Supporting Montessori Northwest

No matter the reason you believe in Montessori Northwest, you can be a part of this essential work. Donations to MNW are essential for Montessori programs to thrive in the Northwest. 
Theresa Smith
Primary Student
Montessori Northwest
Portland, Oregon, USA


"Montessori helps my community."

I am a member of the Siletz Tribe in Oregon and I began college when I was 28 years
old. My love of children led me to major in Child and Family Studies with a focus on
Early Childhood Education & Administration of Programs and Services. I also earned
a degree in Psychology with a focus on Human Development. Currently, I am taking
my Primary training at Montessori Northwest. 

The Portland Public Native Montessori School was opened in the early 2000s and it
is where I did most of my practicum. My children were also enrolled there. We were
all saddened when the program ended around 2007 due to lack of funding. When I
learned in 2014 that it was opening again, I left my existing job to become their
Educational Assistant—anxious to be a part of the phenomenal potential it could
have for our community.

Only half of Native American populations earn their High School diploma. These
statistics are not accurate, however, for the grown children that attended the Native
Montessori School. Their love of learning was planted early, and although they come
from different family structures and socioeconomic status, they will all have the
same outcome; success.

I am training at Montessori Northwest because I want to be a part of this future
success within my community. Helping bring Montessori into our public schools is
my path to helping my Native American community succeed.

Janet Dominguez Ortiz
Classroom Assistant
Alder Montessori
Portland, Oregon, USA


"Montessori is an agent of change."

At age twelve I came to the United States from Mexico, smuggled over the border with two siblings in order to be with my father. I’ll never forget the terror of that night, running through the desert and begging my brother not to leave me behind as he traveled back south.

My journey since then has been full of rich, and often equally difficult, adventures. In Yakima, WA I worked in a packinghouse from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and then picked apples in the nearby fields until 1 or 2 in the afternoon. This was also the first time I attended school—a resource that extreme poverty had prevented in Mexico.

After moving to Portland in 2002, I was hired as a ramp agent for a local airline, attended Portland Community College to improve my English, survived breast and ovarian cancer, worked as a middle school ESL Community Parent Liaison, then as a Spanish Teacher Assistant in a Montessori toddler classroom, and continued my learning by taking the Assistance to Infancy training at Montessori Northwest. I am now the Classroom Assistant at Alder Montessori, MNW’s program offering free Montessori to children living in poverty.

My employment history, however, is only part of my work. I’m also deeply committed to the traditional heritage of my Latino community, organizing festivals and celebrations to help maintain a crucial piece of our cultural identity. Giving back to the people with the greatest needs is a wonderful way to practice compassion.

I remain so thankful to work at Montessori Northwest and the opening of Alder Montessori. It brings me true joy to serve children that are so much in need while also being able to completely value my culture and dedication to community engagement.

Helen Campbell
Head of School
Grand Lake Montessori
Oakland, California, USA


"MNW is a remarkable resource for educators."

In 36 years of administration, I’ve seen over and over again how the training offered in Portland truly prepares teachers to be Early Childhood professionals.

As educators learn their craft and go from novice to journeyman to mentor-they all need supportive schools in which to grow. MNW provides significant outreach programming, allowing teachers to reflect and perfect their practice. Our school's partnership with the training center has enhanced and nurtured teacher development within our school for the last 10 years.

Grand Lake Montessori currently has 4 teachers taking the new block scheduled trainings located in San Francisco. We have has sent teachers to workshops sponsored by MNW, and also invited trainers to visit our learning community. Our teachers all report that meetings with MNW are a major benefit of working at this school, and a deciding factor for remaining at Grand Lake Montessori. They feel supported in their professional growth, and are encouraged to try new approaches.

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Alicia Allen
Elementary Guide
The Ivy School
Portland, Oregon, USA

"MNW is helping fill the need for teachers, making Montessori more accessible and equitable."

Montessori Northwest is helping fill the need for teachers, making Montessori more accessible and equitable. Prior to my training at Montessori Northwest, I had been exposed to Montessori through my step-mother who became a Primary guide later in life. I had considered taking the training straight out of college but knew that I was called to work in Asia first. I found an opportunity to spend time teaching ESL in a large public high school in a remote area of China. It was there that I witnessed students getting left behind in a one-size-fits-all model.  

My Elementary training course was a wonderfully exhausting year. I enjoyed learning the lessons and became friends with many of my peers. Since graduation, I am working at a public charter Montessori school in Oregon. It's a challenging, humbling, and invigorating experience. I see this work as the new frontier of Montessori: we've proven ourselves in the private sector, it's time to show that Montessori can work in the public sphere! For the next five years, I want to continue teaching in the classroom. I'm not sure where the longer term will take me but I've considered getting a Doctorate in Education and going back to China to help build up the Montessori movement there. MNW's goal of spreading Montessori to more children is especially relevant today. Public Montessori schools have waitlists of hundreds of children and many public schools can't find teachers. 

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Rania Kanaan
Elementary Guide
Islamic Crescent Montessori
Beaverton, Oregon, USA

"MNW taught me how to be a quality teacher and how to guide children with integrity."

I was born in Jordan within the first generation of Palestinian refugees. After finishing my Bachelors degree in computer programming from Jordan University, I immigrated to the United States. Alongside my goal to complete my education, I had three children. When I walked down the aisle to receive my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Portland Community College, I was expecting my fourth child. 

Before Montessori Northwest, I had taught Sunday school, as well as Arabic and other subjects. In 2009, members of Oregon’s Beaverton Muslim community wanted to start a Montessori school, and I was hired--though I’d never heard of this method of teaching before! I taught in an Islamic Montessori school for a year with my online certification however I never felt satisfied of this achievement. I longed for a deeper understanding of Montessori principals and its application in the classroom.

My Elementary trainer at Montessori Northwest, Elise Huneke-Stone, really demonstrated how dedicated she was to teaching the educational theory, classroom observation, material preparation, and teaching practices of Montessori. She taught my course how to be quality teachers and to lead children with honesty and integrity. My own experiences as a young student in Jordan were defined by test scores intended to reflect my mastery of various subjects. Now looking back, those exams never really determined whether I understood the subjects or not.

The training I received at Montessori Northwest instilled in me a passion for learning, one where I also learned to create an environment where children are empowered to follow their interests and become stewards of their world.

Montessori Northwest is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that strives to educate adults on the nature of childhood. We appreciate your continued support and thank you in advance for your generosity!