I have been working and playing with children of all ages since graduating from UBC in 1977 with a B.Ed, majoring in Early Childhood (Education). With some years off raising our two children to school age with my husband Ken, I resumed teaching in Summerland in 1992. I have been on staff at SMS now since 2009 and find it a wonderful environment for learning.
I love being with young children at this exciting time in their development. To engage and nurture their curiosity, wonder, imagination, respect for themselves and others, their sense of fun and to encourage them to be life-long learners is my dream job. I believe in teaching age-appropriate material with essential blocks of playtime – guided and free- as well as providing enrichment for those who are ready. SMS is a whole and organic environment with excellent, caring staff and many programs.
The children and their families and the staff have many opportunities to be together in a real community. It is truly said that “it takes a village to raise a child” and I believe SMS and our families together create such a village. It is an honor to be part of it.
Shandel Larsson, Head of School
I graduated from UBC-West Kootenay Teacher Education Program in 2012 with my Bachelor of Education. I started my career teaching Junior Kindergarten for Kids Connection. I began teaching at SMS in 2015. In 2021, I completed my Montessori Lower Elementary Teacher Training Program.
I believe that every child should be responsible for their learning with guidance along the way and with encouragement for children to be lifelong learners. Every classroom should be a safe, respectful, supportive and caring place for students to grow. When students feel a sense of belonging and ownership in the classroom, they are willing to contribute and participate. All students can be successful, but students themselves need to believe they are successful.
I enjoy the community-based atmosphere here at Summerland Montessori School, with the interaction between teachers, students, and families. I enjoy the diversity that SMS has to offer.
I was born in Paris, France. I moved to the UK in 1993, and then to Penticton in 1997. I have 2 daughters.
I have been working here at the Summerland Montessori School since 2000. In 2004 I trained in the AIM method and started to implement and develop the AIM program.
Since then, I have used this method with all ages and grades (Junior Kindergarten to Grade 5). I teach French more as a means of communication rather than a class subject. This is why all communication between the students and myself, from Grade one on takes place in French only, whether it be in the classroom or outside.
I find it is very rewarding to see a child come to Kindergarten without any knowledge of French and leave our school at the end of Gr5 being able to hold a conversation in French. I’m still as excited about this as when I first started teaching. I also enjoy teaching in our small family-friendly school where communication between teachers and families is open and straightforward.
I was born in Vancouver, and raised on Bowen Island and the North Shore, I moved to Summerland in 2005. My husband and I now have a farm here in Summerland with horses, chickens, bunnies, cats and a dog! We have two beautiful children who were lucky enough to start their learning journey at the Montessori School years ago.
With a background in teaching ESL and horsemanship, I decided to pursue my path as an educator- completing my Bachelor of Education at UBC Okanagan in 2019. With a focus on elementary aged learners during my internships, teaching Grades 1/2 at the Montessori School feels like a wonderful fit. I am excited to offer a flexible learning environment that that is student-led, inquiry-based, and hands-on. I am passionate about using nature to spark curiosity and infuse curriculum with a place-based approach. More than anything, I believe in the positive image of the child and fostering mutual respect and kindness.
Ms Alison Dent
I began working with children in 2010 as a childcare provider in a small daycare in Iqaluit. Since then, I have continued working with children of all ages in childcare, recreation, and educational settings. These experiences eventually led me to my dream job as an elementary school teacher. I began my teaching career with the Edmonton Public School Board where I taught Grade One, Kindergarten, and Pre-Kindergarten.
My greatest goal as an educator is to create inclusive learning environments where all students can succeed. I believe that every child is a natural, capable learner and that in a safe, caring environment they can develop the confidence to thrive. What I love the most about my work is having the opportunity to learn alongside my students and facilitate lessons that are guided by
their wonder and curiosity. When I am not in the classroom, I love to spend my time hiking,
kayaking, and gardening.
I am very excited to share my passion for learning with the community at Summerland