Staff Spotlight: Morgan Aviña

Posted on by Helena Eddings

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your background, your interests, your dreams.
I have three children that are here at West Side, and my husband and I absolutely love being able to provide them with a Montessori education. They seem to thrive here, and we are amazed every day at the growth and development that we see in them. Outside of teaching, I love to read, attend leadership retreats, travel when I can, and I am part of multiple leadership roles at school, in my community, and at my local church.
Q: What’s your favorite Montessori quote?
This is truly hard to choose. However, I will give one of my favorites. “If the idea of the universe be presented to the child in the right way, it will do more for him than just arouse his interest, for it will create in him admiration and wonder, a feeling loftier than any interest and more satisfying.” (To Educate the Human Potential)
Q: What do you love about Montessori?
There are so many things about Montessori that I could name as my “favorite thing”. I absolutely love that the children are encouraged to think and that there is not only one correct answer or way of doing things. Grace and Courtesy lessons, the fact that the world is opened up to the child through the culture presentations, and the overall Peace Education are also among my favorite parts of Montessori education!
Q: What is your favorite area in the classroom and why?
My favorite part of the classroom is not necessarily an “area”. It’s the peace education, the Grace and Courtesy, the way we talk to the children, the way the children problem solve and show respect toward one another, and the way that they inspire one another.
Q: What would you tell a prospective family about West Side?
The teachers truly know each child and notice little nuances about each child so that they can guide the child and help in the way that is best for each individual. The education that each child receives at West Side is beyond academics; their development socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually is also guided! I love that the teachers see each child for who they are and not just how well they know their math facts, how well they can read, or how many facts about the universe each child can give.
Q: Now that the hardest question is out of the way: What’s your favorite color?
I love anything purple, but my absolute favorite shade is eggplant purple!
Q: What first appealed to you about Montessori?
I loved that the children are not all given the same task to do at the same time. The independence was something that I instantly fell in love with, along with the fact that the children are challenged when they need challenged and given a little extra help when it seems as if they need a little boost.
Q: What advice do you have for new parents trying to incorporate Montessori at home?
Sometimes it can feel overwhelming. Start small, and add bits and pieces as you can! 
Q: What continues to inspire you about Montessori?
My Montessori inspiration comes from the children’s trust, the way they pick up on new aspects, and seeing connections they make that I never would have dreamed that an elementary child would put together.
 Another huge part that continues to inspire me is when I read current research that validated what Maria Montessori said around 100 years ago!
Q: Why did you choose to teach/work here?
I love that I am able to have small groups and can work individually more than other settings that I have experienced. 
Q: What motivated you to go into teaching/working at a school?
I grew up in a family with many teachers, and I was part of different social groups that had many, many teachers. I always adored my teachers growing up and knew I wanted to be a teacher. About seven years ago, as a college student in my first cohort placement, I fell in love with Montessori education; I had to finish my teaching degree, and I set a goal during my college education that I wanted to get back into a Montessori school. I was never sure that it would happen right away, due to the amount of teachers needing jobs, where my family lives, etc. However, I am in my fifth year as a teacher here at West Side.
Q: What’s the most important life lesson you’d like to share with your students? (How is this conveyed in your classroom?)
I always tell my students that we are always learning and discovering. There is always more to discover in this world, and the world is basically their oyster. I love to share the curiosity of life and the world around them, so we talk in various lessons, community meetings, and conversations about collaborating with others, learning from others, always reading new books, visiting museums, getting involved in ways that stretch or push themselves a bit, etc.
Q: How did a student inspire/motivate you?
When a student tells me, “Morgan, this reminds me of the _____ lesson we had a year ago (or last week or earlier in the school year).” While I mention connections that I might see or try to help connect their learning, there are times that they put things together in their mind without me pointing it out or connections I had not necessarily noticed or ever heard voiced before, and that always amazes me!

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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.