Beth MacDonald Beth MacDonald ... is the founder and Executive Director of MacDonald Montessori. She started in March 1986. "The Infant Toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy have been a constant source of inspiration to me during most of the 25 year life of MacDonald Montessori School. The educators from Reggio Emilia, in particular Amelia Gambetti and the other educators in our country inspired by this approach have supported us in our journey to envision a deeper, richer, more powerful image of children, parents and teachers. The collaboration of all three of these protagonists-children, parents and teachers have created a school that welcomes, encourages and sustains love, learning and creativity. I am grateful for the 25 years and for the every day experiences of this school."

Aaron MacDonald Aaron MacDonald ... "The parent has the obvious role of nurturing, shelter, love, education, and a million other essential tasks. The one task that parents struggle with the most is letting go…allowing the child to explore, create, and make mistakes on their own. I’ve noticed that children transition and adapt to change a lot easier and quicker than the parents. Whenever a child moves to a new classroom, they tend to be more ready than the parents. It is a difficult challenge for the parents to let go, but an important one."

Liz Watzl Liz Watzl ... "A child is full of wonder, knowledge, curiosity, and joy for learning and life. Children do not think small. Children know what they are doing and why. I believe a child is a collector of knowledge. Personal experiences and relationships within their environment make up the content of their collections. A child is capable of using many languages to gather and organize their developing life stories/collections. With the appropriate adult support, a child is capable of becoming an expert in their world and the limitless ability within themselves. Teachers often get stuck in one way of seeing things. When we, as teachers, take a minute to slow down and look at the world through the eyes of a child, we have the capability to see the classroom, the school, and the world in a whole new way. Children have the ability to get teachers excited about learning just as teachers have the ability the get children excited about learning and exploring the world in different ways. Seeing the joy in the children’s eyes makes me want to find that same joy."

Aleena Choudhry Aleena Choudhry ... "A school is a place where a child’s creative nature is fostered by participating in a structured learning environment. It is a place where children learn through discovery and play. Teachers view each child individually and differentiate their instruction to make sure each child succeeds. They help each child develop a positive self-image. Each teacher has a strong and trusting relationship with each child that creates a sense of security. It is a place where children are excited to come every day. It is a place that focuses on the growth of the whole child by fostering their intellectual, social, and emotional development. It prepares children to become independent lifelong learners. Teachers value and respect the ideas and feelings of all children in the classroom. They think of children as growing individuals who have important things to say and contribute. A school is a warm and nurturing environment where children are valued and accepted."

Amelia Gambetti Amelia Gambetti ... "From our beginning, we have strongly believed that it is essential to build a system of relationships based on respect and reciprocal confidence and trust that involves all the children and adults in the school, including the child’s parent’s and family. Respect and trust are values. To build them into the life of the school requires time, consistency and continuity. Respect and trust are essential elements for creating certain kinds of rhythms and harmony within the classroom and throughout the whole school. They are the basis for continuous communication and an open dialogue of exchanges, sharing conflicts, negotiation and agreements."

Amy Clark Amy Clark ... "My image of a school is a learning environment that provides enrichment for the mind, spirit, and body. A school should be a place where children wake up in the morning and are excited to go to, because they feel loved and valued there. It is their home away from home. They know that it is a place where their friends are and the teachers are nurturing and excited to have them there. A school should be challenging and pique a child’s curiosity, so that the child will want to continue learning more and more about anything that they want. There should be no limits or boundaries when it comes to learning. It should be a lifelong, fantastic quest filled with amazing possibilities."

Amy Strunk Amy Strunk ... "The image of a school is a place of peace…where all children can come together and combine their knowledge and experiences. A school must provide experiences, tools, and staff who fully believe in their philosophy, curriculum and most of all the children! A school is a family, who are all coming together to nurture, educate and guide one another. A school is a family where dreams are made. Where children are being heard and laughter is celebrated. A school is a place of hope, encouragement, and support, where all possibilities are endless."

Anna Wieser Anna Wieser ... "A school is a place where children, parents, and teachers can come together as a community to discover, learn, and appreciate all that the world has to offer. It is a foundation for families. Children learn to interact with people and things in their environment at school. Parents find support and encouragement at school as they raise their children. Teachers provide opportunities and guide enriching and meaningful experiences as co-learners with their students. A school is a place that is safe, nurturing, and encouraging of new ideas, so together as a community we can make the world a better place a little at a time."

