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Montessori is a method of education named after Dr. Maria Montessori. It is both a philosophy of child growth and development and a rationale for guiding such development.


Maria Montessori was born in 1870. In 1895, she became the first woman in Italy to obtain the degree of Doctor of Medicine. This background led Dr. Montessori to approach education more from the scientific level than the accepted academic standard. She observed children and was constantly testing and retesting the validity of her concepts-concepts that would contribute to a more natural growth of learning in students. She designed materials and techniques that advanced the method of educating all children-learning disabled through gifted-far beyond previous practice. To Dr. Montessori, education was a preparation for life, not merely a search for intellectual skills.

Maria Montessori


Dr. Montessori developed the prepared environment, which already possesses a certain order and allows children to learn at their own speed, according to their own capacities and in a noncompetitive atmosphere.


Dr. Montessori has recognized that the only impulse to learning is the self-motivation of the child. Children move themselves toward learning. The Directress prepares the environment, directs the activity, and offers the child stimulation, but it is the child who learns, who is motivated through work itself to persist in a given task.


If Montessori children are free to learn, it is because they have acquired an “inner discipline” from their exposure to both physical and mental order. Social adjustment, patterns of concentration, thoroughness and enthusiastic persistence established in early childhood, bring about a confident, competent and happy child and learner in later years.


The following poem is one of many taught to the children that is reflective of the Montessori Philosophy. 




  I offer you peace


I offer you love


I offer you friendship


I see your beauty


I hear your needs


I feel your feelings


My wisdom flows from a higher source


I salute that source in you


Let us work together


(from a workshop of Mahatma Gandhi)


Montessori Teacher Training

Montessori Teacher Training is an intensive academic program of learning, observing and student teaching followed by rigorous examinations. The faculty is the most critical element in developing a strong Montessori program. Our teachers are the primary link between the school and the families.

State Licensing Requirements

The Head of School,  Lead Teachers and full-time assistants are certified by the State of Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. 

Debbie Jernegan is returning for her 3rd year as our Head of School.  Debbie has worked in the Early Education and Care field as a Director/Lead Teacher for over 17 years. She has a master’s degree in management; and has served in a managerial capacity for over twenty-three years.  She is affiliated with CFCE and MVCYC; is a member of the Head Start Policy Council, Island Grown Schools Program Committee member and is certified by the Massachusetts Department of EEC as director I, Lead and infant toddler teacher.  

Chris Rasmussen is returning for her 12th consecutive year as a primary lead teacher at VMS. Chris has over twenty years’ experience with toddler and primary levels in a Montessori environment. She holds two AMS certifications from the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New Rochelle, NY. Prior to joining the VMS staff Chris taught at the Whitby School in Greenwich, CT.

Tyrene (Ty) Johnston is in her 1st year as a primary lead teacher at VMS.  Ty moved to the Vineyard full-time in July, 2014 after being a teacher at Thacher Montessori School in Milton, MA.  She is trained in teaching Montessori Primary, Elementary, and Adolescent children and holds both the AMI and AMS credentials.  Being a teacher since 1973 at various institutions, Ty taught all three levels at Thacher. She has a Massachusetts State Teaching Certificate and a Masters of Education in Middle School Humanities from Lesley University.

Holly Bruguiereis returning for her 10th year as a primary classroom assistant in Chris’ classroom. Holly received an Associates degree from Champlain College, Burlington, VT., and has received her Teacher Certification from the MA Dept of Early Education and Care.  Holly has taught together with Chris for 9 years.

Irene Wendt is returning for her 8th consecutive year as the lead teacher in the elementary classroom. She received her Bachelors degree in Business Administration from Baker College and her Masters degree in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College. She holds a degree for Montessori Elementary I from the Seacoast Center for Education and is certified as a Lead Teacher through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Education.

Rebecca Deloughne is a primary classroom assistant in Ty’s classroom and returning for her 4thconsecutive year.  Rebecca has a Bachelor’s degree from the American Intercontinental University in Atlanta Georgia.  Rebecca has been an assistant in an early childhood program in New Zealand prior to working at VMS. 

Holly Jackson is returning for her 3rd year as the assistant in the elementary classroom.  She has a bachelors degree from North Adams State Mass. College of Liberal Arts.