I grew up in Flossmoor, Illinois. From being a little girl pretending to be a teacher, playing school in my bedroom, to attending college at Illinois State University, studying Child & Family Relations, I always knew I wanted to work with children in some way.
In 1996, I attended a Montessori information meeting to learn about the Montessori teacher training program in Hinsdale, Illinois. I remember walking out of that meeting feeling confident that I knew what I wanted to do. Hearing about Maria Montessori, her passion, her life work, was so inspiring. At one of Montessori’s many lectures, she said, “establishing peace is the work of education.” I knew I wanted to be a part of that philosophy, that way of life. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace in that I had found my calling and felt that I could make a difference by becoming a Montessorian. This is where my Montessori journey began.
In 1997, I had the fortunate opportunity to do my internship year working under the leadership of Diane Roberto at the Horizon Montessori School in Cleveland, Ohio. This internship led to a position as the lead directress for the full day program at Horizon. After teaching there for 2 years, I moved to Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania and began teaching a Primary full day class at the Western Pennsylvania Montessori School under the leadership of Carol Miskell. I taught there for 2 years until my personal life led me back home to Illinois, to the charming town of Lake Bluff. As soon as I walked into the Montessori School of Lake Forest and was greeted by so many smiling, friendly faces, I felt at home. I have been a directress in the Primary 5 room for 13 years now.
When I was in my teacher training, I learned about The Prepared Environment, which has since become a passion of mine. Daily, I put my heart into creating a space that is beautiful, nurturing, and inviting for the children and adults. It is such a privilege for me to prepare an environment for the children where they can develop independence and build confidence through trust and respect, and I am delighted to witness the sense of wonder, the love of learning, and the respect the children have for themselves, one another and their environment. I recognize that these precious children are the future and do my best to prepare them to be good citizens. Having a Peace Flower in my classroom with which children can learn to communicate with words and solve problems peacefully is just one example of my ultimate goal and passion to prepare children for life and give them tools to carry on Maria Montessori’s vision for peace.
— Monica Pearson, February 2015