50 Stories for 50 Years: The Kilpatrick Legacy
The Kilpatrick Legacy, eight Greene Towners across two generations
“We came to Greene Towne for Montessori.” says Mary Kilpatrick, mother of Maria, Dan, and Kate, and grandmother of Mary Grace, Bernadette, Joe, Vincent, and Jane. She had read some books by Maria Montessori and it made sense. “Maria Montessori took the poorest children in Rome and they ended up doing better than the wealthy children.”
Mrs. Kilpatrick remembers how the materials laid a foundation for her children’s and her grandchildren’s later learning. “I was very pleased with the Montessori training. All my children were reading by 4 or 5-years-old and I never had to help the children with homework. All the children and grandchildren love to read. The transition to catholic grammar school was no problem. Montessori children are used to self-discipline.”
Maria Kilpatrick Mooney, was the first alumna to send her children to Greene Towne. Mary Grace, 16, is now a high school junior and Bernadette, 13, is in 8th grade. Today, Maria works as an Actuarial Consultant.
Dan Kilpatrick always knew that he would send his children to Greene Towne. “It was simply a given. I loved my time there and knew that I wanted my kids to love school and work. I had wonderful experiences and teachers at many schools but I credit Greene Towne with giving me a love for doing work and problem solving. How could I not give to them what had been given to me?”
“I remember many things from Greene Towne. My favorite special activity was learning to bake bread. I loved measuring and mixing then getting my hands sticky. I also remember pouring cream in a jar and shaking until a glob of butter was formed. After leaving Greene Towne I would frequently dig out the recipe booklet covered in light blue construction paper and make the Greene Towne bread.”
“Greene Towne was fun. I enjoyed doing school. I think it was especially great for little boys who need to move. I learned to master work. Later in school I was never intimidated by the requirements. For as loosey-goosey as it seemed, there were sensible rules that had to be followed.
“When new work was introduced, I do not remember instantly mastering it. That would have been boring. We were taught to keep at it, doing it over and over until it was ours. I think I have been able to carry that over to my life. Montessori taught me perseverance.”
In addition to being dad to Vincent, Joe, and Jane, and husband to Nancy, a former Greene Towne Board member, Dan is a Mathematics teacher at St. Joe’s Prep and a member of the coaching staff guiding the Prep’s award winning rowing team.
Joe, 10, and Vincent, 8, were followed at Greene Towne by Jane, 6, who completed her Kindergarten year this June. Jane, to date the last member of the family to attend Greene Towne, is the first to have attended for 5 years, 1 year in the Toddler House and 4 years in the Primary School.
Kate Kilpatrick, the youngest of the first generation of Greene Towne Kilpatricks, is a Brooklyn-based, award-winning reporter, editor and interactive storyteller who has written for The Washington Post, NBC, FoxNewsLatino.com, NBCLatino.com, Philadelphia Weekly and Al Jazeera America.
Kate always did well in math. She captained the math team and took AP math at Merion Mercy Academy, and started college on a pre-med track with the idea of becoming a doctor. During a year in Belfast, Ireland, studying Philosophy, Irish Studies, and Politics, Kate became more interested in telling stories. By the time she had to declare her major at NYU, she had switched to Journalism. Kate went on to earn a Masters in New Media and TV/Video production at UC Berkeley.
Kate started her career in Philadelphia as a city reporter documenting the Latino community and the immigration beat. Her exposure to people in need led Kate to focus on social and economic issues at home and in Latin America. “It’s those underground stories about marginalized communities that interest me. I’m curious and I like to expose myself to different kinds of people. They live in a different world and I can explore it. I like that you can delve into a subject, research it, write about it, and then move on.” Very much like many children’s experience in the Montessori classroom.
“When I think of Greene Towne I think it gave us a confidence in academic and social settings. We were all self-driven and we never had to be pushed by our parents. We all did very well in school with the foundation of reading and math we received at Greene Towne”
Over the last 10 years, as each member of the second generation of the Kilpatrick family Greene Towners prepared to go to 1st grade, we spoke with them. Here’s what they had to say on the eve of completing their Kindergarten years at Greene Towne.
Mary Grace Mooney: I like reading stories about people. I like doing jobs with Celestina, especially the floor puzzle. I’ll miss Celestina next year. Yes, I like art. Pablo Picasso was my favorite artist. I’m doing the long 9 chain now – you count by nines – I never did it before. I’ll miss playing with Juliet at Coxe Park.
Bernadette Mooney: My favorite Kindergarten work is the Hundred Board. It’s challenging and I like to do it with my friends. I like to do food work too like Apple Slicing and Grape Slicing. Stamp Game is really, really challenging and long but I like it. My favorite field trip was when we went to Bartram’s Garden. We made cornbread and got to eat it. I like art class and I like movement. I’ll miss my friends.
Joe Kilpatrick: My favorite work is Multiplication Strip Board, it’s hard work. I like the Chains; I’ve done every single chain! The One Chain is the easiest and the Nine Chain is the hardest. The 10 Chain is easy. I did the chains with Kiran and sometimes with Noah or Sydney. I liked lunch in Ireland because I like Shepherds Pie and Irish Potatoes. My cousin, Mary Grace, did Irish dancing. My favorite artist is Eric Carle – he makes his own paper and makes it into books. We did it too. We painted paper and then we made it into animals. I made a Gecko.
Vincent Kilpatrick: I like helping younger kids with fun things like jump rope. I love bookmaking – I have it out right now. I don’t know how many but I’ve made a lot. I’ve done every Chain on the Chain shelf. The 10 Chain took the longest. Being a Kindergartener is fun because I learn new stuff every day. The best thing is we get to do new works and read in the library longer. The thing I really like about being a Kindergartener is eating lunch at school. I like maps too.
Jane Kilpatrick: Every single thing about Greene Towne is fun, even if it’s hard. I like the Long 10 Chain, I’ve already done it twice. I like the Snake Game too – it’s a math work – you make a snake with the chains and try to get to10. My favorite artist was Sheila Hicks because I really like sewing and crocheting. My cousins taught me. Favorite Field Trip: The Art Museum. I liked the furniture. Favorite LATW: I liked Mexico best. The rice was delicious! Proudest accomplishment: The Chains. I really, really like the Chains! I like the Maps and I like writing stories. Mostly I write about holidays and birthdays. Next year I’ll be with my brothers and my cousin. All the teachers are really nice. I’ll remember my friends.