At School in the Woods Montessori, we recognize that the quality of the teaching staff has a significant influence on the quality of the program. We believe that teachers must have intellectual and emotional intelligence and that talented, dedicated educators are the key to providing a child with the necessary foundation for future educational and life success. Each member of our experienced faculty is trained by an accredited Montessori training program and is credentialed by either the American Montessori Society or the Association Montessori International. We also serve as a host school to those who are completing their Montessori internship. All teachers are committed to enhancing their professional development through conferences, workshops, classes and special events.
Melody Patton, Head of School
For me, Montessori is not only an educational philosophy, but a way of parenting, and a way of life. Twenty years ago, I didn’t have any idea what Montessori was – I’d never even heard of it. I discovered Montessori first as a parent. I went to observe at Children’s Garden Montessori School and immediately fell in love with it – I wasn’t quite sure why, it just felt right. My oldest daughter started in the toddler program shortly after that visit. I can now say that the 8 years my two daughters spent as a part of the Children’s Garden community completely changed our lives. The school’s wonderfully caring, nurturing and supportive environment provided my children an amazing start to life.
After both of my children graduated from Children’s Garden Montessori School, I decided to completely change my career and become a Montessori teacher myself. I spent a total of 10 years working at Children’s Garden as a teacher, 7 years as a Toddler teacher, and 3 years as a Primary teacher. I have Montessori teaching credentials from the American Montessori Society for both Infants and Toddlers and for Early Childhood (ages 2 ½ to 6 years). I left Children’s Garden in June of 2014 to pursue my dream of opening my own Montessori preschool.
My passion for Montessori education and its positive impact on children, coupled with my love of mentoring and coaching adults, has also led me to become involved in the Montessori teacher education program in Boulder. For 8 years, I have had the pleasure of being involved in developing the next generation of Montessori Infant and Toddler teachers. As a result of this work, I have become recognized nationally as an expert in the Montessori approach for Toddlers and sought out to present at national conferences and workshops in other states.
Montessori stresses the importance of spending time outside with children. I love spending time in nature, and I really want to share that love with all of the children I work with. This is why I chose the name “School in the Woods” for our school. While it may not be literally “in the woods”, I want to provide every possible opportunity for children to connect with the natural world – even if they live in the city of Denver.
As a parent myself, I understand how important your children are to you, and I feel truly honored to have the opportunity to work with you and your children. I hope to share some of my passion for Montessori with you over the coming years as we work together to provide the best possible experience for your children.
Anne Hinder, Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Teacher
I feel so grateful to have been introduced to Montessori through my mother, who taught, retired and returned from retirement to teach early childhood at a Montessori school near my hometown in Maryland. I graduated from the College of Charleston with an undergraduate degree in Studio Art and taught art to preschool and elementary children when I first moved to Denver six years ago. I had a lot of fun teaching art but decided to get my Montessori certification through the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies so I could be trained to work with all of the beautiful materials. I worked for three years at the Montessori School of Evergreen until I met Melody. We discovered that we had a similar vision for a program and for your children and I could not be more excited to be working at School in the Woods.
People ask me what my favorite part about working with children is all of the time. Working with children requires us to constantly grow and learn new things. We share our experiences, knowledge and interests with the children and their excitement for all of these things encourages us to keep expanding and building on what we already know and love about life. Working in a Montessori environment and with young children is challenging and fun, and the more time I spend doing it the more I realize that the challenges are the fun! I can’t imagine spending my weekdays any other way and truly believe that Montessori provides the best start to a child’s journey through life.
Outside of the classroom, I enjoy spending time outdoors and instructing yoga classes. Over the summer I teach children’s yoga and during the school year I incorporate yoga and peace education into the classroom. I like to share my interest in nutrition with the children and think the early years are a great time to expand their palettes and introduce healthy foods. Historically, cooking has been a big hit and I look forward to sharing that with your children as well. It is such an honor to have the opportunity to work with your children. I am thrilled to get to know them and all of you as we work together this school year!
