Please share a little background about yourself:
My name is Stephanie and I am a Head Teacher in the Primary Classroom. I was born in New York City and grew up in Jersey City. I am a fluent Spanish speaker and enjoy learning the basics of a few languages to use when I travel. I got married this year in July. Due to the pandemic, we planned a small backyard wedding in two weeks! I currently live with my husband and pets (dog and bearded dragon) in Jersey City.
How did you discover Montessori?
After I received my Associates degree in Early Childhood Education, I applied to 29 early childhood education programs to work as a classroom assistant! I really wanted to gain experience working with children. A director at a Montessori school invited me to observe a classroom before interviewing for the assistant position. I was instructed to sit and observe, nothing more. After just a few minutes, I was in awe! I knew that was where I wanted to be. I was hired as an assistant teacher in 2015 and began my training the following year. My training program at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New York is phenomenal. The instructors really inspired me to live the Montessori philosophy, be creative and continue learning through workshops and reading.
What inspired you to become an educator? My sister is 12 years younger than me so I spent a lot of time babysitting during my teenage years. I had fun teaching my sister. I babysat other children part-time while I was in college so my academic advisor encouraged me to major in Early Childhood Education. I was inspired by my professors and realized I enjoyed learning about child development, creating lessons, and planning activities for young children. After two years of experience working with children, I realized my education was limited to typically developing children. My goal is to be able to teach all children and I am currently pursuing my masters degree in Early Childhood Education with Special Needs.
What is your favorite area in the Montessori classroom? My favorite area in the Montessori classroom is the Language area. The didactic materials developed by Maria Montessori are beautiful and effective in teaching language. I am passionate about reading and love instilling a love of books in children. One of my favorite childhood memories is going to the library so I keep the classroom library on an exciting rotation of books. I also love watching the eyes light up on a child that is reading for the first time. I believe reading is the foundation for learning and I immerse the classroom in language activities.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading books for my book club, listening to music, and watching television. I love exploring new places with my husband and we would often go to new cities, museums, concerts and shows before the pandemic. We also love going out to eat at new restaurants. During the pandemic we went to different parks with our dog, Bam Bam. We had our honeymoon in Maine and Rhode Island in July. I also love traveling to different countries. I have spent the holidays in many different countries like Mexico, Nicaragua, Italy, France and England. I am looking forward to the pandemic to be over so that I can travel the world again.