The philosophy of the Montessori education system is to encourage the development of the whole child by cultivating independent thought and foundational skills as well as awareness of their environment, empathy for others, social ease, and confidence. Each of these values is put into practice on the school’s annual Gardening Day.
There has always been some form of gardening in place at the Montessori School of Rome, which was founded in 1980. However, after many years the tradition of Gardening Day has become a favorite of the students, families, and staff. Each year, children send handwritten notes to someone special asking them to come spend the day together for Gardening and Special Person Day. While the subject is studied in the classroom, the students are afforded the opportunity to get outdoors and learn through action. Working together, the group plants various flowers and plants, hangs bird feeders, and, most importantly, spends time together. Director of Schools, Melanie Haigwood, offers a unique perspective on the program as a parent and now as an administrator. She says, “It was wonderful to spend this special time with my children when they were students here. Now, I get to see the positive impact Gardening Day has on the next generation of children. It is truly amazing and lives up to the vision of the Rome school’s founder, Mrs. Kumar, who felt the greatest gift you can give your children is the gift of time.”