Kraig Kidd and the Montessori School
At age 46, Kraig Kidd has many accomplishments under his belt. An instructional designer, life coach, son, husband, and father, Kidd reveals that the path life has taken him on is not what he had planned.
Rainbow Rumpus: “Tell us about you and your family.”
Kraig Kidd: “I have a partner, Michael, of 21 years. We live in St. Louis, Missouri. His son from a first marriage, Todd, has his own family, with two daughters in Arkansas. Around the age of 40 I decided I did want to become a father. I always thought I didn’t want [kids]. Michael and I thought we’d be a couple, make lots of money, travel, basically living a flamboyant lifestyle.”
Once Kidd began taking personal development courses, however, his perspective changed.
KK: “I discovered how much I loved my father. I experienced a shift in belief about family. It was like I woke up one morning and thought, ‘I wanna be a dad. What I really want is my family.’”
RR: “Once you and your partner decided to have a child, what process did you go through?”
KK: “I had a friend who was in a workshop with a woman in her late 30s who wanted to carry a baby for someone who couldn’t. She said, “Absolutely.” I knew the child had to be my biological child. So we talked for about a year and decided to enter into an agreement. . . . We then found doctors who would work with us. The surrogate didn’t want to contribute her egg. She said it would be too hard not to get attached. We got a donor egg instead. Another year later we entered into the medical process. We were told it usually takes three to six times [of in vitro fertilization] before it would take. It took on the first time.”
On May 7, 2005, Kidd and his partner welcomed their daughter, Alexandra, into the world. They’ve taken to calling her Ally, and no two parents could love a child more.
KK: “From the first look I knew there was a relationship beyond parent-child. I knew I would be her teacher, and she would be mine.”
RR: “As a child being raised by two gay male parents, has she reached an age where she’s aware that her family is different from others’?”
KK: “She’s at an age where she’s noticing that she doesn’t have a mom. She wants a mom figure. We try to find fulfillment of that need. She loves time with women and doesn’t want us to interrupt. We want her to know what it feels like, being nurtured not just by us. She calls my mom “Mom.” She wants the role fulfilled.”
Kidd mentioned that he has female friends and family members in Ally’s life to give her the womanly influence she desires.
RR: “As far as public displays of affection, how loving are Michael and you in front of Ally?”
KK: “We don’t hold back at all. We kiss, we hug, we all cuddle together on the couch. We don’t close our bedroom door at night . . . but we’re not promiscuous either.”
RR: “You’re starting a Montessori school in Missouri. What are the foundations of such an education?”
KK: “The Montessori school program promotes a community of teaching. There are three different levels of education happening; one is the children’s curriculum; two is the guardian curriculum. There are so many influences in a child’s life. The nuclear family today looks much different. It’s more of the village aspect of raising a child. And three is the leadership curriculum. It’s very service-oriented; it’s built on that foundation. When I heard about it, I knew it was right for our daughter.”
At three years old, Ally has been enrolled in a Montessori school. Kidd has already seen the impact such an education will ultimately have.
KK: “She interacts with many cultures . . . gay parents, heterosexual parents. No transgender parents yet, simply because it’s not common in our community. She gets to experience more [at Montessori].”
The Montessori system was created by the Italian Maria Montessori, who believed putting children of several age groups together would be a better learning environment. Her schools group 3-5-year-olds, 6-8-year-olds, and 9-12-year-olds together with 12-24 kids in a group at a time.
KK: “The older children are used as teachers. They learn leadership skills early. They learn to work through their problems together. In some ways [Ally] is learning from 6-year-olds and learning what they’re learning. It’s a very different technique. Creativity just blossoms.”
Students are given the run of the classroom to work with any tools they are drawn to, each with a different learning objective.
KK: “Ally loves the Pink Tower. There are 10 blocks, each getting smaller as they get higher. It teaches children about one tenth of something, which translates into a dime in one dollar. It’s a visual dimension . . . The teachers teach right into what they need.”
Kidd explained that students are not taught the letters of the alphabet; they go right to the sounds they make instead. They are not taught how to write block letters, but cursive right from the start.
RR: “How is your own school coming along?”
KK: “We’re still in the process. We’ve written a business plan, and we’re approaching donors and investors. We’re still working on where we’ll be located, where there’s a market niche. . . . Our goal is to open on September 9, 2009.”