Spotlight Post: Fran Pancoast

Posted on by Helena Eddings

Fran Pancoast has been teaching at West Side Montessori for 29 years and loves that students are encouraged at all levels to take charge of what they are learning.

Here is her spotlight post: 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?   Your background, your interests, your dreams?

I’ve been teaching for 37 years. Eight of those years were in public and parochial schools. Twenty-nine years ago I began my career at West Side and my love of the Montessori method began that first day. My husband and I have 3 married children and nine grandsons. Our number one favorite thing to do is to spend time with our family. We enjoy camping, biking, kayaking, and hiking. Getting out in nature is my favorite form of relaxation.  So much so, that five years ago I took classes to become a Volunteer Naturalist. I also like taking yoga classes and reading.

What’s  your favorite Montessori quote?

The greatest sign of success for a teacher…is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’

What do you love about Montessori Education?

I love that in a Montessori classroom the student has the freedom to choose the activities she will be working on for that day and how long she will be working on those activities.  Students are encouraged at all levels to take charge of what they are learning. Doing this helps them become self-motivated learners.

What would you tell a prospective family about West Side?

West Side educates the whole child. Although academics is important, nurturing the child’s emotional and social development is of equal importance in a Montessori setting.

Do you have a favorite book?  

One of my favorite books is a children’s book, Where the Red Fern Grows.  I love reading this book orally to my students. It brings me to tears every time.I recommend this book to anyone who believes that dogs are man’s best friend. My favorite adult book is To Kill a Mockingbird.  Atticus Finch is someone we should all aspire to be like.

What advice do you have for new Montessori adults?

Trust the method. Children develop at different times. Be patient.

What’s the most important life lesson you’d like to share with your students?

When students make errors in math or any other area of the classroom, I try to impress upon them that some of the most famous discoveries were mistakes and that mistakes should be viewed as opportunities to learn. The key is learning from our mistakes.

What continues to inspire you about Montessori?

The Montessori Method is as relevant today as it was when it was first developed over one hundred years ago.  There have been many educational methods that have come and gone over the years, but the Montessori Method still holds true today.

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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.