Anna Chapin Anna Chapin ...

Belle Perra Belle Perra ... "A child is a collector. The child makes personal experiences and relationships within their environment, which make up the center of their very own collection. A child is capable of using their environment and relationships to help in developing their lives for the future. Adults can help support and guide a child to become experts of their world. With exploring and discovering the world around them their possibilities are endless."

Brady MacDonald Brady MacDonald ... My image of a parent is that of someone who has not only taken on the considerable responsibility to raise a child, but raise a child to be someone who thinks critically and contributes something of value to society. To accomplish that goal, a parent must be in a constant state of enervating awareness. A parent must notice every situation, from hazardous ones to ones that require discipline, to have the information necessary to deal with whatever may come. For a parent to be able to do that is profound and should be celebrated more frequently.

Brittany Depolis Brittany Depolis ... "I hold the image of a school to be a place to educate children in a fun and nurturing way. It’s a place where children are empowered to grow and develop into unique individuals. School should be a place where children enjoy the process of learning new things each day while feeling safe by our friendly smile, voice and touch. Schools are a place where children and their families are partnered with highly trained teachers who are actively engaged in guiding their learning experiences."

Brittany Hauser Brittany Hauser ... "Every child is a unique and interesting person. Children are competent, curious, full of knowledge, potential, and creativity. Children are interested in and capable of exploring complex and abstract ideas and are motivated to find answers to their questions. Children are natural researchers. They question what they see, predict outcomes, experiment, and reflect on and represent their discoveries. Children learn by actively engaging in the world around them. Children are constantly in the process of gaining a greater understanding of our world through interactions with their peers, adults, and objects in their environment."

Caitlyn Ruen Caitlyn Ruen ... "At the heart, a school is a place where children feel safe. A place where they feel safe to explore ideas, challenge themselves, make mistakes, and therefore grow. The teachers in the school provide inspiration and opportunities for children to discover who they are and what the world is around them. Children learn through direct experimentation with the environment. A school reflects this in all aspects of the day. In a school, children are treated as whole people, with unique perspectives on the world. Their ideas are treated with respect and dignity. Their needs scaffold as they learn how to function in an adult world. Their feelings are treated with seriousness as they learn to identify and regulate. Students and teachers are their 100% authentic selves. My image of a school is an area filled with beauty and provocation, where children are excited to go every day and spend their days wrapped up in wonder in and learning, pushing boundaries and developing new ideas as they go."

Caitlyn Truhler Caitlyn Truhler ... "Children are in the very first stage of being a life-long learner. They are capable of mastering an exploration, and then immediately asking new and exciting questions. They are resilient, self-motivated, adventurous, and honest. As a teacher, I hope to encourage and support these characteristics within each child. Children are able to express their needs through their words and actions. In return, they need guidance, explanations, thoughtfulness, and most importantly, love. A school is more than just a building; it is a community. It is a place where everything and everyone are interconnected, and there is an atmosphere of growth and teamwork."

Deanna Barr Deanna Barr ... "Art has always been a passion of mine. I attribute this passion to the many family members and teachers that have helped cultivate and inspire me to create. The power creativity has to open up children's minds to new possibilities is endless. Art is so much more than learning how to draw something, it is a tool that can help children learn a multitude of skills, such as creative problem solving and processing emotions. That is why I teach, I want to encourage children to be creative and express themselves while also continuing to learn about the world along side them. It is important to be surrounded by many types of people and experiences. I hope to continue to bring these experiences to the classroom everyday. I am very proud to be apart of such a beautiful school full of so much color and joy."

Emily Larson Emily Larson ... "My image of the child is an ever growing and changing concept. Every child is an entirely unique individual with so much to offer, and I find myself learning as much, if not more, from them as they do from me. The way they talk, the way they think, and the way they see the world is so different than the way of adults. They are still innocent and curious about the world around them, anxious to soak it all up like little sponges. Being able to encourage and nurture that childlike sense of wonder each day is a gift and a blessing."

Emily Bowman Emily Bowman ... "My image of a child is not singular, but rather it is a collage of many parts. Much like how a quilt is made from hundreds of tiny cloth pieces, I feel a child is made from the many experiences that touch their life.

