Spotlight Bergamo Montessori Schools
This interview is with Matt Hillis of Bergamo Montessori Schools. A Montessori student, his work comes full-circle in his role as Executive Director!
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your background, your interests, your dreams?
I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t in a Montessori classroom. My parents started the first Montessori school in our area before I was born. I attended from Primary all the way through Elementary.
After college, I took Montessori training and worked as a classroom assistant for two years. I learned two valuable lessons:
- I wasn’t cut out to be a Montessori guide
- I gained a deep respect for the work that guides do to create an authentic Montessori environment.
Over the next few years, I started working in leadership at the school. My interests in writing, media and technology helped me to grow the school with a focus on digital marketing.
I started MariaMontessori.com in 2009 as resource for Montessori schools.
Today, I am the Vice President of the Montessori Administrators Association (MAA).
In early 2018, I started a new venture – NidoMarketing.com – to help Montessori schools grow their schools with digital marketing.
Q: Now that the hardest question is out of the way: What’s your favorite color?
Q: Do you have a favorite book? How about a film?
Slaughterhouse-five is my favorite book. Vonnegut is a personal hero.
Magnolia (or really anything by Paul Thomas Anderson) is my favorite film.
Q: When you close your eyes late at night, and imagine waking up and starting a new adventure: what is that adventure?
I don’t have a clear picture of this fantasy, but it definitely would have something to do with travel.
Q: What first appealed to you about Montessori?
As a child, Montessori was comfortable, safe and loving. As an adult, I gained an appreciation for the practicality of Montessori as an education for life.
Q: What advice do you have for new Montessori adults?
Trust the process. It works when we don’t monkey around with what Dr. Montessori instructed us to do.
Q: What’s your favorite Montessori quote?
Although not a quote from Dr. Montessori, I appreciate the axiom “It’s difficult to be a Montessori parent because your child will learn how to think and speak for herself”.
Q: What advice do you have for new parents trying to incorporate Montessori at home?
Don’t worry about making it perfect. You will not be able to recreate a Montessori environment in your home. Try to pick the low hanging fruit to reinforce Montessori principles. Encourage independence as often as possible. Model the behavior you want to see develop in your child, whether that be reading in your free time or grace and courtesy with your friends and family.
Q: What do you think is the best introduction to Montessori?
Try to attend a Silent Journey and Discovery. It is, hands down, the most transformative Montessori educational event for an adult.
Q: What continues to inspire you about Montessori?
How mainstream culture is beginning to recognize Dr. Montessori’s genius.
Q: In what ways do you envision the future of education?
It’s impossible to know. So much about our society is rapidly changing. Whatever it is will need to be drastically different from what is the norm today.
Q: Where do you see Montessori in the next 100 years?
Although our culture will change, the development of the child will not. Montessori will still be an excellent choice for parents who want to raise a well adjusted and competent human being.
Written by:Charlotte Wood