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Toddler Program Staff

Joe Ambrosino

Joe Ambrosino
Music Teacher - Toddler, Primary, Elementary
B.M.A.S., University of Delaware
M. Ed., Applied Education Technology, Wilmington University


Favorite Montessori Moment: My favorite Montessori moment happened when I was teaching music to a toddler group. I had brought a selection of instruments and juggling scarves for the children to use. I had a grand lesson planned: each child would start by playing a steady beat on maracas, then we would express rhythms through movement with scarves. This was quickly turned aside when one student approached the plastic bucket of maracas and rather than pick one out to play, he dumped the contents on to the floor and proceeded to wear the bucket like a helmet. He danced around the room to the music balancing the bucket on his head. I broke out laughing. At WMS, creativity will express itself as it wants. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to embrace it, nurture it, and watch it grow.

Katie Babinger

Assistant Teacher

Leanne Callaway

Leanne Callaway
Lead Teacher - Toddler
B.A., English & Theater, University of Delaware
AMS Certification:, Infant/Toddler


Favorite Montessori Moment: I have a deep love for the Montessori Method. As both a parent and a teacher, I am continually inspired by the independent and delighted discoveries that are made each day. One of my favorite memories involves my own son, who had struggled with letter sounds.One evening, he picked a book and surprised me by reading a few pages to me! The pride and excitement on his face made my heart soar. I can still feel his happiness. From making a connection between a picture on the page to an object in the environment or completing the work cycle for the first time, to having the flexibility in the day to allow a child to explore an activity wholly, and to the thrill of conquering those ordinary challenges, these are the moments that make each day amazing.

Lisa Cleveland

Assistant Teacher

Lynda Coan

Lynda Coan
Lead Teacher - Toddler
B.S., Family & Community Services, University of Delaware
AMS Certification:, Infant/Toddler


Favorite Montessori Moment: One of my favorite Montessori moments occurred when my class was outside on the playground looking at pine cones. One of my toddlers said, "This one sticky." This led into a discussion of why it was sticky and the discovery of sap coming out of the side of a tree. We continued to explore the rest of the trees to see if any others were sticky. I loved their expressions of wonder and awe!

Hilde Colton

Assistant Teacher

Kirsti Forrest

Kirsti Forrest
Lead Teacher - Toddler
Early Care and Education Birth to Second Grade, Delaware Technical Community College


Favorite Montessori Moment: My favorite Montessori moment occurred one day as I watched a child digging in the damp dirt on the playground. Suddenly, he happened upon an earthworm and immediately darted for it with his shovel. I put my hand on his and said, “Wait! We don’t want to hurt his body. He helps the plants grow!” He thought about it for a minute, contemplating how a tiny creature like that could help a big plant grow, then gently placed the earthworm on his shovel and buried him back in the hole he made. The child smiled up at me as to say, “Look! I helped him!” He then began to walk around the playground, looking for all the worms he could find, counting how many he could save and creating a game called “Save the Worm!” with his friends. Education can be peaceful, respectful and fun once we open our hearts to others, listen to another’s message and save as many worms as we can count.

Sarah Grzybowski

Assistant Teacher

Lauren Harris

Lauren Harris
Lead Teacher - Toddler
B.S., Behavioral Science, Wilmington University
Certified Naturalist, Delaware Nature Society
AMS Certification:, Infant/Toddler


Favorite Montessori Moment: My favorite "Montessori Moment" was when a child in my class showed interest in a bird that he saw outside of the classroom window. His curiosity sparked a class discussion and a study of birds that lasted through the year. This moment not only allowed the children to follow their interests but it instilled a love and respect for nature in the students and adults in the classroom.

Mitchell Juers

Assistant Teacher

David Lamiet

Montessori Fellow - Toddler
AMS Certification:, In Progress

Linda Lorentz

Assistant Teacher

Hillary McDonald

Lead Teacher - Toddler
B.S., Behavioral Science & Elementary Education, Wilmington University
AMS Certification:, Infant/Toddler


Favorite Montessori Moment: After experiencing WMS as a teacher (and, eventually, as a parent) for 12 years, my favorite Montessori moment was when I knew I would be returning for the 2017-18 school year. Over the years, I developed a passion for the Montessori philosophy, and I had the joy of watching my own daughter attend the Toddler Program. I knew my daughter was experiencing something that would open her world up to so many amazing things. When my son arrived, I made the decision to step away from WMS to be home with both of my children. While I was sad to go, I was able to spend two wonderful years caring for them. However, I was never truly away from WMS. In addition to remaining a part of the community through my friends and colleagues, I also facilitated Learning Together sessions each week. So, when I learned that I would be returning to teach in the Toddler Program in 2017, I truly felt like I was returning home — and the best part is that this time I am bringing my 2-year-old son with me. Like my daughter, he will get to experience the same warm and energetic environment that I have had the pleasure to be a part of for the past 12 years. Who knows what memories are still to come?

Connie Mucha

Assistant Teacher

Paula Sharpe

Paula Sharpe
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts & Mathematics) Coach
B.S., Early Childhood & Elementary Education, Wilmington University
AMS Certification:, Elementary I


Favorite Montessori Moment: One of the most special moments for me in the Montessori classroom is during a child's "Birth & Life" (birthday) celebration. Each child gets so excited to "walk around the sun" with his or her parents watching and sharing moments of their lives with their school community. I always ask each child from the classroom to share one wish he or she has for the birthday child. As we go around the circle I am always so proud of what each child has to say about the birthday child. When I first became a parent, one of the milestones I most looked forward to sharing with my own children was "walking around the sun." While my own children no longer attend Montessori school, each year we take those steps around the sun.

Pat Sumner

Assistant Teacher

Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams
Director of Early Childhood Education
B.S., Early Childhood Development and Education, University of Delaware
AMS Certification:, Early Childhood, Elementary I


Favorite Montessori Moment: For me, the graduation ceremonies that take place each year are certainly one of the most powerful events that take place at WMS. I’ve watched those sixth-graders grow up, proud to have been one of their teachers and amazed by the confidence, competence and sense of responsibility emanating from them. I know that what they learned here, academically and otherwise, will take them far, benefiting so many others along the way.