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My Experience at Maitland Montessori

As I prepare to study at the second-oldest university in the world, graduating as one of four class valedictorians, I cannot help but look back fondly on my memories of Maitland Montessori. The teachers there (special shout-out to Mr. Owens and Mrs. Talbert especially!) were kind and nurturing towards my young autistic self in a way I doubt many public school teachers would have been.

It was in Maitland Montessori that I first developed a love for learning, precisely because of the open-ended teaching philosophy. I was the one learning and exploring, whether in math, history, science, or English; I was spared the routine of homework, quizzes, and the tests, punctuated by the shrill ringing of a bell, so common in traditional schools.

At Maitland Montessori, I learned how to be intellectually curious, to ask questions and discover answers on my own

In particular, I loved reading about the Presidents, and some of my fondest memories of Maitland Montessori are of me reading books about them in the Blue Room, under the watchful and supportive guidance of Mrs. Manthe. While my love for books over interaction with other children did little for my social skills, it sparked a deep love of history in me that's led me to where I am today.

Most importantly, though, at Maitland Montessori, I learned how to be intellectually curious, to ask questions and discover answers on my own. It is in this spirit of independent thinking that I prepare to study history at Oxford, an ocean away. I would not be where I am today without Maitland Montessori and every single one of the amazing teachers there, especially Mrs. Fondo and Mrs. Owens, as they gave me the chance to learn here. And so truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Thank you for supporting me and caring for me when few traditional schools would have had faith in me, and thank you for nurturing my curiosity.

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