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Testimonials

 

“Our son was fortunate to spend preschool with Maureen at Secret Garden. We were first time Montessori parents, with three older kids who attended traditional preschool. We really wish our other children had the same opportunity with Maureen–not only because he had a huge jumpstart on his reading (now the best reader in Kindergarten!), but because Maureen is such a genuine, calming, intuitive woman with the ability to make each child feel safe, loved and ready to conquer anything. Maureen became our extended family and a person Finn loves very much. Her day to day communication on his progress, and even the small victories, were appreciated and treasured. – Chris & Laura Opstedal

Having been both a teacher and a principal in Vermont elementary schools for over 30 years and a grandparent of one of Maureen’s “children” at Secret Garden Montessori School, I want to thank Maureen for the loving care she provides daily for her students. Maureen’s kindness and caring in her language and actions with students is truly so special. Her knowledge of math and language curriculum is broad and deep especially in the area of early education. I am so blessed to have our grandchild in Maureen’s classroom. Thank you Maureen for your tender care. You are so special! – Carole Pickett

9 Comments
  1. September 16, 2010 3:02 am

    I have known Maureen Bright for many years as a friend and as a dedicated early childhood educator. Year in and year out her classrooms radiate peace and joy and are a reflection of her unique inner beauty.

    Secret Garden Montessori will be a wonderful option for parents seeking a loving learning environment for their little ones.

    My love and gratitude to Maureen for her service to the children of the world.

  2. September 20, 2010 5:22 am

    Thirteen years ago I visited Maureen Bright’s school, Twin Pines Montessori in Livingston now The Secret Garden in Bozeman, after visiting every other option in Livingston and coming to the conclusion that we would have to take our daughter to Bozeman. I vividly remember coming home and telling my husband that I had found the perfect place for Keegan, our three year old daughter.
    While Keegan was at Twin Pines I watched Maureen in action with children who had a variety of personalities and abilities. Maureen’s priority is the children. From the moment the children enter the school she welcomes them and focuses on their needs in a way that allows them to become independent thinkers and doers. There were a couple of occasions that Maureen approached things in a way that I thought was wrong, but in reality I was the one that was wrong. By the time Keegan went to public school for first grade she was able to: voice her opinion in a confident way, perform in plays in front of the whole student body, decide what was of interest to her and complete the lesson independently, think critically about situations, play independently and with others and solve interpersonal problems that happen when kids play with kids, read fluently, do basic algebra including multiplication and division. Several years later we sent our son Cole to Twin Pines. He thrived in Maureen’s environment and loved his experience at her school and left the school with the same skill set that Keegan had.
    Keegan is now a junior in high school and performs in several plays a year, takes advanced courses and excels in pre-calculus and physics, is a compassionate and loving care giver to her eight year old brother and his friends, and is able to communicate with adults and her peers in a thoughtful and honest manner. Our eight years old, Cole, approaches life with an interesting perspective that is inquisitive and thoughtful. He is an avid reader, treats his friends and adults with respect and is able to interpret with all age groups with confidence. I believe that Maureen, my husband and I are responsible for giving them a set of skills that foster independence, self respect, respect of others and a work ethic that encourages them to find their interest and to delve whole heartedly into it all the while maintaining a balance in life.
    Maureen Bright is special. She has a gift and has cultivated her garden. She knows what children need to thrive and is able to give it to them in a variety of ways that fosters self confidence, critical thinking, independent motivation and a deep sense of kindness and understanding that is remarkable. I feel very fortunate to have been able to share my children with her. She has changed their lives and mine.

    Sincerely,
    Melanie Maganias Nashan

  3. Hana McClennen Busby permalink
    October 19, 2010 8:40 am

    I could not have picked a better environment for my child to start his early years in school. Maureen is the most amazing person to have working with your children and your family!

  4. Steve & Lisa Woodruff permalink
    February 19, 2011 9:31 pm

    Our daughter, Emma, attended Twin Pines Montessori for approximately two years. We found Maureen to be an exceptionally gifted and dedicated teacher who brought out the best in all her students, including Emma.

    Maureen is completely dedicated to her students. This includes unflagging hard work during school hours, but also frequent thoughtful gestures outside the classroom such as home visits, cards sent in the mail, etc.

    Maureen’s leadership in the classroom creates an orderly, calm, and safe environment for children to learn. Our daughter left Twin Pines with a wonderful grounding in reading, math, geography, and the arts. Maureen’s students have a true understanding of the material she teaches – it is not learned by rote memorization. This depth of understanding has given Emma (and many other children we have known) the ability to excel academically.

    But Maureen’s teaching skills go well beyond mere academics. Maureen treats each student as an individual, and builds on the strengths she perceives in each student’s character. Through her knowledge of and engagement with the children, Maureen is able to turn out students with a high degree of inner strength. Maureen’s students believe in themselves in a deep and honest way that serves them well as they advance into primary school.

    Maureen nurtures each student’s physical and emotional development. Physically, she emphasizes classroom and outdoor activities that promote good health, nutrition, and the joy of play. Emotionally, she lives by the credo, “teach me to do it all by myself”. She allows kids to be kids, but also gives them the tools they need to develop and mature, according to each child’s timetable.

    In summary, Maureen is a complete teacher who addresses the complete needs of a developing child. She truly nurtures children from the inside out.

