As a mother of three children, Becky Simkhai understands the intimidation of sending your child to a new school. So when welcoming a family to Polis, she greets them with empathy, kindness and reassurance that their family is not only safe here, they’ve come to a special place.
“We meet parents who have very young children, and for many of them, it is their first child and their first school experience,” Becky says. “I just want to be a good resource to them and help navigate any challenges they face. I want to be there for the parent in any way I can.”
As the Head of Schools for Polis, Becky says she likes to develop an intimate relationship with families from the moment they meet.
“I give them my number and let them know they can text me anytime,” she says. “I like to get to know the families and be responsive to their needs and priorities. I think they appreciate that desire to get to know them.”
She also loves building a family among all the parents at Polis.
“I enjoy this opportunity to bring parents together,” Becky says. “I like helping to facilitate and nurture that organic growth of the parent community while also thoughtfully customizing each family’s experience to meet their own needs. Almost all of our policies are individualized for each child, because we want the program to be a good fit for them.”
During tours, Becky is proud to educate parents on how Montessori is different from traditional classroom programs.
“One of my favorite parts of the day is touring with parents and sharing with them my deep passion for Montessori,” she says. “In a tour, you have to balance presenting them with information but also showing them you are really interested in collecting information from them, and I think this is how we truly live up to the Montessori promise to follow the child.”
Becky happened upon the Montessori way of life in a former career, while building school gardens as a landscape architect.
“When I walked into this particular Montessori school, I saw all these children working peacefully and joyfully,” she says. “Everybody was so busy in this beautiful school environment I had never seen before.”
She was so mesmerized, she asked the head of school if she could work as an assistant. They sponsored her Montessori training, and the method continues to fascinate her today.
“Montessori has always felt like a perfect, natural fit for me, and my time working in Children’s House (with ages 3-6) helped me to see that the method really does work, and for such a wide variety of learners. I think Montessori is so incredibly well thought out and reflective of human nature. It’s brilliant on many levels.”
When a parent arrives at Polis, her love and appreciation for Montessori is easy to see.
“I love educating parents about what’s happening in each classroom and showing them the different materials,” she says. “I intentionally take a pretty deep dive right off the bat, but I find that parents are really happy to hear a lot about Montessori.”
And more than the method, Becky talks about the child.
“I really try to show the parents that we have a very holistic view of early childhood education and environments. We have a thoughtful focus on the emotional, social, physical and spiritual growth of the child, being considerate that the child is not only going to have academic outcomes here that will create opportunities for them, but that they are going to grow into citizens of the world who are respectful toward their peers and the planet.”
Becky says that even though a parent might not know everything about Montessori right away, these initial conversations still matter, because they feel good about Montessori and what it can do for their family. They feel hopeful.
“I feel that Montessori is a pathway to peace,” she says. “It’s so much bigger than ensuring a child can read. We are really thinking about developing a human being who is going to be a happy, productive member of the human race.”
And at Polis, we think on these things.
“We take a look at the whole child, ensuring they are balanced, content, mindful human beings, and that work feels really meaningful to me. It brings me tremendous amounts of joy.”
To meet Becky and learn more about Polis World School, book a tour today!