The teachers at Prairieland Montessori help children explore the classroom materials, discover new activities and pose questions to jump start the learning process.  We periodically assess each child’s progress using standard criteria to ensure they are getting the full experience from the program.

Lincoln Ave Campus

Margaret Ridgway, Director

Margaret graduated from Western Michigan University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Art Education. She obtained an Early Childhood Credential from the American Montessori Society while studying at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, Illinois. Prior to working as a Director, Margaret worked as Assistant Director and Lead Teacher for children ages 3 to 6.

Margaret has continued her passion for child development and Montessori education as Director at Prairieland’s Lincoln Ave location.  She is enthusiastic to foster a school community that supports independent learning and self-discover, and engages children through the ideals and practices set forth by Maria Montessori.

Jill V., Lead 3-6 Classroom

Ms. Jill has been a Montessori directress for children ages 3-6 since 2001 and earned her Montessori certification after studying at MMTTC in Evanston.  The respect for all living things, including ourselves, allowing a child to blossom with an independent approach, the mixed ages in a room, and the curious mind of a 3-6 year old are just a few reasons Jill enjoys being a directress.

Jill began her Montessori  journey at Montessori Connection in Highland Park for thirteen years, spent two years at Chairavalle in Evanston, and then  was at Niles North High School where she taught a 3-6 class while teaching high school students the Montessori philosophy. Jill is now looking forward to being a part of your child’s learning experience at Prairieland Montessori starting this fall.

Kristina C., Lead 3-6 Classroom

Kristina has her AMS Early Childhood Certificate through Seton Montessori Institute. After moving from the rural town of Braidwood, Illinois, she came to Chicago and graduated from DePaul University with a BA in psychology. Becoming an aunt at age six and observing the development of her now eleven nieces and nephews has made her appreciate seeing the world through children’s eyes.

Prior to teaching in the Prairie Dog classroom, she was a Jumpstart Corps Member in Chicago, volunteer at Casa Infantil de los Ángeles in Mexico, and worked at Prairieland Montessori as a Toddler Assistant and Primary Assistant. She holds a TEFL Certificate and has taken Child and Family Yoga Training. She is excited to nurture children in all areas of development and create a beautiful environment for them to grow.

Kristina loves learning and hopes to inspire this in the children she works with as well. Most recently, she learned how to bake bread, change a bike tire, and care for the Prairie Dog class pets — hermit crabs! She also enjoys learning languages, listening to music from around the world, doing creative projects at home, and being in nature.

Emily C., Lead 3-6 Classroom

Emily, our Cottontail directress, has competed her 3-6 education at Seton Montessori. Emily was raised in the mountains of New Mexico and received a BA in studio art from Sweet Briar College in Virginia.  Always fascinated by the way a young mind develops, Emily chose to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a teacher.

She obtained a Master’s in Teaching from National Louis University and taught first grade. Emily had always been intrigued by Maria Montessori and her philosophy and decided she wanted to experience it for herself. That journey happily led her to Prairieland.

Emily spends her free time making art, organic gardening, and traveling. She also enjoys DIY-ing with her husband in their historic home. Their household includes two cats and a dog.

School St. Campus

Holly Scholz, Executive Director

Holly founded Prairieland Montessori to share her passion for early childhood education.  Her son attended a Montessori school during his early years, and she saw how positively impacted he was by his experience.  After growing up in a family preschool environment, Holly knew that a Montessori preschool was the perfect calling for her.

Holly holds an MBA from DePaul University, and training for the Infant-Toddler 0-3 AMS certification at Montessori of Alameda.  She has also taken the full program of Early Childhood Education classes at Oakton Community College.

Janie C., Lead Toddler/Pre-Primary Classroom

Janie earned a Bachelors in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Southeast Missouri State University, and received her Early Childhood Certificate from Harry S Truman in Chicago.  She completed the Montessori Paraprofessional program at Seton Montessori.  She has completed the Infant-Toddler 0-3 AMS training program through the Mid-America Montessori Teacher Training Institute.

Janie believes that children are scientists and explorers from birth, and only need the freedom to learn and nurturing adults who respond to each unique personality. She knows the importance of relationships to infants and toddlers, and understands how much brain activity is influenced by early childhood caregivers.  In her spare time, Janie loves  reading books, listening to music and cooking.

Katie S., Lead Toddler/Pre-Primary Classroom

Katie attended Purdue University for early childhood education. She has been involved in the Montessori world for 6+ years. Katie started teaching at a home daycare that used the Montessori method where her daughter attended. Later, Katie took a position  at Prairieland as an assistant for infants and toddlers. She attended Seton Montessori for her AMS Primary training program and transferred to Lincoln Avenue for her practicum. Katie took over in the Monarch pre-primary room where she brings her toddler and primary experience to work with the multi-age children in the classroom. She loves working with the children each and everyday, and values their thirst for learning! 

Tasha H. – Lead Infant Classroom

Tasha brings several years of infant experience to her role in the Infant classroom. She has a calm, caring manner with the babies, and loves to help them grow and develop!  Tasha attended Seton Montessori Institute for her Infant-Toddler 0-3 AMS Montessori Assistant certificate, and has a number of college courses in Early Childhood Education.

Wicker Park Campus

Allison V. – Director

Allison has loved being a Montessori Educator since 2003.  Having been a Teacher’s Assistant, Lead Teacher, Administrator, Adult Montessori Teacher Trainer and parent to two children enrolled in Montessori schools; she has a passion for studying child development and introducing families to the wonders of the Montessori Method.

Allison graduated from Boston University with a BFA in Theatre Studies and a M.Ed from Roosevelt University in Elementary Education.  She earned certification from the American Montessori Society for 3-6 (Early Childhood) and 6-9 (Elementary I). She also has an administration certification from Roosevelt University (Type 75) that prepared her for her role as Director at Prairieland Montessori School.

She loves to learn about Chicago history, architecture and costume design.  As the daughter of Deaf parents, Allison is fluent in American Sign Language and will incorporate a curriculum of sign language into the Wicker Park classrooms.

Bridgid P., Lead 3-6 Classroom

Bridgid has been teaching for over fifteen years.  She has a degree in Theatre and a deep love for the arts, which she integrates into her classroom through puppets, creative movement, and artist studies. Bridgid writes plays and had one produced recently. She  has graduate work completed in Early Childhood Education and received her Montessori teaching certificate from Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center.

Bridgid has a deep commitment toward Peace Education and helping instill skills in children to  self calm, problem solve, and handle  conflict resolution respectfully.

Bridgid has a 12 year old son who also shares her love for theatre and he is interested in robotics.  The two have grand adventures in the city trying new food, going to museums, and finding the perfect rock at the lake.

Jennifer C. – Lead Toddler/Pre-Primary Classroom


Leslie D. – Lead Infant Classroom

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