Category Archives: MBTS News

Hannah Ebanks: The Wide World Beyond MBTS

Photo credit: Jazz Pitcairn
Photo credit: Jazz Pitcairn

MBTS is proud to shine a spotlight on one of its alumnae: Hannah Ebanks, who started as a Toddler in the school’s pioneering class in 2000, and graduated from the Middle Years Program in 2011. We recently caught up with Hannah, who is currently studying Journalism in Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. Read all about her recent adventures in the wide world beyond MBTS and Cayman:


I was part of the very first group of students at MBTS in 2000; you can find my name on the sliding glass doors that divide the Toddler and Casa classrooms. And I was a part of the first Middle Years Program graduating class in 2011 —  MBTS is basically where I grew up.  My parents would have to drag me off the playground or out of the classroom – I loved going to school so much.

After MBTS, I attended high school at Cayman International School (CIS). I completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program in 2015. I’m currently a sophomore at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. I’m majoring in Journalism with a minor in Marketing Communications.

Hannah-SantoriniI am really passionate about traveling and exploring the world, something that MBTS is probably responsible for — playing with the puzzle maps, investigating the continents, and growing up with people from around the world. Prior to starting university, I took a gap year in Paris, France where I took French courses and cultural electives. After that experience, I became an advocate for study abroad at Emerson College, encouraging students to spend a semester abroad. And not only college students, but high school students as well: my program asked me to be a representative at a Gap Year Fair in the Boston area and I also gave a presentation at CIS about the benefits of studying abroad. Since starting university, I have already studied abroad twice: a summer program in Aix-en-Provence, France and I am currently at the Emerson College campus in the Netherlands, where I have had the opportunity to visit ten cities this semester, including Reykjavik, Iceland and Santorini, Greece.

I think that studying abroad is so beneficial because it allows you to experience first-hand and practice values that make you a more well-rounded human being, such as communicating with different people, being open-minded and self-reflection.
I would say that looking back on my time at MBTS, I definitely appreciate my French classes. It was where my love for France and the French language began, which has clearly had an impact on my life. (Merci, Madame Wendy!) I will never forget the Pizza Song or the days where we got to try French foods. And there have been several instances where something I learned back then has been useful. When I was taking my French courses in Paris, I would remember something I learned back in my sixth grade French class.

As for the more practical knowledge, I definitely have a better developed sense of geography, thanks to the Puzzle Map Blitz, which has helped me in my studies and life in general. Also, I learned how to give a proper handshake, and speak confidently to many different people, which I think has been really useful in helping me make a good first impression when I’m introducing myself.

I think the the foundation and initial development of the values I mentioned about learning from studying abroad (communication, open-mindedness, and self-reflection) was laid and really emphasized in my Montessori education. While I was at MBTS, I was always taught to listen to others and really think about what I was going to say next in response. The life lessons of grace and courtesy is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.



MBTS at the 2017 PSA Conference

The entire staff of MBTS was very fortunate to be able to attend this year’s Private Schools Association Educators’ Conference, which was held at the ARC in Camana Bay on October 20th. The focus of the conference was the essential role that educators play in making sustainability possible on a global scale, with Dr. Mike Johnston (Director, Colegio Maya in Guatemala) as the keynote speaker. In his words, “We must ensure students are properly prepared for the world’s most pressing issues and that they have the skills and desire to take action to make a difference.”

After an inspiring and interactive keynote speech, participants joined fellow educators from schools across Cayman in “job-alike” discussion groups, and took part in specialized sessions in the afternoon. Teachers Denise Orosa (Lower Elementary) and Chad Pollard (Upper Elementary) represented MBTS and led a workshop focusing on the Montessori approach to teaching abstract mathematical concepts. Workshop participants, which included teachers from CIS, St. Ignatius, Cayman Academy and Truth For Youth, had the chance to experience the unique concrete materials and hands-on approach that are integral to the Montessori way of learning.

