We moved here when Aidan was three years old. Immediately, like all first time parents, we wanted the best for our son and we wanted him, safe and loved, like he was at home with us and with family. He was also too young for public school, so we decided that we would do the private school route, at least until he was in kindergarten. My sister-in-law, who had a doctorate in education, told me to look into Montessori Education. So I began looking and touring all the Montessori’s I could find in our area. Then we walked through Rising Star’s door…
The first thing I noticed about Rising Star was how quiet and clean it was. Then, I met Ms. Nancy and Ms. Debi. They both basically ignored me and my husband and instead, they immediately crouched down and took time to speak with Aidan. It was like Aidan was interviewing them, and they needed to make an impression on him. I cannot tell you how relieved I was to see my son, who never took to strangers, immediately open up to these two women.
He took Ms. Debi’s hand and walked off with confidence and security to do his first Montessori Lesson. Meanwhile Ms. Nancy took the time to show us around the classroom, which at that time was just one room. I watched Ms. Nancy interact with us and her children. There was a sense of love, warmth, and security emanating from these two women. We knew we had found our second home for our family. Aidan didn’t want to leave and he couldn’t wait to come back. I was so excited for him to start this chapter of his life.
So now we are in “THE BEST SCHOOL with THE BEST TEACHERS”, those of you who are veterans of RSM will get that line, and Aidan is thriving. He hated school breaks, because it took him away from Ms. Nancy and Ms. Debi. He’s loved by everyone. He learns responsibility and accountability.
In Ms. Nancy’s class he learned how to take care of himself and things around him. He learned math, science, colors, sizes, and shapes. He learned how to read, recognize, and sound out his letters. Much to my chagrin, he learned to read in about three weeks! This put him in the afternoon class and raised his tuition rate! This was a big deal because Aidan initially really wanted to be in the afternoon class. He wanted more time with Ms. Nancy and so he went to ask, “What do I have to do to be with the bigger kids?” She replied, “Learn your sounds and put your words together.” So Aidan took it to heart and worked his absolute hardest.
I remember when Ms. Nancy called me to tell me that tuition rate was going up and that Aidan was now ready for the afternoon class. She had taught my son (through his own actions) a very valuable lesson: a goal requires taking steps. In order to go from point A to point D…you have to accomplish B and C.
Although our original intentions were for Aidan to stay until kindergarten, that did not happen. He went on to Ms. Debi’s class.
This is where things “Got Real”.
This is where he learns real life lessons and the educational foundation is used to build upon. This is where math took shape for Aidan. He really began to learn how math really works! He learned how to actually borrow for subtraction and that actually happens. Same with multiplication. And that numbers really do add up. These aren’t just something you memorize. It’s real!
He learned how important handwriting is and how to give 100% to your work. He learned 3 big lessons: not to lie, how important a promise is, and how to organize his time.
Like all children, Aidan realized the concept of lying and how it can “help” him. What children don’t realize is that it will catch up with you and it is something that must be unlearned quickly! That was accomplished with the teaching of Ms. Debi. Aidan quickly learned that he could not tell Ms. Debi one thing and his parents another thing. What he didn’t bank on was that Ms. Debi closely communicated with the parents.
Aidan realized that lying wasn’t going to work and that it was easier to come clean with his parents about things, no matter how bad they were. And he learned the importance of a promise because Ms. Debi always kept her word. He learned that when you promised something, you were giving your word and in the big scheme of life, that is a HUGE thing. It’s your character. Which is literally who you are!
My son was one of the three kids that coined the term “Ms. Debi Promise” which to this day, he still uses to stress how important something means to him.
The concept of organizing his time was crucial in setting a strong foundation for his life. He learned how to plan his day, achieve daily goals, and how to get things done. And the same thing happened in the Senior Elementary class. Aidan learned how to write well and effortlessly, how to perform public speaking, debate (even when he doesn’t agree with the side he is on), and more on how to complete his goals. He is now able to see how small steps lead into a big picture. He moves from daily planning – to weekly – to monthly planning. He also strengthens his integrity skills and his confidence goes up.
Aidan is now a high school senior at a public school. He is in the top of his class, head drum major of the marching band, and he’s dual enrolled in Clayton State University so that he can graduate high school with a head start into college. Because of this, when he finishes high school, he will be starting college as a sophomore. I attribute his success to his early education academically and the personal development skills he learned from his teachers.
Throughout Aidan’s time in RSM, our families gave us a lot of grief in spending so much money for his early education. We were told to save our money for Aidan’s future education. At that time we wondered if we were doing Aidan an injustice by not saving for his future education, but in retrospect, we’ve come to realize, that we have saved for our son’s education by investing in his early education.
This post was written by Ms. Lee Lerner, the Senior Class teacher assistant aka Ms. Debi’s partner. Her son Aidan attended Rising Star for 7 years and recently volunteered in the deb-i summer camp. Ms. Lee has now been working at Rising Star for 5 years. She is a bibliophile, cook, and a band parent. Her favorite food is Asian food, fried chicken, and yellow cake with NO icing. She is known as a loyal friend and one who loves practical jokes. Rising Star is lucky to have her!