MSLF Welcomes Danna Ayres, new Adolescent Program Director for 2021-2022 school year

The Montessori School of Lake Forest is excited to share the following news with our community:

We continue to look forward to the new school year and beyond. We are extremely excited to announce that we are moving forward with the addition of an Adolescent Program, grades 7 & 8, to our program offerings for the 2021-2022 school year. The additional class will be conducted at our Laurel Drive Campus, using existing space as we re-introduce the program at MSLF.

Along with the new program comes an announcement of a new program director. We hope you will join us in welcoming Danna Ayres back to MSLF.

Danna is thrilled to be returning to MSLF to lead the re-opening of the Adolescent Program. She previously taught math and led students in the MSLF Adolescent Program from 2014 to 2017. Since then, she has been teaching math to elementary students and adolescents at Chicago Montessori. Danna has also been tutoring math for over 15 years, for students age 10 and up.

Danna holds a BA in History, with a concentration in History of Science and a minor in Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She also has a Masters in Mathematics Education from DePaul University. While at MSLF, Danna completed the Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies, and she has continued her learning about Montessori mathematics in courses and workshops.

Danna shares her passion and vision for the MSLF AP:

“I have always loved both learning and teaching, and when I discovered the world of Montessori education, it was as though everything clicked into place. The idea that subject areas are integrated and interwoven, and that the development of the whole child is valued above isolated academic achievements resonated most with me.

At this stage of development, it is essential for students to move beyond simply gathering facts, and to really begin learning how to learn. My greatest hope in teaching any subject is that my students wouldn’t just know the material, but that they would love what they’re doing and find joy and excitement in the learning process.

To work with adolescents, one must truly love and understand that age group in order to establish an atmosphere based on mutual trust and respect. I have found that my personality, sense of humor, and ability to have fun while still being firm all help me to get along easily with adolescents, and provide them with an environment where they feel they are free to express themselves, to make mistakes without judgment, and to ask for help when they need it, whether it be academically or personally.

I cherish the personal connection with my students, the opportunity to work with families to help their children meet their goals and conquer their challenges, and the freedom to adapt my curriculum and teaching methods based on the needs of my students. I especially appreciate MSLF’s family-centered atmosphere and culture of respect and kindness. I believe this culture should also be central to the Adolescent Program, and will strive for that in my relationships with students, parents, and other teachers.”

Please join us in welcoming Danna back to MSLF!


More about Montessori Adolescent Programs and Curriculum

Dr. Maria Montessori believed adolescents should be given the opportunity to experience self-worth through real and important work—a process she called valorization – providing the opportunity for adolescents to realize they are strong, worthy, and capable of effort. A Montessori Adolescent Program strives to meet the adolescent’s need to exhibit creativity, to problem solve, to take responsibility, and to claim independence. The ultimate goal of the program is to support each student as they find a place in the community and become a respectful, responsible, and ethical contributor to society.



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