Joining the conversation

As the oldest of seven children, teaching came naturally but, as an adult, teaching in a traditional school setting did not. Fortunately, in 1973, on a rainy lunch break from my banking job I picked up a biography in the local library, Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work, and the rest, as they say, is history — I was hooked. I went to see a Montessori classroom in action (not believing that what I had read could really be true), signed up for teacher training for 3 to 6-year-olds, and began teaching that age group the following year. It’s forty-five years later, and here I am, still considering the role that education and Montessori have in creating the future, the future that our children and grandchildren will inherit.

Along the way, I’ve raised two sons who have blessed me with four grandchildren. I’ve taken training for teaching Montessori to elementary-aged students and adolescents, and training to be a Montessori Head of School. I’ve taught at wonderful Montessori schools in Ontario, been head of a large urban Montessori school (OMS Montessori in Ottawa), opened a Junior High and then a High School program, taught Montessori teacher trainees in the States, visited amazing Montessori schools throughout Canada and the US, run workshops, and made presentations. I’ve been privileged to work on the boards of, and chair, the Canadian Association of Montessori Teachers and the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA), and to work as a visiting team member for the CCMA accreditation process. So many Montessori professionals, students and parents have touched my life, it leaves me in awe!

Having recently retired from being head of OMS Montessori, I have taken some time to ponder, “What next? What do I want to do with all this experience?” I still believe that Montessori has something unique to offer the world – a means to educate our young in the skills and knowledge needed for today’s high-tech world while developing a sense of community, connectedness and responsibility through direct experience rather than through being told. I remain passionate about the importance of helping every child discover the unique gifts and talents each has to offer their place and time.

How can I help make Montessori available to more families, so parents can choose this type of education regardless of their socio-economic status? What stands in the way of Montessori pedagogy being more accepted, more in demand? What do I have to offer? What can I do? Let’s see . . . .

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