Who We Are: Maria Burr

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As part of a series we’re calling Who We Are, we’re working to build our community by interviewing the talented, dynamic parents and staff who make up the people of Villa di Maria. Today, we meet Maria Burr, founder of the Montessori Bambini Guide and mother to three children at Villa. Maria is a familiar face at Villa — you will often see her smiling face at drop-off every morning. She is a kind, warm, intelligent person who is quite easy to talk to — so make sure you say hello when you see her!

Villa di Maria: Thank you for being our first Who We Are interviewee! What do you do?

Maria Burr: Here at Villa, I work as the development director, which includes getting ready for the upcoming Capital Campaign and the 50th anniversary of Villa di Maria! It will also be the 70th anniversary for Camp Pegnita!

I also created the Bambini Guide, which serves parents of Montessori or prospective Montessori children from the prenatal period up through age three. I run classes for expectant parents that cover preparing the home, development of movement, and development of language — all in the context of understanding child development and in an effort to prepare for the Montessori environment. My parent-infant classes are for ages 3 months through 12 months and take place in a Montessori-prepared environment. We also discuss child development within that setting. Parent nights are available for those who want to meet without their infants to discuss more in-depth how to prepare your home for Montessori. All of these classes are held at the Montessori Training Center.

Below are a few of the smaller materials Maria presents within these classes:

From left: cylinder rattle with bells, cube with bell, egg and cup From left: cylinder rattle with bells, cube with bell, egg and cup

VdM: Why Montessori?

MB: It comes from the heart. I really wanted something for my kids that went beyond academics. We chose Montessori because it really does develop the whole child. It’s not about external rewards; it’s about helping them become complete people, not just smart people.

VdM: What advice would you give to parents who are interested in Montessori, or to those who are just entering the Montessori world?

MB: Absolutely observe in a classroom. Read a book. For the young child, I recommend Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three. For elementary children, read Montessori Madness, by Trevor Eissler.

Thank you, Maria!