We had the great pleasure to chat with Lindsay Dewald, from the wonderful blog, Little One Love. We've long been fans of her passions and relished the opportunity to hear her perspective on life, Montessori and more! Oh, and by the way, her photos are so captivating and enchanting that sometimes it's difficult to look away. We've provided a smattering here, but we highly recommend that you visit her site to get the full effect. Enjoy!
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your background, your interests, your dreams?
A: Certainly! I'm a Montessori 3-6 teacher, founded The City Flea with my husband and am a lifestyle blogger at Little One Love. I live in Cincinnati Ohio with my husband and Chocolate Lab and we're expecting our first baby in February! I graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2006 with a degree in Marketing and upon graduation moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment public relations. After about a year in that industry I realized my passions lied with children. I had worked for an after school program all through college and knew working with kids was what I was meant to do. I made a career change and began teaching at an enrichment center for little ones in West LA. My husband and I then decided we wanted to try our hand in New York City and made the move across country to NY. I landed a job as an assistant at a Montessori school in Manhattan and the rest is kind of history. I fell head over heals in love with the philosophy, got my diploma and now teach in my own Montessori classroom at a progressive / non traditional school. I could not be happier with the way things fell into place.
I love design, art, coffee, travel, blogging, and being outdoors. I'm looking forward to this next chapter of life as a mother and dream of a simple, happy, fulfilling life.
Q: Now that the hardest question is out of the way: What's your favorite color?
A: This IS the hardest question! I think my favorite color changes season to season. Right now it's mustard yellow.
Q: Do you have a favorite book? How about a film?
A: I'm sure I do but my goodness it's hard to pick just one! As far as film goes, I'm kind of a sucker for anything Wes Anderson!
Q: When you close your eyes late at night, and imagine waking up and starting a new adventure: what is that adventure?
A: Homeschooling my children while we travel around the world as a family.
Q: Can you tell us about your hobbies?
A: My husband and I love to hike and travel, try new restaurants, practice yoga. I also love to write, blog, and take photos.
Q: Switching to Montessori, what advice do you have for new Montessori schools?
A: Stick to the teachings of Montessori. If there is one pet peeve of mine when it comes to newer Montessori schools it's seeing classrooms that lack proper Montessori materials and teachers who aren't familiar or dedicated to the philosophy.
Q: With that in mind, we suppose the same question can be applied to established Montessori schools.
A: My answer would be the same for this one too. It's cheaper (material wise) and sometimes easier (guidance wise) to fall out of the teachings of Montessori but sticking to the methodology, trusting the children, and being committed to Montessori education as a whole certainly pays off. If your teachers aren't Montessori trained, send them to training programs. Ill equipped teachers are such a dis service to the students. Schools need to remember that the system is about the kids. Nothing else.
Q: How have things changed since you first got started in the field of education?
A: Honestly, they haven't much. I'm still on the younger end of the spectrum so for me I haven't seen a ton of change first hand. I've always worked in a private setting but in the public system I've seen lots of friends loose jobs because of budget cuts. It is heartbreaking. Students are loosing out on a wonderful education because of the way the systems are set up. Large class sizes, arts programs being cut, primary focus on passing state tests - it's such a shame and again, it's just heartbreaking for the kids.
Q: Did you have a "Montessori Moment?"
A: Yes! When I was working as an assistant I can remember watching our classroom environment function like a little community. There were 4 year olds cleaning dishes, 3 year olds weaving, and 5 year olds reading. Just observing such independence, purpose, and confidence in these young children made me fall in love with the philosophy. I get teary eyed thinking about watching my students work with such conviction and confidence. I can remember parents telling me how much their children loved school and would cry during holidays when school was closed. Why can all education not be like this?!
Q: What's your favorite Montessori quote?
A: "The child is both a promise and a hope for mankind."
Q: What do you think is the best introduction to Montessori?
A: Observing how a Montessori classroom functions. There are many great books and resources on the subject but seeing it first hand is the best way to understand the dynamic environment.
Q: What continues to inspire you about Montessori?
A: Seeing growth in my students. Often I'll feel discouraged about progress I'm making with a student then bang, they get it and it's all because of the philosophy. I need to remember to trust myself and the teachings of Montessori. It's amazing what happens when you allow yourself to trust the process.
Q: How do you feel Little one Love can impact the community at large?
A: Wow. I've never thought about this. The focus of Little One Love is not Montessori but I do try to incorporate it in from time to time. I want people to know how beautiful and amazing this type of education is. If anything, my hope is that I'm able to expose more people to the philosophy. I also hope that over the next few years, with a small child at home I will be able to create an at home Montessori environment that readers find inspiring. I think a lot of the way I live in my life is reflective of the Montessori philosophy which has sort of just happened organically over the last few years. I cherish simplicity, beauty and community. I think those are all things that are a part of the Montessori methodology and making that connection has been amazing for me personally. If people can see that connection then, my goodness- that's the impact I'd like to leave.
Q: What kind of legacy to you hope to impart.
A: I want to be a genuinely good person. I want to serve, educate, adopt babies, and spread love. I try everyday to just be a good person and my hope is that I can teach these same things to my children. If i'm able to raise good, compassionate, thoughtful kids, I'll feel like I've left the greatest lecacy there is.
Q: In what ways do you envision the future of education?
A: I'm not super positive that really great, beneficial changes will be made. What I hope though is that education becomes more student-led and personal. Really, I wish educators would look at the Montessori philosophy as a basis for the standard of good education. I know I'm dreaming here but when you think of what would make the education system better, most things that would be stated would all be things that fall under the Montessori philosophy. I recently heard this talk from Sir Ken Robinson on education reform and my mind was blown. Definitely worth watching. Anyone who understands the Montessori philosophy will see direct correlations to what he's saying needs to be "fixed" and what Montessori already teaches. Good stuff!