What led you to teaching and specifically to Montessori?
I come from a long line of teachers in my family. My father was a Government teacher and I thought that’s what I wanted to do too, until I found Montessori education. My first job in a Montessori school was in the Extended Day program and the beautiful and interesting materials in the classrooms enthralled me. The children in the afternoon would choose these “works” instead of toys and games and I wondered why. I started reading the philosophy, worked a few mornings in the class, and my eyes were opened to a whole new way to look at education. I started taking college classes at night so I could spend time in the Montessori classroom in the mornings and as they say, “the rest is history.” I’ve worked in Montessori schools every year since 1989. The child-centered approach with freedom within a structured environment, preparing the child to think and do for themselves, and to be kind and helpful to others is what makes Montessori education unique to me. Montessori truly is “education for life.”
What is the most rewarding part of teaching our Preprimary friends?
Oh my goodness, I’ve never been happier! I LOVE this age! It seems like they learn something new every day; they grow and change so quickly. Each day is new for them and they find joy in the simplest things. You see posters that say, “Everything I need to know in life I learned in Kindergarten.” Well I think there should be one, “To be a happy adult, spend time with 2 year olds.” They will remind you hugs make everything better, letting go is good-it’s ok to feel mad for a minute but hold no grudges, the tiniest spider in the corner is worth watching, and watching, and watching, helping others is really fun.
What drew you to Positive Discipline and how do you incorporate it into the classroom?
If I had to pick one thing about Positive Discipline that drew me in and has changed my teaching, changed my life, it is the way it helps you better communicate with others. It guides children in how to identify and express their feelings. It encourages adults to ask questions and guides children to find their own resolutions to problems. There’s talking ‘with’ instead of talking ‘to’ and conversations are had when everyone has ‘cooled off’. It provides a common language for children, teachers, and parents. With the Preprimary children it starts in the way we speak to them and models how they can speak to each other. We come to their level and look at each child as deserving the same dignity and respect as any other human being. We model making mistakes and how to fix them, how to make amends, and how to cool off when we are upset. We ask questions all day long and most start with “ where, what, or how” and then we wait for the child to process and make the discovery themselves; it will be lasting that way. Ultimately I believe the tenants of Positive Discipline help the children, and us, to live the mission of MSNV!
What do you find special about MSNV?
If you did the math earlier you would have figured out this is my 30th year working in Montessori schools. In all those years I have never been part of such a collaborative community like the one we have at MSNV. I truly feel that EVERYONE recognizes that the child is the heart and center of our community and all we do keeps that in mind!
Is there anything you'd like the community to know about you?
I didn’t become a parent until I was 44 years old, when I married Mr. Tim and his children Emily and Timothy became my family. Mr. Tim gave me the gift of these two that I had been waiting for my whole life. Mr. Tim is the love of my life and his kids, my kids, are the light.