HEADSTART MONTESSORI PROGRAM

Head Start is a comprehensive child development program serving children ages 3 to 5 years old. Our child-focused approach assists in developing the whole child, focusing on the interrelatedness of young children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical wellbeing of our students.

We understand that young children develop in the context of family and community. Parents are children’s primary educators, so MSE helps parents identify their strengths, needs, and interests and help them create solutions to improve the quality of life and their children.

Our work with children and families is rooted in our belief that:

  • Young children have an innate zest for learning grounded in the desire to understand themselves, their community, and the larger world they live in. 

  •  A supportive learning environment where well-trained staff works effectively as a team to provide optimal learning for children and adults.

  • Head Start provides a strong network of community care, education, and services that allow for stable, uninterrupted-support that provides the scaffolding needed for families’ full development.

With the Performance Standard as our guide, The Montessori School of Englewood impacts the lives of all family members they serve.  All children in our program will develop the necessary social and academic skills to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. Parents and caregivers will take advantage of program services to support their development into well-informed, self-sufficient society members who can advocate for themselves and their children.  But most importantly, as educated, self-reliant individuals, both children and adults will realize their fullest potential and become primary architects of their futures. 

Samara Akins
Head Start Site Director
  • Education and Career Background: I have been working in Early Childhood for 27 years. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education and my Illinois Director's Credentials from National Louis University. 

  • Approach to Learning and Teaching: My goal is to empower students to be life-long learners with the skills and knowledge to be successful.

  • Hobbies/Interests: Shopping

Vicki Bowens
Data Coordinator
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LaToya Williamson
ERSEA/Family Services
  • Education and Career Background: MEd Early Childhood Education, 12 years of teaching experience

  • Approach to Learning and Teaching: Cognitive and Play-Based Approach Philosophies 

  • Hobbies/Interests: Shopping and reading

Tanya Williamson Disabilities/Family Services
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Cynthia Estes
Teacher Assistant
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Ethel Nelson
Teacher
  • Education and Career Background: Bachelors of Arts Degree and thirty years in the field of Early Childhood education 

  • Approach to Learning and Teaching: Meeting the student’s social, emotional, and developmental needs by being present mentally and physically when creating a healthy learning environment.

  • Hobbies/Interests: Yoga, Reading, Jazz Music

Yolanda Jackson
Teacher Assistant
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Tawana Rush
Teacher
  • Education and Career Background: I have been working in the education field for almost 20 years, 6 of those in a Montessori setting.  I have an Associates’ degree in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Behavioral Science.

  • Approach to Learning and Teaching: My teaching approach is meeting each child on his/her level and making sure they progress. I like to experiment with different learning techniques and strategies. The most important goal I have with my students is building a great rapport with the family so that we can teach the child together.

  • Hobbies/Interests: My hobbies and interests are traveling the world, listening to music, and spending time with my family and friends. 

McCall Long
Teacher Assistant
  • Education and Career Background: I have a Bachelors in Science with a concentration in Biology. I have worked in Early Childhood Education for three years.

  • Approach to Learning and Teaching: 

  • Hobbies/Interests: I love to bowl, skate, and spend quality time with my two children.

Jacqueline Lee
Head Start Aide
  • Education and Career Background: Certification: Paraprofessional, B.A., A.A.

  • Approach to Learning and Teaching: Patience with Guidance 

  • Hobbies/Interests: Reading

Karen Johnson
Head Start Aide
  • Education and Career Background: High School Graduate & Legal Secretary Diploma Administrative Assistant

  • Approach to Learning and Teaching: To support the students in their learning.

  • Hobbies/Interests: Reading and shopping

Owen Monroe
Teacher
  • Education and Career Background: I have my Bachelor's Degree from Columbia University and am currently working on my Master's Degree in teaching from National Louis University. I have a background in the non-profit space for both arts and education and a corps member with the Teach For America organization. 

  • Approach to Learning and Teaching: My goal every day is to facilitate learning and serve my students while building strong relationships with each child. It is important for me to teach the whole child, meet my students where they are, and help guide their development in academic, cognitive, and social-emotional skills. I aim to create a fun, safe environment where each unique individual child is cared for and respected within a strong learning community. 

  • Hobbies/Interests: I really love art, and going to art museums is one of my favorite activities. I also love to read. I am a big fan of basketball and like to watch the sport and play with friends. On top of that, I have recently taught myself how to skateboard, which is something I enjoyed this summer especially.

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