This summer we welcomed a new member to our Mountain Shadows staff community – Joni Perry. We are both fortunate and excited to have her on our team.
Joni Perry joins us from the Bay Area as our new lower elementary teacher. While she is new to MSMS, she is certainly not new to Montessori. With over 20 years experience, a love of the arts, and a passion for helping elementary children become their highest and best selves, Joni is a wonderful fit for our growing Mountain Shadows community. Her is her introductory letter and brief bio in her own words:
I am an educator, a guide, a teacher, an art lover, but mostly, I am a learner. From my earliest memory of setting up a classroom in my basement and coercing my brothers into my imaginary school, I have been attracted to teaching. I have spent the majority of my adult life exploring how children learn and how to inspire them to reach their fullest potential.
A second passion for me has been my deep love of the arts. Art was my way into the world of education. My first degree is a Bachelor of Fine Arts and I quickly merged my two interests by getting a K-12 art credential. I experienced the power of giving children the tools to be creative. I could see how art was a natural vehicle for discovering the world. I went back and achieved a multi-subject credential so that I could broaden my teaching.
I taught in public school for several years with a strong desire to somehow find a better way to allow children to thrive and learn. In my search for a more progressive child-centered education, I came across the Montessori philosophy. I was intrigued by the emphasis on social justice, inclusion and diversity, community service, and global stewardship.
My first observation of a Montessori classroom was that the children were asked to show caring and compassion for others and were learning to work in a cooperative environment. The Montessori philosophy is committed to educating the whole child. Paying careful attention to the developmental needs of the students to ensure the best preparation for a lifetime of learning is a backbone principle of the Montessori philosophy. The Montessori approach was such a different focus from the traditional classroom, and I knew I had found my path as a teacher.
After earning an AMI Montessori diploma, I went on to receive a Master of Arts in Education. Working in a Montessori classroom, and continually looking at all the new brain research, I was empowered to see how it complemented and supported my practice in the classroom. I frequently discovered that Maria Montessori’s early observations about children and her brilliant teaching method really do work for children.
So why do I teach? I have always had the purest fun in my classroom, finding joy in the journey. It is humbling to watch children genuinely show you what is possible with determination and the right support. I am looking forward to working with the students and community of Mountain Shadows to support that determination and offer that right support.