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Spotlight on New Principal of Meyer Montessori, Jennifer Whittington

Post Date:03/20/2017 1:30 PM

JenWhittington400x400Tempe Elementary School District is excited to welcome our new school Meyer Montessori which will be opening for the 2017-2018 school year to children aged three to five. To gear up for this exciting event, Tempe Elementary sat down with Meyer Montessori’s Principal Jennifer Whittington to learn about what excites her most about her new position as well as what she envisions for the school’s future!

Read our interview below:

When did you first become interested in Montessori learning? What do you believe is the best aspect of this learning style?

“I believe in developmental practices for young children and allowing children to construct their learning through exploration. I became interested in Montessori Learning when I understood the social and academic development in young children. When children work at their own developmental level, they are able to progress and build skills that are developmentally appropriate for their individual learning and social needs. Combining children in a multi-age setting encourages them to become leaders and learn from one another. Montessori does not only build early development skills but builds lifelong skills for learning.”

What excites you most about your new position?

“What most excites me about my new position is that I get to encourage, inspire, and lead a school that will build lifelong learners. My passion is early childhood development and creating learning experiences for young children that will nurture their social, academic, and emotional development. Meyer Montessori is going to make learning come alive and provide opportunities for our families, community, and children to come together and learn.”

What is your vision for Meyer Montessori? What are some plans that you have to be implemented at your school?

“My vision for Meyer Montessori is to create a learning environment that nurtures the whole child socially, emotionally, and academically – a place where students can construct their own learning experiences through exploration, inquiry, and by participating in real life learning experiences. My goal is to continue to grow our program and learning community. In the future, I would like to build an elementary program that will encourage higher level thinking skills and a project based learning approach to teaching and learning. Students will take the knowledge that they learned from their primary experiences and connect it to worldly experiences.”

Can you describe what you intend a typical day at Meyer Montessori would look like? In other words, what sort of educational environment should the students and staff expect?

“Meyer Montessori is the ‘child's house,’ a place where students can construct and create their own learning experiences in the most natural environment. Children will not only learn within the classroom but will extend their learning to the outside classroom. The outside experience will give children the opportunity to apply and explore skills that they learned within the classroom through their personal learning experiences. The curriculum consists of five areas of learning: Practical Life, Sensorial, Cultural, Mathematics, and Language. Children will have an uninterrupted three-hour learning block in the morning and a two-hour uninterrupted learning block in the afternoon which will include a Spanish integration teacher who will offer a dual language experience. Each classroom will include children who are at different stages of academic and social development. The multi-age experience will build a sense of community and trust within the classroom. The teacher serves as a guide or facilitator in learning, and lessons are taught one-on-one or in small groups. The instructional guides support children through their social and academic learning continuum and guide them to explore and learn at higher levels. Students will progress at their own rate and teachers will guide their educational journey. Meyer Montessori is a school that will nurture the whole child socially, emotionally, academically, and developmentally.”

What is your mission as the principal of Meyer Montessori?

“My mission is to encourage and support the early learners, community, and teachers as they start their educational journey within this unique learning opportunity. I am committed to providing a learning experience that will nurture the whole child both socially and academically within an environment that will encourage risk taking and exploration in learning.”

Do you encourage parents to reach out to you directly if they have any questions about Meyer Montessori?

“Parents are an integral part of building a learning community. I encourage parents to reach out directly and become actively involved within our community. Parents are encouraged to participate in family education nights, educational outings, sharing their expertise, and volunteering within the school.”

Do you have any good resources that parents can read up on to get a better idea of the practices that will be implemented at Meyer?

“There are many great resources out there! My suggestions are listed below.”

•    http://montessoriguide.org/

•    Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius by Angeline Stoll

•    The Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori

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