My name is Janey Lake, and I am a Montessorian. It feels to me that it has always been so. I’ve taught in one-room schools; open-space, open-curriculum schools; traditional schools; and private schools. The best fit by far is Montessori. I’m sticking to it!
I always knew I’d work with children. Even at Santa Fe High and the University of Colorado, it was clear to me. When I moved to Austin in 1974, I decided to finish my undergraduate work at the University of Texas. Thereafter, I was able to work at Cedars Montessori while my daughter was a student there. It was at this time that my personal philosophy became sufficiently clear to me, and I knew I would have to have my Montessori training. It took many years to accomplish that goal. As a trained Montessorian, I have found that I always followed the child. The indirect method in conjunction with the prepared environment calls to them. The outcome is a love of learning that, I hope, will persist to life’s end. It has been a continuing interest of mine to watch as Maria Montessori’s theories on the planes of a child’s development and the sensitive periods they exhibit have been proven by the scientific community. Any teacher or skilled observer who has been completely ignored by a class of children who value uninterrupted concentration can tell you the system works. But it was the mathematics and the emphasis on grace and courtesy that sealed the deal for me. I’ve never looked back. As we move from our agricultural/industrial mindset to a technological one, the ability to work independently to a successful conclusion becomes increasingly valuable. As a result, I plan to follow a year-round cultural calendar that will prepare our children to be citizens of the world.
When I retired in 2013, after my grandson Zoe continued the family tradition by graduating from Cedars, I thought I’d hang up my teaching shoes. But when August rolled around and it was time to start school again, I couldn’t stand it! I dusted off, updated, and computerized my resume. I’m so glad I stopped here, at Athena. At first it was a few days a week, then increasingly more and more days of substituting. Now to find myself back in the classroom with a group of interesting, excited, creative teachers and a support staff of the first magnitude is a delight. I look forward to working with you and your children for some time.