We inspire and guide children to love learning, to love one another, and to love the world around them.

Teacher Tuesday: Get to Know Lower Elementary Teacher Kristan Rivera

Our teachers are the heart of our school. On this Teacher Tuesday, we would like you to meet one of our dedicated educators, Lower Elementary teacher Kristan Rivera.
Why did you pursue a career as a Montessori teacher?
I came to teaching later in life as a second career. I started out in Information Technology, and then stayed home with my youngest daughter after she was born. She started in Montessori when she was three. When we moved to Virginia a couple years later, I often volunteered at her school and really fell in love with the method. I was so often helping in the classroom that I ended up getting hired as an assistant. Based on how much I loved being in the classroom, I soon decided to do my teacher training.

What led you to MSNV?
My daughter was already attending MSNV while I was teaching at another school in the area. I was so impressed with the friendly community, the quality teaching staff, and the professionalism of every person who works at the school. When I found out there was an opening to work with Sara Grossman who had been one of my mentors in teacher training, I knew it was an incredible opportunity all around. I am so happy to be part of the MSNV community!

As an Elementary teacher, what is your favorite lesson to teach?
It’s hard to pick just one lesson as my favorite since there are so many I love! I truly enjoy Montessori math as it provides a level of understanding unlike any other method I’ve seen over the years as a student and a parent. However, my favorite lessons to teach are what we call history lessons which are the history of the universe. We start at the very beginning with the formation of the universe and keep telling the stories through the beginnings of life on earth. It’s so fun to tell the stories and the children are so enthusiastic. It connects them to each other and the greater universe and is the foundation of how we teach peace. It’s truly amazing!

In your opinion, what makes MSNV special?
MSNV is truly a special place because of the sense of community, both of the staff and as the greater community of students and families. Everyone cares so much for each other and is supportive and welcoming. Everyone makes time to connect with each other and be friendly. It’s a level of community that is truly special and not something you see everywhere.

Describe your favorite teaching moment.
My favorite thing about teaching is seeing the ‘a ha’ moment happen for a child. When we as teachers present new materials and concepts we try to guide students to discover for themselves, to figure things out. Sometimes it happens quickly and sometimes it takes practice and perseverance. When you see a child get it, they light up; it’s like you can see their self-esteem and confidence growing right before your eyes.