I feel so lucky to have been able to attend Litchfield Montessori School. I can say with total conviction that I would neither be the person I am today nor be doing the things I am if I had not been taught by the many wonderful people at LMS. If I would have to choose one thing that Montessori instilled in me that helped steer me where I am today I would say it's the encouragement to be curious. Being able to explore the world around us and be encouraged to look into the things that interested us was so superior to anything I could have learned from a predetermined curriculum in a text book. It's the teacher's willingness to let a child explore and be curious that makes LMS such an extraordinary place. I am honestly so grateful for every day I spent there.
I met so many amazing people at LMS and looking back on it, I didn't realize just how many good memories I had of my time there. It's impossible to single out a favorite memory from my time there. I can remember rehearsing for The Tempest, making a traveler's guide for our trip to Washington, D.C., painting a table in the Aboriginal style for the auction and playing kickball in the field behind the school. I remember some moments from Children's House and how I learned how to spell a classmate’s name by writing with water on the red door outside our classroom in the garden.
My family moved to Lebanon, New Hampshire when I was a freshman in High School. I began flying small aircraft at the local airport there when I was sixteen. I received my private pilot's license right before I began college at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. During my four years there I earned five more licenses including ones for multi-engine aircraft and the privilege to instruct others to fly. I also flew a plane around the country with a friend during my junior year summer. It was an amazing opportunity to see nearly every corner of the country and meet some great people. While at Embry-Riddle I was in the Air Force officer training program working towards my Aeronautics degree as well as a commission as an officer. I graduated in May of 2011 and pinned on the rank of Second Lieutenant that same month. Since then I've been lucky enough to fly the T-6B Texan II flight trainer at Naval Air Station Whiting Field near Pensacola, Florida. I learned how to properly eject to fly our aircraft only feet apart from each other with fellow flight students from this country's armed services (as well as many foreign nations). The days at the office here can be long and are prefaced with a lot of studying and preparation but I wouldn't trade what I get to do for anything in the world.
It's such a visceral feeling whenever I see photos of the LMS materials go up on the Facebook page. I see the smooth and rough letters and can literally feel in my fingers the memory of that sand on the red letters and the wooden curves of the blue letters. A photo of the number chain goes up and I flashback to the little plastic drawers that all those beads were in and the length of felt that I would lay out on the floor to begin working on them the classroom. I loved learning about life and caring for it. Our rats Stella and Luna and the geckos and the fish were so fun to have as a part of our little family in Upper El. It's so amazing now that I'm older to see how some of these materials shaped my learning then and much further down the road. Litchfield Montessori was such a uniquely different experience from the public school curriculum for me and I'm forever grateful for that.
Ryan is pictured above with a photo of him during his studies at Litchfield Montessori School.