I’m Denise Marti and I am the Head of School and founder of Providence: A Christian Montessori Community. I’m also a current board member of Christian School Management, an organization that helps Christian schools flourish.
Our long term vision for Providence is to be a model of excellence in Christian Montessori Communities, worldwide, serving infants through adults to prepare them to fulfill God’s calling on their lives. We have a sister school in Kenya, Africa where, with the help of local leaders, we helped transform a school in an informal settlement in Nairobi in 2016.
After graduating from undergraduate with a Bachelors in English and Theater at Hartwick College in New York State, I relocated to North Carolina and worked at Elon Homes for Children. I spent nearly a decade teaching in a traditional setting while at the same time continuing my education and getting a Master’s in Special Education at Elon University.
Although I loved the brain research we studied in school, I was frustrated that the practice of education did not line up with this valuable information. I knew there had to be a better way to learn. I began my quest for the perfect educational model while in graduate school. After visiting many schools and programs, I was most impressed by the visit I had to Greensboro Montessori. I had taken some of my struggling middle school students to come with me on this visit.
One of my students, who had a child at 13 and lived in a group home, looked at me when we left the Montessori school and said to me, “I want my daughter to go to a school like this.” I was floored. This young lady did not like school. It was a constant reminder of how she was far behind her peers in academic skills, yet, she had the insight to know THIS place was different. This place was a good place to learn. Whether one knew the brain research or not – one could not deny the power of this kind of learning.
When my oldest daughter was four, in 2006, I started to realize a traditional school did not feel right for our family. The words of that child from years earlier came back to me and I came to Montessori, as administrator, teacher, and parent.
I wasn’t surprised about feeling comfortable in the Montessori setting. The emphasis on hands-on learning and development of the whole child has always resonated. What was shocking was:
- How much more enjoyable and easier my job was. Academically, children learn so much more quickly in a multi-age classroom where children are at liberty to learn from one another. And,
- The kind of student Montessori produces. I constantly see children grow and develop in ways I was never able to help them with in a traditional setting. Our students are happy, curious, confident, kind, and capable, life-long learners by the time they leave our program.
I count my blessings everyday that we discovered Montessori- for our children and for my personal growth as an educator and parent.