Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies
Degree: Montessori Teacher Education
Year of graduation: 2001
In 2003, I started a school called the Toronto Montessori School for Autism. This was the first program in the world to combine the Montessori curriculum with Applied Behaviour Analysis. Prior to taking the Montessori program at Sheridan College, I had been working in the field of Autism since 1993 and was always looking for better ways to teach these children. When taking the program at Sheridan, I knew that I would open up this school one day as the Montessori Method and curriculum truly inspired me. Since first opening, we have expanded to two locations. This past year was a transition for our school because I made the decision to move both locations to one location in the Beaches area of Toronto in order to work on integration with a typical Montessori school. This is a model I would like to see used in all Montessori programs. As some of you know, I was nominated by Sheridan for the Premier’s Award in 2005 and was the recipient under the new graduate category for my work with children with autism.
This year we have made some more changes. We are now a not-for-profit organization called The Lane Montessori School for Autism and have set up an Elementary program for the fall of 2007.
Personal / professional Accomplishments
In addition to the school, I also have a consulting company called Michelle Lane Montessori Autism Services. This company started in 2006 and due to a lot of consulting work I was doing for other Montessori schools. Since then, I have been doing workshops on my program in Canada and in the U.S. I have been booked to speak at the AMS International Conference on March 6, 2008 in Washington on the program blend of Montessori and ABA.
On a personal note, I recently got married and I am also newly pregnant. I was supposed to do a training program in Nigeria in August but had to cancel due to the pregnancy. I am really excited to start my new family and look forward to the joys that parenting will bring.
Memory from Sheridan Days
Being at Sheridan was truly life transforming. As previously mentioned, I was enrolled in the Montessori teacher-training program. I had been to a Montessori school as a young child but was touched by how remarkable Maria Montessori was and how dedicated she was to children. In addition, all of the students were dedicated to learning as much as possible about working with children and all of the teachers worked very hard in translating her message to us. I had previously graduated from university and even though that was also a beneficial experience, it does not compare to the learning and the involvement I was able to have with the staff and other students while taking my Montessori training course.
A Faculty Member Who Made an Impact
As I said previously, I was touched by all of my teachers and I am still in contact with many of them. A couple of my previous teachers are on the board of The Lane Montessori School for Autism. Dianne Murphy is one of the teachers who inspired me, as well as being the Director of programming at Sheridan. Recently we worked together to put into place two new programs that combine Montessori and ABA at a college level coming this fall at Sheridan. One of the courses is called “Autism-A Montessori Approach” for Montessori Teachers, and the other is called “Autism-Montessori Approaches in the Home” for parents and caregivers. Both of these courses will be running one evening a week for approximately 11 weeks beginning in September 2007.
Advice for Sheridan Students
Enjoy the experience! No matter what program you are enrolled in, it is known that Sheridan produces students who are well trained in their field of choice.
Current Occupation: Owner, The Lane Montessori School
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