Spotlight Our Montessori Life
It is with great pleasure that we spotlight Beth Wood from Our Montessori Life. While we’ve never actually had the opportunity to meet in person, we’ve been following her work for just about as long as we remember, and feel that we know each other. Which is to say, she’s on to something special, and we thought everyone would really enjoy this exchange. If you’re not already following her on Instagram, it’s simply a must.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A: I was born in a small town in Ontario Canada in the 80’s. I suppose everything comes full circle because I now live in a small ocean side town on Vancouver Island in British Columbia Canada. I am a mother of two amazing Montessori children and am a trained 3-6 Montessori Guide. I teach in a beautiful, small and close knit Montessori school. Through Our Montessori Life I also offer consulting resources to schools and homes looking to expand their knowledge and use of the Montessori pedagogy and Peace Education.
Q: How about your background, your interests, your dreams?
A: I had an idyllic fairytale childhood. I spent my days on our family’s 100 acre heritage farm. Most of who I am today was formed running through forests, sledging in snowy back fields and jumping in hay mows. Before the world of Montessori found me I worked happily in the financial sector. I love DIY projects, good food and wide open green spaces. I never imagined myself in the classroom. Then one day I decided that if I was really going to advocate for Montessori education, I better have a degree to back it up. So I completed my Montessori Teacher 3-6 training. My dreams? Well that’s simple. I want to be the face of change in world education reform.
Q: Now that the hardest question is out of the way: What’s your favorite color?
My favourite colour is blue. Always has been.
Q: Do you have a favorite book? How about a film?
A: There are too many books in the world for me to ever pick sides, however there seems to be a fair amount of Salman Rushdie books on my shelves. Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi” would be up there. I read it before the film debuted and the ending was a surprise. I am currently reading John Hunter’s “World Peace and other 4th Grade Achievements”. It is a non-fiction must read for educators.
Favourite film is also difficult. “Stand By Me” is probably up there.
Q: When you close your eyes late at night, and imagine waking up and starting a new adventure: what is that adventure?
A: Currently it is the AMS annual conference in Chicago next March as my short term adventure goal and Reykjavik, Iceland as my long term one.
Q: What inspired you to share your Montessori story on your blog, and on Instagram?
A: Truthfully I hoped that one day it would reach someone that it made a difference to. I wanted to show a realistic side of “Montessori in the Home”. A side not often shown on Pinterest or other social media. I wanted to show a simple home environment that complemented the traditional classroom but didn’t mirror it. Above all I wanted to document us bringing Montessori from the school environment into our home.
Q: Any thoughts on how Montessori guides can best help parents?
A: Yes! Lots! But it comes down to trust and love. We as Guides are a team with the parents tasked with guiding a child through their most crucial years. We must be a never ending resource, kind ear, and gentle but firm hand to parents. As a Guide at school and as a consultant at home, I’m in my roll constantly.
Q: What advice do you have for new parents trying to incorporate Montessori at home?
A: My advice comes in two parts. The first part is, the Montessori universe is vast and overwhelming. Start by deciding if you are incorporating Montessori or if you are homeschooling. The second part is observe your child. Before you buy or make anything, watch and record your child’s day. Really carefully watch them. As you watch them your love will grow. Love and respect of the child is at the heart of Montessori. I frequently tell families Montessori at Home has nothing to do with the trays. It has to do with honouring the child. This means fostering independence, and a love and respect for the world around us.
Q: Did you have a “Montessori Moment?”
A: Not really. It came slowly, bit by bit. I understood more, so I went in search of more.
Q: What’s your favorite Montessori quote?
A: “The things he sees are not just remembered, they form a part of his soul.” I can personally attest that this is 100% true.
Q: What do you think is the best introduction to Montessori?
A: Skip the Pinterest boards and book a tour at your local Montessori school. If you are still interested, go home and seek out a reputable Montessori blog.
Q: What continues to inspire you about Montessori?
A: The fact that it is in two states. It is constantly changing and yet for over 100 years has remained exactly the same. It continues to be the benchmark for scientifically proven educational methods and yet is something completely new to each new child that builds the Pink Tower.
Q: In what ways do you envision the future of education?
A: Dr. Steven Hughes a Montessori advocate and past president of the American Academy of Paediatric Neuropsychology said “The task of education must change. What school really ought to be about is the growth and development of children.”
I hope as a global society that we have shifted our gaze to this.
Q: Where do you see Montessori in the next 100 years?
A: I’m not sure. Montessori hung Raphael’s “Madonna of the Chair” in her original Children’s House and asked that it be hung in every Children’s House after, so that if her ideas ever made it beyond her local region that people could look back one day to the place where it all started.
If she only knew.
Written by:Baan Dek