I’m the dog and my friend is the owner. I also enjoy “playing mommy” where I use the lovely wooden tables and pretend to cook a big meal for my kids.
Thank you, Donohues! Welcome to St. Louis and to VdM. We are so happy to have you here.
Family photos provided by the Donohues.