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.
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.”
Arlette Vollrath – Primary Program Mentor and Administrative Assistant
Arlette serves as mentor for the primary program and provides administrative support for the school. She earned the AMI primary diploma (ages 2.5 to 6) from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee and the AMI Orientation to Adolescent Studies (ages 12 to 18) at the Hershey Montessori School in Ohio. She holds a Master of Arts in Art Therapy from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Secondary Art Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Arlette discovered her passion for Montessori education in 2005 and is continually inspired by the children she works with. She has created, revivified, and grown Montessori primary classrooms in Illinois, California, and Russia, and she created a Montessori adolescent program in Santa Monica, California. She has also mentored student teachers and trained classroom assistants. Prior to discovering Montessori education, Arlette founded and ran a community art therapy studio in Oak Park, Illinois, where she provided open studio/creative process as therapy for groups and individuals, developed an arts program for children and families through the park district of Oak Park, ran an art therapy program for the local branch of National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), conducted a therapeutic arts program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and provided a creative arts summer program for adolescents. Prior to creating her art therapy studio, she worked as a board-certified art therapist and licensed professional counselor on the children’s and adolescent girls’ wards at a private psychiatric hospital in Illinois.
Arlette enjoys hiking, camping, cycling, and reading, and is an RYT-200 and Level 2 Kundalini Yoga instructor.
Tej Gaytan Legorreta – Spanish Language Teacher, Elementary Assistant.
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.”
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.
Bob Jacobs – AMGA Certified Outdoor Guide