MEET THE DIRECTOR

Shayla Mootz

1Mini-humans are my favorite of all the many types of people there are.This is probably not the first thing you expected to read in a biography, but I have never been an advocate of the normal or the mundane. I worked hard in school, earned good grades, won a scholarship, stayed on the Deans List and graduated from St Francis Xavier University with a BA in Psychology and Studio Art. I received my diploma for Montessori Teaching Education from Toronto Montessori Institute, which is a MACTE certified and an internationally recognized teaching accreditation.  This  was only possible, because I found ways to learn that were compatible with the way I think. I was the “creative” child. You know the way they say that word– in a whisper, as though there needs to be an excuse for not fitting into a box. My mother advocated for my need to learn in ways that made sense to me, and searched out ways to help me succeed. That is why I went to Montessori as a child. That is why I intend to start a Montessori in Antigonish: all children are fundamentally different, especially in their learning styles, and those differences should be cultivated and celebrated.

It is not enough to say that all children are different. If you are a parent, or even if you are not, and simply hold a special place in a child’s life, you know that not only are all children different, but yours is the most different. He or she is the most individual, self sufficient and clever child who ever lived. And you are right. It is not a generalization to know these things are true, because you are raising a person. That is the reason  I often to refer to children as mini-humans– its easy to forget  that’s what they are. This reality has hit home the most for me in the past two years. I was working as a Family Support Worker in Paqtnkek First Nation. During this time, I hosted mom and tot, mom and baby, cooking with kids classes and prenatal classes. Even though I spoke with parents about theory and dicipline and all the things that parents are looking for for their children, I also got to talk with parents about individual experiences every day. That was the part that was the most important to me. Each person who has ever lived has perceived their experiences in individual ways, even when they are with siblings, or parents, or best friends. The way that those experiences are internalized happen differently with each person. You start to notice this even more, the more parents you talk to about their children. One child will love to pour flour onto the table and squish it in their fingers, and the next will hate the way it sticks to their hands. This is a reality that Montessori addresses,  and why I am so drawn to it. Montessori allows children to experience things, and do so in their own way. When they do this, they learn about the world around them, they discover things about themselves, and they just learn. Learning is a joyful process that should get to remain so, especially in the early years. It should get to be about discovery and play and making the world make sense in your own head.

I could give you a conventional Bio if you would like. If you would prefer a resume, or to speak more with me about Montessori after exploring our website and this page, feel free to contact me at info@antigonishmontessori.com and I would love to speak with you more.

Antigonish has an energy that you can almost see. It is welcoming and vibrant and contains so many amazing people who support eachother by creating an environment that is open to ideas. Antigonish Montessori will continue this wonderful tradition. It will be home for excellent alternative eduation for young children. I want to continue to make this vibrant community the hub of inspiration that it is becoming. It starts with the mini humans.