“Forty years on...”
Ten years ago, in celebration of the 30th anniversary, I was asked to write about LMS and how it all began:
Thirty years? Thirty years! I think I have to go lie down in a darkened room with a cold cloth on my head. How did we suddenly go from a tenuous but hopeful meeting in my dining room to start a carpool to a sturdy thriving school? How did the young daughter who inspired me get to be the age I was when I started the school? Where have the years gone?
My love affair with Montessori began in February of 1969. I sat behind a one-way mirror on the stage at the end of a huge room. Sixty children, two teachers and two aides moved happily and busily about the room and I was mesmerized. They were so engrossed in what they were doing; so helpful with each other; so joyful. I knew that I wanted that experience for my own daughters. As we moved around, they attended three schools in three years - all with the same beautiful materials, the same serene philosophy. When our family came to Litchfield in 1971, I enrolled our daughters in the Washington Montessori School. As we got to know families in the area, they became interested in where my children were going to school. A few wanted to know more about Montessori.
I was looking for a carpool. The daily drive to the Marsh horse farm where the school was located was getting to be a drag. In March of 1972, I invited the teacher to bring some materials to my house. I gathered a few friends to see what Montessori was all about. Every person there was so impressed and excited that they wanted to share this idea with other friends. A few weeks later over twenty families met and a school was born. In a matter of a few months we created a board of trustees, wrote a set of by-laws, became a tax exempt corporation, found a teacher, enrolled students, ordered materials from Holland and opened with thirteen students in September of 1972 in the Church House at St. Michael’s with Diane Truscio as the first teacher.
A lot happened in the seven years that I was involved. In the second year, we added a second classroom. In the third year, we added a junior class, which traveled to the Washington Montessori School every day because we didn’t have enough space and we added a class in Watertown. In the fourth year, we moved to the old Litchfield Prep School (now RESCUE) and camped out. In the fifth and sixth years, we moved to Wisdom House and finally in 1978, we moved to Northfield, added an upper elementary class and continued in Watertown.
Until the school moved to its present location, every summer, every thing in every classroom had to be boxed up, moved out and stored. Every summer, parents would faithfully wait to hear where the school would be the following fall. And still the school kept growing. A Montessori education speaks to the whole family. The loyalty, love and interest of those involved with the school keep it alive year after year. The feeling of being part of something very special that the school inspires in every family and student is still evident today. And now, the Litchfield Montessori School is ready for the next thirty years.
My love affair with Montessori still continues and I am grateful for the opportunity to celebrate the many wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful) changes during the past ten years. The most exciting changes have been the addition of the YPC and the Middle School programs. We are now able to serve children from 15 months to 15 years. This has created some real space challenges which Anne-Marie Fenn and now Paul Horovitz and the staff continue to meet with amazing ingenuity. I personally think the building has elastic walls. In these uncertain economic times, these additions increase the breadth of our student body. Even more importantly, these programs will increase knowledge of the Montessori philosophy and broaden the Montessori education offered at LMS.
LMS is blessed with a knowledgeable and committed parent group, dedicated staff and administration, and an incredibly strong and supportive board of trustees. What I said ten years ago still holds true, “A Montessori education speaks to the whole family. The loyalty, love and interest of those involved with the school keep it alive year after year. The feeling of being part of something very special that the school inspires in every family and student is still evident today.” Litchfield Montessori School is a very special place that has touched the lives of over 4000 people - children, families, volunteers and trustees - over the past forty years. I frequently meet people today who share with me the profound impact that our school has had on their children and on their whole family.
Congratulations and best wishes to you all. You are the heart and soul of the school. I could not be prouder of what the Litchfield Montessori School has become.
Mary Loyer, LMS parent
Founder, Board president, Trustee