Meet Mrs. Melinda Smith

1.  Describe your educational background.
I received my Bachelors in Mass Communications with a Minor in Art at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

2.  How/when did you become interested in Montessori education?
Before we enrolled Nathan at Villa, Brian and I attended the Silent Journey.  It was amazing, and I left wishing that Montessori had been my educational experience. It felt like home- it was comfortable, engaging and exciting.
The first time I observed in a classroom, Mrs. Milos told me afterward that I had come on an unusually loud day. That is not at all what I observed!  She had 36 kids at the time, and, to me, it was amazing that that many kids were respectful to each other, observing each other and all around just being fantastic little people.
If you were able to see the Glass Classroom last year, it is another testament to how focused our kids are. Thousands of people walking around, yet all the kids who participated were centered on their work, undistracted.
I have been able to observe all the classrooms, and when comparing it to my own experiences, I am honestly shocked unicorns aren’t frolicking through the fields at Villa di Maria because it IS that magical! I adore coming to Villa, and now I can everyday!

3.  What has been the BEST part of your Montessori training/experience so far?
Last spring I was able to observe in Mrs. Schwind’s classroom several times, which was obviously wonderful!  I’m looking forward to learning more from her, from Mrs. Milos, our new Director of Education, and from Mrs. Sophie, who is the other Lower Elementary Assistant.

4.  What has been the most CHALLENGING part of your Montessori training/experience so far? 
Pasta! I have learned pasta is my nemesis. Last spring I was tasked with guiding the weekly hot lunch process (assisting the chefs in planning the menu, grocery shopping, cooking, serving, cleaning up, etc.)  Figuring out the right portion of pasta to make for 40 students is more difficult than imagined!

5.  Describe your family-
I grew up in St. Louis in the same house where my parents still live. I have one older brother, Michael. My children are Nathan, moving up to Lower El, and Jacob, who will be continuing on with Mrs. Braud. My husband is Brian, and we have a dog named Winnie, short for Winston.

6. If you were to plan a most perfect, relaxing weekend day, what would it entail?
Sitting on a beach, all day every day.

Your favorites:
– color: pink
– season: fall
– book: A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
– holiday: Thanksgiving
– movie: War
– hobby: my photo journal, 365 project
– type of music: nothing sad
– song: Best Day of my Life by American Authors
– restaurant in St. Louis: Farmhaus
– vacation: anywhere with a beach
– sport: putt putt
– game: Rummikub
– fruit: pears
– vegetable: asparagus

If you had to choose ONE:
– rain or snow? rain
– coffee or tea? tea
– pencil or pen? pen
– morning or night? neither
– ocean or lake? ocean
– dog or cat? dog
– talk or listen? listen
– walk or run? walk
– save or spend? save
– bike or swim? swim
– salt or pepper? salt
– realistic fiction or fantasy? fantasy