What inspires you about education?
I love the ability we have to actively impact the minds of the future! Education does not happen overnight and involves a great investment in every child. The culture we bring to the table is a huge part of my desire to be a part of this team. Providing high-quality programs with staff who are truly invested makes a difference!
How did you discover Montessori?
My older sister, Maris, worked for LePort and recommended I try out a position as an Assistant Guide there (fresh out of college). I could also say that her children attending the schools absolutely inspired me. They attended 100 percent Spanish Immersion programs, and seeing such confident, problem-solving children (who were also bilingual!) was so inspiring to me. I told myself I'd invest in Montessori education for my own children one day.
How does Montessori philosophy inspire your daily life?
Montessori philosophy reminds me on almost a daily basis that there are so many approaches to a problem, so many variables to explore, and that each individual is equally as worthy and responsible for their actions as any other. Growing up in public education, I unfortunately had a bad experience with grade school teachers, feeling like I wasn't doing a very good job. I love that we are based on intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic/external motivation/factors, and the workplace is an extension of our programs as well. A funny story below:
When I started working as as Assistant Guide in an authentic Montessori program (it was LePort at the time), I worked with Toddlers (ages 18 months to 3 years). There was one day in which I had to walk with six toddlers (that is the ratio - one adult with six two-year-olds!) all the way across the very large campus to get them to an after-school music class they were signed up for.
I was very new to working with young children, and it was almost like herding cats for me! Some of the children would run ahead, others would lag behind and cry out of nervousness. I eventually became very experienced with connecting with children and this wouldn't be a problem in future, but one child stopped to smell many flowers. As in, they stopped to look at and touch/smell nearly every flower along our path (and it wasn't just one or two - there were a lot!).
In the moment, I caught myself saying, "Let's go to the class," I also paused to realize that these children are deeply inspired by the natural world, exploration, and taking ones' time to enjoy their experience. It was very touching to me, and also made me realize that maybe I've been missing something, being a product of public education and the world.
Do you have a favorite Montessori quote?
"If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men."
What have you learned working at Higher Ground thus far?
Our goal is to make a significant impact on education around the world, which is easier said than done! I've been inspired by the team and how much we can accomplish. I believe it's possible to change the world, and it starts with me challenging myself on a daily basis.
What do you enjoy most about working with your teammates?
The culture in the workplace is incredible. Each person is hard-working and relentlessly focused until achieving their goals. Most importantly, the approach and attitude is always a positive one. We are all truly dedicated to our common goal.
What are your passions, interests, and hobbies?
I play classical piano, guitar, ukulele, and sing. I'm also an avid animal lover and two of my pets (guinea pigs!) are classroom pets at Guidepost Montessori at Foothill Ranch.