MBTS Alum Receives 2017 Dart Minds Inspired Scholarship

IMG_0163MBTS alumnus Dominic Dyer, recipient of Dart’s 2017 Minds Inspired William A. Dart Memorial Scholarship, will be pursuing Economics at prestigious Columbia University this year. He recently contacted MBTS to share that he had chosen to write about his exceptional Montessori education at MBTS in his university entrance essay. Read the essay below.

Congratulations, Dom! MBTS is so proud of you!

Hi, Miss Debbie and Miss Kourtni.                

I am writing to let you know that I was accepted to Columbia University this evening. Needless to say, I am ecstatic!

Part of my application process required me to write an essay with the prompt: “Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.” and I chose to write about my time at MBTS. A copy of my essay is attached. 

I still draw on my years spent at MBTS and as you can see from my essay, my education consisted of significantly more than reading, writing and arithmetic. I will be forever grateful to MBTS and the head start it gave me in life, and the life skills I acquired will always stay with me. 

 I cannot thank each of you enough for what you and your vision in starting MBTS has done for me. You certainly have created a Legacy of Limitless Possibilities. 



“Larry Page, Sergey Bin, Will Wright, Jimmy Wales and Jeff Bezos. Calling these five men successful would be a serious understatement. Without them we most likely would not have Amazon, Wikipedia, Sims or Google. But what do they all have in common?

Like me, they all went to a Montessori school.

I was born on a tropical island with a population of 50,000 where iguanas outnumber humans by a ratio of 10:1. Growing up I attended Montessori By The Sea – which, as the name suggests, was a Montessori school on the edge of the beach with unparalleled views of the tranquil Caribbean Sea.

It was a small school, on a small island, with a very tight-knit community. My grade had 10 children in it, but classes were comprised of three grades. This meant the younger students had role models who they interacted with on a daily basis, while the older students acquired leadership skills and could reinforce their learning by teaching lessons to younger students. I have continued to develop these leadership skills, and am currently student council president and captain of the Junior Cayman Islands Track and Field team.

The school was made up of two houses that had been partially converted to create an idiosyncratic learning environment. In the “Upper Elementary” classroom, we were taught group lessons in one bedroom, had a library in another bedroom, had a walk in closet for a science lab, a kitchen to prepare meals if we wished and, the living area, filled with school tables and chairs was where we did our work in group settings. Being able to learn in such a serene environment meant I always enjoyed my time at school. I looked forward to school every morning and acquired a positive outlook towards learning at an early age. Seeing how the houses had been transformed into such a nurturing environment validated the school motto “A legacy of limitless possibilities”. I have always believed in the motto and continue to do so.

My Montessori education imbibed me with other attributes that still stand me in good stead. All schoolwork was allocated on a Monday morning and it was understood that any unfinished work was to be completed in our own time at home, teaching me to be organized and personally accountable. This work could be performed where and when we wanted; whether this was sitting at a desk, laying on the floor, or at a picnic bench on the beach. My work was self-directed and I could follow my own interests and decide what I wanted to learn. If there was something I found particularly fascinating such as long division, I could use the “Stamp Game” or “Test Tubes” for hours; I was able to master long division from working with the materials and discovering how to do it, rather than being directly instructed by a teacher.

My eight years spent at Montessori By The Sea not only provided for my academic development but also gave me life skills that I have continued to utilize. Some of these skills included independent conflict resolution, respect for your environment, as well as grace and courtesy. Additionally in every classroom you could find an identical poster with the words “The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” which continues to be a guiding principle in my life.

I am forever grateful for the foundation and love of learning that my Montessori education has given me. With all that I have gained from my one of a kind Montessori education, together with my excellent High School education at the leading secondary school in the Cayman Islands, and a degree from a world-class university, I hope to one day be as successful as Larry Page, Sergey Bin, Will Wright, Jimmy Wales and Jeff Bezos.”