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A college essay by Douglas Delaney

I think my life will be a roller-coaster of emotion and experiences. I will never forget the beginning of my amazing ride at Beach Park, the Montessori school that I attended from preschool through eighth grade.

When I look back on those days, all I can think is that these are the moments that shaped me. They created the groundwork for who I am as a person. They also left me with stories that make others ask, “Did that really happen?” and all I can say back is, “yes, it did.” Many of my moments at my Montessori school shaped me, but what has shaped me the most is what the school practiced: Montessori.

I know that Montessori has a well-defined definition. Still, the only accurate way to describe how it affected me is to offer my own explanation. I think that Montessori allows for kids to grow into themselves. When I was in preschool, I chose my own work throughout the day and genuinely loved the work I was doing. Montessori allows students to learn what they love and have the resources to pursue it even at a young age. Through those experiences, I have discovered my love of mathematics. Montessori also allows students to grow at their own pace.

I remember in Lower Elementary, being allowed to choose my own daily work but still have specific things to accomplish by the end of the week. This gave us our own time and ability to decide what to do and when. It let each of us learn how to take charge and manage our own time. I remember when my sister first started college. She told my mom that almost no one around her knew how to self-plan without their parents, but she could come up with her own schedule and prepare her workload for that week. I genuinely believe that that skill came from her years in Montessori.

I had a special connection to the school and the people in it. I left Beach Park with only three other students, which was that year’s graduating class. Those three other people probably know more about me than any other people I know to this day. But it wasn’t just the students to whom I grew close; it was also my teachers and faculty. The school faculty were indeed the people who have had the most significant impact on me. Whether it be my eighth-grade teacher, Ms. Summer, who pushed me to my limits while preparing me for high school, my Upper Elementary teacher Mr. Greg who taught me the beginning of Algebra, or my PE teacher Ms. April whose son was one of my best friends; all of them have shaped me in ways that I cannot even begin to describe.

That tiny little school shaped me. Although those memories on the playground of Beach Park School are long behind me, I still look back on them fondly. The years that I spent in that small school prepared me in so many ways to take the next step into college. And even after finishing this wild ride through high school, I can’t help but look back to where it started, at a small school called Beach Park Montessori.