Juliet Holder - Grade 1/2

My name is Juliet Holder and I joined the first and second grade team at Armatage in the fall of 2013.

A Little About Me

I have completed 11 years of teaching in Montessori environments, with eight of those in first through third grade classrooms. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Religion from Gustavus Adolphus College, a Master of Arts in Elementary Education from St. Catherine University, and an AMS Montessori Certificate.

When I am not teaching, I love spending time with my family. My husband is from England and is also a Montessori teacher and consultant. We have two boys and two cats. Our oldest boy is seven years old and going into second grade and our youngest is three years old. As a family we enjoy playing outside, camping, and traveling to England to visit family.

What I Like About Montessori

I was drawn to teach Montessori education in large part because I loved the use of hands-on learning materials. Each subject area in the Montessori curriculum uses manipulatives to help teach and support understanding. These materials allow children to understand abstract concepts in concrete ways. Children, for example, learn the process of division by actually distributing quantities of beads instead of just solving equations on paper first. The materials are beautifully made. They appeal to the children, inviting them to engage in work. Many of the materials are “self-correcting,” enabling children to make discoveries and build confidence in working out solutions to problems. Finally, many of the materials have different levels of uses and challenges to them. The short chains, for example, are initially used for counting in the preschool level; in the younger elementary grades, they are used for learning multiplication facts; and in the upper elementary grades, they are used to study squares and square root. I believe I am fortunate to be able to teach children in such an engaging and enriching way with the Montessori materials.

My Favorite Lessons

One of my favorite subjects to teach is geometry. As a Montessori teacher, I try to give my students an introduction to geometry in a way that is fun, interactive, and understandable. I do this through the use of the Montessori manipulatives, art, storytelling, and plays. For example, students use wooden sticks to actually make obtuse, acute, and right angles; they may create their own booklets showing a variety of geometry nomenclature; they might draw colorful, abstract pictures of their name, with each letter being represented by a line, ray, or line segment; they may even create a play about how a person in Ancient Mesopotamia could have discovered “area” by measuring a farm field.

My hope is that I instill in children a basic understanding and ultimately a love of geometry so that when they enter their high school geometry class, they do so with excitement, confidence, and knowledge. When they open their textbooks and see a problem involving a two-dimensional angle, they can think back to the three-dimensional angles they made with the Montessori materials and do the problem with greater ease and understanding.

I look forward to meeting the families and students in my classroom. Thank you for your support and care that you give your child and the school. We are going to have a great year!