Brian & Shawna Watkins
Founders & Owners
Head of School's Welcome
Thank you for your interest in our school. I am pleased to be the founder, owner, and Head of School at Peaceful Pathways Montessori Academy.
My husband and I are excited to live in the community of Yorkville. We met and grew up in this community and had the privilege of raising our children here too. After graduating from Yorkville High School, I attended college and received my B.A. in secondary/middle school education at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. In 1994, I married my best friend Brian and returned to school to earn my Illinois state teaching license for K-12.
After several years of teaching in public schools, Brian and I made the decision that I would stay home, and we would start a family. When my daughters turned two and three years old, I was asked to work at a Montessori school at the church we attended. It was then that I fell in love with the Montessori philosophy for educating children. What I read and studied about Montessori changed the way I parented. I enjoyed watching my children grow and discover the world around them. At that time, I decided it was time to go back to school and get my Montessori teaching credentials. I hold two American Montessori Society certifications in Infant-Toddler Education and Montessori School Administration in addition to my K-12 Illinois teaching certificate.
It has been a pleasure moving back to Yorkville and following God's call to start an authentic Montessori program in this community. Over the years, I have watched how He has blessed our school and allows it to continuously grow. I am continually amazed by the support of the community and parents in our school. Observing the students and teachers as they are engage in their work daily is a blessing. I love seeing each student's smiling face and getting to know the families that live in Yorkville and the surrounding communities. We are making a difference to these students and the people that these students will touch as they grow older.
Please schedule a tour to find out what a Montessori education is. See the difference it can make for your child, your family, and our community.
Blessings to you and your family,
Founder & Head of School
Our School's History
Peaceful Pathways Montessori, Inc. was founded in August 2004 by Shawna and Brian Watkins. The Christian Montessori preschool and kindergarten was the beginning of Shawna’s larger dream of a preschool – elementary academy through grade 8. The school is owned and operated by Shawna and Brian Watkins and became a reality due largely to the generosity of friends and family who financially supported the start-up costs.
The school began as one classroom for 3-6 year olds and opened in February 2006 with just a few children. The following year a class of 24 children met in our single classroom. In the fall of 2007, P.P.M.A. added a primary class by renting a storefront location at the corner of Route 126 and Route 47 in Yorkville and a small elementary classroom of 9 students. By fall of 2008, three full classrooms were offered between the two locations serving 71 children.
In May 2009, a new building large enough to hold five classrooms was constructed and opened for the fall 2009 school year. A new toddler classroom offering a morning class and a parent-child class were added to our program offering during the fall of 2009. Another renovation occurred during the summer of 2011, which more than doubled the elementary classroom space and added an adolescent classroom that serves students ages 12-15. In January 2016, a new building was completed and houses our elementary classrooms.
During 2015 - 2017 Peaceful Pathways Montessori began an intensive self-study involving the school’s entire community - students, staff, faculty, administration, board members, and parents. This self-study was the first step in attaining full accreditation by the American Montessori Society.
During the accreditation process, every aspect of the school was examined and documented, including governance, curriculum, fiscal and personnel policies, facilities, health and safety practices, teacher preparation, and learner outcomes.
A thorough onsite peer visit was conducted at the end of the self-study period in October 2016. In addition to determining whether the school met AMS standards, the review team evaluated the school to see how well we are achieving our mission and goals and that what we say is what we do.
In March 2017, we were granted our full accreditation from the American Montessori Society.
Peaceful Pathways Montessori is a Christian Montessori school located on 6.5 acres along State Route 71 between the towns of Yorkville and Oswego. The school currently houses one toddler classroom, two primary classrooms, and an elementary classroom.