In a recent episode of the School Success Podcast, Mitchell Slater sat down with a school leader who exemplifies dedication to students and a progressive approach to education: Jad Touma. As the assistant head of Children’s House Montessori in Arlington, Virginia, Jad’s leadership has been instrumental in creating a school environment rich in cultural diversity and deeply rooted in the community.
A Living History Lesson
>Located in the heart of a historic city like D.C., Children’s House Montessori doesn’t just teach history; it lives it. Jad pointed out the advantage of having countless museums and cultural sites just minutes away from the school premises, most of which are accessible without cost. These locations serve as living classrooms, allowing students to read about history and experience it firsthand.
Embracing Global Diversity
But the richness of the school isn’t limited to its geography. Under Jad’s leadership, Children’s House Montessori has fostered a staff that reflects a mini “United Nations.” Teachers from around the world bring their unique cultures and traditions to the classroom, from presentations on Native American tribes to sharing their cultural celebrations. This commitment to diversity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s embedded in the school’s ethos, with the belief that exposure to various cultures at a young age can set the foundation for a more empathetic and understanding adult.
Adapting to Modern Times
While the school holds its core values, it’s open to change. With the evolving dynamics of parent-teacher communication in this digital age, Jad discussed the challenges and potential solutions. Transitioning from handwritten notes to emails and considering the introduction of video newsletters showcases the school’s commitment to meeting the needs of modern parents while maintaining personal connections.
Nurturing the Educators
But, as Jad emphasized, the success of a school isn’t just about student outcomes or innovative communication methods. It’s about the educators. By exposing prospective teachers to teaching philosophies like Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilio, Jad believes we can address the shortage of qualified staff and ensure educators find roles that resonate with them.
Jad Touma’s vision for Children’s House Montessori is clear: A school deeply embedded in its community, celebrates cultural diversity, and is forward-thinking in its approach to education and communication. With leaders like Jad at the helm, the future of early education looks bright, innovative, and deeply connected.