Sophie Ibrahim, Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Teacher
I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I remember. I took a traditional path into teaching – I graduated from Wake Forest University in 2011 with a BA in elementary education. After graduating college, I taught kindergarten in Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia. I wanted to know more about how to best meet the needs of young learners, so I returned to school in 2013 and attended the University of Virginia. I graduated with a Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on ESOL in 2014, and then stayed on to complete an Education Specialist in Reading Education in 2015. In 2015, I moved to Denver and continued my teaching career in Denver Public Schools.
I still wanted to know more about the best methods to teach young children. I recalled a summer spent teaching at Woods Creek Montessori while I was in college and how aligned I had felt with the methods and philosophy of the classrooms. I loved the independence, responsibility, and curiosity exhibited by the young learners there. As a quintessential “lifelong learner,” I plan to return to school once again to earn a Montessori Early Childhood Credential at Montessori Education Center of the Rockies! I love instilling young children with a desire to learn and engage with the world around them. I am so excited to be a part of the staff at School in the Woods and to work with Anne to create a wonder-filled classroom for our preschoolers.
In my free time, I enjoy “resetting” in the mountains by skiing, hiking, and backpacking. I also love gardening and am filled with a sense of wonder every time a flower blooms in my garden.
Jamie Santee, Toddler Teacher and Parent/Infant Program Guide
I want to start by saying that I absolutely love working with young children! After teaching children for almost 5 years, I stumbled across Montessori quite accidentally, and never looked back. I was searching for a new teaching position and happened upon a Montessori school. After observing a toddler classroom and doing some personal research into the philosophy, I felt that it was a perfect fit for me. I appreciate the quiet respectfulness of the classroom and the way young children feel so empowered by their growing independence.
Now I’ve been teaching toddlers in Montessori classrooms for 6 years. I attended the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies and earned my infant and toddler teaching credential from the American Montessori Society.
One aspect I love about working with very young children is the amazing developmental progress I witness day-to-day. It’s so rewarding to watch children flourish in the classroom, not only cognitively, but also physically, emotionally, and personally. These early years fly by so quickly and I am honored to be a part of this marvelous time of your child’s life.
I had the fantastic opportunity to spend a year teaching toddlers in a brand new Montessori school in Moscow, Russia. This experience really opened my eyes to the fact that Montessori is not just appropriate for one culture or community. When you treat children with love and respect, encourage their independence, and create an environment in which they can blossom, it doesn’t matter what their native language is! Learning how to apply the Montessori philosophy to a variety of cultures and communities was quite challenging and incredibly gratifying. I really enjoy traveling and gaining a broader view of the beautiful world in which we live!
I am thrilled to be working at School in the Woods and am looking forward to meeting you and your children!
Mickelle Scott, Toddler Teacher and Parent/Infant Program Guide
Teaching has run in my family for several generations. My 5th grade teacher told my mother during a conference that she could see me becoming a teacher. Needless to say, I was bound to enter the profession of teaching. I first discovered Montessori right after I graduated from college and was looking for a teaching position. After a year of working as a Toddler Assistant teacher I wanted to take my training. I completed my training at Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in the Spring of 2014. I have been teaching in a Montessori Toddler classroom for six years now and love every minute of it.
I moved to Colorado from Georgia after college because I wanted to start a life out west and Colorado seemed to be the best place. I love hiking the hills and trails of Colorado. The zest of the pine trees smells so good and being out and about whether with friends or by myself gives me the rejuvenation I need. School in the Woods called to me with just its name. The woods and schooling are where I want to be. The mission of School in the Woods explains exactly what I want to accomplish in life, “living in peace with others and in harmony with nature”.
A toddler’s curiosity and enthusiasm for life is what motivated Maria Montessori to open her school and what motivates me to teach. Every day is a new and exciting experience in the classroom and I cannot wait to see what each new day will bring at the School in the Woods!