Meet our Graduates - Polly

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A little about you:
I was an EFL teacher and was in the process of applying for a Primary Teaching course in England when my friend introduced me to Montessori. I hadn't heard that much about it and after observing at a school in London and speaking to the Montessori trainers, I felt this was the course for me!

Describe the course workload:
Although it was a lot of work, more than I expected, I really enjoyed it. As much as possible I tried to type up the notes on a daily basis to keep on top of things and that really helped. Other times I let myself have a night off and do something fun!

How well did the course prepare you to be a Montessori teacher?
I now have a new perspective not just of how I perceive children, but also of the role of the teacher. Ginni and Sarah have given me a strong theoretical understanding of child development and the Montessori materials and how we work with them in the classroom. It was great to have the opportunity to be in the same classroom for observations and practice teaching. I was able to get to know each child and able to make the connections between what we learned at during the lectures and what I observed during my practice teaching and observations.

Did you enjoy your training at MNW?
Absolutely! I can honestly say it has been a life changing, eye opening experience. I not only feel proud that I worked so hard during the course, but also honored to be a part of a form of education that respects the child and challenges me as a teacher to be as good a role model  as I can be!

What were some unexpected challenges?
Working on the weekends. This made me a little sad at times, but it had to be done!

What were some unexpected highlights?
I didn't expect to meet so many amazing people. Like minded and wonderful!

Would you recommend this course to others?
Yes. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Need I say more!

Any advice for incoming students?
Find a nice, relaxing cafe with a plug socket for your computer and get your typing up to speed!

Posted on July 1, 2013 and filed under Graduates | Testimony.

Meet our Graduates - Emily

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A little about you:
Some of my earliest and happiest memories are from my years as a Montessori primary student. Those memories called me back to Montessori and affirmed the importance of this work. I was lucky enough to attend Montessori through 8th grade so I can confidently say this education shaped who I am today.

Describe the course workload:
Previous trainees had described the intensity of the course, but I still was surprised by the time required to create the quality of teaching manuals, papers, and materials that I envisioned for myself. As a former Montessori student, I had a level of familiarity with the concepts and materials that clearly aided my understanding of the content of the course.

How well did the course prepare you to be a Montessori teacher?
I feel very prepared on many levels. The thorough exploration of Montessori theory in the lectures and our own theory paper created a solid foundation for the practical application when working with children. The practice with the materials and time in the classroom gave me a sense of what to expect and the confidence that I have access to the resources to succeed in the classroom.

Did you enjoy your training at MINW?
This was a wonderfully rich and exciting year for me. On a personal level it affirmed my own strengths and gave me an insight into my own educational experience. MINW is a collection of amazing and dedicated individuals who create a welcoming, accepting environment for all the trainees and the greater Montessori community. This made it such a joy to learn and grow in their presence.

What were some unexpected challenges?
My challenges were on a personal level. I had some unexpected difficulties during the time in the training. While it was a challenge to balance this and the coursework, the training helped me stay positive and focus on what is important in life.

What were some unexpected highlights?
The Mardi Gras parade was a wonderful memory and a reminder of the spirit of Montessori. It was a fun event and the whole community joined together to participate. I think it showed me the importance of sharing culture and celebrating our differences in a tangible way. I hope to do this often with children.

Would you recommend this course to others?
The more people who deeply understand Maria Montessori’s vision for education the better. It gives me hope to feel her ideas spreading and becoming more mainstream. It is important for all of us to communicate what we know to others in a way that they can understand. I hope to see many more of my friends and Montessori classmates taking the training. It is relevant to all professions!

Any advice for incoming students?
I think making the course the number one priority will allow for a richness of experience and growth of character unlike any other experience. The people you will meet and the opportunities you will have are such an important part of the training itself. If you have many other commitments, it may be difficult to take advantage of all the MNW community has to offer.

Posted on July 1, 2013 and filed under Graduates | Testimony.

Meet our Graduates - Patty

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A little about you:
I have a B.A. in Fine and Performing Arts, and danced in four dance companies. My two children, and now my grandchildren as well, experienced a Montessori education. I worked in Escrow for twenty years, but have discovered my passion in Montessori.

Describe the course workload:
The workload included very interesting literature that sometimes kept me up late at night, because I wanted to read more than was required! The workload seemed comparable to a full load of credits in college, plus a few more.

