We are so pleased to welcome Gaby Lopez to our training team here at SIMS. Gaby will be leading the very first Elementary Training course ever to be offered in Arizona! In this blog entry, Gaby introduces herself to you.
There are events in life that have the power to change your life forever.
I began to learn about Montessori when my 3-year-old daughter Ximena entered Casa de los Niños Nan in Mexico City. As the parents, my husband and I were asked to commit to attend at least eight of the ten monthly meetings held throughout the school year. At first, the request seemed excessive and inconvenient, but to my surprise, the “strict” requirement for admission turned out to be a blessing. Those meetings were not only fun and informative, but also very helpful and even transformative. Despite university studies and master’s degrees, my husband and I had no foundational knowledge on how to be parents (who does?). However, those meetings opened the door towards an educated and happy parenting practice, and even more, they inspired me to follow a new path: Montessori education.
Learning doesn’t have to stop after graduation, right?
As my interest in child development grew, I decided to enroll in my first Montessori course at the primary level. I certainly gained knowledge on the Montessori Principles and Practice. Moreover, what I found highly valuable was the subtle connection I began to feel with the essence of Montessori, a connection to the “spirit” of the child who is born with inner wisdom and incredible potential. I wanted to apply my knowledge, skills, and abilities to serve the child, to help children develop in the most joyous, optimal and best way possible. I began my Montessori work with 3 to 6 year-olds.
Did you know that early childhood and adolescence have a lot in common?
A few years later, I had the opportunity to work with adolescents, ages 12-15, at the Hershey Montessori Farm School in Ohio where my daughter had enrolled. Can you imagine going from Mexico City, with a population of 20 million people, to living on a farm in small Huntsburg, Ohio? Instead of being surrounded by cement buildings, I could see maple trees and hear woodpeckers. Living and working in the farm-school community with 50 adolescents for two years was an amazing experience. The Orientation to Adolescent Studies, helped me understand why Montessori proposed working on the land and living in a community as the best kind of environment for this age group.
And what about elementary? Stories, rather than lessons; genuine interest instead of testing!
For the next stage of my journey I took the AMI Elementary Training and began to work with children ages 6 to 12. Once again, Montessori helped me to see past preconceived ideas. I was able to corroborate what Maria and Mario had discovered: that the elementary aged child is thirsty for knowledge and eager to think by him/herself. There is no need to impose specific knowledge and demand certain skills from the children; rather, they find inspiration to seek out their own knowledge in the true stories we tell. Following the plan of Cosmic Education, they learn how the universe and society function. In turn, great creativity as well as respect, appreciation and even gratitude for nature and for all forms of life, including humanity, develops at this very important period of life, which will last a lifetime.
Montessori is not trademarked. Fortunately, if you are reading this, you are in the right place at the right time!
I was very fortunate to “land” on AMI grounds from my very first contact with Montessori education. The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) is the one and only organization established by Maria Montessori and her son Mario in order to maintain the integrity of the Montessori approach. AMI has International recognition and authority. Certified AMI trainers go through a long and demanding process of preparation. In 2013, I was accepted and started the Training of Trainers program with one vision in mind: to bring the holistic Montessori approach to education to the maximum number of children around the world by preparing the highest quality Montessori guides at the elementary level. I’m ready and very excited to lead the very first AMI Elementary Course in Phoenix, AZ in collaboration with SIMS in the fall of 2018. It will be an exciting and fulfilling journey. Children can’t wait any longer. They need us. Let’s do it for them!