Amy Wagner has been a Montessori teacher for 22 years, 13 of those years at West Side Montessori. Amy is passionate about meeting every child where they are and igniting a joy for learning.
Q: What do you love about Montessori?
I love Montessori because every day is different. I may have lesson plans for the day, but based on what the day is like for the child...I may have to wait, and that’s ok. I love that through observation I can formulate a plan for each child to reach her/his full potential. I love the individualized learning. I love being able to meet every child where that child is. I love to ignite a joy for learning.
Q: What is your favorite area in the classroom and why?
When I first became a Montessori teacher, the math area interested me the most. The materials are beautiful and I wished I had been able to learn math this way. It makes so much sense. Now, I’d have to say the Practical Life area. It truly sets Montessori apart from any other educational philosophy. I love to observe children working in this area. The concentration is remarkable and there is so much to be gained from spending time in this area...fine motor skills, order, increased concentration, independence, and coordination. The importance of this area stands above all the rest.
Q: What would you tell a prospective family about West Side?
I’d invite them on a journey...to join us in providing their child with an education that will lay a strong foundation for not only learning but also for life. West Side is a big family and I’d invite them to be a part of it.
Q: What advice do you have for new Montessori adults
Read Maria Montessori’s books. And then read them again.
Q: What advice do you have for new parents trying to incorporate Montessori at home?
Concentration and independence are the key.
Q: What continues to inspire you about Montessori?
That it is constant. Although times have changed so much since the early 1900s, this method remains.
Q: Why did you choose to teach/work here?
West Side is one of the best schools in the area. I was fortunate that I already had my Montessori certification and was welcomed with open arms.
Q: What's the most important life lesson you'd like to share with your students? (How is this conveyed in your classroom?)
Life is all about choices. My father picked me up one morning to take me to school - I must've been 14 or 15, and I was a tad bit grumpy. He said to me, “You can choose to be grumpy, or you can choose to be happy. But it is a choice” I didn’t get it at the time, but as an adult I do.
Making choices is a main theme in any Montessori classroom. We choose work, we choose where to do our work - at a table or a rug, we choose to sit with or near a friend, we choose whom to play with on the playground, we choose when to have snack, we choose to be kind to our friends, we choose to say please and thank you.