How well did the course prepare you to be a Montessori teacher?
By the end of practice teaching I found my comfort level with the children in my host classroom. Everything that Montessori wrote and Ginni [Sackett] lectured on was in my thoughts as I observed in class.

Did you enjoy your training at MNW?
I always looked forward to the lectures given by Ginni Sackett, and really enjoyed the Reading Seminars as we shared ideas from the literature in an informal manner. I met some incredibly intelligent and compassionate people that share a similar passion for giving young children an education that is best suited to their psychological and intellectual needs. I knew by the end of this course that I had joined a community that I will enjoy being part of for years to come.

Any advice to incoming students?
Sharpen up your typing skills, and start reading the required readings, not so much to keep up, but to solidify your decision for the course. The Absorbent Mind motivated me to observe a Montessori classroom, and a conventional Primary class, and I immediately signed up for the Fall at the Institute!

Would you recommend this course to others? If so, why?
I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who wants to teach young people. I am surprised that Montessori education is not a requirement in the public schools, as advanced as we are in the U.S.

Posted on July 1, 2013 and filed under Graduates | Testimony.

Meet our Graduates - George

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A little about you:
I graduated with a B.S. in mechanical engineering, and worked with Nike for 15 years in their computer and technology area. I also volunteered in a non-profit Chinese school and youth group ministry before registering for the Montessori training. Montessori has always fascinated me about the way it works and its difference in approach to educating children from conventional education. I never have any experience with Montessori education, and found out about MNW completely by chance. It certainly changed my perspective of the world.

Describe the course workload:
The workload is reasonable. Theory instruction and lesson demonstration is taught at a consistent and carefully moderated pace. The most difficult part is keeping up with lessons through various distractions in daily life. The friendly Montessori environment and helpful classmates and trainers were always there to help when I fell behind.

How well did the course prepare you to be a Montessori teacher?
Daily classroom activities were amazingly well thought out. For example, thoughtfulness in the sequence of Montessori theory instruction and lesson demonstration inspires me how Montessori methodology is applicable to almost all aspects of life, both in the controlled classroom environment and out in the busy world. Also, I see consistency in pace of instruction as a good training to help prepare me for the heavy workload in a Montessori classroom.

Did you enjoy your training at MNW?
Yes, I surprised myself that I actually looked forward to attending the next day of school throughout the school year. From the first day, we were given a very clear set of expectations, we were then led in baby steps through the assignments as we learned more. Also, the application of Montessori theory is evident everywhere in the training center, from setting up of lunch room to the respect everyone gives one another in our interactions.

What were some unexpected challenges?
I did not realize that every single day at school, when we forgot ourselves through the fun watching our trainers demonstrate how to give lessons, and listened with intrigue to the theories and their application, there was some kind of expectations lurking from behind. I heard it, but it sank in only when I was preparing my first album (teaching manual) for submission.

What were some unexpected highlights?
Designing my own materials that can be used in classroom was certainly a delight. Shopping for the "Phonetic Object Box" trained me to look at objects through the lens of the children. Just like what Ginni and Sarah said: it's never going to be the same as before, it was so delightful when I find the perfect item to add to my classroom.

Would you recommend this course to others?
If seeing is believing, experiencing is heartfelt understanding. Through interaction with my trainers and classmates, I feel concern and care that I want children to feel in Montessori environment; through practicing with actual Montessori materials I remembers how to intuitively give lesson using the materials. I could never have imagined the dedication of Montessori teachers without experiencing the training myself.

Any advice for incoming students?
Advice given in the Student Handbook is a great place to start.  It is a good reference for almost everything from preparation for the class to checklist for to do lists. Organization skill goes a long way towards helping us complete albums for submission, and have a better experience doing so. Like a child watching presentations, I was expected to interpret all the demonstrations by myself. Developing a personalized experience relating to the theories and materials helps in making them become alive within us.

Posted on July 1, 2013 and filed under Graduates | Testimony.

Meet our Graduates - Alden

A little about you:
As a young male with no children, I'm a little unusual in the Montessori world, so I'm often asked how I made the decision to work with 3-6 year-olds. The abridged version of the story is that I was looking for a career which I could reconcile with my desire to contribute to the creation of a better future, rather than simply a means of acquiring money. I'd settled on teaching, when, serendipitously, my then-girlfriend's grandmother suggested that I look into Montessori. The more I read about the theories and methods employed by Montessorians, the more convinced I 

Posted on July 1, 2013 and filed under Graduates | Testimony.