Teacher Spotlight – Christine Cleary

Meet Christine Cleary! 

Christine was a teacher in Grace Montessori School’s primary classroom before she became operations manager. In addition to her administrative roles, she is a substitute teacher for all classrooms. She joined the GMS team in 2009  but has been a teacher for 30 years and counting. 

Christine previously attended the City University of New York and Lehigh Carbon Community College, and she is currently enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She also has her American Montessori Society Primary Certification and was awarded the Child Development Associate by the Council for Professional Development. 

Christine’s fascination with the Montessori education method originated from working for a parent whose child attended a Montessori school. As she discovered more about the philosophies, Christine was very inspired by Maria Montessori and all that she accomplished in her life. Her inspiration shifted to the children after she became a Montessori teacher herself. She loves seeing her students make academic and social connections that slowly form them and shape them for adulthood.

To Christine, Montessori education is valuable because it offers children many ways to learn and allows them to study a subject more in-depth than they could in other educational methods. She has also found it emphasizes important life skills, such as respect for oneself and others, independence, self-reliance, self-motivation, and integrity. 

In her classroom, she finds two rules to be integral to her students’ learning experience: do the best you can at a task without comparing yourself to others, and if you don’t know the answer to something, always ask. If Christine could leave her students with one lesson, she would tell them to treat others as they wish to be treated. “Be kind to yourself and others. As humans, we need each other, and you never know who you might meet. They could make a huge difference in your life,” states Christine.

Christine has many fond memories of her days at GMS. She says her proudest moments are when she successfully settles all the nappers in the toddler room to sleep. This is not an easy task! Christine recalls a memory with her student, Mya, as one of her favorites: she sang to Ms. Cleary on video when she was home recovering from surgery. Her fellow staff is also a highlight for Christine; she says they are some of the best people she has ever worked with. 

In her free time, Christine enjoys reading, gardening, and cooking. She loves spending time with family and friends. 

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