Sharon McNally spent six weeks with our family in Botswana. We have a one year old and a two year old.
Initially we were just looking for someone to come and spend a bit of time training our care givers and giving them some activities and tools to look after our children. We then got in touch with Sharon who was able to offer a whole lot more
At first I had no clue what the Montessori method was all about. The only reason I looked for a Montessori teacher to assist us was because I had heard the name from a few friends and seen a few courses when browsing the net.
Sharon spent time observing our family and our caregivers to understand the dynamics of the family and what was needed as well as to identify what knowledge the caregivers had as well as their potential to learn and grow in their extremely important role.
She then spent the next few weeks with the family and was able to achieve so much more than we originally anticipated
We also set up House Rules, something completely new to our household. Our original rules were “there are no rules”. This was making it difficult for us, our children and our caregivers.
Sharon’s motto is “dare to discipline” which I was a little nervous about to start. However I learned that discipline was not about being right or wrong, about shouting or ever raising your voice. Sharon is an absolute pro and I never once heard her shout or ever got the feeling that she wasn’t in control when interacting with our children. She was genuinely there to serve the children and to help them. The children were a little putout at first but realised that Sharon was there for them and that the new way allowed for more fun and freedom overall.
Our children had a great deal of fun with “Teacher Sharon” and enjoyed the new activities, songs and the interaction they had with her. Sharon has developed an amazing way of interacting with children, she is able to show and explain new things to a child in a manner that makes it easy for the child to understand. This doesn’t come naturally to me, but Sharon is able to see things from a child’s perspective and communicate in a way which a child can relate to and follow. Sharon showed kindness, understanding and patience towards our children and had a positive energy when interacting with the children.
Sharon set up an entire Montessori class room in our home with enough activities to last at least a year or two. The classroom is beautiful and everything has a place and serves a purpose in terms of the child’s development. What’s more is that the children absolutely love their “work”! It was so amazing to see my little boy really concentrating for long periods of time and totally engaged.
The Montessori way enables children to become totally independent and to make their own choices. They decide on the activity they want to do and once they are done they tidy up and put it back where it belongs. My son also learned practical life skills in the classroom. At snack time he cuts up his own fruit, squeezes his own juice, then washes and dries the dishes, empties the basin and mops up any drops of water he spilled when taking the basin to the bathroom to pour the water out. Can you believe this, and he is only two!! Children want to do everything they see you do and they want to be independent and they absolutely love mopping ,cleaning and vacuuming.
The activities in our classroom help the child follow their natural order, but it also gives them the space to be free and creative. We now have an organised and structured environment where or children are continuously stimulated and inspired to grow and learn. They get plenty of outside time and time to play too.
Our staff, who care for our children are forever grateful for the training,coaching and mentoring they received from Sharon. Through the work that they did with Sharon over the six weeks they were taught how to effectively work with the children. They were shown over a hundred different activities and taught about what these activities did for the child and their development as well as the correct way to complete the activities. They also learnt about the needs of children, how to interact with the children and were given a structure to enable them to plan each day with the children. Sharon is very strict about being tidy and organised and she held the staff to this her standards. Our staff have been given the opportunity to become teachers and their development of their abilities and confidence has been unbelievable. They have also been able to use what they learned with Sharon in their own lives with their children and in their communities where they are able to give back.
The first six years of your child’s development is the most important in his or her life. This is why I believe that there is no other time in your child’s life where this kind of thing is as important. I encourage you to find a professional like Sharon who can spend time with your family and help you to raise the happiest and most contented children you can. It’s not just your job to keep your children safe and fed when they are little it is your job to create an environment where they can thrive. I also believe that parenting is the most important thing you will ever do. Children don’t just bring themselves up and although being able to keep a child alive might come quite naturally, conscious parenting does not come naturally and one needs to be taught by someone who has the experience and knowledge.
"It is said that great teachers are the building blocks of society and they become greater when they act as a surrogate parent as well.
Knowingly or unknowingly, teachers such as Sharon McNally, inculcates the values and urge to learn and succeed. The guidance and support provided by her have been so valuable to my children, and it reflects in each and every field they take part in, and excel in.
We have found in our three years with Sharon, that she is an excellent teacher and really connects with the children. She has used her Montessori training to find fun and inventive ways to help them to learn.
They are confident, well-spoken children with good manners because of her influence.
Sharon McNally is a dedicated, hardworking teacher who will be a benefit in any educational environment."
Fabian & Moira Magerman
"My daughter Sadie McHugh, has attended Meadows’ Montessori since January 2010 when we relocated to South Africa from Singapore. The move here was done under very stressful circumstances and she was quiet and withdrawn when she started at the school. She has now flourished into a confident, polite child who is eager to learn.
