Spotlight Post: Ruth Zajac
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up on a farm outside Drogheda, Co. Meath, Ireland with 3 brothers and 2 sisters and my parents. All of my education took place in Ireland. I attended the National University of Ireland (Galway) and received an Honors BA in History and Physical Geography. I have an AMI Montessori Diploma from Sion Hill Montessori College (3-6), Dublin and a National Certificate in Pre-School Education from the Dublin Institute of Technology.
I found WSM 30 years ago! I first came to America for a summer adventure. I was staying with a family in Ottawa Hills whose great grandson was attending WSM at that time. Lynn gave me some summer camp work and I was so impressed with the school that I came back to Toledo for two more summers. Upon finishing my education in Ireland, I worked in the Orange Room (McCord Campus) for 4 years and I am now entering my 9th year in the Sapphire Room (Perrysburg Campus).
My husband is Jason Zajac and we have been married for 16 years, We have identical twin boys – Oliver & Elliott (13) and a daughter Anelia (7). The twins are in 8th grade in Middle School and Anelia is in 2nd grade in the Cardinal Room.
What are your interests?
I love to travel and have been to 16 countries and 35 states so far. I love beach time at Kiawah Island, SC, cycling, food and wine, exploring parks with my family and going home to Ireland.
What’s your favorite Montessori quote?
My favorite Montessori quote is “Follow the child.” It has been my mantra in the classroom and with my own children. It reminds me to observe and nurture a child’s passions and desires.
What do you love about Montessori?
I love the way this method of education serves the “whole” child addressing physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. I love how the environment stimulates the child and it is always evolving. Teachers are keen observers and creative guides in the classroom.
What advice do you have for new parents trying to incorporate Montessori at home?
I would say keep in mind that less is more when it comes to toys! Create a space in your home for your child’s toys where they can easily access them on open shelves. Not every toy needs to be out at once. Rotate toys to keep your child interested. Place books in baskets or on a shelf and change these every few weeks. Foster your child’s independence by allowing him to do for himself – hang up his coat and bag, fold laundry, set the table, wash dishes. Confidence soars when a child does for himself.
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.