About the Program
The Montessori Method
The Montessori educational model was developed by Maria Montessori, the first woman doctor in Italy, in the early 1900s as an alternative model to the reigning system of rote learning and forced immobility. She observed that within that traditional system, the student was viewed as the passive recipient of a transmission of knowledge. As a result of what she noticed all those years ago, she began the creation of what has come to be known as the Montessori Method. Experiential in structure, individualized curriculum is designed to engage children in learning by doing. The Montessori Method is a developmental approach to education which includes the student as an active participant in the process of constructing knowledge.
MWTTP is a proprietary postsecondary school owned by administrators Marci and Geoffrey Turner (who is the son of Joy and Charles Turner, the founders of both Montessori Western teacher Training Program and Montessori Greenhouse Schools, which sponsors the training program). Emma Gilani serves as the Administrative Assistant.
Cathy Smythe is the MWTTP Executive Director, Early Childhood Coordinator, Early Childhood Student Teaching Supervisor, and instructor for the Philosophy, Child Development, Observation, Classroom Leadership, and Visual Arts components. Ms. Smythe holds an M.A. in Education, a B.A. in Human Development/Psychology, and an AMS Early Childhood Credential.
Ms. Smythe has lectured nationally as a part of the AMS Teacher Section Traveling Symposium (1992-93); acted as co-chair for the 1995 AMS Regional Conference (Anaheim, CA), and was the local chair for the 2008 AMS regional conference (Garden Grove, CA); is a member of AMS Teacher Educator Section (TES); and represents MWTTP at the annual meeting of MACTE. She has been an MWTTP staff member since 1980 with experience in teacher preparation ranging from Art, Language Arts, Sensorial and Mathematics, to Philosophy, Child Development, Classroom Leadership, Observation & Preschool Administration. Her involvement in early childhood level teaching and administration dates from 1969. She served as the Executive Director of Montessori Greenhouse Schools, L.L.C. until June of 2012 when she retired from the school after 37 years with the organization.
Early Childhood Core Faculty
Janis Candelaria is instructor for the Practical Life Curriculum, Materials and Methods component and the related practicum seminar. Ms. Candelaria holds a B.A. in Communicative Disorders, and has AMS Early Childhood and Infant / Toddler Credentials. She has been employed by the Montessori Greenhouse Schools since 1974, first as the teacher in a 3 – 6 classroom and later as the creator, teacher and director of the Montessori Greenhouse Infant/Toddler program. Although retired from the school, she currently serves as a much valued substitute teacher at all levels.
Melissa Vasquez & Christine Weld are the instructors for the Sensorial and Cultural Curriculum, Materials, and Methods component and the related practicum seminar. Ms. Vasquez holds a B.A. in English, a Montessori Early Childhood Credential and certification at the Elementary II (9—12) level. With Montessori teaching experience since 1981, she currently teaches at Montessori Greenhouse Schools. Ms. Weld holds an AMS Early Childhood Credential and has been a classroom teacher at Montessori Greenhouse Schools for 30 years. She has been teaching the art curriculum for MWTTP for the past 5 years, and has now added science, geography, and history to her repertoire.
Michelle Light is instructor for the Language Arts Curriculum, Materials and Methods component and the related practicum seminar. Ms. Light holds an M.A. in education, a B.A. in Child Development and an AMS Early Childhood Credential. In addition to past early childhood level teaching experience, Michelle was employed from 1995-2000 as a teacher/program director at the 3 – 6 level by the Montessori Greenhouse Schools and has also had experience teaching human development at the college level.
Beverly Skytte is the instructor for the Mathematics Curriculum, Materials, and Methods component and the related practicum seminar. Ms. Skytte holds a B.A. in Human Development, a California State Teaching Credential (Elementary), and AMS Early Childhood and Elementary I Credentials. Beverly has taught in both early childhood and elementary level classrooms at the Montessori Greenhouse School, where she currently teaches a lower elementary level class.
Elementary I Core Faculty
Heather Lambert is the instructor for the Language Arts Curriculum, Materials and Methods, and for the Practical Life, Physical Education components and practicum seminars. She is also the Elementary I Coordinator, and Student Teaching/Practicum Supervisor. Ms. Lambert holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education, a North Dakota State Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential and an AMS Elementary I Credential.
Ms. Lambert is a member of the AMS Teacher Educator Section (TES) and represents MWTTP at the annual meeting of MACTE (our accreditation agency). She is currently the Curriculum Director of the Montessori Greenhouse Schools, where she is also the Elementary Level Program Director. She has served as a classroom teacher at Montessori Greenhouse since 1989.
Beverly Skytte is the instructor for the Mathematics Curriculum, Materials and Methods component and practicum seminar. Ms. Skytte holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development, a California State Teaching Credential, and AMS Certification for both Early Childhood and Elementary I. A Montessori teacher for over 15 years, she is currently a teacher at the 6-9 level at the Montessori Greenhouse Schools, L.L.C.
Deborah Wallin (with Heather Lambert) is the instructor for the Cultural Subjects Curriculum, Materials and Methods component and practicum seminar. Ms. Wallin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies and a California State Teaching Credential, as well as an AMS Elementary I Credential. Her previous teaching experience includes grades 1 – 12 in both public and private education; specialties include art, language, and Yoga. She has been teaching at the Montessori Greenhouse School, at the 6-9 level, since 2011.