MACTE is pleased to share our Spotlight on Program Directors series. These profiles are a chance for program directors to share about their teacher education programs and their own personal stories. If you are a program director of a MACTE accredited teacher education program and would like to participate in our Spotlight on Program Directors series, please visit https://www.jotform.com/build/220384250250040.
Name and Title: Christine Munn, Program Director
Program Name: Grace Montessori Teacher Education
Program Website: gracemontessori.net
Tell us a little about your program.
After spending a decade traveling to Asia in the summers to train teachers, I wanted to bring this training closer to home. We are located in Dawsonville, GA at the foothills of the north GA mountains. Our center is close to an outlet mall, numerous eateries, hotels, and Lake Lanier. We offer the Birth to Three training for those wanting to work in a Montessori Infant of Toddler setting. Our adult learners study Dr. Montessori’s writings, including her understanding of the spiritual dimension of the child.Our program strives to prepare adult learners to work with children under the age of three years with considerations of neurodevelopmental needs. Montessori teachers will learn how to work with typical children and how to recognize and work with children who have learning differences.
What excites you about the future of your program?
Society does not recognize the importance and uniqueness of the child under three; we are passionate about changing that misconception! We find is so rewarding to work with adults who have not considered the value of these early years and support them in their work. There are many schools in our area who already have or who are expanding their services to toddlers. GMTE is close enough to support them by helping them have credentialed guides. It is also exciting to offer training that does not involve navigating Atlanta traffic!
What has MACTE accreditation meant to your program?
Completing the MACTE self-study and the application to the GA Non-public Post-Secondary Education Commission, has helped us to thoroughly examine our processes and refine our content. Adult learners enroll in our program with confidence that they will receive excellent training from a course that is held to the highest standards.
What was your path to Montessori?
While studying Early Childhood education in college, I stumbled upon Montessori when one of my professors took training and opened a small 3-6 program. She invited me to observe whenever I wanted, and I was hooked! I enrolled in a training program and completed my practicum just in time to graduate from college and begin teaching full time. After a few years I moved back to my home state in Florida and opened the first Montessori school in Brevard County, just minutes from the Kennedy Space Center. Our school grew and we built a building to house 2 primary classrooms and a lower elementary class. Over the next 30+ years I have opened programs and taught in North Carolina and Georgia. I also have been privileged to train teachers in southeast Asia. I currently have a Montessori Homeschool co-op in my basement for my grandchildren and a few friends.
What are your top reading recommendations?
Maria Montessori, Her Life and Work by EM Standing
A Pearl of Great Price by E Fidellow
The Montessori Infant by S Davies
The Montessori Toddler by S Davies
Caring For Infants with Respect by M Gerber
Describe your perfect meal.
There are many perfect meals, but my favorites usually include grilled, lean meat, fresh vegetables, warm bread with butter, and something sweet and fruity. Of course, sharing food with friends and family makes most any meal perfect.
What is your dream destination? What would you like to do there?
My dream destination is anywhere with my husband of almost 36 years. We prefer the country or
mountains to the beach and if our childen and grandchildren can join us it is even better.
For those considering becoming a Montessori teacher, what advice would you give them?
Becoming a Montessori teacher is a life changing decision. You will read more than you expected, learn more than you can imagine, and if you are successful in your training, you will become transformed. If you can suspend career and family responsibilities while you are in school, it will be very helpful and allow you to fully focus on this endeavor. As you begin, ask God to open your mind and your heart to new ideas and give you wisdom as you apply what you are learning. Oh, and be prepared to never pass a garage sale or flea market again without needing to stop and see what you can find for your classroom!