March 29, 2022
Meet the Soto Álvarez family! Current parents Diana and Michael are joined by their MPA kindergartener, Lucas, to share their MPA story.
What do you love about MPA?
Lucas: I have a lot of friends. And on the school’s birthday, we got cupcakes! I like my French class. I also like my classroom because that’s where my friends are.
Diana & Michael: Everyone is so welcoming. And it is clear that the programs and offerings are incredibly well thought out.
What initially attracted you to MPA? Do your same needs/desires hold true today?
Lucas: My mommy and daddy picked it, but it was a good decision.
Diana & Michael: We wanted a school that was excellent academically, but that also took a holistic approach to the student. We value that MPA cultivates active community members and social change agents. We like how design thinking has been interwoven throughout the school. And we were blown away by the quality of the ceramics projects on display! Over the past several months we have seen Lucas growing and learning in a range of ways, including how to use his “emotional toolbox” to handle difficult situations.
How is your child encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
Lucas: MPA teaches me to learn…like rock, paper, scissors, it is fair. Like when we have free choice time and need to determine who goes first.
Diana & Michael: We have been pleasantly surprised by Lucas’s focus on what is fair. When reading bedtime stories or watching a movie he often calls out behavior that isn’t nice, or situations that are not fair. We think this originated from MPA and has been primarily reinforced by MPA. Additionally, we love the elaborate art and theatre projects he has been doing–they get him imagining and creating new worlds! He recently came home saying that when he grew up he was going to set up a place where people who were unable to purchase their own food could acquire what they needed without payment. We asked him how that would be sustainable and he nonchalantly said, “those who can pay will.”
If your child has attended another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
Lucas: MPA has PreK and up. One of the schools only went through PreK. The other one did go through Upper School. They didn’t have a Makerspace. And one of them was in Colombia.
Diana & Michael: Lucas has been to five prior daycares and schools across three countries (Colombia, Northern Ireland, and the US). One significant difference has been the strong community among the parents at MPA. There were a number of summer social events leading up to the start of the school year. We were also paired up with a family that had been at MPA to help welcome us and answer questions (Thanks Bridgette and Simon!). A similar dynamic is replicated among the students with older students serving as mentors to younger students.
What would you tell another family considering MPA?
Lucas: Good choice! You should go to MPA because it is very good. And each day MPA improves.
Diana & Michael: Having jumped around so much geographically, we wanted a school that Lucas could go to for kindergarten through 12th grade. Education is the best gift one can give one’s children, and the foundations are built early.
In what ways has MPA prepared your child for life in the 21st century? What are the key attributes, skills, and content that you find most valuable?
Lucas: Personal space. Listening tool. Taking time tool. Math games, like Bump!
Diana & Michael: Soft skills; how to interact with others, and how to best understand and manage his emotions. All while in an excellent academic environment that fosters curiosity, critical thinking, and empathy.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your MPA experience?
Lucas: My first day, I liked it! There were little recesses, but not anymore. We also had big recesses. Little recess is just for kindergartners, big recess is for all of Lower School.
Diana & Michael: We have really loved his after school enrichment classes which have included things like ceramics, cooking, fencing, manners, painting, robotics, and STEM.