As part of a series we’re calling Who We Are, we’re working to build and connect our community by interviewing the talented, dynamic parents and staff who make up the people of Villa di Maria. Today, we meet Colleen Deibel, mother of three adorable little girls in Primary. Colleen is ever-smiling, has an easy laugh, and is an active member in the Villa di Maria community. Thank you, Colleen, for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences in the Montessori world!
Villa di Maria: What do you do (for a living, and also hobbies)?
Colleen Deibel: I teach 7th grade science at Ladue Middle School. My area of expertise is in Life Science, but I also have a background in Horticulture. Gardening has always been a hobby; I used to do a pretty extensive vegetable garden, but with my three babies, I haven’t been able to as much in the last three years. But this year I’m hoping we can do more.
I also love to run.
VdM: How did you get involved in Montessori?
CD: I have a good friend how actually used to work here in the early 90’s, a friend who went and started a Montessori school in Colorado, and two other friends were teachers. We also have tons of family involved in Montessori. But what got me here to Villa was when I was pregnant with my oldest. My cousin sent her children here, and encouraged me to check it out. I came and observed and just fell in love with it. It’s just magical.
VdM: What appeals most to you about Montessori?
CD: I love that it’s so layered. It’s so respectful of who the children are. It doesn’t put a limit on where they can go; it’s so wide open. The way the materials flow, the way the classrooms are set up, and the way the Directress supports them, it’s just beautiful.
I teach in a traditional model, and I really believe that every child should have Montessori as their foundation. I think the possibilities for children, the potential, is so great. I get a chill just thinking about it. I think until you see it, you just can’t imagine it.
VdM: Can you share any instances where you’ve experienced “Montessori Moments” with your girls outside of school?
CD: It’s hard to say, because they’ve always done Montessori. But one thing I think Montessori is so good at is developing a child’s natural curiosity and inquisitiveness and how receptive they are to knowledge. It’s such an active type of learning, it’s not passive in any way. For younger children, it’s much more appropriate to be active within a structured environment.
I think the wisdom of Montessori is starting to catch up and becoming more mainstream. Even traditional schools are moving towards this; the factory-model does not work anymore, it’s not very responsive. I think science in particular is the type of thing that needs that hands-on, get-in-there type of learning. I love it here.
VdM: What advice would you give a parent who is interested in Montessori?
CD: I always tell people to just go observe. I send them the link, and tell them they have to see it themselves. I think spreading the information word of mouth is the best way to encourage others to explore Montessori.
Thanks again, Colleen, for taking time out of your busy day to share your thoughts with us. You and your family bring so much joy to our community!