From Caroline Varda, Montessori teacher and parent of 3 former pupils
Walthamstow Montessori School will always have a very special place in my heart. My oldest 2 children, James and Harri went to the original WMS and Daniel joined them when the school moved to Penryn Avenue.
When my eldest didn’t settle Miss Lorna asked if I’d like to stay and help. I was privileged to watch Miss Lorna in action every day and got to learn from the best. As I learned more about Montessori schools I fell in love with the philosophy and knew it was what I wanted my children to experience. When Daniel was old enough to attend I began my training as a Montessori teacher. Miss Lorna was one of my tutors too. Having already taught for 12 years as a Primary School teacher. I wish we’d been taught Maria Montessori’s philosophy at University as I had lots to unlearn. Having qualified, I then taught the oldest class which had my eldest son in it. James was at the school for 6 years and although he doesn’t remember a lot from his time there (he is 23 now and just finished his degree at Nottingham University) I have amazing memories and know how special his early school days were.
I still teach children. I run Multisports after school and holiday clubs and my Montessori training is always at the front of my mind when I’m planning activities for the children.
My children enormously benefitted from their time at WMS and at the time we were there, there was no school on a Friday. Fridays became outing days when we met up with the children from their classes to go to the forest or a farm or just somewhere they could play. I’m still in touch with some of them today.
I think they had an idyllic childhood and I am so grateful for the love and care and freedom that they received at WMS. I feel very blessed to call Miss Lorna one of my dearest friends and cherish all the amazing memories I have from having worked there and been able to watch my children grow. Having lost my middle child Harri when he was 14, those memories of when they were young and my children were altogether are even more precious.
Happy 20th Birthday WMS!
From Eliza, daughter of Miss Lorna – WMS’s first pupil!
Dear Miss Lorna/WMS/mummy
As WMS’ first ever pupil, what a privilege to say that I have witnessed its very inception, to its 20th birthday!
Who’d have thought, as you and I stood in that church hall 20 years ago, that your risky, ambitious dream would still be doing magical things 2 decades later!
I am infinitely proud of you, the school, and the many, many children who have been lucky enough to pass through the doors.
What you do here is truly special and always has been. Having worked in different schools now, I can still safely say that there is nowhere else I found that fosters or promotes authenticity, self-expression and identity in children in the way WMS does.
I’ve said it to you before and you’ll never believe it, but you have no idea how many young lives you have touched, changed and shaped.
That is a very, very big thing indeed. And why do you think I’m becoming a teacher too, despite the intense difficulty of it all?
Because I am infinitely inspired by you and the work you do, as are so many others.
Thank you WMS, for setting me up with a lifelong love for education, and for doing so much for so many. And thank you Miss Lorna for being the heart and fire behind it all, even when it’s almost impossible!
From current WMS parents and families
Happy 20th birthday WMS! Huge congratulations to Miss Lorna and the team for reaching this impressive milestone. The positive impact this school has had on the lives of its pupils cannot be overstated. The passionate and individualised approach to learn at WMS is absolutely exemplary. I am so grateful that we have been a part of the WMS family these last 2 years!
Happy Birthday Walthamstow Montessori School! We thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to ensure our children have a wonderful experience. My family and I wish you many more years of success.
Happy Birthday WMS! We are delighted and proud to be part of the wonderful, warm educational community you have built. We are so grateful to you for having fostered a love of learning in our daughter which is the best possible start in life. Congratulations on your milestone anniversary.
Happy Birthday!!! What a special little school. We are so happy that we have had the opportunity to send our son here. He has learnt so much and it is such a soulful, magical, loving, nurturing and special place. I feel very lucky to have found you. Thank you for everything you do.
From Minna, former pupil
Many happy returns to my old nursery! My very earliest memories are from WMS, which I attended from age 2 to 3 in 2002-4. I remember a welcoming, nurturing, happy atmosphere and lovely kind teachers who little me would always speak to. I hope many others continue to enjoy the same wonderful experience I had at WMS.
From Laxmi, former pupil
I attended WMS between the ages of 2 and 7 years, and my younger sister also attended.
Of all the things I was taught at WMS, by far the most valuable lesson I learnt – which was made plainer to us with every moment we spent there – was that learning is a creative endeavour.
The way we were taught at WMS was immersive and exciting! I remember having to invent new machines and research and design armour for medieval war horses for homework. To go to school at WMS was to be a part of a buzzing family of encouraging people who, above all, wanted to help you grow.
I am now in my first year at Cambridge.