“Wouldn’t it be cool to have a school in a historic hangar?” I asked my friend. We had been driving around Lowry (the site of the former Air Force Base in Colorado) for well over an hour, looking for a suitable site to open a preschool. Five real estate agents had given us the very disappointing news that the market here was saturated and nothing was available. Not prepared to give up and determined to find something in this area, we decided to set out on our own! “Just call,” she said, pulling into the parking lot. I did, and the rest is as they say, history.
I believe everything happens for a reason. Reflecting back on my life, I can clearly see the steps that have brought me to this point. Today, as I sit in my office and hear the hum of the children busy at work, my heart fills with joy and gratitude. It has not been an easy journey. In fact, most of it has been very hard as I struggled against odds to keep Montessori in its purest form.
I was introduced to Montessori whilst pregnant with my first child. Since then it has been my philosophy for life, gently guiding me and keeping me anchored through all the storms that I have weathered. We have lived in several parts of the world and in each, I have carried my beliefs, fine tuning my understanding of Montessori and, spreading it only in it’s purest form.
Back in the USA, after a five-year stint in Indonesia where I had been running a Montessori teacher-training center, I opened one in the basement of our home. Within the first year of operation, our center received its non-profit status, accreditation from MACTE and, soon after, Title IV recognition. The students that I trained loved the atmosphere of being in a home, felt very nurtured and often called it “the womb”.
The problems began when they completed the academic portion of their training and went out to do their internship. None of the schools met the standards to which they had been trained and they often returned to me telling me about their frustrations. I always encouraged them to “work it out” and that every experience, no matter how negative, provided one with an opportunity to learn. However, I could see that I was failing them. For their training to be complete they needed to see and work in classrooms that followed the philosophy and methodology as they had been taught.