The very best part of Villa di Maria is our people. Our community of families, faculty and staff is something to be proud of. In this series, We are VdM, we’ll highlight the energies, talents, humor and wisdom of some of our amazing people. Today, we’ll meet Jane Jennings, assistant in the Upper Elementary Dodecahedron classroom. We are thrilled Jane joined our team this Fall, alongside Tina. Her background in professional vocal performance benefits her students, as does her positive, peaceful demeanor as an assistant.
How did you discover Montessori?
I was actively looking for employment to fill my days while my boys were in school. A neighbor of mine told me about a position that was open at her son’s Montessori school. I applied, interviewed, and was hired to be Ms. Tina’s assistant, whom I’ve worked alongside for the past five years. I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the authentic Montessori environment at Villa di Maria. I wish I knew about Montessori when my boys were younger.
What is something you love about Montessori?
I love the idea of Freedoms and Responsibilities and that there are natural consequences for your actions. The idea is so simple yet impactful. I wish this concept would be introduced to all children regardless of their educational path.
What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
I love the weekends because it means more time spent with my family. My husband, Paul and I enjoy preparing gourmet meals together. He is an amazing cook and I am his sous chef. I also like it when I find time on the weekends to bake. We love raising our sons, Everett, who is 15 and Ethan, who is a freshman at Truman State University. Jewel, our eight year old Boxer, keeps us busy and entertained. At the first hint of spring, we all like to be outdoors. We enjoy walking, hiking, home improvement projects, and I LOVE tending my flower gardens.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a singer/performer. I wasn’t sure of the genre of music I would perform because I liked many different styles. With encouragement and direction, the decision was made in college to pursue classical music. I went on to earn a Master of Music in Voice Performance. I signed with an agent in New York and after 25 years as a soprano soloist in operas and concerts in Italy, Spain, Mexico, and across the United States, I can say that I have been blessed to see my dreams come true.
What is your favorite memory/quote so far with one of your students?
My favorite memory so far was during our Adventure Day at Go Ape in Creve Coeur Park. So many students were concerned about the height and difficulty of the ropes course. You could see their trepidation and sometimes sheer panic as they approached the start of the course. Their courage to take just one step at a time with encouragement from their friends and teachers taught them to be courageous and to trust themselves. The smiles on their faces proved them to be victorious.