Stories of Discovery

North Star teaches independence

Categories: Faculty insight
Date posted: November 3, 2010

As appeared in the North Shore News, November 3, 2010 edition

As head of school of North Star Montessori, Tiffany Howard is driven by a passion for children, for families, for the Montessori method, and one may even go so far as to say, world peace!

With over a decade of experience, Howard is a gifted teacher and leader who can make any child she encounters feel well understood. She models leadership and respect for children in her frequent exchanges with parents, whether it is celebrating a child’s progress or emphatically working with them on issues. She is approachable, friendly and a consummate professional at all times.

Howard’s training and expertise in choice theory, a powerful model for understanding human behaviour and applying personal freedom in learning, is ideally suited with the Montessori approach. Tiffany loves seeing the way Montessori philosophy and choice theory work together to help to inspire independence and build critical thinking skills in children. “The goal is to inspire them to work because they want to and choose to. This sets them up for taking responsibility for their work and their success.”

Howard holds an approach at North Star which emphasizes non-coercive practices; where students collaborate to create negotiable and non-negotiable aspects of school and classroom rules. She holds each person responsible for their own choices, which in tandem with the multi-age groupings of the Montessori method, helps to form a socially cohesive group. At North Star, there is effective collaboration between students and teachers because they communicate with mutual respect and trust.

In 2010, to account for the growth of the school, Howard’s duties shifted primarily to those of head of school. In addition to being a key advisor to the board of directors and directing on the growth of the school, she is a supportive leader to staff and faculty, manages human resources issues, heads the marketing and fundraising teams and always makes time to talk with parents. Within all these responsibilities, the relationship she has with the children remains important to her. She accompanies children on small group “going-outs” where the children actively learn while in the community, leads the school’s running club and does small group or one-to-one support where needed.

Personal passion connects directly to professional passion which is why Howard enjoys her job so much. “I choose to work with children and families because I love seeing the results. By providing an environment that is optimal for growth, exploration and learning, children have an opportunity to develop into responsible and contributing citizens of the future. I believe it is the most effective way to build a peaceful world!

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