Elina Burdin – Owner
From My Family To Yours – A Letter From The Owner
Since the age of three, playing with my dolls and pretending to be a teacher, I knew that I wanted to have a career in childcare. I spent every summer of my childhood with my grandma at her camp job and grew up in the childcare environment. As a teenager, I myself worked in a summer camp and a day care center. At the age of 20, I moved to America from my home country of Latvia. I moved here with my family, a single suitcase and no money in my pocket. I was quickly forced into a part time job to support my family, putting a higher education on hold. I applied to New York University and thankfully got accepted, however, people around me stressed that a career in childcare or education was unrealistic and would not give me a good life. I was pushed away from the industry I was passionate about and into a different one. I worked, managed a company for nearly 10 years, got married and had two children. Because I didn’t truly have a passion for my job, I made my focus raising my kids. In my heart, I didn’t love my job and I knew I couldn’t continue in the same manner as I had so I decided to leave my job and finally pursue childcare and my true calling.
I had vaguely heard of the Montessori Method but it wasn’t truly on my radar and as a busy parent I didn’t have time to figure out its benefits. However, when I began to get complaints of my son’s behavior in class, I knew something had to change and public education just wasn’t working. I rediscovered Montessori education and quickly realized it was perfect for my son. Montessori advocates for each child to learn at an individual pace and follow their interests while still learning everything necessary to advance. Each child then begins the day with a desire to learn and learning becomes something that each child looks forward to rather than dreads. My son began Montessori at the age of 7 and has remained in the Montessori environment till this day.
Upon doing my research for my son, I became a strong believer of, and a passionate advocate for, the Montessori Method. My dissatisfaction with the public education system, paired with my love for childcare, made me decide to dedicate the rest of my life and career to it. I have made my life’s goal to make a difference in the lives of children with the Montessori Method and through it to better our community and help each child grow to love education.
Welcome to our Family!
Adele – Head Teacher
Adele Szczecina is a trained Montessori teacher specializing in kids from age three to nine. She is also a NJ state certified teacher. She fell in love with the Montessori philosophy over 18 years ago when she co-taught a group of twenty four, first, second and third graders in a traditional Montessori classroom. She worked to create lesson plans, organize parent teacher conferences, plays, family events, luncheons, and kick started a parent volunteer program. She also spearheaded the organization of both in and out of state class trips. Additionally, she created a cooking and physical education program to further enrich the Montessori classroom. Adele also ran the after school program at the Arc of Somerset. Furthermore, Adele spent several years working with eight students with different learning disabilities. She organized various sensory learning activities as well as fun outdoor activities and various excursions. Adele has a strong work ethic, loves teaching and is an integral part of our STEM Montessori Academy family.
Marzena – Montessori Teacher
“Now, what really makes a teacher is love for the human child; for it is love that transforms the social duty of the educator into the higher consciousness of a mission.” — Maria Montessori
Marzena’s role model as a teacher was her own mother, an exact exemplar of Dr. Montessori idea of an educator, who has now a network of old students, keeping in touch with her, returning love, and showing gratitude.
Growing up, Marzena knew the challenges and rewards of pursuing a teaching career; from young age, she cherished the idea of becoming a teacher herself. She acquired a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree in German language, literature, and education. She received an education and teacher training at the university in Poland and holds a license for teaching in public school system on all levels from pre-kindergarten to high school. Translating and Interpreting was another field of concentration, and Marzena was also certified as a sworn translator and interpreter by the Justice Department of Poland.
After college, she started teaching the German language in a public high school and opened her own language school, where she taught German and English to various age groups from preschoolers to adults. Subsequently, she taught German and English in kindergarten und elementary school classrooms in Polish public schools.
Marzena’s fascination with Montessori’s philosophy and method of education started many years ago and developed into passion when she became a mother to twins. She educated her children at home from early childhood throughout high school, following Dr. Montessori’s philosophy und using Montessori materials and methodology. She was amazed how her children thrived and loved learning, growing up into well-balanced, self-motivated, thinking and intelligent individuals. After being home educated throughout high school, they enter the fourth plane of development described by Maria Montessori, also known as the plane of maturity and adulthood, and are leaving home this fall to pursue studies at the universities of their choice. As Montessori children, each of them is ready and excited “to make a triumphal entry into social life – not entering it debilitated, isolated, or humiliated, but with head high, assured of himself.” (Montessori, 1962)
We can give that priceless gift to every child by taking the Montessori approach to raising and educating our children.
Pam – Art teacher
Ms. Pam has two NJ teaching certifications, one for elementary education and the other for art education. She did her student teaching for elementary school general subjects in a second grade classroom and worked as a personal aide in a kindergarten classroom before taking her first teaching position. She loves seeing how children’s artwork reflects their development and enjoys creating art opportunities for kids of all ages, including most recently twelve years teaching art for a pre-k through 12th grade special services school district, an experience she called art-on-a-cart-in-a-car because she drove to classrooms in multiple buildings every day with her supplies in bags and boxes and a wheelie cart in her car. She is happy to work in an actual art room now and to nurture and share the children’s excitement and sense of accomplishment as they draw and paint and make things there.
Lynne – Infant/Toddler teacher
Lynne comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience as a toddler teacher. She has a degree in early childhood education and has worked with all ages. She is CPR and First Aid certified.
Lynne is passionate about creating positive learning experience for children. She devotes her free time to changing the environment to create new challenges for children. She is energized by S.T.E.A.M program she is able to offer to very young children. Lynne considers herself a mentor and finds passion in being able to help set the strong foundation for the leaders of tomorrow.
Karen – Infant teacher
Karen comes to us with a wealth of experience in an early childhood education. She has a degree in early childhood education and is our infant teacher who supports the infants’ strengths and helps to develop the skills they need to master. She recognizes how important and formative these ages are for children and believes that a strong education at this age can set a child up for future success in whatever path they choose. Patience, kindness and love are qualities Karen exudes naturally.