Transitions: Coming to Heartwood From a Traditional School Environment

Wed Feb 8

Transitioning into or out of a school can sometimes feel scary for parents and children alike, especially when they aren’t sure what to expect. We reached out to our community of families to get a feel for what that process was like for them, whether they were coming to Heartwood for the first time or transitioning into a traditional school environment after being immersed in the Montessori world. Our hope is that by sharing these experiences we can offer some peace to our current and prospective families during their decision making process.

Christina offered to share her family’s experience with transitioning into Heartwood from a traditional school setting. Christina’s son Ben is currently a third year in our Lower Elementary Program.

“Ben transitioned to Heartwood from the WCPSS in November of his 1st grade year.  He immediately loved Heartwood, but when I spoke with his teacher those first couple of months, she mentioned that he was struggling a bit with being self-directed.  She said that once he finished a task he would wait for someone to tell him what to do next. 

I knew he was accustomed to a very rigid, structured environment and that it could just take some time to transition, but worried it was possible Montessori simply wasn’t a good fit for him.  I thought that maybe he was just the kind of kid who needed more rules and structure to excel and we had just missed that crucial window of opportunity (Children’s House) to expose him to Montessori. 

I would say that by about his 3rd month at Heartwood, my concerns had completely disappeared.  Ben had begun to be more independent at both home and school.  And I was amazed at how much he was learning—and not just English and Math—geography, science, arts, humanities. When he jumped in the car, he couldn’t wait to tell me all of the things he learned at school that day.  That has continued for the past 2 ½ years.  He is now a 3rd year and truly loves school and is often ready to go back after winter or summer break or even after a long weekend.  If you ask him what’s his favorite thing about school, he will almost always answer “Work Cycle and PE.” 

He has become this independent thinker who enjoys being a leader in his classroom and has a strong sense of self.  And he loves learning—in a way we never could have imagined our little boy would love it before we found Heartwood.  My husband and I feel that transitioning him to Heartwood is the best decision we’ve ever made and we will forever be grateful to his amazing teachers, the wonderful administration and the Heartwood community for fostering all of these qualities in him.”

For more transitions experiences, check out these families’ stories:




Heartwood will not reopen for the 2021-2022 school year.

We regret to inform you that Heartwood will not reopen for the 2021-2022 school year.

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