Message from the Head of School, Heather Gray

Shared at our End of the Year Picnic, May 24, 2018

Thank you for joining us in this circle.

The largest longitudinal study of happiness that has ever been conducted is called the Harvard Grant Study. Researchers studied 268 men over the course of more than eighty years; some of the participants are now well into their nineties and it’s still going on today.

The study found that successful adulthood is built on the foundation of two important elements: work and love.

Maria Montessori knew this. She thought a lot about work and love. She wrote, “The consciousness of knowing how to make oneself useful, how to help mankind in many ways, fills the soul with noble confidence, almost religious dignity.”She also wrote, “Of all things love is the most potent.” Walnut Farm Montessori School is built on a foundation of work and love. It is successful because of the work and love of many people.

We want to take a moment now to recognize the work and love of some members of our community. Walnut Farm is a non-profit organization, and we are so grateful for our board. Elizabeth Ferrati-Barr, Katie Bloodworth, Jason Cartee, Smita Vadlamani, Meghan Overbey, Max Bernstein, Chandra McFarlane, Leila Runyan, and Amanda Phillips, thank you so much for generously volunteering your time, energy, copious gifts to this school.

We would now like to acknowledge the P.A. Officers. Amanda Phillips, Heather Foitek and Nicole Nelson, thank you for volunteering your time and talents to creating community gatherings, organizing school improvement, appreciating our teachers, and all of the other amazing things you’ve done for us.

Could the P.A. Officers for next year please step forward? They are Heather Foitek, Aimee Crawford Raychel Jones and Mahish Lodha. We look forward to working with all of you.

Now we would like to acknowledge the P.A. P.A. stands for Parents Association. Sometimes the word “Association” makes people think that they have to join some sort of group in order to be on the P.A., but this isn’t accurate. All of you standing here in this circle are on the P.A, and Walnut Farm Montessori would not exist without all of you. Thank you for sharing your skills and resources by contributing to Annual Giving, pitching in to set up and clean up school events, working in our library, moving earth with your tractor, delivering pea gravel in your gigantic trailer, shoveling pea gravel, planting plants, bringing snacks, decorating floats and marching in parades, setting up lemonade stands, organizing slime tables and bubble stations, teaching yoga hiking with the children looking for birds in our nature reserve, playing piano and all of the other extraordinary acts of work and love you’ve contributed to Walnut Farm this year.

We would now like to acknowledge the work and love of our teachers and staff. They are professional, brilliant, collaborative, and compassionate, and every single person, no matter what their job description, is constantly circling back to recognize the individual needs of the unique child in the present moment and how to best support healthy growth and development in an educative, mindful, respectful way. They bring humor and joy to their jobs, and dedication to education for peace. In this circle, we recognize the tremendous responsibility and dignity of the cosmic task of educating children, and we thank you.

And, finally, I would like to acknowledge the work and love of the children at this school. Each and every one of you possess an inner light that shines on each and every one of us, and we are so grateful to you for the honor of basking in this light each day.

Thank you all for coming, and thank you for a wonderful year.

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