Journey School is an authentic Montessori experience in which exploration and discovery; critical thinking; respect and responsibility to oneself, to others and to the Earth prepares our students for a life-long educational journey. Our students experience both the prepared classroom and the natural outdoor environment, which allows them to fulfill their unique and adaptable roles as responsible and engaged citizens in the world.
Journey School offers a challenging and dynamic curriculum based on the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori which encourages cooperative learning as well as independent study. In addition to the classroom curriculum, Journey School offers extensive time outdoors experimenting, exploring and examining the world in which we live. Our outdoor component is heavily influenced by the writings of Richard Louv and the Wilderness Awareness School. The arts are delicately woven into both the classroom studies and the outdoor exploration, creating an integrated whole.
Beth Clayton – Head of School and Elementary Guide.
Beth graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire with a B.S. in Biology and holds a Masters of Education from Loyola University Maryland with an emphasis in Montessori and Experiential Learning. She has both an AMI Elementary Montessori certification (ages 6-12) as well as the AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies (ages 12-18). Most recently, Beth completed the Wilderness Awareness Art of Mentoring Course in Washington. Beth began her Montessori journey in 1994 working with internationally respected Montessori authority and author, Paula Polk Lillard. Under her direction, Beth designed and implemented the Middle School Adolescent Program for Forest Bluff School, a program that continues today.
Through years of leadership, observation and study in the US and abroad, Beth firmly believes that an authentic Montessori environment in a natural setting allows children to construct themselves through meaningful work choices and thoughtful challenges. Having a background in Suzuki violin and the fine arts, Beth aims to bring music, movement, art and adventure to all subject areas. Beth recently returned with her husband and two sons from Nosara, Costa Rica where she taught in a bilingual Montessori school deep in the jungle.
Judith Mace – Lead Lower Elementary Guide
Judith received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. After undergraduate school she lived in Maracaibo, Venezuela and taught English as a Second Language to children ages 3 to 16 years old. Judith discovered her love for other cultures and for teaching children. She returned to the United States to continue her studies while working in a primary Montessori classroom as an assistant teacher and shadow for an autistic child. Judith was intrigued with the peaceful flow of the Montessori environment. She learned how to observe and to give lessons from her mentor teacher. While working at Undercroft Montessori School she taught an after school Spanish Club while attending graduate school at the University of Tulsa. Judith also studied abroad in Malaga, España and in Cuernavaca, Mexico. During graduate school Judith presented a research paper at an International Colloquium on Dr. Maria Montessori, Self-Esteem: The Building Block of the Adult. The prepared environment of the Montessori classroom gives the child the freedom to choose, to have independence to do a work as many times as he or she would like, and to discover a love for learning. Judith received a Master’s in Education with emphasis to teach foreign language. She has taught Spanish in public, private, Waldorf, and Montessori Education for the past 20 years. Judith completed her AMI training this past year and holds an AMI Montessori Diploma from the Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies in Albuquerque.
Lara Grace Prestinary – Lead Middle School Guide
Ms. Lara has studied and taught on three continents obtaining baccalaureate and masters degrees in education and Spanish. She has worked as an administrator, curriculum developer, and teacher in both public and private schools through the college level. She developed an avid love of the outdoors as a child which she has carried throughout her life and incorporates into her curriculum.
“I believe it is important to guide young people in gaining self-awareness and reliance, to spark natural curiosity, and to encourage collaboration and innovation while experiencing nature and their environment. Through engaging in experiential learning opportunities and serving others, children learn the necessary skills to become good global citizens.”
Marika Vazquez-Watt – Elementary Classroom Assistant Guide
Marika graduated from the Wilderness Awareness School in 2016 after completing the intensive adult Anake Outdoor School Program. She has lived and traveled throughout Ecuador while attending La Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador in Quito, studying the Spanish language. Her studies at the University of New Mexico have introduced her to a variety of subject areas. After the birth of her daughter in 2016, Marika’s passion for the outdoors and for working with children solidified. An adventurer and outdoor enthusiast at heart, she is excited to bring her knowledge and passion of the Natural World to Journey Montessori.
Marika joins us after working in a Montessori Primary classroom in Washington state. She has completed the Montessori Fundamental Training Course for the Early Childhood Classroom through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. Recently relocated back to her home state of New Mexico, Marika is excited to continue her studies of the Natural World and her studies of the Montessori Philosophy.
“Nature is not only beautiful and inspiring, there is an ancient wisdom that arises from Nature Connection. When someone can engage with Nature, realize their own place within the natural cycle and systems, it allows for growth of the entire person,
Lluvia Lozano – Lead Primary Guide
Lluvia studied Communication and Journalism at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and went on to complete the year-long AMI Primary Certification in Mexico City. Lluvia has worked in AMI schools for three years and moved to Santa Fe from Denver, Colorado where she led a classroom of 30 primary children. Currently, she is working toward her AMI Elementary Certificate during the summers in Mexico. Lluvia leads through example and loves knowing that “with every child I guide, I am changing the world.” In addition to working with children, Lluvia enjoys playing her cello, yoga, beekeeping, traveling and learning languages.
Hannah Pardee – Primary Assistant
Hannah is a recent graduate of Colorado College, where she received a BA in Anthropology. During her senior year at CC, she enjoyed working at a daycare. This experience led her to realize that she would like to continue working with children, particularly in Montessori schools. Hannah is also passionate about environmental justice, and she enjoys the outdoors, dance, and fiber arts.
Tej Gaytan Legorreta – Primary Guide, Spanish Language Teacher
Tej received her Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) Mexico City in 1981. She received her AMI Primary Guide certification from the Centro de Estudios de Educacion Montessori, A. C. in Mexico City in 1994. She has also completed training and certification in Reiki, Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga.
Her first experience working with Montessori education was at the Post Oak Montessori School in Bellaire, TX, supporting different classrooms from 0 to 12-year-old children. This work inspired her to obtain her AMI certification. Tej has over 16 years experience working in Montessori schools including six as a lead primary bilingual guide. She began with Journey as a Spanish guide in the elementary classroom.
“My son attended Post Oak Montessori from 1 1/2 years old until he was 12. That is how I started working assisting the classrooms and teaching Spanish, my son loved it and I did too. It was a priority to have him experience joy while learning, and be an adventure.”
Bob Jacobs – AMGA Certified Outdoor Guide