How did you discover Montessori?
While I was studying international education in Sweden, at Vaxjo University, our class took a deep dive into different educational approaches throughout the world. We would observe and complete our practicum in Swedish classrooms, where they focused on the three-year cycle within the child’s classroom cohort. It was a combination of Waldorf and Montessori, but it was all child-directing learning, hands-on, collaborative, and a strong focus on independence. I was blown away!
How does Montessori philosophy inspire your daily life?
Montessori is a way of life. It’s about mindfulness and a deeper understanding that our actions, attitudes, and decisions ultimately affect the greater whole. I am reminded daily of the interconnectedness we all share in this work, and I truly believe that if we are going to help build a more peaceful and just world, it begins with our children. However, our children need the proper environments to flourish and grow strong in themselves and their communities.
Do you have a favorite Montessori quote?
“Establishing lasting peace is the work of education. All politics can do is keep us out of war.”
But I especially like like: “The education that will lead the way to a new humanity has one end alone: Leading the individual and society to a higher state of development. The concept becomes clearer if we realize that mankind has to fulfill a collective mission on earth, a mission involving all of humanity and, therefore, each and every human being.”
What have you learned from your time working at Higher Ground Education?
Love what you do, do what you love. The attitude at the core of this organization is that, with passion, creativity, and teamwork, anything can be accomplished. This team is unafraid! There are no excuses or reasons to stop building awareness of Montessori’s work. I believe that, at the rate we are growing, Montessori’s work will become “the norm” for our society, and this team’s passion to build awareness — while placing emphasis on the importance of early childhood education — will get us there.
I think Maria Montessori’s work is brilliant. She took the time and dedicated attention to truly understand human beings and their path of development. I feel our greater society is so disconnected and lacks awareness to this path of development, but we are uniting with other Montessori organizations to change this, and we are doing it aggressively. That’s so invigorating!
What do you enjoy most about working with your teammates?
Our team is very close. If it weren’t for them, I definitely would not be where I am today. We hold space for one another to talk about our fears, what’s working, what’s not working, and our struggles. We problem-solve together, and we offer support to one another.
The collaboration piece and sharing ideas is huge! It’s a collective effort, and I feel supported in every way. Because of Montessori, I don’t feel alone. Instead of only feeling like I’m making a difference in my classroom, I believe we’re actually doing something together, as Montessorians, on a global scale. It starts in one classroom, indeed, but then it moves outward, and, each day, we’re moving pieces — starting new schools and spreading it — and that feels very powerful to me.
What are your passions, interests, and hobbies?
I enjoy Montessori and working with passionate people for a greater cause. I also love dancing, writing poetry, and the outdoors — gardening, traveling, backpacking, and mountaineering. I love being in the mountains and close to nature, using your body to get up a mountain. You feel your heartbeat while outside in this space that connects you — not only to a deeper awareness of yourself, but the world.