My name is Christine Ulrich. I am a Montessori Education major in the 6-9 program class of 2013. I grew up in the rural town of Borden, Indiana where I lived with my parents, Paul and Donna, and my older brother Ryan. My mother went through a series of trials with both the public and private schools in our vicinity in regards to both the education of my brother and myself. Eventually she decided it would be more productive if she homeschooled us both. I was then homeschooled till the time I was in eighth grade at which time I was enrolled in a private Latin school in Louisville, KY. I learned a lot from that experience but yearned for the social aspects of going to a larger school. I then transferred to Providence Catholic high school for the last three years of my high school education.
Through these various educational venues I began fervently looking for the best educational methods of teaching. I then discovered that Xavier’s Montessori lab school offered exactly what I believed to be the ideal education, that being the Montessori Method. This method combines all of the wonderful aspects of a homeschool education, peace, close-knit community, independence and the ability to progress at your own rate, with the important aspects of a traditional school, social interactions, adaptation and assimilation, and a multitude of resources – books, materials etc. It was through my experiences that I have become such a passionate advocate of the Montessori philosophy.
While at Xavier, I have had the privilege of volunteering at many local schools including North Avondale Montessori, Dater Montessori, Kilgour Elementary, Pleasant Ridge Montessori, and am currently student teaching at Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori at which I have gotten to work with a very diverse group of children. I learned innumerous things from these children but what stuck out the most was that the children typically causing the disturbances and frustrations in the classroom were those that were undergoing stress from a death or a divorce in the family or the loss of a home. These children had a much harder time concentrating and adapting to the classroom and working with them was a lot less productive, therefore they appeared to be acting out or getting off task and were usually penalized for these actions.
My goal through this research project is that I will discover ways in which I can get children who have been through a traumatic event back into the classroom as efficiently as possible in order to return them to a state of peace and confidence, in Montessori’s words, to a state of “normalization.” Once in S. Africa, I plan on living in an orphanage and visiting multiple schools throughout the region in order to immerse myself in this project. I will video blog throughout my progress and hopefully be able to affect this transition process in schools not only in S. Africa but also back here at home.