Hello, my name is Julia Barrameda. I began my AMI Assistants to Infancy Training at MTCNE on-campus in 2019 and completed it online in 2020, guided by Dora Maria Vidales and our Trainer-in-Training, Toko Odorczuk.
Knowledge of Montessori came to me in stages. It started when my parents decided on Montessori for the education of their children. My mother went abroad and studied in AMI and brought it home to the Philippines. The school began with a small group of children in the countryside. Eventually, it started to grow and we also began to get older. This led my mother, followed by my father, to also study the other developmental planes and once again, bring it home. I am honored and grateful to say that I am where I am now because of the opportunity my parents and guides had given to me. It was during this time that Montessori, to me, was simply a kind of school I attended. Once I entered adolescence, I became aware of its social standing in society and realized that this opportunity was also a privilege that only some could afford.
Entering adulthood, I decided to pursue Montessori. This decision came after I took part in an educational outreach program to show children how to take care of their environment. I entered my AMI Primary training in St. Louis under the guidance of the late Dr. Annette Haines, which was eventually led by Dr. Larry Quade, and supported by the wonderful team of trainers in training in the Montessori Training Center of St. Louis. This was my first introduction and foundation to Montessori and its philosophy. It was during my first year as a Montessori guide that I was viewing it as more of a method of education.
It was only later, through experience, un-learning, and re-learning, that I began to have a deeper understanding of Montessori and education: that it was more than just a method we use to “teach” children what we want them to learn but rather, it is a process that the child goes through as he constructs himself in this world.
This understanding was aided by my training in the AMI Assistants to Infancy in Hartford, Connecticut. It was through this opportunity with the guidance of our trainers and discussions with peers, from the theories, the medical texts, to the neuropsychiatry lectures, that I learned how truly impactful the first years of life are, not just to their physical and psychological development, but also to the building of the human personality.
I also credit a lot of my learnings to the very young child. Before the pandemic occurred, I had the opportunity to work with a group of toddlers in an Infant Community environment. It is through this experience with them that deepened my understanding on observation and it’s importance in our work as guides. This tool helps us see where the child may be and it also reveals what in us we must lessen in order for the child to be become more. Maria Montessori once said that the child is his own teacher. But I can say with much conviction that they are their own teacher as much as they are mine.
I believe I still have much to learn from them and about them and this is why I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with them in-person one day.