Children are sincere and enjoy sharing their discoveries just as much as learning from them. As an observer, I see children constantly expanding and redefining their awareness of the world. I enjoy this process of seeing their experiences interact and multiply with one another, each affecting the next. As a co-learner, I participate in the children’s journeys and investigations. The steps within their learning are just as vital as the intended information.

My image of the child is measureless because their experiences should never end. As an adult, I add to my own quilt of knowledge and every day I am inspired by this shared journey."

Emily Dunn Emily Dunn ...

Gina Heldberg Gina Heldberg ... "I have the pleasure of being a teacher as well as a parent at MacDonald Montessori. I believe as parents we must be co-learners with our children. Our children are eager to show us their view of the world and as parents we must be eager to share in their experience. We must be an active participant and share in their joyful learning. As partners we are the encyclopedia for the world and we must be willing to explore with them. I believe as parents, we are also co-teachers with their classrooms. We are partners with their teachers and must have an open and honest communication. Together with their teachers we are the most active participants in the learning."

Heather Hall Heather Hall ... "Children are our greatest assets. They are our present and our future. They are adventurous, creative, plucky, and tough. They have the ability to think and act freely without fear of judgment, which allows them to see the world with new eyes. There is an innocence in the mind of a child that has not yet been tainted by the prejudices of the world. The “tiny humans” are stronger and more resilient than any adult. As we grow, we sort of lose the fascination with the world that children have. As the writer, Christopher Moore, said, “Children see magic because they look for it.”"

Jenni Poliseno Jenni Poliseno ... "I see the child as curious, wanting to explore and discover the wonders around them and see it as they are. Exploring and learning meaningfully; leading with the heart. Engaging their senses, the physical necessity to touch the spiky seed, smell the sweet flower, hear the birds chirp, taste the crisp apple and see where the grasshopper jumped. Walt Disney once said “our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.” I see the mind of a child as inventive and always crafting new thoughts, emotions, and perceptions beneficial for their ever budding community."

Jolie Scales Jolie Scales ... My image of the child is that children were born as blank slates, ready to soak up the world and all of it’s entireties. With endless amounts of knowledge and opportunity, each child is unique and beautiful. I truly believe in Reggio Emilia’s approach of 100 languages, referring to the different ways children communicate, express, and represent their thinking not only through talking but, through music, clay, song, dance, photos, and many more. The 100 languages remind us that there are multiple ways of seeing and multiple ways of being. As children grow, it is our jobs as adults to value and believe that every child is intelligent and ambitious; encouraging them and also learning from them. Being able to watch and help children grow into becoming their own unique person is genuinely a blessing that I am thankful to be a part of.

Joni Reynolds Joni Reynolds ... "My image of a school is a school that embraces the whole child, where learning is happening all the time and is always connected to everything else. Nothing should be separated, but always seen in relation to everything else. I believe in a school whose culture embraces relationships, autonomy, family, creative thinking, cognitive thinking collaboration, individuality, and always joy. A school should be alive and reflect all who belong - children, parents, families, teachers and all staff."

Karen Potyondy Karen Potyondy ... "A school is a place of interactions, where parents, teachers and children all interact with each other along with the environment. The environment not only stimulates play it also engages discovery and research. The environment is not only aesthetically pleasing it is carefully thought out to engage the participant. The child generates hypotheses daily, it is the teacher and parents right to help guide the child to an answer. As the child embarks on the journey to understand, teachers encourage children to communicate, learn, and wonder using the aid of "symbolic languages." (ex. drawing, painting, sculpture, dance, music, writing). Parents are partners and bring many gifts and wisdom to the school. Together we work to form one community that sees all children as powerful individuals."

Leah Golden Leah Golden ... "A child is a collector. Personal experiences and relationships in their environment make up their collection. The child is capable of using many languages to gather and organize their collected work. The child naturally explores, discovers, learns and communicates ideas. A school is very important to a child. It is a place they can belong and learn. The environment is set for them to have access to the knowledge and materials they need to learn. "

Lori Scottrussell Lori Scottrussell ... "A school is defined as an institution for the instruction of children. On its basic level, I guess one could agree with that definition. My image of the school goes much deeper than that. In a school, learning happens not only for the children within its walls but also for every person who steps through its doors. A school is a community that is welcoming to all who choose to be part of it. A school is a combination of many different people with many different skills who work together towards providing a safe environment and endless opportunities for the people who pass through. A school bears the responsibility to instil a lifelong passion of learning, for learning is what keeps us develop as a society. A school is much more than an institution for the instruction of children. It is a philosophy that all, children and adults alike, have the right to experience."

