Fall into Learning!

We are well into the fall semester at Montessori…

Dr. Maria Montessori observed that when children are in an environment prepared especially for them, and they are allowed freedom,  beautiful growth occurs. When children have the opportunity to work with materials that fully engage their interest, they are able to achieve a deep level of concentration, from which they will emerge happy and energized. Through regular concentrated work of their own choice, children’s inner discipline and peace develop. She called this process “normalization” and cited it as “the most important single result of our whole work” (The Absorbent Mind, 1949).

Our communities are becoming “normalized” as we head into October, and so at this time we are happy to open our doors to observers. If you have a child in our school, or are interested in learning more about the Montessori way, please contact us to schedule an observation during Morning Work Cycle. Experience how the children interact with their environment, their peers, and their teachers…working, communicating and learning.

With Fall, comes rainy, cooler days….

The outdoor classroom offers a different sensorial experience for our learners when it is wet. The smell of fall is in the air as they explore the damp mulch underneath them. The sand packs a little more easily in their buckets in the sand box, and the acorns and leaves are falling all around.

photo 2(70)

Here, a fallen branch from a pine tree makes a good broom to sweep the leaves off.

photo 1(73)



Children work together, collecting fallen pine cones.




Sometimes there are extra quiet times worked into the schedule – because who doesn’t feel like curling up in a sleepy, comfortable position on a dark and rainy day? Practicing yoga and other indoor movement activities are used to break up the day and give the children a chance to stretch and wiggle.

Enrichment Classes

Although all Montessori teachers have a well rounded certification which equips them for teaching all areas of the curriculum, and each day’s lessons incorporate music and art and more, the students do enjoythe new energy when a different person comes in to work with them for a short period on something special.

And this month, MSPI SPECIALS have all started:

Ms. Mary Catherine is teaching Spanish.
Ms. Haven comes on Mondays to do a special music class with all our communities.
Ms. Amy is teaching our Health and Physical Education classes.
And MSPI is fortunate to have several artists in our community, who will be working with our learners.


Montessori 2014 – 2015

Serving our communities’ children from Infancy through Kindergarten

Our teaching teams have prepared the learning environment. Your children have embraced it. We are all engaged and growing each day we are here.


Roper pic

Leigh Roper

I am the founder, designer, Coordinator and Lead Teacher of our Infant Program. I have an Infant Toddler Montessori Certification from The Center for Montessori Teacher Education, N.C. I also have a degree in Health Science and Dental Hygiene.
I was born in Pennsylvania, and grew up in Annapolis, Maryland.  I moved to the beach in 1994, and this is where my permanent home and heart belongs. I am married and have two children. My son is a MSPI graduate and my daughter is in Miss Kayla’s class this year. In 2010, my daughter, Ragan, was the youngest student to ever have attended MSPI.
When I had my daughter, I became painfully aware there was no high quality infant care available on the Waccamaw Neck. I had originally started my education in Montessori at the age of 2, and knew my children deserved the same quality education. With this in mind, strong will and determination, I resigned from my previous career and enrolled at CMTE, N.C. Shortly after I started my training, I was granted the privilege of starting the Infant Program at MSPI.
It has taken couple years, a lot of love, and a few amazing assistants to build the fantastic program we have today. What was originally two elementary classrooms has been transformed into our Infant Environment. The Environment speaks to all the sensitive periods between 0-18 months as identified by Maria Montessori. The sensitive periods during this time are: order, music, language, movement, gross and fine motor development, sensorial and refinement of the senses, and independence. We incorporate Montessori lessons such as care of environment, care of self, and good manners. Our classroom also incorporates a Resources for Infant Educators, or R.I.E., approach. R.I.E.’s philosophy’s goals are to encourage children to be peaceful, focused, involved, confident, secure, cooperative, and self-directed. By providing respectful, responsive, and reciprocal care, we aid the child to develop self-confidence, trust, and a love of learning.

Rucker pic

Rachel Rucker

I am originally from Georgetown SC but recently moved into my new home in Andrews this summer. I have been working with children in various capacities since I was a teenager, including after school homework assistant, YMCA Site Director, personal nanny, and babysitting. I was welcomed to the Montessori world when I applied to MSPI for extra hours, not knowing I would immediately fall in love with the Montessori Method! Being homeschooled most of my life, I loved the idea of school but just didn’t quite agree with other methods of education. I am also a Girl’s Club Teacher at my church and absolutely love it! I am currently the Assistant Infant Teacher and am very excited to have just finished my Montessori Infant/Toddler Teacher Training for Certification and can’t wait to see what the future holds!


