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A Visit from Marta Donahoe

A Visit from Marta Donahoe By Heather Gray   Teacher preparation, training, accreditation and continued professional development for the educator are at the foundation of

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It is a great pleasure to be joining the Walnut Farm Staff full time this semester as Head of School. I am grateful to the Walnut Farm Board of Directors, as well as the amazing faculty and staff of Walnut Farm for offering me the opportunity to work with all of you.

Twenty-six years ago I visited a Montessori school for the first time; I’d never heard of Montessori and was curious about the education my much younger brother and sister were receiving. I remember settling into the observation room and watching the morning unfold in front of me. The three to six year-old children in the classroom were treated with care and respect, and responded in turn, calmly moving throughout the classroom and choosing work with concentration, coordination, confidence, independence and order. I was moved by the peaceful, purposeful classroom, and I enrolled in a 3-6 teacher accreditation program not long after this observation.

In addition to my Primary Montessori Credential, over the years I obtained a Masters Degree in Child Development and Education, and an Administrative Credential from the Seton Montessori Institute in Chicago. I also audited the 6-9 Elementary Montessori Training and portions of the Montessori Secondary Training; I am passionate about Montessori across all levels. I have worked as a Montessori 3-6 teacher, a toddler teacher, a mentor teacher and assistant professor at a college laboratory school, a consultant for San Francisco Public Schools, owned and operated a 3-6 program and, most recently, was a head of school at a school in Ohio that served toddlers-8 th grade. My husband John, who is a furniture designer, was recruited to Northwest Arkansas in 2016, and we love living in this part of the country with our daughters, Fiona and Amaya. We also live with a cat, hedgehog, rabbit and 6 chickens. Since Amaya began at Walnut Farm in the fall, our family has been embraced by this kind community. I am grateful for the welcome from all of you, and am so impressed by and pleased with the professionalism, grace and dedication of the faculty and staff. I truly believe that Walnut Farm is the finest example of authentic Montessori Education in the state of Arkansas, and, indeed, one of the finest schools I’ve had the honor of visiting over the past 26 years. I look forward to getting to know you and your children and supporting the excellent education and care they experience here at Walnut Farm.

Kind regards,

Heather Gray
Head of School
Walnut Farm Montessori School

The nationally accredited Walnut Farm Montessori School provides a Montessori education honoring community and individuality by promoting peace, and empowering children for life-long learning.