From the Head: On Transitions & Life Beyond Aidan

Parents often wonder how Montessori children fare when they graduate from Aidan Montessori School and enter other schools.  

This is a story that I was told long ago: A young girl graduates from her local Montessori Elementary Program and enrolls in another school. She goes to school every day, meets new friends and follows new routines. She gets homework, does it and turns it in. She sits in her assigned chair. She is polite and attentive as her teacher gives lectures. In every visible way, she fits in to her new environment.  The teacher, after two weeks, informs the student’s parents that their daughter has made a smooth transition.  

Unfortunately, the girl’s cover is blown in the third week. After listening to the teacher lecture to the class for nearly a month, she raises her hand and politely asks, “Excuse me, but when are you going to stop talking so that we can do our work?”

I do not remember from whom I first heard this story so I will not say that I am certain it actually happened. Even if it is not true, however, it certainly is illustrative: children learn actively in a Montessori classroom. They are self-directed, engaged, productive, and interested in their learning.  

On our “Beyond Aidan” webpage, you can see the many and varied schools that our students attend after graduating from Aidan. On that page, you will see the names of some of the most competitive schools in the District. Missing from that list are the many excellent public/charter schools that some of our students also move on to. In short, families choose Aidan for a reason, and they also choose their next school for their own reasons. Aidan prepares students for just about any learning environment, and our children transition well because they learn to be confident problem solvers who are meta-cognitive about their learning and able to advocate for themselves.

Our children know how to pace themselves and manage their time. They are interested in their learning. They are not hurried by “period changes” or compelled by loud voices. They are taught gently and developmentally appropriately. They respect the work of other children, who, in turn, respect them. They clean up after themselves. When they make mistakes, they know that they have encountered a learning opportunity, not a reason for shame, not something to keep hidden. Our children learn about themselves and about learning. Area schools know this about our children. Directors of Admission at other schools know that admitting Montessori children enriches their student body; and, they know that Aidan is the best Montessori school in the region. 

When our children graduate from Aidan and enter another learning environment, they take with them an understanding of themselves in relation to education that is unique to our environment.  

They will be better prepared wherever they go as a result of this foundation. They might make a cross-environmental faux pas or two, like the student in the story above, but in the end they will apply a love and understanding of learning that precious few children are fortunate to have. Like any other student managing a transition, each of our students may stumble on one thing or another. The resiliency that they have internalized here, at Aidan, will carry them through those challenges.


Kevin Clark

Head of School

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