My Story

I am a former Montessori child (from age 2-8 in Mexico City and San Diego, CA) who owes her privileged education to a mother who cared enough to question her own upbringing and research a more enlightened alternative, and a father who vowed, from the moment he saw his baby girl, to work as hard as he had to in a field he detested in order to be the best provider in the world.

When I grew up, I became a Human Resources trainer and recruiter for Hyatt hotels in Florida, and then enjoyed a four-year career as a successful self-employed wedding planner.  I became sick of brides and their petty dramas (wouldn’t you?), and began to wonder about my purpose in this world. I sat down to meditate one day, and when I opened my eyes, my life was forever changed.

As I sat in my apartment, concentrating on my breath and contemplating my role in this world, my Soul told me that I was on this planet to give children the same amazing educational and formative opportunities that I enjoyed as a child.  I heard a very clear voice say “Work with children“.  My first thought when I opened my eyes was: “Children??  I don’t even like children!”

However, the crazy thought stayed in my head. A few days later, sitting in the hot tub with my then-boyfriend (now husband), I blurted out: “I want to work with children.”  His response shocked me.  “Go for it,” he said.  “I will help you to pay for the training, just find the best school available.”

I didn’t even know where to start.  I had fond – if faint – memories of my Montessori years (I vaguely remember being enamored with the smallest cube of the pink tower, and I had a fondness for land and water forms.  From Elementary, I remember the beautiful geological timeline and the Geometry Box of Sticks); I also knew that those early life experiences helped make me into a resilient and generally optimistic adult.  Other than that, I had no idea what Montessori even stood for, but I knew that I would only fit in with that philosophy because I generally disliked my school experience from the fourth grade onwards (even though I was a nerd).

Still following my gut, I went to the bookstore to see if I could find some information on my contemplated career path, and found only ONE copy of ONE Montessori-related title: “The Science Behind the Genius” by Angeline Lillard.  It was waiting for me… Little did I know that this was THE book that validated Maria Montessori’s theories through the conclusions of modern scientific research.  My curiosity and appreciation for children grew with every word I read.

I then went online to figure out where I could study to become a Montessori teacher and, as fate would have it, I found out that the most reputable (and the only internationally-accredited) training center in my city was within walking distance of our home.

At the age of 31, after a grueling year juggling my business and my studies, I obtained my AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) Primary certification and M.Ed. in Montessori Education, formed a close-knit group of soul mates who all “bleed it”, and discovered my true purpose in life – my calling.

I worked for two years as a head teacher in an AMI Primary classroom (for 2.5 – 6 year olds), where I joyfully guided a group of amazing little children as they discovered their potential.  This was much easier said than done, but worth every stressful limit-enforcing, stomach-clenching, ability-doubting moment!

After two years in a life path I loved, I decided to go back to school to expand my knowledge of Montessori and obtain my Elementary certification.  I’ll be living in Bergamo, Italy for one year and attending the International Center for Montessori Studies.  What a truly blessed life I lead…

In this blog you’ll find the musings, rantings, and soapbox issues that my husband is tired of hearing about. I’m so glad I can share them with you! I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions… My journey of learning has only just begun, and nobody ever said the spiritual preparation of the adult would be easy!

“First remove the beam from your own eye and then you will see clearly how to remove the speck from the eye of the child”. – Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

15 Responses to “My Story”

  1. Mari-Ann January 4, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    Hello! I just found your blog and this is the first thing I read. Thank you for sharing it!! I love learning about how people were introduced to Montessori.
    Your post really touched me and you’ve inspired me to create a similar type of post on my own blog. Thanks again!

  2. Nichole February 1, 2010 at 5:07 am #

    Hello Pilar,

    I read your blog and I’m a Montessori guide. I just noticed that you put a link to my blog on your “inspiration” list. I’m so flattered! Thanks! I frequently think that I type out into the empty universe. So I’m glad there’s someone out there enjoying my posts! Good luck on your journey to become an elementary guide.

    Best,
    Nichole

  3. Rah Castaneda March 31, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    Hello, thank you for sharing your blog. I am in my second year as a Montessori Teacher, still struggling to look for a “real” Montessori schools though. I enjoyed reading your blog and really thank you for sharing. 🙂

  4. Evelyn July 25, 2010 at 7:56 pm #

    You write beautifully! Lovely story! I’ve been wanting to write Our Montessori Story as well. I would love to read more about your parents but that’s being nosey, hahaha.

  5. Ronda Kay January 13, 2011 at 4:09 am #

    Thank you for this inspiration! What an amazing journey you are on and what a blessing that we get to share it.

    I needed this ‘push’ from a kindred spirit like you to keep me motivated on my mission with Montessori Family Connection – to help parents get more comfortably involved in their child’s Montessori education so that the circle from school to home will strengthen. I believe that then Montessori will go ‘viral’ and the world will be a much better place.

    Best wishes for continued success in all your endeavors!

  6. Charissa March 4, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    Your passion for this line of work is LOVELY! I got my Montessori teaching certificate in 2007 & am raising my daughter with Montessori principles. I’d love to return to school for more training like you are doing. In Italy none the less!! Thank you for this blog. I’m so glad to add it to my list. It’ll be right up there with Sew Liberated, At Home with Montessori & Wide Open on the Mommybahn, my favorites.

  7. Amber June 30, 2011 at 1:36 am #

    Ahhh, I love this post & your story 🙂

    Thank you for sharing.

    p.s. What an amazing *blessing* to find that you could train in your own city! I am struggling at the moment with there not being any local training (or future employment opportunities) in my area.

  8. Heather July 1, 2011 at 3:50 am #

    That’s wonderful. You will never regret following your heart!

  9. Hopefulmontessorian! November 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Hi Pilar,

    What a lovely blog and great inspiration for everyone seeking to join the Montessori movement. Congratulations on your new “adventure”!

    I had a question for you. Based on your experience with the elementary program at Bergamo, fo you think it would be possible for a new mum to “survive” the program? Are there any arrangements for students accompanied by a child (between 1 and 2 yrs old). Please let me know what you think. I look forward to your response!

  10. Amna November 25, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    It gives me goosebumps to see how you found your calling. I’m currently on a corporate-work sabbatical and a fumbling my way around homeschooling my 25 mo darling of a son. While we lived in Canada, he was going to a montessori infant program, which is how we got introduced to it.
    Where we live now (in the middle of the Pacific in a tiny island called New Caledonia), good childcare options are super hard to find, whereas a montessori school would be just a myth. I’m trying to homeschool him as much as I can and in order to do that, am inhaling practically every literary piece I can get my hands on regarding early childcare philosophies. Thus far, the Montessori way of doing things is the one which makes so much sense and I fear I may be one of those groupies that bleed it every chance they get.
    Thank you SO much for sharing your experiences with us so that we can benefit from them and pass it along to the little marvels in our house.

  11. annapoliakova June 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    Hello! I was so happy to read this, as your story is very much like my story. I too was looking for my purpose in life. And helped by meditation and yoga i remembered that when i was a child i wanted to be a teacher. Now i’m juggling my day job and studying for Montessori, and i want to open my own schools and kindergartens! Great to know that there are people out there who have gone through same thing! Would love to keep contact with you. Anna, Denmark

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