Mallory Thompson Mallory Thompson ... "My image of a school is place where environment embraces the idea that ALL students can learn and be successful in the classroom. Emotional, intellectual, and physical support should be available to learners. The atmosphere works to build safe learning spaces for students. A school should have the capability of attracting teachers who are knowledgeable, care about student learning, and adapt their instruction to meet the needs of their learners. Teachers should differentiate instruction based on individual strengths, interests, and abilities of the students in their classroom. An ideal school environment works hard to make the curriculum relevant, significant, and important to the lives of students. The curriculum should be comprehensive but student driven and activities should be hands on and related to real-world work. Parent-teacher collaboration along with communication are both vital components of the foundation and are key for meeting the needs of any student. Lastly student accomplishment should be the central importance at all times."

Marissa Jax Marissa Jax ...

Megan Jeske Megan Jeske ... "A school is a safe and inviting place filled with endless opportunities. It is a space for children to be inspired and an environment for teachers and children to learn together. A school is a place for a child to reach for their own unique potential.

A school is much more than a physical building, more than teachers teaching and students learning. It is a place of enjoyment and curiosity. It is a place to develop and create relationships between one another and between our surroundings."

Megan Kittleson Megan Kittleson ... "My image of a parent is someone that provides a safe, nurturing, and positive home atmosphere for their child to help them with their biological, social, psychological and emotional growth. A parent is someone that helps teach their child family traditions, and why they are important. A parent is someone that loves to be involved in all aspects of their child’s life. A parent is someone that can be silly, but still has boundaries and routine. Most importantly, a parent is child based."

Molly Buhler Molly Buhler ... "I strongly believe children are unique individuals who deserve to be treated as so. It is important to remember children have their own specific learning styles, unique personalities, and ways of seeing the world, and it is our responsibility as teachers to cater to these things. Every child is full of potential and deserves to learn in an environment where they can feel safe, loved, and empowered. Children are also great imitators, and therefore should be around adults with admirable behaviors and attitudes. I believe students and teachers should learn and work together to help the student succeed and make the world around us a better place."

Nicole DeHaas Nicole DeHaas ... "Children are full of hope, imagination and curiosity. A child seeks out new experiences for the sake of learning and understanding the world. Their experiences are full of innocence and wonder. A child craves learning like plants crave the sunlight. As adults we need to feed that craving by providing unique and engaging opportunities for children to interact with their environment. Children who feel safe and supported will explore and engage in their surroundings in ways that will fulfill their curiosity and expand their imagination. As long as they are allowed to experience and explore, they will grow into curious, caring and creative adults."

Paige MacDonald Paige MacDonald ... "A child is creative. They have not yet been tainted by the outside world’s biases, social expectations, or prejudices. They think not with their logical, practical brain, but with their imaginative, creative one. A child is accepting. They care not about your skin color, nor your financial situation, education or religious background. They care only about your treatment of them. A child is unrestricted. They know not impracticalities. If they can think of it, it can be done in their mind. They know not of the limitations our world presents, therefore they are not there. A child does not care about what others think of them. In their mind, why would it matter what others think of you? A child learns by observation. They look to us for guidance and education. Why shouldn’t we do the same?"

Ramona Woessner Ramona Woessner ...

