It seems as if Kari and Wes Cooling have been parents of Cedar Valley Montessori School students for longer than they can remember. Their three children, Drew, Jack and Ella, either graduated or are currently attending CVMS. But that wasn’t always the case.

When they were originally scouting preschools for their first child, they asked plenty of questions. A few qualities of a CVMS education drew them to the school and made them realize this was where they wanted to enroll Drew. “We loved the Montessori philosophy,” says Kari. “We loved that our children would be identified based on their unique talents in order to work with them and to help them grow.  In addition to the independence and leadership our children would gain, what really drew us in was that they would develop a tremendous love for learning.”

As Drew progressed in the Toddler Program and then the Primary Program, the couple saw that he was growing academically. But they were also impressed with other facets of the education. “What we were amazed with was they were becoming little adults,” says Kari. “It was clear that they were growing academically and socially – to become the total child” that Dr. Maria Montessori often spoke and taught about.

As their second and third children enrolled at CVMS, Wes found himself becoming more involved in the school community. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and spearheads the fundraising committee. As a result, he’s experienced the behind-the-scenes CVMS environment that not all parents have the opportunity to see. And he’s been thoroughly pleased with the view.

“The teachers have been amazing – not only for our children – but also as great resources for us,” says Wes. “The teachers understand our children and challenge them to grow. They treat each child uniquely based on their individual talents, and Kari and I have learned that our kids are much more capable of doing things than we ever would have thought.”

Their youngest child, Ella, is now in her third year of the Primary Program, a culminating year in which children “pull together the pieces” of the Montessori foundation, serving as role models for the younger children in the multi-aged classrooms. “It would have been a lot easier to send her to the school her brothers attend,” says Kari, referencing a logistics dilemma that many parents face. “However, as we evaluated what was really best for Ella’s educational experience, we knew CVMS was the answer. We are confident that in her third year she will see amazing strides in her confidence, education, and leadership.”

Overall, Kari and Wes are grateful for the impact that CVMS faculty have had on the educational, social and emotional aspects of their kids’ lives. “CVMS teachers have taught our children patience, leadership, independence, self-discipline, confidence, happiness, empathy, and a tremendous love of learning,” says Kari.

“You can’t put a price on creating the strongest educational foundation for your child,” continues Wes. “Our children are exceling in their elementary schools and it has everything to do with their CVMS experience.”