Allison Stupka – Lead Teacher
“I was first drawn to Montessori education because of my love for hands-on learning. Dr. Maria Montessori recognized that children learn by using their hands and developed many beautiful materials that embody educational concepts. I believe that early learning with these materials leads to a strong educational foundation, and I like helping provide this experience to children in our classroom. In nearly a decade of teaching preschool I’ve witnessed many magical moments, such as a child telling me ‘I can do 3 plus 2 in my head.’ I find it rewarding to help children discover the world around them.” Allison received her Montessori training from the Montessori Institute Northwest in Portland, Oregon and is AMI trained. She has ten years of experience in preschool classrooms, and taught in Montessori schools in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Seattle, Washington. Allison has a MA in Geography from Eastern Michigan University and a BA in General Studies from the University of Michigan. She lives with her husband and daughter in Ann Arbor. Allison enjoys being active outside, reading, cooking, gardening and bird watching. She likes singing with children and is always on the lookout for new songs.
Jessica Anderson – Music
“I believe that all children can learn music. It is crucial to immerse children in a rich variety of music in order to develop the readiness necessary for future formal music learning. My music classes are designed around the concept that children learn music as they learn language—by listening, experimenting, imitating, and then accurately and purposefully creating.” Jessica has a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Music Education from Michigan State University, a Masters in Music from the University of Michigan and has a Level 1 Certification in Early Childhood Music and Elementary General Music from the Gordon Institute for Music Learning. Jessica has taught at the Ann Arbor School for Performing Arts and The MSU Community Music School. She also was a General Music Teacher for K-5 in the Troy School District. Jessica grew up in Northern Michigan and loves living in Ann Arbor with her husband and three boys.
Dr. Maria Montessori
We include Dr. Montessori’s biography with our own because we feel the guidance of her invisible hand every day, and are guided by her principles in everything we do. In the 1800s, women had few career options. Maria Montessori discovered that fact in 1884 as a 14-year-old student in Italy. When she wanted to develop her aptitude for mathematics, her parents suggested she become a teacher. “Anything but a teacher!” she said. Despite being turned away more than once, she became the first female medical student in Italy, graduating in 1896. While in medical school, Maria came across a woman begging. With her was a little girl, completely absorbed with scraps of colored paper. Despite her desperate surroundings, the girl’s focus was so intense and her contentment so obvious that Maria was changed forever. Her work at the Psychiatric Clinic at the University of Rome included children in asylums regarded as hopeless cases. Here, Dr. Montessori began her efforts to educate children, “placing human dignity within their grasp.” She noticed that they desperately wanted to hold and manipulate objects. Dr. Montessori observed the children closely, developing ideas which she tested with the scientific methods of her medical training. Their remarkable progress convinced her that these techniques would benefit all children. Her first “Casa dei Bambini” (Children’s House) opened in 1907. Despite difficult circumstances and few resources, the children thrived, drawing attention from educators in many countries. The recognition allowed Dr. Montessori to observe and work with children from all walks of life and of different nationalities, demonstrating that her methods were universal. She proved that all children, everywhere, of all talents and abilities, could benefit from her teaching methods. Dr. Montessori continued to develop her teaching materials and techniques until her death in 1952.