A Q & A with Primary Teacher Kim Sutton
Tell us about your background.
I grew up in the mountains of rural West Virginia and spent much of my time outside playing in the woods during summer months and building snowmen, forts and tunnels in the winter months. I have a bachelor’s in Exercise Physiology (many years ago…) and spent quite a few years working as a personal trainer and exercise specialist at the Greenbrier Resort Hotel in West Virginia. I then studied to be a massage therapist and yoga teacher and opened my own practice in Lewisburg, West Virginia, which I did for 11 years.
Six years after my daughter, Lilly, was born I decided to become a Montessori teacher and left for South Carolina to study, work and become a Montessori teacher and parent. We spent four years at Clemson Montessori school before making the move to Richmond Montessori school in 2012. My daughter, Lilly, is a rising 8th year at RMS and began her 5th year here with Ms. Hogan. I enjoy reading, hiking, gardening, spending time with Lilly and playing with and taking care of my two dogs and two cats!
What is your role here at RMS?
I am a Primary teacher and teach children ages 3-6 years. This upcoming school year will be my fourth year at RMS and my seventh year total as a lead Montessori teacher.
What do you think parents should know about a Montessori school?
I would like parents to know the importance of completing the 3 year cycle of each level–Primary level, Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary and Middle School. In the Primary classroom, the first two years are foundation building–constructing the internal qualities of concentration, self-discipline, cooperation and independence. It is during the third year of the cycle when all the qualities just mentioned culminate and are applied, as these children become the natural leaders of the classroom.
How do you incorporate your passions into the classroom?
One of the aspects that drew me to the Montessori philosophy was the importance that Maria Montessori placed on connecting children with nature. She believed a peaceful world could be attained by teaching children to respect, nurture and protect the natural world around us, and I believe her message is even more important in our over-scheduled, over-stimulated, hectic society of today. I love to share with the children my love and respect of insects, birds, spiders, plants, composting and recycling through various works throughout my classroom.
Why do you think the Montessori philosophy is so valuable?
The Montessori philosophy is valuable in that it teaches us to slow down and view the world through the eyes of a child–to be curious, inquisitive and in awe of the beauty around us. Follow the child!
What does a child gain in the primary classroom beyond academics?
In a primary classroom (as well as other levels) children can gain such qualities as self-discipline, concentration, independence, self-reliance and cooperation.