About Me

My twin brother and I approaching Mrs. Johnson at Montessori school.



I'm a Montessori brat.

Even before I was born (my twin brother and I were the last of 8 children) my mom and dad had started a Montessori school in our basement.  It quickly grew and, by the time we were born, the school community had found larger quarters.  When we were old enough for a primary school classroom, my brother and I joined our older sisters at this local Montessori school.  We stayed through the end of third grade (there were no classes available after that) and we both loved and benefited from the educational style.

Fast forward through elementary school, high school, college, marriage and the first few years of motherhood.  We lived close enough to a Montessori school to walk, but couldn't afford it.......until my husband won a teaching award!   Thanks to that small cash prize, we were able to send our oldest to the Montessori school for one year when he was 4.  He loved it and thrived.

By the time we had four small children I knew I wanted a Montessori education for them, but the expense and logistics weren't factors in our favor.  Enter Mrs. Sloane.  She was a certified Montessori directress we met through friends of friends.  She worked with homeschooling groups who would pay her $2.50 per child per morning session to come to a  house and teach.  She brought her own materials and asked that parents be involved (on a rotating basis) in the classroom.  We were able to have her come to our house regularly and teach not only some of our children, but also some children of friends.  It was wonderful!

But when we had to move out of state we were back at square one.  I held a "Montessori-ish" sort of program in our home where I tried to emulate the things that Mrs. Sloane did, but I had no training and very little in the way of materials.  Also, I didn't charge anything.  This worked out well and I really enjoyed being with the children, but I wanted more.....

Luckily Belmont University had recently started a Montessori certification program!  By the grace of God I was able to (a) afford the tuition, (b) get childcare so I could attend the classes, and (c) stay married and sane!  Part of the process required an internship, so I set up a fully-equipped Primary Classroom in my home and filled a class with students (one of whom was our youngest).  I was licensed by the state as a daycare facility (MAJOR HEADACHE!) and I had to wear many hats at once:  director of the school, teacher in the classroom, janitor, mom, student, wife, etc.

I wanted to make my morning program affordable, so I charged very little.   Unfortunately that meant that I could barely pay the costs involved in running everything.  When all is said and done I did get a major education in administration and handling parents (or how not to handle them!  I made a lot of mistakes.).  I also had TONS of hands-on experience with the Montessori works and with the children.  Compared to my classmates at Belmont who had different types of internships, I think mine was one of the best.

That was almost four years ago.  My school no longer exists and when people beg me to open its doors again I really just want to help the parents learn how to educate their children (or simply play with them!) themselves.  I think a little bit of education for the parents, grandparents or older siblings really helps make time spent together more fun.  It can also help caregivers who have been frustrated learn new ways to approach children.


7 comments:

  1. Where did you find your mats that you use for the work space?

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  2. I think I bought some at Old Time Pottery and some in the $1 bins at Target. My largest "mat" is actually a table runner that I found on clearance at Pottery Barn.

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  3. Hi Sarah! What a wonderful blog! :) I have ton of questions for you, and wondering if we can exchange emails. Looking forward to your reply.

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  4. Hey, Lady Jane! You have been nominated for a blog award "Best Lifestyle Blog" for the Sheenazing Awards at A Knotted Life. http://www.aknottedlife.com
    I didn't know if you were aware. :-)

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  5. Oh goodness me! I didn't know. Thanks for telling me!

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  6. Wonderful blog, thank you for being both Montessori AND Catholic...jackpot!
    But, do you have any advice/posts for parents of itty bitties? My daughter's only 6 months old, but I'm beyond anxious to get going down this road...

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  7. Hi! Nice to "meet" you! :) The best gift you can give your daughter is a good strong marriage, to pass along your faith, and if God wills it, siblings. Along the way make sure that you have an awesome interior life, have an honest view of yourself (often a good spiritual director and/or good friends can help you see yourself), and keep your priorities straight. If she sees you joyfully giving of yourself, say, at a retirement home once per week that would probably be a better use of your time and money than, say, redecorating a perfectly fine living room, for instance. If you are called to get the training to become a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd teacher, she will see you share your time and talents helping others to fall in love with God (and you will grow closer to Him along the way!). www.livingmontessorinow.com is an awesome site for all things Montessori, but remember: the best gift to give your daughter isn't a Montessori education! Faith, hope and love first. :)

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