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.  Kylene is very excited to join Prairieland Montessori and help your child develop a lifelong love of learning.

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, 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

Michele Cronch, Director

Michele has been working with children for 21 years.  She studied Early Childhood Education at Columbia College University and Montessori Education at Seton Montessori Institute. Michele started and ran a successful Montessori Home Daycare.  Michele has taught in both traditional educational programs abroad and Montessori Programs. Michele has worked with Pregnant and Parenting teenagers, teaching them childcare skills.  She spent many years volunteering in an orphanage that housed over 600 children.  Michele has taken part in teaching Infant Massage courses to expecting parents and has always had a passion for working in Early Childhood programs.

Kara P., Assistant Director and Lead 2-3 Classroom

Kara grew up on the east coat as a child of two teachers. Kara always knew she wanted to work in early childhood.  Even as a high school student,  she organized a volunteer program for her classmates to read aloud to local elementary classrooms.  While attending Boston University (B.A. Environmental Science), she worked as an outreach educator at the New England Aquarium.

Upon graduation,  Kara joined AmeriCorps as an Environmental Educator in the bay area of California.  It was an unbelievable opportunity to blend her two passions of education and the environment. Working with ages 4 through 16, Kara organized recycling programs, reuse art projects and organic gardening projects. These are skills she hopes to draw from in the Cottontail classroom.

Kara moved to Chicago almost 10 years ago to be closer to family and to pursue her Master’s in Early Childhood Education at Roosevelt University.  She worked as a nanny during that time. Kara completed her degree in 2009 and began working at a local Montessori school as the lead teacher in a toddler program.  Kara immediately fell in love with the Montessori philosophy.   She has been lucky enough to learn so much from her 5 years experience.  Kara attended Seton Montessori Institute for 0-3 AMS Montessori certification .

Jennifer P., Lead Toddler Classroom

Growing up in Chicago, Jennifer graduated from Northeastern University where she received her Bachelor’s degree. Jennifer has worked with a range of ages from infant to school age. Experienced with low-income and diverse children, Jennifer also volunteered in a teen parenting mentor program.

Jennifer offers a passionate Montessori educational approach that helps young children feel comfortable in a new environment as well as gain independence. She attended Seton Montessori Institute for her AMS Montessori certificate for 0-3.

Holly Scholz, Executive Director and Infant Lead

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 is currently attending Seton Montessori for her School Administrator Certification.  She has also taken the full program of Early Childhood Education classes at Oakton Community College and training in Infant-Toddler for her 0-3 AMS certification at Montessori of Alameda.

Prairieland Montessori – Copyright 2013-2017