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.