The Willow Room
Stacy Finnigan - Lead Directress
Stacy joined Magnolia in 2020 as the Lead Directress in the Willow Room. Her fascination with the Montessori method began when she realized that every aspect of the environment is intrinsically and deeply respectful of the child as an individual. In her time as a toddler assistant and as a lead, this sincere respect offered to the children continues to be the most effective and rewarding means of educating the whole being of each child. Incorporating the knowledge she gained while completing her Counseling and Clinical Research degree, has enhanced her ability to make each interaction respectful, solution-focused, and meaningful.
The Montessorian phrase that most concisely captures the culture of the toddler classroom, in her view, is “freedom within limits.” When toddlers have the freedom of respectful relationships they are capable of accomplishing wondrous things. Classmates become family members, spontaneously offering help, comfort, and celebration. The typical angst of this developmental stage fades in a context where the child feels they have authentic agency and the love and trust of the adults. It is this love, trust, and respect which opens the mind and body to curiosity, courage, and control of self, which are in turn the basic aims of our classroom.
In the Willow room, we believe every day is a new adventure and new opportunities await. Not only do we want to teach our children to love learning but we want to see them become motivated and model skills to get to that next level.
Our goal is to teach our children to develop a passion and feel the power that comes from focus, communication, understanding one another and respect. Most of all to just always be kind. We offer many opportunities for Hands On learning and our focus is that of Maria Montessori’s; we need to encourage children to learn by letting them touch, feel and do.
Not only do we want our children to be as independent as possible, we thrive for them to be successful at what they do and negotiate life circumstances on their own. We help them understand what they are doing and what is occurring around them. We believe with the right support, children become more self-determined and self-directed. To achieve these goals, we observe what they are currently capable of doing, provide the right level of assistance, and then fade our support as rapidly as possible to achieve a more independent and self-aware child. The Willow Room is not only a classroom full of lively children but a community that assists one another and forms close bonds as well as substantial relationships. Because of our age span, it is important to us that we encourage each child to become a mentor and appreciate how valuable relationships can be.
The image and spirit of a Willow tree represents strength and stability. The trunks structure stands firm and can withstand the greatest of challenges. It’s a representation of balance, as well as learning, growth and harmony. Just like the tree, every child has an inner spirit and the Willow Room anticipates capturing that spirit and watching it grow.