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Experienced Montessori educator to lead new program at Trine

Laurie Stockton-MorenoLaurie Stockton-Moreno’s passion for Montessori education began with her daughter’s school experience and has led her into teaching, administration and even a classroom for homeless children.

As director of Trine University’s new Montessori teacher education degree program, she hopes to share that passion with current and future educators.

“The rewards that come from sharing something that means so much to me, and is so relevant to human development, are many,” she said. “For me, it is partly about connecting with people, partly about discovery of the value of the Montessori method, and partly about the dream of bringing aspects of the Montessori approach to a wide variety of educators.

“My hope is that I will be able to inspire countless others to witness the Montessori method, and to help create more opportunities for inclusion of this philosophy of education in northern Indiana and beyond.”

“We are thrilled to have Laurie join Trine University to launch our new Montessori Education program,” said Anthony Kline, Ph.D., dean of Trine’s Franks School of Education. “Laurie brings varied and distinct experiences in Montessori education, a visionary and collaborative spirit, and a history of excellence while balancing multiple priorities.”

Stockton-Moreno‘s introduction to Montessori education came when some friends recommended a Montessori school for her daughter.

“When she came home one day, carrying a large painting of a yellow isosceles triangle, complete with the word, ‘isosceles,’ I felt compelled to inquire about getting involved myself,” she recalled. “I immediately enrolled in a Montessori teacher education program and have not looked back.”

She went on to 18 years of Montessori teaching, as well as experience as executive director, education director and curriculum supervisor at Montessori schools in Michigan, California and Texas.

At Brookview Montessori School in Benton Harbor, Michigan, she worked with the director and faculty to develop a Montessori classroom within a local homeless shelter.

“We worked with their leadership and staff to create a classroom, acquired donated materials, met with our teachers and solicited volunteers, and worked to put it all together,” she said. “(The shelter) painted the room and arranged it to our guidelines. A volunteer Montessori-trained teacher served as a constant presence, and our faculty rotated in as a second teacher. The program for 2-to-6-year-olds ran four mornings a week. It was a tremendous learning experience.”

Stockton-Moreno holds Early Childhood and Elementary I credentials from the American Montessori Society, and has completed coursework through the Montessori Leadership Institute. For the past six years, she has served as Montessori teacher educator.

She also has been a frequent presenter at national Montessori conferences since 2006.

Earlier this year, Trine University announced plans to launch Indiana’s first Montessori teacher education degree program, to help meet the growing need for teachers with Montessori credentials.

Trine’s Montessori teacher education program will be one of only a few undergraduate programs in the nation offered at the university level, and will provide training that leads toward state-recognized Montessori licensure for both undergraduate students and teachers already in the field.

“We are committed to becoming a leader in the state and region of Montessori preparation for both undergraduate and in-service teachers,” Kline said. “We are working to earn national accreditation, which would allow us to be the first university in the state to offer Montessori licensure. In doing so, educators can be equipped with Montessori education principles shown to enhance the development and independence of the whole child.”

Stockton-Moreno said she plans to connect with local educators to spread the word about the benefits of embracing a Montessori approach in education, whether it is within a small, private preschool or a large, public elementary school.

“Trine University has a vision of bringing Montessori to a wider audience, of making Montessori education more broadly accessible, both for educators and children,” Stockton-Moreno said. “I look forward to hearing about local educators’ understanding of Montessori and to swapping stories about meeting needs of individual learners, child development, and values and outcomes. I also hope to positively collaborate with my colleagues at Trine and learn from them in a spirit of mutual discovery and growth, which will ultimately enhance the experience for our adult learners. I dream of a day in which our program will become a leader in providing equitable, universal access to Montessori education.”