What is Montessori?
Montessori is a comprehensive educational approach from birth to adulthood based on the observation of children's needs in a variety of cultures all around the world.
Beginning her work more than a century ago, Dr. Maria Montessori developed this educational approach based on her understanding and observation of children's natural learning tendencies as they unfold in prepared environments for multi-age groups (0-3, 3-6, 6-12, and 12-18).
The Montessori environment contains specially designed, manipulative materials that invite children to engage in learning activities of their own individual choice. Under the guidance of a trained teacher, children in a Montessori classroom learn by making discoveries with the materials, cultivating concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.
Today, Montessori schools are found worldwide, serving children from birth through adolescence. In the United States, there are more than 4,000 private Montessori schools and close to 200 public schools with Montessori programs.
Dr. Maria Montessori
Brian & Shawna Watkins
Founders & Owners
Head of School's Welcome
Dear Prospective Families and friends of Peaceful Pathways,
Thank you for your interest in our school. I am pleased to be the owner and Head of School at Peaceful Pathways Academy.
My husband and I are excited to live in the community of Yorkville. We met and grew up together in this community and are pleased to be raising our own children here too. After graduating from Yorkville High School, I went to 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 went back to school to earn my Illinois state teaching license for K-12.
After several years of teaching in the public schools, Brian and I made the decision that I would stay home and we would start a family. About the time 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. I found that what I read and studied about Montessori changed the way I parented. I really enjoyed watching my children grow and discover the world around them. It was at that time that I decided it was time to go back to school and get my Montessori teaching credentials. I now hold two A.M.S. certifications in Infant-Toddler Education and in Montessori School Administration along with 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 had it continuously grow. I am continually amazed by the support of the community and parents in our school. I love seeing each student's smiling face and getting to know the families that live in Yorkville and the surrounding communities. I know that we are making a difference to these students and the people that these students will touch as they grow older. Observing the students and teachers as they are engaged in their work each day is such a blessing.
I encourage you to call our school to set up a time for a tour and find out what a Montessori education is. Come see the difference it can make for your child, your family, and our community.
Blessings to you and your family,
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 in large part 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 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 an additional primary class by renting a store front location at the corner of Route126 and Route 47 in Yorkville as well as a small elementary classroom of 9 students. By Fall 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 Fall 2009. Another renovation took place 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 now 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.
At the end of the self-study period in October 2016, a thorough onsite peer visit was conducted. In addition to determining whether the school mets 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 that is located on 7 acres along State Route 71 between the towns of Yorkville and Oswego. The school currently houses one toddler classroom, two primary classrooms, two elementary classrooms and one adolescent classroom.