Leslie McSpadden recently passed the baton to a new generation of Montessorians in her family. Her daughter, Reagan, started in the Toddler Montessori program at Nardin Academy in Buffalo, New York, in the fall, and Leslie is thrilled to see her engaged in some of the lessons she can remember from her Montessori childhood.
||Leslie as a sixth-grader in 1997 (left) and today
"It's amazing how [children] start to develop the concept of critical thinking and time management so early on," she said. "I chose to enroll [Reagan] in Montessori because I've always believed in it and I wanted her to be somewhere she would be encouraged to explore and be independent."
While Leslie and her brother, Brad, were technically the first generation in her family to attend a Montessori school, her mother is former WMS teacher Arlene Wason. Arlene trained as a Montessori teacher while Leslie and Brad were WMS students and went
on to teach at WMS for 27 years.
Arlene continued teaching at WMS for 20 years after Leslie and Brad graduated, which helped Leslie carry so many lessons from her Montessori days into her middle and high school years and beyond.
"From the beginning at WMS, we were taught to think critically and to be creative problem solvers and manage our time effectively," she said. "I had a leg up on my peers that attended different grade schools because I knew how to be an effective time manager and a self-directed learner."