Why are we Bluestem Montessori?
When we were trying to come up with a name for our school, we batted around all kinds of crazy ideas. We knew we wanted our name to reflect our geography, so we threw around anything that made us think of Nebraska. Now, as is the nature of brainstorming, some of our ideas were not so great. Big Red Montessori was ruled out immediately, as was Husker Montessori. Although we’re Lincolnites and as proud of our football team as… well, not anyone, but as proud as is reasonable, we wanted our name to reflect some of the other things that make Nebraska great. So we moved to Nebraska’s natural landscape for inspiration.
Little Bluestem grass is the state grass of Nebraska, and the more we learned about it, the more we loved the idea of adopting Bluestem as our name. As the state grass of Nebraska, Little Bluestem recalls our ancestors, the brave men and women who came west in their wagons, and decided to call the prairie home. It recalls the Oto, Pawnee, and Omaha peoples who lived here before Swedish and Czech immigrants built their sod houses, and walked among the mounds and stalks. Our ancestors knew Little Bluestem, and we honor our prairie heritage and the fact that we, like them, have chosen to make this prairie our home.
But choosing Little Bluestem as our namesake is not just a way to remember our past. It is also a nod towards the future we hope to forge. As a prairie grass, Little Bluestem has exceptionally strong and deep roots, which make it capable of surviving both drought and fire. This is the strength of foundation we aspire to give our students. Montessori education is well-known to inspire a love of learning and an independent spirit that can sustain students through their own struggles. Montessori kids have the confidence to keep going, even when something is difficult, because through their independent work they have learned that they can do it.
Further, Little Bluestem grass fosters community. It is, according to the USDA’s plant guide, “one of the best grasses for nesting and roosting habitat”, and its stems shelter juncos, meadowlarks, sparrows, and caterpillars. Its seeds provide food for all sorts of prairie wildlife, from grouse to mice. Our hope for Bluestem Montessori is likewise to foster a strong community in Lincoln. Just as Little Bluestem provides shelter to so many birds and insects, we will build a strong community for our students and their families, supporting each other as we learn together. And just as Little Bluestem provides for the wider prairie through its seeds, we will help build a stronger community through not only training active and engaged citizens, but by active participation in the community ourselves. We hope to host and participate in community events, and to be a strong voice for education in Lincoln.
The more we learned, the more we realized that Bluestem Montessori was the perfect name for us. Plus, it turns reddish in the Fall and Winter, which is perfect for football season.
For more information about Little Bluestem grass, please see https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_scsc.pdf