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From our Teachers: Why is Wheaton Montessori Different?
Categories: Spotlight on Our Teachers / The Montessori Difference / Visiting Wheaton Montessori
WMS Teachers Share what makes Wheaton Montessori Different:
WMSTeachers-Rogers
Jennifer Rogers, Primary Teacher: 
The teachers at Wheaton Montessori School are extraordinarily well-educated and experienced. This is, of course, a huge asset in a learning community. The quality that distinguishes the teachers at Wheaton Montessori, though, is their focus on children. Every teacher gives his or her full attention to the lives of the children in their community. Kids at Wheaton Montessori come from many different backgrounds, a vast array of experiences with their families.  They all benefit from being known, understood, challenged, and affirmed daily by their teachers.
Additionally, the school has always been a school firmly-grounded in an educational philosophy. Teachers are able to give their full attention to children because the school has never wavered in its commitment to the Montessori principles upon which it was founded.

 

WMSTeachers-Chiste_2Amy Chiste, Primary: 

We have virtually no turnover in our staff. We have added people, but people don’t really leave. The core of teachers has been the same for 10 years. We know your kids, and you know us. There’s great value in that kind of community.

 

 

 

 

 

WMSTeachers-FortunTracy Fortun, Lower Elementary: 

Commitment to authentic Montessori principles is the primary thing. It’s why the kids are learning so much. They are happy; the parents are happy; the teachers are happy. If you don’t apply the Montessori Method with integrity, it doesn’t work. You can’t have Montessori in the morning and traditional kindergarten in the afternoon; the kids can’t come two or three days a week; you can’t split off the five- and six-year- olds from your primary class. When these things happen, the children get a watered down experience; the school will have more turnover, and that leads to staff turnover, etc.

Having an AMI Montessori-trained administrator is crucial to helping teachers do our jobs. At many schools the administrator is a business person with no Montessori training, and the teachers have to convince the administration what they need or defend what they are doing in the classroom to the administrator as well as to the parents. Many teachers get out of training only to get a job where they are told they can’t do practical life (the children might hurt themselves or choke) or they can’t have an elementary going out program or they have to do homework/workbooks to keep parents happy. I know a lot of my fellow trainees have moved on to other careers because they didn’t find a place where they could really practice what we were trained to do.

The other thing that sets Wheaton Montessori School apart is the longevity of our teachers. It’s related to the job satisfaction that comes from being supported by the administrator to stay true to our training. It’s also because the school has made paying teachers well a top priority and because it is possible to bring our babies/children to work with us so that we didn’t have to quit working as our families grew.

WMSTeachers-Sercy_2Emily Searcy, Upper Elementary: 

Children and families are very well-known here. It’s like we’re growing up together. We all have that friend from childhood that will always have a special place in our heart because we experienced important milestones in life with them. That’s how I feel about Wheaton Montessori.

 

 

 

 

 

WMSTeachers-BilezikainJohn-Marc Bilezikian, Adolescent Program (Jr. High): 

The main thing – it’s the culture that Elizabeth Berdick and Rebecca Lingo have set up here. A Montessori school can be Montessori in theory, but the school culture, the level of respect, and the support of the teachers here is what makes Wheaton Montessori exceptional.

When I interact with teachers at other Montessori schools, their administrators don’t always seem to do the right things for the STUDENTS, [but instead what may be best for the business model of the school.] When I present an idea that’s new, but in line with our Montessori model and training, Rebecca is all for it. She wants to find a way to make it work.

Additionally, there’s a collegiality here that’s very rare and makes this school very special.

 

Bertha

Bertha Taylor, previous Primary teacher and alumni parent:

The teaching staff takes pride in knowing each child individually, communicating clearly with families, personalizing and beautifying each of our environments, and fostering a general environment of love, honesty and respect for each other. Thus, children develop a sense of responsibility to other members of the class, school, and community as well as a positive attitude toward school. Parents develop a sense of security and confidence in the environment, the educational philosophy and what the school offers their children and families as a whole. I know that children who have entered (and successfully completed) our school program have developed a foundation that will enable them to acquire more specialized knowledge and skills throughout their school and adult life and career.

 

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