Toddler I


Regi Yonkers

I am a local of Pawleys Island, SC. After graduating from Waccamaw High School, I studied Art at Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia. I then went on to get my Montessori Infant-Toddler Certification from The North American Montessori Center. I am dedicated to providing my students a nurturing learning environment with a safe and caring atmosphere. I absolutely love teaching and working with my little learners! I believe that kindness is the most important virtue, and do my best to instill this in my classroom. Montessori and art are my two passions in life. I love to travel, cook, garden, and read! Music is very important to me as well. I live with my sister who teaches kindergarten at Waccamaw Elementary School. My mother was also a teacher, so you could say it runs in the family!



Lee Williams

I am a South Carolina native, born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. I received a BS in Psychology from The College of Charleston and moved to Atlanta to earn a MS degree in Counseling and Psychological Services. I enjoyed a career in Atlanta as a Licensed Professional Counselor working with children, adolescents and families.
I also enjoyed working in the Pharmaceutical research industry in the Atlanta area. After 24 years in Atlanta it was time to move to Pawleys Island, also known as, paradise. I have many hobbies- golf, the beach, reading and spending time with friends and family. My two Bichon Frises, Norman and Lucy, bring extra happiness to my life.


Toddler II



Kaye Beckroge


Karen Moree

I have been at MSPI for five years as an assistant in both the Primary and Toddler Communities.  I was born and raised in Washington DC but have lived in the Pawleys for 17 years. I have two children ages 17 and 13 and three dogs. I love being part of the MSPI community.




Roberts pic

Kayla Roberts

I’m from Georgetown,SC. I received my Bachelor of General Studies from Francis Marion University. While attending Francis Marion University, I worked at the Montessori School of Florence for three years as an assistant in the toddler and primary rooms. I have completed the 3-6 yr old Montessori teacher training, and will receive my American Montessori Society certification in December. My passion in life has always been about children. Being able to watch little ones grow is such a reward for me. Some hobbies that I enjoy are fishing with my husband, reading, and of course shopping. Last August, I married my high school sweetheart. We are still in that newlywed stage and love to experience life together! I’m very excited about joining the MSPI team this year!



Maegan Powell

I am so excited to be joining the staff here at MSPI! I was born, and lived, in Johnsonville, SC and I am the youngest of two. I graduated from Francis Marion University with a Bachelors’ Degree in General Studies. I previously worked at Montessori School of Florence for almost four years. I love working with the 3-6 year olds. Each child is ready to discover, explore, and learn in their own unique way. I volunteer on Sundays at my church in the children’s program. Volunteering is a huge part of my life. I was able to raise over 3,000 pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls! Some of my favorite things are… color: yellow; season: fall; food: Thai; drink: water; sport: basketball (Go Duke!); animal: dog; hobby: running.




Pam Rhodes

I began at MSPI, in 1996, when our school was know as “Pawleys Island Montessori Day School”. It was located in what is now “Landolfi’s”. I was an Elementary assistant and then became a Primary assistant. In 2001, I completed my Montessori Certification at the North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education. I have been a Lead teacher in Primary for the past 14 years. I have lived in Pawleys Island with my family for the past 23 years. I was raised in a military family. Wherever we happened to be, was my home! I was thrilled when my Dad got stationed at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base and decided to retire in this area. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, gardening, walking, biking, reading, DIY projects, and spending time with my family.



Mary Catherine Goldberg

I was born in Bennettsville, SC but moved to the beach when I was 5 years old. I have grown up in the Murrells Inlet, Pawleys Island area for most of my life. I attended Pawleys Island Montessori School for lower and upper elementary, Waccamaw High School for my undergraduate and Coastal Carolina University, where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication with a minor in Spanish. I have worked at MSPI for almost 5 years now. I worked in the summer camps as a toddler assistant under my mom, Ms. Kaye, while I was in college. I received a job with Blue Cross Blue Shield out of college and realized after about a year, that wasn’t the job for me. I was meant to be in a Montessori environment – it just runs in my blood. I came to MSPI to work as a full time toddler assistant. This year, I am excited to be working with Ms. Rhodes, while undergoing my Montessori certification at the primary level.


Request More Info