What is Montessori?

Montessori isn’t so much a “what” as it is a “who” question. Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was Italy’s first female physician. She developed her method of education based on clinical observations on how children learn. She discovered the children’s effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings, a tireless interest in manipulating materials, and an inborn desire to learn and do meaningful work. In 1907, she founded a school using child-centered methods and equipment based on her observations. Montessori’s work continues today in public and private schools throughout the world.

Multi-Age Classrooms

In the 3-to-6-year old classes there is a family-like atmosphere, with the older children serving as role-models for the younger children. In this multi-age setting, the children learn from each other and because of each other. The Montessori-trained teachers ensure that experiences occur naturally and joyfully at the proper moment for each child.

Learning through the senses?

Dr. Montessori believed that one should never give more to the brain than to the hand. She put great emphasis on the connection between the brain and movement, believing that the brain, the senses, and the muscles must all cooperate for learning to take place. This is why our children trace letters of sandpaper with their fingers in order to fix the path of the letter in the child’s muscular memory; count colorful beads to understand “how many”; build a tower of cubes of varying sizes to understand numbers, ratios and later, fractions; sweep, pour, and scrub with child-sized tools; experience music through singing and playing instruments; create their own art with paint, chalk, clay, and textiles; plant a garden to watch with wonder and pride as it grows. The goal is to allow the child to “experience the thrill of the unknown for himself.”

At Salem Montessori School you will hear
the delighted cry, “I did it myself”!

The "Children and Worship" Program

Dr. Montessori thought of childhood as “the sensitive period of the soul,” the time when the child is especially open to a deep and joyful relationship with God. At Salem Montessori School, we use the Children and Worship curriculum to nurture the spiritual development of each child. Using multi-sensory materials, Biblical stories are presented by the teacher, then offered to the children to explore on their own and relate to their personal experience.

To learn more about Montessori Schools, please click here.


  • BS Elementary Education, Baylor University
  • MA Christian Education, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminar
  • American Montessori Society Certified Pre-Primary (3-6) Teacher
  • Music Together Teacher Certification

  • BS Business Finance, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
  • MAT Elementary Education, College of Charleston

  • Bachelor of Commerce, University of Bombay, India

Classroom Teachers

  • BA Political Science, Davidson College
  • American Montessori Society Certified Infant/Toddler Teacher
  • Music Together Teacher Certification

  • BA Japanese language and literature/ teaching Japanese as a second language, Bunkyo University, Japan.

  • BA Fine Arts, University of North Carolina at Charlotte American Montessori Society Certified Infant/Toddler Teacher

  • MGIST, Geographic Information Systems, NC State University, In Progress
  • AAS, Software and Web Development, Davidson County Community College, In Progress
  • BS, Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Alabama

  • BA Sociology, University of California, Berkley
  • MA Early Childhood Education, Columbia University
  • American Montessori Society Certified Pre-Primary (3-6) Teacher

  • Association Montessori Internationale Certified Early Childhood and Pre-Preschool (3-6) Teacher, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Association Montessori Internationale Certified Preschool and Primary Teacher, Colombo, Sri Lanka

  • BS in Political Science, University of Mary Washington
  • MA in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration on ESL, George Mason University

  • Montessori Institute Northwest, Portland, OR
  • Elementary Teacher Training, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI
  • Bachelor of Science in Education, double major: Elementary/Middle Education & Spanish Education
  • TESOL certificate
  • One academic year of study in Oviedo, Spain

Salem Montessori Board Members:

  • JoAnn Sofis White, Chair
  • Brent Keene, Vice Chair
  • Jacqueline Friedman, Secretary
  • Sarah Dalena, Treasurer
  • Bill Davis
  • Ted Kazakos
  • Rachael Matthews
  • Linda Nicolotti
  • James Quander