I was introduced to the Montessori community when I was thirteen years old as a volunteer at Kendall Montessori School in Miami, Florida during their summer session. I am not one of the fortunate ones who got to experience a Montessori education from a young age; however, once I had been exposed to this way of learning I could not stay away. From a very young age I loved children and knew that I wanted to study psychology, so every summer I returned to the Montessori school to volunteer and learn until I entered college. Psychology continued to be a passion so I pursued it along with a minor in education at Florida International University. During my third year in college, one of the guides from Kendall Montessori called me to let me know that her assistant was moving and offered me a position as her new assistant. I accepted, as it was a steady job that would allow me to continue my studies since I had recently married. The call was the beginning of what has been a beautiful journey in life as a Montessorian.
I had been working as an aide for a couple of years when I graduated with a Psychology degree in 1996. Little did I know but my life was about to be changed forever as I learned that I was pregnant! Being pregnant with my first child made me question my career choice since psychologists mostly work during the afternoon hours, I believed that would rob time from being with my child. Instead of continuing with a Masters in psychology I decided to take the Montessori training which was being offered in Miami at the Southern Montessori Institute. I took the year-long course, which was intense and very rewarding. As I studied about the absorbent mind it all made sense and every day I fell more in love with the Montessori method. Although I was an assistant and knew the material and cared for it, the philosophy makes everything come together and fills you with an understanding that just gets absorbed and brings everything together. I received my AMI diploma in 1998 after having my first child Camila. Again, life had a plan for me and I was offered the position as guide in a primary classroom at Kendall Montessori. I did not know at the time that my time as a guide there would be cut short due to my husband’s job relocating us to Houston, Texas at the end of 1999.
My husband came ahead of me; I stayed behind with my daughter to finish the year at the school. I must admit it was very difficult, this was our first time to be away from family, with a two year old and I had just learned that I was pregnant with my second child. Needless to say, I could not apply to any job being pregnant but I had to find a Montessori school for my two year old. After visiting many different schools that claimed to be Montessori I was losing hope. Everywhere I visited looked more than a daycare than a true casa. With a glimmer of hope I opened the yellow pages (we still used those in the year 2000) and found a school by the name of Northwood Montessori, AMI. I was ecstatic when I saw that it was close to where we lived at the time so I went to tour the school. Needless to say, I fell in love with everything at Northwood. I could recognize so many things and it just felt like home, as if magically I was back in Miami with what was familiar to me. I wanted Camila to attend Northwood more than anything; however, there was a waiting list. Northwood at that time had only two primary environments and they were full, I was crushed but still made sure that my daughter made it to that waiting list and waited.
I knew how important it was for my child to begin her primary cycle so I continued to search until I found another AMI school in the area. I visited the school and was greeted by Mrs. Goss who I loved but the school did not have a large enough playground so I continued to be hopeful that a spot would open at Northwood. The stars aligned and sometime in January I received a call from Northwood Montessori that they were opening a third classroom and my daughter would have a spot, the guide’s name was Mrs. Goss. Destiny! I thought, this was meant to be! My daughter Camila was one of the first students in that third primary classroom and had the most amazing guide. Northwood became my family; I could not have found a better place for my daughter to grow.
My younger daughter, Carolina joined the Northwood family in 2002. I was asked to join the staff during Carolina’s last years and substituted when needed. In 2006 I became a primary guide at Northwood and in 2009 I was given the opportunity to share administrative responsibilities alongside Carita Goss. I feel privileged every day for the opportunity to continue to do what I love and be part of something that I truly believe can make a difference in our world.
My favorite quote by Maria Montessori:
The child, making use of all
that he finds around him,
shapes himself for the future.