University of Maryland, College Park (Journalism and PR)
I worked as a journalist for 15 years before my eldest son was born, and then followed him into Montessori education. Since then, I have guided students ages 2.5 through 15 years old in the challenge of learning to learn. My first experience in this new world was guiding Junior Great Books discussions and writing for students at a Montessori School in Tampa, Florida.
In 1996, my family moved to South Florida and in 1998, I began my formal training in Montessori pre-primary while working at Children's House in Boca Raton. In 2001, I transferred along with my second son to Claremont Montessori, where I had the privilege of working with Harvey Hallenburg, a pioneer in Montessori education in the United States. Harvey was trained in the 1960s by Claude Claremont, the British engineer who attended Maria Montessori's teacher training in Italy and first translated her work into English.
At Claremont, due to my experience in writing and editing, I first worked for two years in the middle and high school classroom, where students covered all academic areas by completing individual research with written reports and/or oral presentations. Most recently, I worked in the 6- to 9-year-old class. These experiences have given me a broad awareness of the academic development of students, and how education is not a cookie cutter process. In addition to individual work in the classroom I have organized field trips and camping excursions together with students of various ages, worked with them on student publications, planned school science fairs and ran after-school gardening and chess clubs. Montessori's focus on the teacher as guide, enabled me to develop the important skills and insights to help students unlock and express their potential. As a result, much of the work I have done involves one-on-one interaction with students. Most recently, as a tutor, I helped a 7-year-old transition from using the language and materials of the Montessori classroom to the language of a workbook and textbook used in a traditional private school classroom.
Learning how Maria Montessori conceptualized math and geometry, and then manifested her thinking in materials for students ages 2.5 through 12 gave me a stronger foundation in math. I always was adept at memorizing, but Montessori enabled a deeper understanding of the historical development and application of mathematics, geometry and algebra. Her concrete materials, which support learning that begins in preschool, opens the door for learning math in ways that are deeper than memorization.
Montessori based her educational pedagogy on observation, so I writing has continued to be an important part of the work I do. In addition to writing reports for weekly parent newsletters to describe what children are doing individually and as a group in the classroom, I also often coached them in the art of expressing themselves with words. Being a writer myself, makes me a sensitive editor for students. My goal is to help them to think through and organize what they want to express, as well as become their own editors, looking for spelling and grammar mistakes. I worked as a journalist for 15 years before my eldest son was born, and then followed him into Montessori education. Since then, I have guided students ages 2.5 through 15 years old in the challenge of learning to learn. My first experience in this new world was guiding Junior Great Books discussions and writing for students at a Montessori
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I have worked with K-6th students for 20 years in Montessori classrooms. Montessori's concrete materials, as well as her developmental and anthropological approach to learning, have given me a broad and deep foundation in all areas of the elementary curriculum. I also have experience in transitioning Montessori students into traditional classrooms by relating the materials students are accustomed to working with to the language of textbooks and workbooks. Many students who struggle with math or reading in traditional settings can benefit from the Montessori materials, which build a bridge between the concrete and the abstract.