We are VdM: The Sennes

Family vacation in Colorado

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 the Sennes: Jessica, Aaron, Arlo and Lydia, who joined the VdM community in 2018. 

First day of school!

Villa di Maria: Tell us a bit about you and your family.

Jessica Senne: Aaron is originally from Kansas City and I am originally from Springfield, Missouri, though we’ve been in St. Louis for over 15 years and both of our children have lived here their entire lives. Aaron and I met in interior design school at Mizzou and then moved to St. Louis to pursue graduate degrees in architecture at Washington University. We’ve lived here ever since and now reside in a mid-century modern neighborhood in Kirkwood. We really love our neighborhood and the Kirkwood area, and I suppose we’ve lived here long enough to now say we are from St. Louis! However, as everybody knows, if you didn’t go to high school in St. Louis, it’s hard to say you’re from St. Louis :).

Camping at Echo Bluff State Park
Both of our kids went through preschool (age 5) at another Montessori school, which is how we were originally introduced to Montessori. As practicing designers, we feel Montessori really aligns with our experiences in studio-based education, which we feel from first-hand experience is the most effective way to learn.  After our son, Arlo, completed kindergarten and first grade at one of the public elementary schools in Kirkwood, we had a strong feeling that Montessori was the better fit for him. We felt he really thrived at his Montessori preschool and we felt he’d lost his fire for learning, so to speak, with his two years in a “traditional” classroom setting. Halfway through his first grade year we started looking for other options, and were delighted to find the area’s best Montessori elementary school practically in our back yard! It didn’t hurt that Aaron was part of the design team that designed the initial campus expansion schemes for Villa, so he was already a little familiar with the campus.  
This is now Arlo’s second year with Villa (he is a third-year student in Checkerboard), and his younger sister, Lydia, is in her culminating year in P3. We have all absolutely loved our experiences with Villa. Arlo is able to pursue his deep interest in history and geography with his self-guided projects in Checkerboard, and Lydia enjoys dabbling in a little bit of everything in P3.
VdM: What do you and your spouse do, career-wise?

Jessica: We are both licensed architects and own our own firm in Kirkwood, Studio Lark.  I am also an interior designer and spent many years teaching design to students of all ages, ranging from elementary school to university level. We welcome visitors to our studio in Kirkwood! We build lots of models, make lots of drawings, and have a library of interesting materials. We would love for Villa families to stop by if they have kids who are interested in architecture and design, or simply want to see our space!

VdM: What is your favorite activity to do as a family?

Jessica: We love to do all sorts of things as a family! During the weeks we like to take morning walks with our dog, Pearl. In the evenings we enjoy cooking and eating dinners together and watching movies or playing video games as a family after dinner. We also love to read and do puzzles together in the evenings. On the weekends you’ll find us taking long hikes and making pancakes (Aaron’s specialty!). And Santa brought us all new creative supplies for Christmas, so we’ve been drawing and painting a lot together lately. Oh, and Aaron, Arlo, Lydia and Pearl all love to go camping, and they drag me along semi-willingly. We also love going to the beach and try to get down to the 30A area in Florida once a year! 


Cardinal’s game on Easter Sunday
Family vacation in Florida

VdM – A question specifically for Arlo & Lydia: If you wrote a book, what would it be about?

Arlo: The Big Book of Ancient Civilizations

Lydia: The Big Book of Alligators

Thank you, Jessica, Aaron, Arlo and Lydia. We are so glad to have you in the VdM community (and we can’t wait to read those books!)

Family photos provided by the Sennes.