“We did the research, and Montessori set her up for success.”

Stacy Stout likens deciding on a school for their oldest child as being like preparing to choose a college. She and her husband, Daniel Vallie, took tours and met with staff because they hoped that like a college, they would find someplace they wanted to stay for several years.

“When we were looking into preschools for Tlalli, our oldest, we really liked Montessori. That is a lot of techniques we could use at home, and we were really excited about the graduation and the college acceptance rates,” said Stacy.

Tlalli is now in her 3rd year at Grand Rapids Montessori. Through all three years, Tlalli has been in the same classroom with the same teacher because one of the tenets of Montessori education is multi-age classrooms.

“Just like real life, they grow, and they learn, and they get additional responsibilities, and then they help, I wouldn’t say take care of the younger ones, but kind of like look out for them, help teach them. She’s in her third year, and she can help these first year preschoolers, so I just thought it was really empowering,” said Stacy.

One result of having the same teacher for multiple years is a strong partnership between the teacher and parents.

Daniel said, “Everybody’s really friendly and open. I can go there when I drop her off; we can talk if there’s any concerns. We can go back and forth about it.”

The Montessori model also allows students to have a voice in choosing the work that they do. By using the term work and allowing students to exercise independence in choosing their work, Stacy and Daniel believe their daughter is gaining confidence and learning a strong work ethic that will benefit her in the future. She’s also been learning important life skills like sharing and resolving conflict. In fact, Tlalli is so excited about school and learning that she often comes home and asks to play school. But she doesn’t sit at the table to play school. She sits on a carpet on the floor, just like she would at Grand Rapids Montessori. In a Montessori classroom, students are allowed to move freely around the room to work in the best environment for them.

Stacy jokes, “I don’t even know if they have desks there.  It’s very hands-on.”

Having a child experience the Montessori model was a big change for Stacy, who grew up in a traditional school setting and was accustomed to a different type of education.

“The Montessori model and the structure of it is very different than what I had because we did worksheets. Every day, my mom was like ‘Where’s your homework?’ But what she brings home is different. It’s like lessons. She’s learning how to categorize stuff, so it’s not like a worksheet on categorizing. It’s as she helps you unload the groceries, could you have her categorize the cans with the boxes of food?...I did get nervous at first. I was like, ‘Where’s all the homework?’ because that’s how I was trained. But she’s learning. It was a little different for us,” said Stacy.

After the first year at Grand Rapids Montessori, Stacy and Daniel were confident they made the right choice for their family.

“We’re fortunate in that we have resources. We could send her wherever we wanted, and we both have flexible work schedules. We have two vehicles. We could bring her somewhere else, but we choose GRPS because we believe in Grand Rapids and we think you have to invest in the public schools in the city that you choose to live and raise your kids in,” said Stacy.

Daniel appreciates that as a diverse family, their daughter is exposed to diversity at school. Both Stacy and Daniel emphasize that diversity was an important factor in choosing a school.

Daniel explains, “It’s a little more diverse, and just so that she gets to see other walks of life, too, and maybe other people’s life ways. For her to be exposed to that, so she’s open to it. That she knows that she can be proud of where she comes from, but she can also respect where other people come from and their life ways, as well.”

Stacy has advice for other parents making the decision about where to send their children to school.

“Do your research. Most importantly, I think it just has so many great things going on with GRPS. Just know that and reach out to folks like me and others who are having just wonderful experiences,” she said. 

Stacy Stout likens deciding on a school for their oldest child as being like preparing to choose a college. She and her husband, Daniel Vallie, took tours and met with staff because they hoped that like a college, they would find someplace they wanted to stay for several years.

“When we were looking into preschools for Tlalli, our oldest, we really liked Montessori. That is a lot of techniques we could use at home, and we were really excited about the graduation and the college acceptance rates,” said Stacy.

Tlalli is now in her 3rd year at Grand Rapids Montessori. Through all three years, Tlalli has been in the same classroom with the same teacher because one of the tenets of Montessori education is multi-age classrooms.

“Just like real life, they grow, and they learn, and they get additional responsibilities, and then they help, I wouldn’t say take care of the younger ones, but kind of like look out for them, help teach them. She’s in her third year, and she can help these first year preschoolers, so I just thought it was really empowering,” said Stacy.

One result of having the same teacher for multiple years is a strong partnership between the teacher and parents.

Daniel said, “Everybody’s really friendly and open. I can go there when I drop her off; we can talk if there’s any concerns. We can go back and forth about it.”

The Montessori model also allows students to have a voice in choosing the work that they do. By using the term work and allowing students to exercise independence in choosing their work, Stacy and Daniel believe their daughter is gaining confidence and learning a strong work ethic that will benefit her in the future. She’s also been learning important life skills like sharing and resolving conflict. In fact, Tlalli is so excited about school and learning that she often comes home and asks to play school. But she doesn’t sit at the table to play school. She sits on a carpet on the floor, just like she would at Grand Rapids Montessori. In a Montessori classroom, students are allowed to move freely around the room to work in the best environment for them.

Stacy jokes, “I don’t even know if they have desks there.  It’s very hands-on.”

Having a child experience the Montessori model was a big change for Stacy, who grew up in a traditional school setting and was accustomed to a different type of education.

“The Montessori model and the structure of it is very different than what I had because we did worksheets. Every day, my mom was like ‘Where’s your homework?’ But what she brings home is different. It’s like lessons. She’s learning how to categorize stuff, so it’s not like a worksheet on categorizing. It’s as she helps you unload the groceries, could you have her categorize the cans with the boxes of food?...I did get nervous at first. I was like, ‘Where’s all the homework?’ because that’s how I was trained. But she’s learning. It was a little different for us,” said Stacy.

After the first year at Grand Rapids Montessori, Stacy and Daniel were confident they made the right choice for their family.

“We’re fortunate in that we have resources. We could send her wherever we wanted, and we both have flexible work schedules. We have two vehicles. We could bring her somewhere else, but we choose GRPS because we believe in Grand Rapids and we think you have to invest in the public schools in the city that you choose to live and raise your kids in,” said Stacy.

Daniel appreciates that as a diverse family, their daughter is exposed to diversity at school. Both Stacy and Daniel emphasize that diversity was an important factor in choosing a school.

Daniel explains, “It’s a little more diverse, and just so that she gets to see other walks of life, too, and maybe other people’s life ways. For her to be exposed to that, so she’s open to it. That she knows that she can be proud of where she comes from, but she can also respect where other people come from and their life ways, as well.”

Stacy has advice for other parents making the decision about where to send their children to school.

“Do your research. Most importantly, I think it just has so many great things going on with GRPS. Just know that and reach out to folks like me and others who are having just wonderful experiences,” she said. 


ENROLLMENT INFORMATION

Act now! Apply today! Seats for theme schools and Centers of Innovation are limited and an application is required. Apply online at apply.grps.org, or visit any GRPS school or the Administration Building at 1331 Franklin St SE for a paper application.