The short, somewhat formal version
Andrea Lulka is a third generation Montessori advocate, as well as a Montessori alumna and mother. A certified 3-6 guide, working towards 12-18 certification, Andrea holds an M.Ed. in Integrative Montessori Learning. She has been a lead Casa and Middle School guide, played various roles in Toddler through Upper Elementary, and been a communications and admissions coordinator. Andrea has developed a 3-6 overview course for training centers, and has spoken and published writing about Montessori since her teenage years. Andrea moderates the largest online professional development and support group specifically and exclusively for Montessori teachers.
The verbose, personal version
I’ve spent my whole life in and around Montessori, at times more formally than others. A third generation Montessorian, I entered the Casa (Montessori classroom for 3-6 year olds) when my mother began her Montessori teacher training, which would change all our lives forever. Almost 30 years later, I came full circle, beginning my own Montessori teacher training when my son entered a Montessori Toddler Community.
I started showing public support for Montessori in my teenage years, writing articles and speaking about my Montessori childhood, and very often about the transition to mainstream education; my own transition took place in grade 7. I never stopped advocating for Montessori, even while I pursued other career options. I never stopped visiting my mother’s classrooms, and loved assisting her on field trips when I was able. I have very fond memories of the executive meetings of the Canadian Association of Montessori Teachers in our living room, and of the excitement when mom was first asked to give workshops and then keynotes at various schools and conferences. Mom has always engaged with me and my sister when making decisions about her life’s path, and loved bringing us to meet her students when she started working in teacher education.
I loved and admired mom’s work, and I appreciated Montessori, but I never wanted to be a teacher. I was following in my father’s small-business entrepreneurial footsteps, working in a variety of jobs and fields, looking to find my niche. I thought I had found it, and was very happy working with clients and First Nations artists to create beautifulproducts and bring awareness of the richness of First Nations cultures to Canadians and tourists to Canada.
So imagine my surprise when I realized what I really really wanted to do was become a Montessori teacher!
I had spent years by then exploring a veritable smorgasbord of spiritual and philosophical paths and approaches, finding commonalities in all. When I started training and realized how Montessori encompassed what I most loved about each one, how it touched on the key aspects of living a spiritual life without necessarily being religious or following one particular path.
I was blown away by how little I had understood of Montessori even during all those years as a vocal proponent and active participant.
After several years in the classroom, through my Masters’ work, I started to see how Montessori did the seemingly impossible by bridging Western scientific approaches with Eastern philosophies and indigenous belief systems and by somehow jumping into postmodernity from the modern era. I experienced an expansion of compassion within myself that is difficult to describe. That was when I began to understand just how big a shift Montessori demands of us adults, and why it is so very very difficult for so many people to implement Montessori fully.
Looking back on my Montessori career, I can boast to having experience in various capacities with every age group from Toddler through to Middle School as well as with parent education and school administration, teacher training and professional development. I’ve created curriculum for grades 7&8, done a good lot of research in child and adolescent development, created courses for teachers and act as admin in the largest international online professional development and support forum exclusively and specifically for Montessori teachers.
When I had to leave my newly minted Middle School classroom because of an extremely debilitating chronic illness, I uncovered many more layers of Montessori as I learned how the philosophy could guide me through the processes of grief and healing. I became even more enamoured with the holistic, integrative and supportive nature of Montessori philosophy, and began to apply it to my own life; doing so revealed the inner processes of my path to a life lived in gratitude and awe.
And so a new passion was ignited in me for supporting Montessori adults in their own paths and journeys and in the ongoing and eternal spiritual preparation for the great work of aiding life in its natural development.
Now, with the launch of this website, I am walking in both of my parents’ footsteps, and beyond them, merging my father’s entrepreneurial spirit with my mother’s commitment to Montessori and their joint commitment to education as a whole, and adding my own passion for personal growth and the examination of the interrelatedness of all things.
My formal education in chronological order, for those who want to see those credentials:
- BAH in Communications, Culture and Society (a special field concentration in Film and Sociology) from Queen’s University
- Diploma in Montessori ECE from Sheridan College and Technological Institute (Casa credential)
- MEd. in Montessori Integrative Learning through TIES
- In the process of obtaining Secondary Montessori teaching credential through CMStep
And some of the resume highlights of which I’m most proud (beyond the actual teaching roles):
- Creating a Middle School program
- Leading a children’s choir in the singing of the National Anthem at a Major League Baseball Blue Jays game
- Teaching a children’s choir to sing in three part harmonies
- Helping lead an interfaith interracial effort that rid our university campus of a white supremacist group
- Founding a university student committee focused on anti-discrimination outreach with local secondary schools.
- Creating and leading a unit for a grade 6 music video production
- The Montessori Teachers Facebook group and everything that has come from there
- Sharing a keynote with my mom for a large gathering of parents