Spotlight: Cindy Weiher
Cindy Weiher has been working at West Side Montessori for 35 years and has no intentions of retiring anytime soon! Check out her spotlight post to find out what fuels her passion for Montessori education!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your background, your interests, your dreams.
I will give you a few highlights. I have been married for 43 years, have 4 grown children, and 5 grandchildren. All of my children attended Montessori schools for 3 to 13 years. I have been active in the Montessori community doing school accreditation visits, being a field consultant to Montessori Adult Learners participating on Montessori Teacher Training Program accreditations, being a Montessori Teacher Educator, and serving on the American Montessori Teacher Education Action Committee. When I am not doing my “Montessori stuff” I enjoy quilting, spending time with my family, attending my grandchildren’s sporting events (if it’s not too hot), and getting together with my sisters.
What’s your favorite Montessori quote?
“All that we ourselves are has been made by the child, by the child we were in the first two years of our lives.”
I think this is very powerful. It reminds me daily that what I say and do every day will have a lasting impact on the life of the child.
What do you love about Montessori?
The thing I love most about Montessori is the respect. It is so multi-faceted. We respect the children and therefore they respect us. We all respect the earth and all the parts of it and it will in return take care of us. Respecting all people and reserving judgment can lead to a more peaceful and harmonious world. And of course, we must first learn to treat ourselves with respect.
What is your favorite area in the classroom and why?
I love the practical life area because it is real life. It helps toddlers fulfill that need to “do it myself.” It is a chance to introduce even the youngest to care for themselves, work with tools, prepare food, clean, and sew when they are still fascinated in doing everything the adults around them do.
What first appealed to you about Montessori?
What appealed to me was the children being able to learn at their own rate. The freedom to learn what you were interested in at the moment and being able to progress as far as you could at that moment.
What advice do you have for new parents trying to incorporate Montessori at home?
Put away things that would make you say ‘no’ to a toddler. Make home a place where the yes far outweigh the no. Have a place just their size in every room of the house. Let them help you so they feel like a contributing member of the family.
Why did you choose to teach/work here?
People do wonder why I would still be here after 35 years with no plan on retiring soon. For me the answer is easy. I get to do what I love and that is being with the toddlers. I love their parents and seeing how much they care about these children. I love the freedom I am given to share my knowledge and experience without someone dictating when or how exactly I have to do it. I am given the freedom within limits just as we give children their freedom within limits.
What advice do you have for new Montessori adults?
Keep learning! Learning never ends.
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.