Donna’s Montessori Ministry

In Petaluma, California, Donna Curtis (IMS ‘06) has established an in-home Montessori school which she views as a “ministry”. Donna set up her Montessori Ministry because the normal business model involved too many regulatory obstacles from government. She says, “I am blessed in that I don’t need to earn money, so I call myself a ministry and do not charge tuition or have any fees. I serve ten families presently with several on a wait list.”

Donna’s program provides a three-hour Montessori classroom in the morning, which she directs. In the afternoons, the classroom is open for parents to use with their children on their own. With this format, Donna is able to help parents practice Montessori teaching with their children at home. She says, “… Again and again, the major obstacle between adult and child seems to be lack of communication due to limited use of proximity or eye contact…Parents can’t believe how simple is the solution…to approach the child and speak softly with eye contact. It is nothing more than speaking love and respect from the heart to the child.”

In her ministry, Donna has found parents receptive, kind and generous. She says, “The parents all are also determined to pay me in some way, and I told them not one dollar into my hands…So, they decided on their own to donate to a cash box that is used to support charities of their choice.”

Donna created one charity project as part of having the children participate in an outreach activity in the community. Dividing the children into groups, they would prepare and deliver a lunch to a family in need in the area. This project also included making cards and getting flowers and balloons to deliver with the lunch as well.

Through her ministry experiment, Donna has observed that “Normalized children are filled with love and kindness. I see it all the time…They hold hands going down the hall outside, they spontaneously join together in joyful work, they eat together, read together! These choices always occur after they have been working on their individual lessons.”

When Donna has to leave the area for an extended period of time, she allows the parents to use the classroom on their own. For this purpose, she leaves a key hidden for the children to open and close the space as they wish. Beyond the classroom, Donna also supports family home schooling in the community, offering her knowledge and skill of Montessori teaching. In this work, Donna reports she is very happy that she has found families embracing ‘true natural’ Montessori teaching.

For further information, contact: Donna Curtis, 441 Gossage Ave., Petaluma, CA 94952, (707) 762-6524;