Spotlight: Amy Lawrence
Amy Lawrence is passionate about Montessori! It’s clear from her words that she has found joy, passion, and a true calling in her work. Here is her story.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Your background, your interests, your dreams.
My name is Amy Lawrence and this is my 22nd year of teaching and my 20th year at West Side Montessori. I have always enjoyed working with children. I spent a lot of time babysitting for a few families over the course of many years and my first job in high school was taking care of children in a room at Southwyck Lanes. During the summers, I worked as a childcare teacher at two different churches. I loved school and had teachers I really admired. I knew from an early age that I wanted to become a teacher. I took a lot of pride in earning good grades. The beginning of my teaching career was a whirlwind event. I got married on a Friday, took a weekend honeymoon to Chicago, and began teaching the following Monday.
I have two children, Chad (16 years old) and Ashley (11 years old). They both began attending West Side at age 3. It has been a blessing to have them at school with me over the years. I enjoy collecting spoons from around the world (I rarely travel but my friends do.), twirling baton (I was a majorette in high school.), bowling, and watching my kids’ soccer games. My dreams include raising my children and watching them grow and succeed, continuing my teaching career at West Side where I look forward to going each and every day, and hoping to see our world become a more peaceful place where we appreciate each other’s unique qualities and strengths. This definitely can begin with the youngest children in our schools!
What is your favorite Montessori quote?
“If the whole of mankind is to be united into brotherhood, all obstacles must be removed so that men, all over the surface of the globe, should be as children playing in a garden.”- Maria Montessori
How do students inspire/motivate you?
The children continue to inspire me through their excitement and love of learning. They want to know more and can’t wait to choose the new work on the shelf. This motivates me to look for additional ideas and create work to further their knowledge. The sparkle in their eyes and the smiles on their faces are the best rewards in the world!
What do you love about Montessori?
A Montessori education is unlike any other form of education in the world. The hands-on materials are amazing and provide challenging learning experiences for the child. Children learn by doing! It is so much more than that though. The children also develop a sense of order, concentration, coordination, confidence, and independence that help them flourish into self-sufficient leaders of the world. In a Montessori classroom, children help to guide their own learning. The whole child is developed, including academics, social skills, and self-help skills. Children gain respect for the materials in the room, other children, and teachers that carries over into every aspect of their lives.
(Amy received the prestigious 2016 Teacher of the Year award from Toledo Area Parent Magazine.)
Why did you choose to work here?
When I began teaching, I was in an environment where I did not receive needed support from administration. I decided I wanted to look for a new job where I felt productive and able to teach. My mom saw a job listing for West Side in the newspaper. I had no idea what made a Montessori education different. Someone told me that the teachers in a Montessori school just let the children run around and do whatever they wanted. That was definitely not what I wanted, but I decided to go to the interview anyway. When I got there, everyone was very friendly and I loved the ideas shared with me about Montessori philosophy. Then, one of the staff opened a cupboard door in a classroom and I saw a sample of the beautiful Montessori materials that the children use in their learning. I knew right then and there that this was where I was supposed to be. The children are active participants in their learning and the teachers are their partners in this journey.
West Side Montessori is an independent, accredited Montessori school educating children 13 months through 8th grade (preschool, kindergarten, elementary and middle school) with locations at 13587 Roachton Rd in Perrysburg, Ohio, and 7115 W. Bancroft Street in Toledo, Ohio.