My journey in Montessori education all started with a philosophy course that Dr. Rick Momeyer taught at Miami University. The course was titled "Philosophies of Education" or something of that sort. I loved taking philosophy courses, writing arguments that would need to convince another person (my professor) that what I was thinking made sense and was supported logically. Being a psychology major and keenly interested in the area of child development, I thought this study of various educational philosophies would enhance my understanding of children. Little did I know, the readings in this course would put me on the course of my life's work.
I can still remember sitting on my bed in my new apartment as an upper classman and reading about Montessori's idea that children at the age of three had a keen sense of order. Now, I had had a junk drawer at that tender age and all my stuff was thrown into that large drawer in the old wooden buffet in our dining room. Order? What order? I could only think about my childhood experience and negated this idea of my not so dear friend, Maria. I thought she was the crazy one to write such a statement. And if this idea was so off base, then the other tenets she held were not too credulous to this nineteen year old college student.
Well, I decided to visit one of these mysterious Montessori schools in Cincinnati that was about a 45 minute drive from my college campus in Oxford, Ohio. The New School, a Montessori school located in an old mansion in the center of the city, was a sight to behold. All the large rooms downstairs were starkly clad with little chairs and tables; shelving with miniature stuff every place; and glass, lots of glass, in an area that I later would find out was called the practical life area. The high ceilings seemed to make the furnishings seem even more dwarf as I reflect on the visions in my mind.
I was probably one of the toughest, most questioning observers the director ever had visiting her school. I went every other Friday on my day off from my job with the parks and recreation. I was storing up information in my brain that would lead me to my work ahead--starting schools--many times.