HEADSTART MONTESSORI PROGRAM

  • Head Start is an early childhood (ages 3-5) education program funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program encompases not just the child’s classroom experience, but their whole self, assisting their social, emotional, cognitive and physical well-being. Head Start knows that each student comes to MSE with varying backgrounds, family dynamics and resources. Its child-focused approach includes working closely with families, helping caregivers identify their own strengths, needs and interests, ultimately improving the education and quality of life for MSE children. 

  • Head Start’s programming is grounded in the following beliefs:

  • Young children are innately curious. Their zest for learning is grounded in an elemental desire to understand themselves, their community, and the world at large. 

  • A teamwork-oriented staff and a supportive learning environment provide optimal learning for children and adults alike.

  • An interconnected network of community care, education and services is necessary to adequately scaffold student development. 

  • Head Start at the Montessori School of Englewood touches each family member of the students it serves. Children will develop the necessary social, emotional and academic skills to succeed in kindergarten and beyond, while caregivers can hone their ability to advocate for themselves and their families. With an extra boost from Head Start, students and family members alike can realize their fullest potential as self-reliant individuals, with the confidence to be the architects of their futures. 

  • For more information on the Head Start program at the Montessori School of Englewood, please contact our site director, Samara Akins: sakins@tmsoe.org

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

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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

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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. 

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McCall Long
Teacher Assistant
Owen Monroe
Teacher
  • 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.

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

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  • 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.