Meet the Walkers! A trio of poets, musicians, educators, bee-keepers and world travelers. Allison, Scott and Ada Walker are GMS’s own renaissance family. We were thrilled to catch up with Allison by phone and she shared some fun details about herself, her husband Scott and their lovely daughter Ada.
GMSCA: Hi Allison! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. Tell us a little about the Walker Family!
Allison: We’re Greensboro natives: Scott and I have known each other since high school! We both have advanced degrees in poetry and literature. We’re published poets and teachers – both working at High Point University. Scott also teaches at NW Guilford High School. One interesting footnote about us: we lived in Anchorage, Alaska for 5 years. Ada was born in Alaska but we moved back to North Carolina to be near family and an abundance of babysitters. We settled first in Asheville and then Greensboro. Strangely, Ada is completely unaffected by cold. We think it’s the Alaskan origin.
GMSCA: What an adventure, tell us how you arrived at Greensboro Montessori?
Allison: Ada has been at GMS since she was 3 and Montessori was a conscious decision. We come from a family of educators, our parents worked in the public school system and we wanted to explore other options so we did our research. Montessori fit our mindset. We explored the school, moved nearby and it’s been Ada’s home from the start. She’s now in sixth grade.
GMSCA: Tell us more about Ada….
Allison: Ada is our happy wood sprite; she loves to be outdoors. She gathers all the neighborhood kids together and teaches them different forms of imaginative play. Our neighbors benefit from the Montessori approach, too! Ada is independent and loves to tackle challenges. She’s also been a musician since she was 4, studying violin and filling our house with music. Animals are a passion of hers as well – she loves cats and volunteers with the Feral Cat Assistance Program. And, we care for bees! Our beekeeping grew out of a Montessori assignment, actually. Our family wouldn't have bees if it weren't for the fabulous Upper Elementary teachers who encourage kids to tackle an interdisciplinary summer project of their choosing and the gardening and environmental education program that makes our kids so mindful of the earth and our impact on it. We pay attention to politics and current events so Ada is very aware of her power to change the world. She also loves Harry Potter.
GMSCA: Music, bees and Harry Potter!? Ada is fabulous. So, as a parent, tell us what surprised about you the transition to Middle School!
Allison: We love it! The Middle School program is amazing. We love watching her perform and her thrill of learning is infectious. It reminds us why we chose to be teachers. Both Scott and I bring “Montessori” to our own students based on what we learn from Ada’s experience.
GMSCA: If you could gaze into a crystal ball… what do you see for your family?
Allison: Ada’s passion, gift and talent is music. The arts are for everyone but Ada really tells a story with her music so we see that in her future. She also loves spending time on the university campus with me. Scott and I would like to do more partnered writing – potentially screenplays. I see us carving out time as family for artistic collaboration; we’re starting to write music as a family with poetry, guitar and violin. Maybe that would turn into something more….
GMSCA: With such talent in your home, we’re certain it will. In the nearer future, are there any wonderful adventures coming your way in 2016?
Allison: Last year we toured Europe with Ada’s violin ensemble. That sparked a desire to mix travel with our art and work. So, this July we’re spending time in London and Paris. We’ll visit Oxford and also plan to go to the reconstructed Globe and see Shakespeare. We love Shakespeare.
GMSCA: We think Shakespeare would love the Walker family – he’d fit right in with you all. Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to share with our GMS community?
Allison: Just some encouragement…. It’s such a gift for all of us, as parents, to give our children a Montessori education. With each step, we see more and more the value and benefit of the GMS experience. This year, Ada loves Middle School and arriving to a leadership role. We watch this group thrive as collaborators, creative thinkers and problem solvers. Montessori gave them these tools! Everyone talks about the ‘broken education system’ but if I could do one thing to fix it, I’d put every child in Montessori. The students remain curious because they aren’t only worried about grades or external motivation. The foundation is so strong and pays off in unexpected ways. I’m encouraged seeing a group of middle school students who are so comfortable in their own skin! They are open to new ideas and experiences and they celebrate the differences in their friends. Because the program takes such beautiful care of the whole child, our kids are able to thrive during a period of adolescence that is typically very challenging.
Thank you so much for sharing your family and GMS experience with us! We look forward to watching Ada perform with the Middle School Music Ensemble at the Green & White Bash on Saturday, April 23.