I grew up in Traverse City, MI where my love of the water runs deep. The beach, river, and woods are all my happy places…they are where I go to reset. My favorite color is navy blue. It reminds me of all things nautical and takes me back to my love of the water.
I knew from the time that I was a small child that I wanted to be a teacher, but it wasn’t until I was in high school that I knew I wanted to be a Montessori Guide. From the time I first learned of the philosophy, it became my dream. I completed my undergrad at a small liberal arts college in Michigan where I received a degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Development. From there, I moved to Charlotte, NC where I took my first teaching position and received my Montessori Certification. After falling in love, I traveled across the country and found a job teaching at yet another Montessori school in Eugene, OR. It wasn’t too long before my husband, Mark, and I found ourselves back in the Midwest – this time in Bowling Green, OH.
In just three short years, we welcomed three little ones into our family (Avery, Piper, and Ollie) and our hearts have never felt fuller! While teaching definitely fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine, being a mom is hands down the greatest thing I have ever done. It didn’t take me too long, however, to realize that I was ready to get back into the classroom…this time bringing our littles along with me. Nothing brings me more joy than to share my love of learning and passion for a Montessori education with my own children. West Side is truly our dream come true.
The moment that you step into West Side there is this feeling that greets you…this feeling of home. I choose to teach at West Side because it fits our whole family. The warmth the school offers is exactly the type of place we wanted for our children, and to be able teach alongside such incredible role models has shaped my own career in ways I never dreamed possible! Witnessing the success a child feels upon mastering a skill is my inspiration. From constructing the Pink Tower for the very first time to reading their first words…the joy that shines forth from within never ceases to amaze me!
One of my favorite Montessori quotes is, “The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.” I love how child-centered a Montessori education is. Maria Montessori understood that children play an active role in their learning. She developed a curriculum that engages their hands, their senses, and their hearts…the whole child is nurtured in a Montessori environment. One of my favorite areas in the classroom is our Practical Life area because it focuses on the skills of Order, Concentration, Coordination, Independence, and Self Esteem. Every other area is rooted in a strong foundation of these skills.
One of the most motivating things about working with young children is viewing the world through their fresh eyes. They are so rooted in the moment they are living, that you can’t help but feel present with them. The most important lesson that I want my students to know is this: You can do great things! “Can’t” is not a word that we say in our classroom. Instead, we work together until you feel confident enough to shout, “I did it!”
Wherever you are along your Montessori journey, give yourself grace. There is so much to learn that it can oftentimes feel overwhelming. Take a breath and a small step. Learn with your child. Take time to ask them about the process of something they brought home and try not to merely comment on the product. Parenthood doesn’t come with a manual, but it does come with intuition. Savor the joy of their journey with them.