TMM Spotlight: Sam Williams

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your background, your interests, your dreams?

My name is Sam Williams. I am 21 years old and work predominantly within the Early Years sector. I have two younger brothers, six and two, who are the little lights of my life. I’m generally a quiet person. I like to keep to myself, but also love to spend time with friends, travel, attend music concerts, and generally just enjoy life!

I have two great passions: skateboarding and Montessori. My way of relaxing is to head to the skate park and have a good session (although I usually come home with a few scrapes!). I also like to sit and read some books about things like Montessori, psychology, space, and I can be lost in them for hours.

I suffer from a disease called Nephrotic Syndrome, which means I grew up on lots of steroid medication (which also means I was a very grumpy 6 year old). This greatly affected my confidence as I grew up. I also have to learn to deal with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) which means I usually have to take time to understand situations and find the motivation to handle them (and reminding myself to do them!). But despite the conditions I’ve grown up with, they make me the man I am today, and I’m happy to be sailing through my early life discovering more about who I am.

My dream one day would be to become a child psychologist, working in amazing places like Great Ormond Street Hospital, using my experience of working with children to further that aspiration.

Q: What was your first experience with Montessori?

I came into the environment at 18 and was studying IT at college at the time, not really knowing what to do career-wise. Coming into a Montessori school was my first experience with Early Years Education, so my entire learning in this sector was formed from the Montessori philosophy. Whilst these children learned, so did I, and over time, it has become a part of my being. As I grew in this school, I began to realise that I found myself much happier here aiding the development of these amazing children rather than doing some programming on a screen.

Q: Can you share with us a Montessori moment that continues to inspire your practice?

There’s this one boy, who is rather quiet, but always has a warm smile each time we see each other. His calm, gentle personality was the foundation for the activities he would do each day. One day, he decided he wanted to do the Broad Stair on his own. He took out the blocks and started building a tower. I walked by and noticed him doing this, but he couldn’t quite reach the top. I said, “How about we get a chair to stand on?”. The look on his face said it all. “Yes, great idea!”.We continued building this tower, and by the end of it, we had one last piece left, and the chair wasn’t tall enough for him to do it by himself. So I lifted him as high as I could, and we completed our glorious structure. Taller than me (I’m 5 feet 11 inches, so yeah, pretty tall!).

He was so excited and exclaimed, “We did it!”, jumping around, and seeking out other teachers to show what we had created. He was so proud of his effort, something so physically grand yet he was only a meter tall himself. His belief in himself that he could construct such a magnificent structure, and to know that he had that power all along.

 Q: What’s your favourite Montessori quote? And why?

We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.I believe in equality within the ranks. There being no hierarchy in life. At the end of the day, we are all humans, we are doing what we can to sustain our way of life as a community and walk through life. We do what we can to aid the betterment of our own lives, and share our experiences with others. We care for our environment and community because it is for us all as we live in unity.

Q: Is there a Montessori material you love particularly and why?

I absolutely love working with the pink literacy series. A new challenge awaits these children when we tackle these, and the sense of pride they emit when they realise they have created a word with letters they see every day, but only now have they begun to process into a creation. Our brains read words instantaneously as adults, and that doesn’t just come from nowhere. We see these children build a foundation of writing, and it’s only the starting point to the creative expression they will continue to write throughout their lives.