Teacher Testimonial – Laura Filson

I am a fortunate soul – being of a certain age, my teachers worked closely with Dr. Montessori.  My first trainer was a woman in her 80’s – Dr. Elizabeth Caspari – who was a student of Dr. Montessori while she was in India during World War II.  I spent a summer learning all I could from Dr. Caspari and her assistants and then spent a year working in a Montessori preschool as an intern, receiving no pay.  I was in my twenties and willing to be broke so that I could fulfill my dream of working as a Montessori teacher.

My luck would continue as I found my way to Charles Ellis Montessori Academy in 1988.  Here, I was fortunate to work, again, with someone close to the Montessori family – Sanford Jones.  Mr. Jones had worked and collaborated with Mario Montessori, Dr. Montessori’s son.  Sanford was just the kind of teacher that I wanted to be – calm, patient, always exhibiting an inner peace.  And, this time around I was working and getting paid!

Both of these mentors had eyes that sparkled when they spoke of the love of Dr. Montessori’s ideas – the inner child, the work of the hands, the betterment of humanity through the learning of children.  They are grandiose ideas that keep me grounded in the world of education today – which has more to do with standards, timetables, and the ability to get into the next school.

Training for the teacher encompasses all the points of Dr. Montessori’s philosophy. Trainees work with materials; learning how to best use them, when to best use them, and when to move on.  The curriculum (both Dr. Montessori’s and the state’s CC) are introduced to the teachers. Trainees learn about the child’s physical, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive development – and how they each relate to learning.

The best of my training had to do with my own self-development of what it meant to be a teacher.  I was introduced to the notion of responsibility – that while I could teach all day, it was up to me to inspire the children to LEARN.  I had to accept that I was only one piece of the puzzle – that along with families and our classroom environment, and faith in our children and philosophy – our children would learn.  I was merely the keeper of what was appropriate to place in the child’s path.  It is my firm belief that all teachers need this philosophical foundation – but especially our teachers at Ellis.

Training will strengthen our teachers, our program, and our children.  It is up to those of us who care for a strong Montessori program to provide it to our community.

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