Robyn Spicer Robyn Spicer ... "A School is a place where many relationships and possibilities exist. Its identity should be personally reflective of those who inhabit it. Participation should be valued as children, parents and teachers collaborate and learn from each other by sharing their unique talents. As teachers, it is our responsibility to be careful observers and listen to the children’s verbal and non-verbal cues in order to discover and follow their interests. Documenting gives visibility to the children’s work and helps us understand the processes of the children’s learning. Revisiting and reviewing documentation together is both an opportunity for the professional development of the teacher and can help assist them in deciding which way to go next with the children. Children should be given ample opportunities to express themselves through rich meaningful experiences with music and movement, storytelling, dramatic play, art, block construction, etc. I feel that inviting children to experience these different “languages” will help them to develop relationships and communicate their thoughts and understanding of the world around them. "

Ruth Abend Ruth Abend ... "Working with children has always been a great passion of mine. I am fascinated by the philosophy behind Montessori schools. I share the perspective that by treating children as equals, they will have a better learning experience. Imagination is such an important key to our lives that I feel people can start to often overlook. Working through the expression of art with young minds can help them broaden their imagination and heighten their senses of finding self-fulfillment. I feel that I truly can relate with children, knowing that they are also human beings, understanding that they want to be treated as equals. Growing up can be such a fun, and at times scary experience; these are the vital moments of their lives. To learn with them and to reflect on their ideas of the world is an amazing and fascinating experience that I love to be a part of."

Ruthie Reynen Ruthie Reynen ... "Children are creative, complex, competent and imaginative people. They learn through experimenting with the world around them, discovering their surroundings even as they are discovering themselves. They are curious mystery-solvers, seeking to understand why things are as they are. As they find new experiences and as they practice what they have already learned, they delight in a growing knowledge about themselves, other people, and their world. Children are empowered by every new discovery and every challenge that is overcome, whether it’s learning how to sit up, tie shoes, or learn to read. Children are innocent, yet understand what is going on much more than what they are often given credit for. They are valuable and unique, and need to be reminded of this through encouragement, respect and understanding, challenges to grow, and unconditional love. As “grown-up children,” we have the privilege of providing this guidance and love for them even as we, in turn, learn about them and about life through their eyes."

Sam Studwell Sam Studwell ... "The image of a parent is something that looks different to everyone. There are numerous styles, techniques and guidebooks about the best way to parent. But one of the main things that I feel unites all parents is the responsibility to help your child feel secure enough in him or herself to explore the world and find their place in it. We are trying to mold little human beings into better versions of ourselves. Providing a source of unwavering support and love is also very important. There aren’t many people in our lives who truly love us unconditionally; a parent is one of those. Parents should also look to their children for guidance, both in terms of how to best relate to our children and because each child see’s the world differently. Children have just as much to teach their parents."

Samantha Sir Samantha Sir ... Each child is a little seed that we truly do not know what it will turn into! the child is already full of potential and equipped with an inner power that just needs to be watered and nurtured the right way. We do not need to control them so they grow to become what we want, but we give them what they need to discover the wonderful person they are meant to be! Each child is blossoming into a unique person with so much intelligence of many different kinds and they need to be encouraged every day. Only then can they fully bloom for all the world to see!

Shelly Dupre Shelly Dupre ... "A child has an absorbent mind- they explore their curiosities through both concrete and abstract thinking. No two children are the same- they all have different ideas, different philosophies, beliefs, truths, ethnological backgrounds and so much more that fills their minds. Children are a distinct group of the World’s people. They should be handled with respect and understanding as they’re now, and will continue to be, valued members of our society. Furthermore, a child will be an adult much longer than they will be a child so they need concrete and nurturing foundations to grow upon. Children should feel at home when they come to school; as a home is equipped with the essential needs of a child so should be the classroom. A child needs endless opportunities to explore and the rights to explore them. I believe children learn through the use of their senses needing purposeful activities that directly answer the question- what will the child absorb from the experience? Every person in a child’s life can influence their growth in some way. Children look for positive affirmations such as encouragement, understanding, love, guidance and respect while needing prepared and structured boundaies to experiment, work, explore, and learn in."

Tara Shaffer Tara Shaffer ... "As a place where children often first experience being a part of a larger community, school becomes the foundation for a child’s view of themselves in context of a larger world. We create that world in collaboration. Children already have such a desire to create, explore, learn, and do. It’s innate for them. Our role as teachers and parents is to keep providing kindling, and allow that flame to burn as bright as possible. By providing a safe, engaging, and respectful environment where every child is treated as a powerful individual, we build that first reference of community. A child’s concept of self-identity and their place within their community begins here, but is a journey that lasts a lifetime. As teachers and parents, we help begin that journey with confidence, self-respect, and a desire to learn and grow."

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