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My journey through the Montessori world has been full of serendipitous turns. At times, they have been surprising, at times difficult, even painful, but mostly they have been what I needed to find the path to a career I love and cherish. Starting as a Montessori mom with my oldest daughter (now thirteen), then choosing to become a Montessori guide myself, and ending with discovering I can contribute to this wonderful method with material I was able to create and develop from observing the amazing children in my classroom. It has been a fun ride, one that I feel deeply humbled to have the opportunity to share with you all.

I first walked into a Montessori classroom about seven years ago. I was looking for a school for my then five-year-old daughter, and, although I didn’t know much about Montessori at the time, I knew there was something special about the little Montessori school that had just opened close to our home. As a bilingual household, I wanted a place for my daughter where her bilingualism would be celebrated and admired, not seen as an impediment to her learning. To my delight, the Montessori Method, along with a wonderful and experienced teacher, did not disappoint. She was cherished and made to feel that being from a different culture and speaking a different language made her special.

Throughout her first year, I was fortunate to volunteer as a Spanish teacher, which led me to observe how things worked in a Montessori classroom. With the help of my daughter’s wonderful guide, who later became my mentor, I began to fall in love with the Method.

Two years later, my life took an unexpected turn, leading me to return to work. I looked into the possibility of becoming a Montessori guide. The owner of my daughter’s Montessori school recommended the Center for Guided Montessori Studies program. It was a rigorous 18-month program, and the prospect of returning to school after so many years was daunting, but I took the chance, got accepted, and started the program in October 2016.

It was a wonderful program that allowed me to prepare myself to start my new path as an early childhood Montessori guide. In August of 2018, I found myself as the lead guide of my classroom.

I know when I have prepared an art space for independence, children can flow in and out of creative moments without me having to facilitate each activity.

It was an amazing, terrifying, difficult, and beautiful year. I learned a lot about myself during this time, but most importantly, I knew very deep within me that I had found that I loved being in the classroom. I had found something I want to be a part of for many years to come.

During my second year as a lead guide, I had a couple of children who were, for lack of a better word, obsessed with dinosaurs.

Most children love dinosaurs, but these two little ones lived and breathed dinosaurs! From memorizing all their names and facts to refusing to wear clothing that did not have some kind of dinosaur print, their love and energy for these ancient giant creatures were inspiring.

Naturally, I began to collect material to build a dinosaur unit to add to our cosmic area. However, there was one material that I wanted to include but could not find anywhere, at least not anything that satisfied my notion of what this material should be like to fit a Montessori classroom properly. That material was dinosaur puzzles.

I wanted to find puzzles that closely resembled the traditional Montessori animal puzzles found in the classroom. These puzzles commonly highlight the parts of a tree, flower, leaf, or the external body parts of a frog, bird, fish, or horse. These puzzles are normally found in the science area of a classroom.

However, I was looking for dinosaur puzzles, and there were very few options to choose from and even fewer that somewhat followed Montessori puzzles’ simple but brilliant design.

After many months of searching and not finding what I was looking for, I was inspired to see if I could create these puzzles myself.

With some fear of the unknown, but lots of determination, I enlisted the help of my dear and talented friend, Whitney Rader, who is an amazing artist and a former Montessori parent. We worked for a couple of months to develop the artwork that I thought would work best for the product.

After a final draft was done, I spent the best of a month looking for a manufacturer that could make the puzzles a reality and understood the Montessori Method. That turned out to make a world of a difference. Once I had found the right partner, we began the exciting but painstaking process of going through samples, trials, feedback, going back to the blackboard, more samples, more trials, and more feedback, time and time again, until we were able to come up with a product that would best serve a Montessori classroom as well as delight any dino-loving child.

During this time of trial and error, a six-yearold child in my classroom made a beautiful pin-poking work out of the Pink Tower. She carefully traced and created perforations along the lines by using a special pin to poke the paper for each square, then glued them all onto a large piece of white poster board. After she was done, she came up to me and said, “Ms. Faby, how do you write pink block?” She wrote ‘Pink Block’ next to each of the ten pink squares making sure she wrote the letter k in ‘pink’ on each of the ten pink squares. After she was done, she proudly showed me her beautiful work. I knew then that I had found the name for the online store I wanted to create for the dinosaur puzzles. And this was how Pink Block: Montessori Inspired Educational Materials was born.

The past six years have been an incredible journey, from becoming a Montessori parent to a Montessori guide to a small business owner.

Looking back, I am grateful for all those who have helped me in my endeavors. My children, who lovingly supported and encouraged me, the children in my classroom, who inspired and taught me every day, and my colleagues, family, and friends who were there to cheer me up and give me the feedback I needed to hear.

But most of all, I am grateful for a courageous woman who defied the stereotypes of her day and who, in her quest to heal and help others, learned to observe children, thus opening a window into a better way to go about the education of our children.

Thank you, Dr. Montessori! I encourage you all to pursue those things that seem impossible. Life has a way of serendipitously taking you where you need to be. Enjoy the ride! •


Faby Denney has been a lead guide at Center Grove Montessori School over the past four years. She earned her Montessori Certificate from Center for Guided Montessori Studies in 2016.

Being a Montessori guide is more than a jobor even a career for her, it is a calling. Sheen joys music, reading and being with friends as well as finding new food to try. Besides her beautiful dinosaur puzzles she also workingon building a Spanish program for the elementary classroom at her school that will not only teach the language but expose the children to the many and varied cultures that speak it.

Faby currently lives in Indiana with her two daughters, who are both Montessori children. You can find more about her and her store at Or contact her at