Sharon McNally has hugely contributed to this change, as she has not only provided Sadie with a good foundation for her future academic school life but has also encouraged her confidence and discipline.
She has encouraged a thirst for knowledge of all things and Sadie has benefited greatly having been a pupil at the school.
Excellent manners, an appreciation for nature and the environment, a thirst for knowledge and appreciation of the arts and compassion for others less fortunate are not qualities one would usually associate with a 5 year old but these are the wonderful qualities my daughter has learnt during her stay at Meadows under Sharon’s guidance and it is with great sadness that we shall say farewell at the end of 2012.
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Tayla started at Meadows Montessori in January 2009. As an only child and having never been at school before, Tayla found the transition very difficult. It was an extremely stressful time for our family and it was only through prayer and Sharon’s constant encouragement that we persevered,
Tayla is now a happy member of her class who loves her school and adores her teachers! We believe the homely and loving atmosphere which Sharon has created at this school has been the perfect environment for our daughter to develop emotionally and academically. We have no doubt of Sharon’s commitment to the children who attend her school.
She is a caring, dedicated and experienced teacher. It is with great sadness that Tayla leaves Meadows at the end of this year, but we are so grateful to Sharon for the development that we continue to see in our daughter. Meadows has laid a great foundation for her future education.
"From the first meeting with Sharon I was convinced that this was a partnership that was going to work, not only for me but also for my son. We found in Meadows everything that we were hoping to get and more.
From the word go Dylan loved being at school. Yes initially there was an adjustment period, both for us as parents and for our son. What was wonderful during this time was that Sharon was completely open and understanding of our concerns and the partnership developed as a result of good communication and her understanding of first time parents concerns.
I can confidently say that this was the best choice that we could have made for our children, since once our daughter was old enough there was no considering any other option.
The impact on our children: they have loved learning and engaged completely and positively with the learning process.
A constant observation from both Dylan and Zara’s teachers throughout their primary school years has been about their obvious love for learning. They engage fully with the learning process asking and answering questions confidently and with insight. I have not had any problems getting them to complete homework and study for tests or exams.
This I believe is as a result of the self discipline instilled at pre-primary level. Both Dylan and Zara have consistently scored the top marks in their school for their grades. Dylan has also been head boy at his primary school and Zara has achieved awards in each of her primary school years for excellence in all learning areas.
Not only was their academic learning nurtured but their social skills were developed and their confidence in taking on the learning process has been remarked on by every other teacher they have encountered.
Dylan is presently in Grade 9, Zara in Grade 5. There self discipline regarding their school work is, I believe, a direct result of what was taught to them at Meadows Montessori.
"Our two boys aged 3 and 5 attended Meadows Montessori Pre School for 6 months while we lived temporarily in South Africa. Since the boys are brought up in Sweden they had no experience of the English language at all. It was a pleasure to see how they developed their language skills. Especially our oldest son who easily communicated with his new friends at the Meadows after a few months.
Sharon and her collegues took good care of our children and they learned a lot of skills that will be useful later on for school. The Meadows is such a cute place in a calm, learning setting which we highly recommend."
Karolina and Svante Nilo Bengtsson
"It is a pleasure for us to recommend the work and presence of Sharon McNally at our school. She was with us for two months working as a substitute teacher, and during that time she managed to normalize a Montessori environment of 30 children aged 3-6 years that was not normalized. Her vast experience has been essential for us, in the fourth year of our small school, which needed to recover from numerous problems that had been accumulated and not resolved in previous years.
Sharon has given us the most appropriate recommendations, has created a context of responsibility and group cohesion with the teaching team, has given talks to families and provided a significant dose of confidence to those who doubted or felt sceptical with the Montessori method, and contributed effectively in improving the general atmosphere of the school.
Sharon is a person with a great life experience, beyond her experience related to Montessori education.
She has a strong character and her discourse is coherent, full of meaning and inspiring. With these personality traits she manages to be a highly persuasive person, and at the same time she has the ability to empathize with others and highlight the gifts and virtues of the people around her. Moreover, her criticisms are always constructive.
Her sound suggestions to optimize our internal management have helped us a lot as a school.
She has an enormous experience as a Montessori guide and as a Director and businesswoman. That is why we highly recommend her consulting services."
Rafael Roman Romero
Galapagos International Montessori School
"We are extremely fortunate to have been able to count on Sharon McNally as a substitute teacher to lead our Children’s House environment (3-6 year olds) for 10 weeks, from October to December 2018.
