When planning for the construction of a new building on the Esprit International School campus, Head of School Rosemary Brumbelow said she wanted to incorporate a thought-provoking element.

So, crafted out of metal and welded into the railing of the school’s recently completed 30,000-square-feet building, a quote by author Phillippe Venier stands out. It reads “It is up to you to illuminate the world.”

“We all have that lightness. If we can share that lightness with others, then we will illuminate the world and things will be better for everybody,” Brumbelow said.

The school name itself carries a similar vision: “esprit” means spirited and lively in French.

And now, as the school enters its 20th year of Montessori method education in The Woodlands, they’re preparing to welcome about 170 students ranging from preschool to 12th-grade age back to campus for the first day of school Monday.

Brumbelow started the school in 1999 for her daughters. The school began meeting in extra space at Congregation Beth Shalom of The Woodlands, and then transitioned to their current campus along Interfaith Way in The Woodlands when they started growing.

“When we first started, it was just preschool. Then people wanted an elementary program. I think you have to adapt to what the community needs, and I’m a 100 percent believer in Montessori education,” Brumbelow said. The school had their first graduating class in 2014.

Brumbelow fell in love with this type of education, which trains children using their senses and self-education, when she was in college. She had always wanted to be a teacher, but when she experienced a Montessori environment, she knew that was what she wanted to pursue.

The campus has evolved over the years, from just one building with some portable buildings to a large turf space, play-yards and now the new structure for lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school and high school students.

The new building has classrooms tailored to each age group. The younger children have rooms stocked with hands-on materials for project-based learning, and the older students use more abstract learning methods while also having access to an art and movement room as well as a “makerspace” room for sewing and woodworking.

“It’s very different from other classrooms, because it’s designed for the students to collaborate and work together,” Brumbelow said.

The school tries to stick to a 10-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, and all teachers hired are state-accredited and can receive Montessori training if the school administration feels the teacher is a good fit.

And while Brumbelow said she always expected to grow, she didn’t think it would be this big—or that they would grow to the high school level. But, she said she’s happy with where the school is at.

“I feel like we’ve done a good job of meeting the expectations for the older students in academics, creating an environment where they can get what they need but also learn who they are,” Brumbelow said.

As the school moves forward into its third decade of operation, Brumbelow said they continue to implement best practices in education to keep meeting students’ needs.

jane.stueckemann@chron.com

Original Article from: https://www.yourconroenews.com/neighborhood/woodlands/news/article/Esprit-International-Montessori-school-in-The-14307264.php