Spotlight Emma Taylor from Montessori Country School
Emma Taylor is an elementary guide at Montessori Country School.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your background, your interests, your dreams?
I am an Upper Elementary teacher at Montessori Country School on Bainbridge Island. I began my Montessori journey when I was 3 years old. My parents enrolled me in a preschool that was close to my mother’s workplace in Salem, Oregon. By the end of my preschool experience, my parents were in awe of my progress and development and decided to continue with Montessori.
As my transition to Elementary approached, we were unsure of our plan because I was on a waitlist list at Two Rivers Montessori School in Portland, Oregon. Luckily, I was accepted days before school started and only because a Lower Elementary teacher decided she could handle one more child, bringing her class to 41 students!
I stayed at Two Rivers Montessori school through my 5th grade year and loved every moment of it. I developed lifelong skills, an innate understanding of concepts through my work with the Montessori materials, had many going out experiences, and developed a true love for learning. These experiences stuck with me and motivated me to become who I am today.
I transitioned to Middle School and High School with ease, went to the University of Oregon to study sociology and special education. After college, I moved back home to Portland where I attended Montessori Northwest and received my AMI Elementary Diploma. I finished the program at the age of 22 and then moved to Seattle, WA where I found my first job in an Upper Elementary Classroom on Bainbridge Island at Montessori Country School. This is my 6th year in the classroom.
I am passionate about body, mind, and soul wellness, making sure to care for myself so that I am available to provide my very best self to those around. I also love being outside and often take long walks/hikes around the greater Seattle area. I enjoy taking time to be present in the moment and take time for self-reflection. I also enjoy curling up on my couch with a big cup of coffee and a good book.
Q: Now that the hardest question is out of the way: what’s your favorite color?
My favorite color is white. It sounds boring and simple and some may argue it isn’t an actual color, but the simplicity and elegance of the color white reminds me a tranquility and calmness. Many components in my home are white to keep things peaceful and serene.
Q: Do you have a favorite book? How about film?
One of my favorite books is by Jon Gordon, called The Energy Bus. This book spoke to me because it is about the ways to approach one’s personal and professional life with positivity, kindness, and thoughtfulness to help overcome challenges and, in turn, bring out the best in oneself.
Q: When you close your eyes late at night, and imagine waking up and starting a new adventure: what is that adventure?
I dream of the summers so I can have my “summer break recharge.” I am fortunate enough to have married someone who also is in education and we get to share our summer breaks recharging together. Next summer we plan to travel to Europe and visit Athens, island hopping to Santorini and Ios, Rome, the Amalfi Coast, and Cinque Terre.
Q: What first appealed to you about Montessori?
I have always appreciated how the Montessori method provides an environment for children to think for themselves. Children develop the ability to make decisions on their own, find solutions to problems, and truly develop their independence.
Q: What advice do you have for new Montessori adults?
I would advise finding a mentor within your community. Begin a book club with new and current families in your community. Take professional development days to learn, listen, and be inspired by other Montessori experts. Be open to new ideas and understand that learning is a process and there are many people here to support you through this amazing journey.
Q: Did you have a “Montessori Moment?”
For as long as I can remember I knew I was going to be a Montessori teacher. I believe I had my first Montessori moment when I was in 3rd grade. I watched how my teacher communicated to me and other children as equals by asking questions and listening to us rather than telling and doing for us. I felt inspired by her connections with all the student in our class. How could she make such strong connections with 41 children? I wanted to be in her shoes, I wanted to make a difference for others, and it was during this year that I realized I wanted to be a Montessori teacher myself. I’ve realized it’s important to surround yourself with those who inspire you the most. I am forever grateful for my continued relationship with my teacher, now mentor, and my own Montessori experience.
Q: What’s your favorite Montessori quote?
“Within the child lies the fate of the future”
It is our job as teachers to provide children with experiences in and out of the classroom, listen to their different points of views, ignite peace and kindness into their daily routines, and set them up to be independent thinkers with strong confident voices.
Q: What inspired you to share your Montessori story?
I think sharing my unique story of growing up as a Montessori child and my choice to carry on as a Montessori Teacher may inspire others, especially my own students. I feel as though I can relate to my students because I have walked in the same “Montessori shoes” and our elementary experiences are very similar.
Q: What do you think is the best introduction to Montessori?
I believe one of the most powerful introductions to Montessori is with a visit and observation in a classroom. This is a great way for people to see the love, respect, independence, and peace that develops in children that experience an authentic Montessori education. I encourage parents to observe at all levels of a Montessori program.
Q: What continues to inspire you about Montessori?
My biggest inspiration is the children. Seeing the child’s progress and growth is something that motivates me daily. When I have self-doubt or a challenging day, Montessori’s work is always reinforced in my classroom, providing a kindness and positivity that can outshine any negativity. Observing the resilience and confident in our children as they move on to other schools solidifies the importance of the three-year cycle and the need to follow the child. I truly value my continued relationships with children who have moved on from our school, but still want to come back and visit, send an email to catch up, or grab a coffee.
Q: In what ways do you envision the future of education?
My hope is that developmental needs of the child can be meet within the educational system. More awareness and education for parents regarding the developmental milestones of children would help bridge the gap and strengthen the child/parent/teacher team. I also hope that careers in education becomes more valued as a profession in our country.
Q: Where do you see Montessori in the next 100 years?
I would love to see Montessori schools become more accessible to everyone everywhere so that we can all have the option of sending our children to these amazing schools!
Written by:Charlotte Snyder