"At every level, we have a phenomenal World Language program. It's wonderful that the school community values this special experience. I don’t know of any school around which can match our program, so it’s a unique gift a family can offer their child. The teachers are always innovating to make it better, too. We care a lot about our students as individuals and their learning experience." - Margaret Kohler, WSM French Teacher
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Bonjour! My background in French comes from college/grad school, from living in France and Belgium, and traveling in Quebec. When my kids were born I knew that it was the optimal time for them to start learning a 2nd language and that motivated me to start teaching at West Side. Both my girls graduated from here and loved it.
My main interests are being with my family, gardening, nature conservation, animals, and traveling - especially to find vegan restaurants! (I love great vegan food!) I currently enjoy watching K-dramas and I'm starting to speak a little Korean! My only dream is that the children of today and tomorrow will have a peaceful life in a world where nature & wildlife are valued and undiminished.
Why is it important to learn a World Language during the school-age years?
Maria Montessori was revolutionary in showing that the early years are magical for language learning. This is true for all languages! The younger children learn, the better they absorb the unique sounds of the language.
By learning young, the student becomes more conversational, using the language and not just “studying” it. Language learning has lifetime benefits, even reducing the risk of dementia in later years. It can help people become more open and empathetic to differences, and it opens doors to travel and work and widens one's perspectives.
What is the most important life lesson you'd like to share with your students?
Beyond the immeasurable value of learning a second language, I hope that students take away two life lessons.
First, to work together. Language is communicative, social, and expressive. The students hopefully learn that working together is more fun - and when we learn from each other and help each other, everyone benefits.
The second is to face your fear. It can be intimidating to speak in front of others. We learn French in class by speaking French! We just jump in. Even if it's a little scary, we just go for it and encourage each other!
The students sometimes say - "We're gonna do what??? I can't memorize a whole play in French!" and I respond that every year the students say that, and every year they just do it! It’s very exciting to do something big that seemed impossible.
West Side Montessori is an independent, accredited Montessori school educating children 13 months through 8th grade (preschool, kindergarten, elementary school and middle school). We are one of the leading private schools in Toledo, and the nation.