No sooner than meeting her team and observing the class for a day, she began to create order where things had been in disarray. Her eagle eye and quest for order meant that she didn’t miss a thing in the classroom, and within a week there was already a palpable difference in the classroom. Over the next weeks I was able to witness first-hand a remarkable transformation of our Children’s House environment. Older children who had been afraid to challenge themselves had “taught themselves” to read and write; children who had before lacked self-direction, complained of “boredom”, and distracted others, were enthused, concentrating for long periods, and displaying an unquenchable thirst for learning and purposeful work. By the end of her stay, the class was normalized, with children working in a self-directed and self-contained manner, true to the aspirations for a Montessori environment. Her teaching team were astounded and enjoyed learning from her.
Her influence did not stop there, however. Sharon is one of those special people who, aside from being able to ascertain the root of problems in an instant, is also able to reach out and gently challenge all in her path, to seek self-improvement. Word spread of her impact on the environment, and parents came to observe the class and were amazed at what they saw. They began asking for her advice with respect to child-rearing practices, and here she showed a deep insight to parenting. She also gave Parent Education sessions which were very well-attended, and parents were thrilled and grateful to see the impact of carrying out her advice in their homes.
In sum: Sharon deeply touched all sectors of our community: children, parents, teachers, and administrative staff were all nudged to reassess and transform their ways of being where necessary, and we are very grateful to her for sharing her energy, enthusiasm, and life wisdom with us. I do not hesitate to recommend Sharon for any post related to teaching small children, either within the classroom or as a consultant. I wish her every success in her future endeavours".
Teaching and Learning Director
Galapagos International Montessori School
"During my work in Wunderpark Sharon McNally was employed as the Head Montessori teacher. She established herself as a competent and responsible professional. She gave herself entirely to her work, responding quickly to tasks, and was co-operative and helpful. For Sharon work with children is a true vocation. She is happy to devote all her time to the children, to give them her warmth and care, teach them English, various sciences, as well as manners and etiquette. I would like to note her extraordinary ability to connect with the child, as well as see the features, tendencies and talents of the child.
Sharon organized the learning process perfectly, thinking through every detail, and she distributes tasks among her colleagues and in the process involved children and adults in the wonderful world of knowledge and games. She is always tuned to the development and progress of the child, so she is not afraid to set before the child complicated tasks, and supports the child to achieve success.
As a director, I can mention a respectful and trusting relationship Sharon has with her superiors. She knows how to work in a team, how to assist her colleagues and take into account the views of everyone. Sharon, of course, is a good leader and mentor. She taught, guided and supported the young teachers who have worked under her leadership. This once again confirms that Sharon McNally is hardworking, responsible, friendly and highly skilled.
I would highly recommend Sharon McNally for any job she is applying for"
Mr. Alex Vinogradov
General Director of
Wunderpark kindergarten Montessori
"Mrs. Sharon McNally was hired as the Head Montessori teacher at Wunderpark kindergarten/ Montessori school
During the time she worked in the above mentioned position she proved herself to be highly professional with an excellent knowledge of the Montessori method and philosopy. She loves children, and they love her, and she is passionate about teaching and imparting her knowledge to the children. She is consistent, fair, firm, loving and kind when dealing with the children. She created, developed and implemented the curriculum which included weekly topics, and boxes that she filled with materials she made herself with the help of the two assistants. She initiated outings linked to the topic of the week, when the topic of the week was Dinosaurs, we went on a visit to the Dinosaur museum. Sharon is a good leader and decision maker, she is decisive and reacts quickly when it is required. She taught the two assistant teachers the Montessori method, as well as how to use the Montessori equipment, in order for them, to be able to assist her in the classroom.
Sharon has a good command of English, both spoken and written. She initiated two English speaking days a week in the school. Prior to her starting at Wunderpark, the children’s level of English was very poor. Once the twice weekly English days were initiated the level of English improved dramatically. Not only did the children’s English improve, but so did the parents and the rest of the teaching staffs English improve as well.
She did a weekly baking class, arts and crafts, flower arranging and puppet shows. She also wrote and produced two English plays which were a first for” Wunderpark” and she designed and created the costumes for both concerts with assistance from her colleagues.
Sharon was always available to meet with parents to discuss their child’s development and progress. She really went out of her way to be of assistance to the assistant teachers, and to guide and mentor to them.
She recommended that we start a Mom’s and toddlers group, and she set up the new classroom and ran it for two weeks. The classroom has been a great success and continues to grow.
Mrs. McNally is very tolerant, balanced, hard-working, well organized and a loyal, discreet person. I am sure she will be a very valuable employee for any company".