The Montessori method creates its own signature everywhere in the world. You can recognize a Montessori classroom simply by observing the way teachers approach their students, the calm atmosphere, and the meticulously organized environment. Yet, every classroom around the world breathes and absorbs culture creating a unique fingerprint in the Montessori world. It is my honor to introduce to you Patty – a Montessori teacher of 25 years who dedicated many years of her career to volunteer in Central America. In this post, Patty shares her story of discovering the gems of the Montessori method in a school located in Cabarete, one of the Dominican Republic’s poorest communities.
I’ve been a Montessori teacher for nearly 25 years and spent the majority of those years working in private schools with children from very affluent families. My own three children went through Montessori, too, so you can say it just became a way of life for us.
Ten years ago, I got the bug to step out of my comfort zone and try to make an impact in another part of the world. So, I took a 6-month leave of absence and began volunteering at Camino Seguro/Safe Passage in Guatemala. That did it for me – I was hooked. Upon my return, I slowly began the process of “retiring” from my position and had hoped to return to Guatemala.
Unfortunately, it had become too dangerous in Guatemala City where the school was located, so I began my search for another school. In the early 70″s I had done some volunteer work in the Dominican Republic, so I began there. I found that most organizations offered volunteer
opportunities for a great deal of money – I needed to find a school that could use my experience and didn’t make me pay for the opportunity.
Well, that’s when the domino effect of the internet led me to 3 Mariposas Montessori and its amazing founder, Sarah Ludwig-Ross. It was serendipitous—she needed a trained Montessori guide to help her develop an elementary program and to support her recently trained Dominican teachers.
I had planned on staying for a full year but fell head-over-heels in love with the school and the community – and am now entering my 6th year here. Since my arrival, we’ve grown SO much! The elementary program opened its doors almost three years ago, and we’re literally bursting at the seams. So much so, that our next vision/goal is to raise funds to buy the property that will allow us to build an actual school – one these children are SO deserving of.
Right now we rent a small house and work around the “speed bumps”—like storage in the shower stalls, antiquated electrical wiring, and plumbing, etc. This is the website if you’d like to see who we are and what we do: 3mariposasmontessori.com and I also manage a lovely FB page.
We teach children about the great benefits of generosity and community support. Montessori around the world globally is our community. We understand each other regardless of our cultural background. We chose Montessori because we realized that it goes way beyond the borders of just being a method of education. We recognized in it a way to transform our society and benefit the whole of humanity.
Making a difference and helping children globally is so much easier than we can imagine. It is incredibly easy to do good and make a difference with even a little have. The ripple effect of good will take your small and turn it in something magical.
There are a few ways you can support those brave people who run and educate children at 3 Mariposas Montessori :
We all know how expansive Montessori materials are. Click here to find out what 3 Mariposas Montessori needs right now in the list provided.
Six out of every ten of their students live in poverty and attend 3MM on a full scholarship. You can support their students by donating to the Student Scholarship Fund. Find out more here.
3MM serves morning snacks, lunch, and afternoon snacks to approx. 45 students and also provides lunch for all of the employees. 30 student helpers are involved in every step of the lunch and snack making process. They chop and dice vegetables and fruit, set lunch tables, wash plates and napkins, make bread and muffins, and tend the vegetable garden.
Please note that 3 Mariposas Montessori Foundation is a US-based non-profit organization. Your donations to 3 Mariposas Montessori Foundation are tax deductible.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email 3MM staff directly here.About Anastasia. Anastasia is the founder of Montessori Nature, a blog about Montessori - inspired and Nature-based explorations. She taught in a Montessori setting for 10 years and has been practicing the Montessori way of learning and living for the last 19 years. She loves designing engaging educational printables for children. Learn more here.