  5. Meriweather Campbell permalink
    February 24, 2011 12:50 pm

    Maureen Bright has been a gift in our lives. During the time spent with Maureen our 3 1/2 year old son went through a remarkable transformation. Wister can be a quiet and reserved little boy, and I worried about sending him to school “too soon”. As a working mother I worried about rushing him into a classroom setting before he was ready. I was able to discuss my concerns with Maureen (ad nauseum I am sure) and she gave us helpful to tools to ease Wister’s transition. She set up a time to meet and read stories with him before he began school. With great patience and care she nurtured a lasting attachment with him which he cherishes today. During his time with Maureen, Wister became less self-concious and more spontaneous. His self-confidance grew in leaps and bounds. I know that he felt honored and understood. I am an Art Therapist and specialize in addictions. I work with families and children. Most of the children and adolescents I see have very low self-esteem, feel misunderstood and invisible. These early years of development are crucial in creating a strong sense of identity and attachment to role models. Maureen played an integral part in helping Wister learn to listen to his body and heart, challenge himself, laugh and listen and respond to other’s needs.
    I loved dropping Wister off in the “Sun Room” in the morning. It always smelled wonderful, like something delicious was cooking in an oven somewhere, and the day was waiting patiently like a present, for each child to unwrap. Maureen creates a sense of wonder and a hunger for knowledge that makes it really easy for children to explore, make mistakes, learn and explore again. We miss her dearly and Bozeman is lucky to have her in their community.
    Meriweather Campbell,LCPC, LAC

  6. Valerie Roche permalink
    February 28, 2011 1:42 pm

    When I first met Maureen, I was six months pregnant and struggling to deal with my spirited 2-year-old. Life with one boy was so difficult, I couldn’t see how my husband and I were going to manage with two. We took her first parenting course, “The Power to Parent: The Vital Connection,” and it absolutely changed the way we work as a family. A few months later, when Maureen opened Secret Garden Montessori, our son Clyde was the very first student to enroll.

    Eight months and two parenting classes later, our experience with Maureen and her school has been nothing short of wonderful. Maureen’s attention to and delight in each child in her classroom is palpable. And Clyde loves learning through the Montessori method: when he completes one of his lessons he is bursting with competence and pride. What’s more, Maureen has taught all of us how to stay connected to one another during the school day, which has made drop-offs and pick-ups easy. We are extremely grateful to be part of the community at Secret Garden.

  7. February 28, 2011 9:59 pm

    My husband and I attended Maureen’s parenting class, and were blown away each week by the depth of knowledge and understanding we gained from her instruction. Not only did we learn how to nurture our children, but we also gained invaluable support for nurturing our marriage and our own personal development. I appreciate the richness and depth of her teaching – as well as its practical application in my daily life.

    What Maureen did was realign me with my inner compass, my values as well as my wisdom. I walked away with greater understanding of my children’s needs and the reasons for their behavior – as well as my own! The most tangible benefits I’ve gained from this is that I no longer feel so overwhelmed or anxious as a parent. I also have greater clarity about what’s most important, and this helps me parent with greater wisdom, strength (trusting my parenting instincts) and insight. I feel more aligned with my heart, and this clarity is seeping into my daily life in concrete, tangible ways.

    Her parenting classes are the best investment I’ve ever made, on any level.

    In addition to attending her parenting classes, I’ve also had the privilege of sending all four of my children to her schools. I felt like I was leaving her with a part of myself, they felt so safe, loved, seen, appreciated, and understood.

    My children blossomed in her care. I could write pages about Maureen’s deep gifts in understanding children, but perhaps the best testimonial I can offer is that I stayed in Montana for many years mainly so that my children could go to her school. It was that important to me – and made that much difference in our lives. The best thing I can say about Maureen is that she taught me how to be a better mother, by her example, and taught my children how to be the best version of themselves. What a gift.

    We are blessed to have her.

  8. amy Berghold permalink
    March 3, 2011 6:08 am

    Even when I moved an hour away I continued to bring my son, now 10, to her school. The gift of working with our children is cherished, nurtured, loved, encouraged and propelled forward by Maureen with the utmost grace, kindness and patience. Honestly, no parent should miss the experience. My daughter who is 5 had the great fortune to spend this past summer with her. She gained a new dimension of personal, emotional and intellectual growth that is irreplaceable.

  9. Joel Harris permalink
    April 25, 2011 3:06 pm

    Like so many new parents, my wife and I struggled to understand the developmental changes our 3 yr old son was navigating, and our frustration only added confusion and difficulty. We couldn’t understand why he was lashing out, and why his frustrations quickly moved him toward aggressive behaviors. A friend told us wonderful things about Maureen Bright so we decided to participate in her parenting course “Power to Parent: The Vital Connection.” Maureen became our compass, giving us a new direction to parenting and charting a course that will lead us very far into the future. Our son now attends Secret Garden Montessori, he loves school and is so proud of his own achievements. We are amazed at his progress and it is hard to believe that this young boy, who a year ago was struggling with frustration and aggression is now beginning to read. There is nothing easy about parenting and sometimes the difficulties seem overwhelming, however if given a reference and a point of light the challenges seem far less daunting –Secret Garden has been and will continue to be our North Star!

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