By John Lynch
It’s impossible to spend any time with Ann Evans of Community Montessori School and not feel inspired by education.
Evans, who is retiring as Head of School after nearly three decades with CMS, flavors her conversation about Montessori with phrases such as:
“The beauty and wonder of children.” “Peace is part of our curriculum.” “We revel in the uniqueness of each child.”
Evans, who will be replaced by Annie Gray, a long-time member of the CMS community, has not only seen countless area children thrive and blossom at CMS, she watched her own three kids benefit from the wisdom of Maria Montessori’s methods.
Although Evans is retiring, she is hardly leaving Montessori behind. Her two grandchildren are enrolled in a Montessori program in Louisville.
With the perspective of experience, Evans can see that the more things change in education, the more they stay the same in Montessori.
“Over the years, you see that the pendulum is always swinging in education from one new thing to another,” Evans said.
“What I love about Montessori is that the principles that Maria Montessori founded her method on are still true today.”
The time-tested principles of Montessori are simple:
Children will develop and learn naturally when given a supportive environment and allowed to explore the world at their own pace.
Montessori trusts and respects children to be their own best guide to education.
If a child is interested in mythology, flowers, numbers, rocks or whatever, she is given the freedom to pursue those interests as far as she wants to take them.
Montessori is not only timeless, Evans said, it’s international because its principles apply to all children.
“If you do this education, it doesn’t matter if you are in Kentucky, Japan or France, it works for all kids,” she said.
Two other bywords for Evans are grace and courtesy – virtues that permeate the CMS campus.
These so-called soft skills, combined with the Montessori method, foster such vital lifelong attributes as independence, persistence, creativity and cooperation.
As the final days of her tenure wind down, Evans feels bittersweet – excited by what retirement holds (time for family, hobbies and interests) and wistful about leaving a place she loves.
“This place helped shape me into the person I am today,” she said.
“I’m still going to be around but it’s different when you’re not there every day.
“But I’m excited for what CMS is and what the future holds for this great place.”