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.
Kylene M., Lead 3-6 Classroom
Kylene grew up in Skokie and graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in cinema and photography. Her first job out of school was as an assistant teacher at Chiaravalle Montessori in Evanston. She later taught at area play-based schools, but soon realized Montessori education was her true passion. She studied at Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston and received her Early Childhood Credential from the American Montessori Society. Kylene has also taught at Rogers Park Montessori in Chicago and Ronald Knox Montessori in Wilmette. She loves to read aloud and incorporate storytelling into the classroom.
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.
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
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.
Katie grew up in a Montessori home. The daughter of a Montessori teacher, she saw firsthand how the method encouraged independence, fostered a love for nature, and taught grace and courtesy. She has always loved learning and working with young children. She knew from an early age that she wanted to be a Montessori educator.
Katie graduated from Purdue University with a BA in Elementary Education and a Reading Specialist certification. Minoring in Global Studies, she has enjoyed traveling around the world and learning about different people, places, and things. She loves sharing her experiences abroad with her students in the classroom. Katie received her training and certification from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. She has spent the last seven years as a lead primary teacher at Rousseau McClellan Elementary, a public Montessori school in Indianapolis.
Katie recently moved to Wicker Park and is excited to continue her Montessori journey as a member of the Prairieland family!
Maeghan B. – Lead Toddler/Pre-Primary Classroom
Maeghan graduated from Northern Illinois University with her Bachelor of the Arts in Art, specializing in photography and illustration. Her interest in art stems from a love of life long learning and genuine interest in how others perceive the world. Maeghan has taken several courses in developmental psychology and childhood psychology. Maeghan worked with K-5th grade children with the YMCA of McHenry County in their before and after school program as well as summer camp. She was the Lead Toddler Teacher for a year with Children’s Home + Aid in Carpentersville, Illinois where she was exposed to Head Start curriculum. Maeghan had the opportunity to teach at Buffalo Grove Montessori School in their Toddler room and fell in love with the Montessori environment and found that it suited her teaching philosophy perfectly and intends to pursue her 0-3 Montessori certificate. Other than art Maeghan enjoys filling her free time eating new foods with friends, hiking in forest preserves and the occasional video game.
Delia C. – Lead Infant Classroom
I double majored in Journalism and Computer Science in my native country of Romania, but it was the moment when I stepped for the first time in a Montessori School that I realized this environment would fit me best as a career. This was back in 2008 when I was hired to work as a Teacher Assistant at Montessori Academy of Chicago, a private pre-school in West Loop Chicago, and I have been following my calling ever since.
After seven years there, I decided it was time for me to enrich my knowledge about the Montessori Philosophy. Therefore, I had enrolled and completed my Montessori Infant-Toddler Course at Seton Montessori Institute in the summer of 2015 and got my certification the following year.
My work experience also includes working as Two’s Directress at Children’s Learning World Montessori at Niles North high school in Skokie, being a Lead Teacher in the Infant Class at Wee Care Preschool, in home care and volunteering by helping families in low income neighborhoods. By caring for children of different ages, I was able to see the results of the positive discipline at different age levels.
Working in a Montessori environment gave me a better view and understanding of Dr. Maria Montessori’s educational approach. It helped me value the importance of this teaching philosophy, which works so effectively across age groups and cultural backgrounds, and also helped me to grow as a person. My goal is to enhance the development of the child –physical, social, cognitive, emotional.
Prairieland Montessori – Copyright 2013-2018