April Powell is the Director of OakHaven Montessori School, Dardenne Prairie, Missouri. Set on four acres of scenic, park-like grounds, OakHaven Montessori School provides children with a refreshing alternative to traditional education. After teaching at a Montessori school for several years, April’s passion for Montessori and her supportive family led her to open OakHaven in 2008.
Interview by Stephen Thompson, Ph.D.
Welcome to OpenBeast. Tell us about yourself.
My journey into Montessori education began at age two and 1/2 as a student and has been blossoming ever since. I’ve been passionate about education all my life and started working with young children when I was sixteen. After receiving my B.A. from Webster University, I went on to do my post graduate work at the Montessori Training Center of St. Louis. I am now a certified Primary Directress (teacher) through the Association Montessori International (AMI).
I live in Lake St. Louis with my husband and ten month old daughter, who comes to work with me every day.
Talk to us about your OakHaven Montessori School.
OakHaven is the realization of my life’s dreams and goals. After studying Montessori education for many years, I could see very clearly what an enormous impact it has on children and couldn’t understand why it wasn’t more prevalent in our area. My family and I decided to do our part to change that.
At OakHaven we are very clear about our purpose. Our school community celebrates the individuality of each child while fostering interdependence with all of life. While adhering to the teachings of Maria Montessori, we create choices, open doors and provide a life education. In doing this we will change the world and help create peace.
Could you briefly tell us about your staff and their role on OakHaven’s continued success.
The staff at OakHaven is the reason we are so successful in what we do. Having the right people is essential in the success of any organization, but even more so when working with children. The OakHaven faculty is comprised of a magnificent variety of personalities, each of whom is completely dedicated to the children and families of our school. We have an extraordinary team of people doing phenomenal work. They create the magnificent spirit of OakHaven.
Describe your passion for the Montessori schooling model.
I’m not sure if I can find the words to accurately describe my passion for Montessori education. What is so inspiring to me about it is that it is so much more than what most people think of when we hear the word “education.” While Montessori absolutely provides the best possible academic education for children, it also gives them so much more, which is why I love it so much. The Montessori model is designed to allow children to develop themselves to their highest potential in all areas of life – academically, socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally. The result of this system is children who are (who also become adults who are) capable, confident and ready to succeed and make positive changes in the world. The goal of Montessori education is peace, and that can only be created in the world by reaching the children first.
What do you see ahead for OakHaven?
Many more successful OakHaven graduates, continued growth, continued impact and involvement in the community.
What’s the best part of your job?
Working with so many precious children and their families, with an unparalleled team of people by my side.
What are your leisure time activities?
Hiking, yoga, biking, walking, scrap-booking and spending time with my amazing daughter.
Dogs or cats?
Which do I like? both
Which do I have? neither
Which does the school have? neither
For more information about OakHaven Montessori School, visit www.oakhavenmontessori.net