Monday, November 22, 2010

Meet Jennifer of Montessori Print Shop!

Today we get the pleasure of getting to know Jennifer, the sweet and savvy owner of Montessori Print Shop. Not only does she carry amazing and affordable products, but Montessori Print Shop has quickly become what I consider a "must see" Montessori blog. Check out a recent post on the topic of Montessori at Home and you'll see what I mean. For now, read through the interview and find out how to get a coupon code for 10% off your next purchase at Montessori Print Shop!

How did you first become familiar with Montessori?
I was first introduced to Montessori in high school. It was a brief introduction through a guidance counselor who was helping the students to make some career choices. I didn’t choose the path of teaching though; instead I studied business in College and then proceeded to University to major in Fine Arts and minor in Psychology.

Near the end of my 4 year degree I was still in search of a career that I felt was waiting for me. Only problem is, I didn’t know what it was! I spent several weeks wandering through the stacks in the university library hoping that something would catch my eye and inspire me. Finally, one day I was wandering through a section on early childhood education. The titles of the books suddenly popped out at me - Montessori! I grabbed several books, settled in a quiet corner for hours, and soaked up everything I was reading.

After some searching I found the Foundation for Montessori Education (a teacher training center) in the city of Toronto where I was living at the time. I called and had a very long and in depth conversation about Montessori, the training course, teaching options, etc. At the end of the conversation I knew that not only had I found what I was looking for, but I knew exactly where I wanted to take my training. I thanked the person on the other end of the phone for their time and for sharing all the wonderful information with me. I asked for her name so that I could address my application directly to her. She responded; I am Renilde Montessori, the granddaughter of Maria Montessori.
The following September I began my AMI Primary Montessori Teacher Training at the Foundation for Montessori Education. The head trainer was Renilde Montessori. I heard many personal stories from Renilde that year that have inspired me in my teaching, my family life, homeschooling, consulting, being a school administrator, and through the journey of building Montessori Print Shop.

What led you to start Montessori Print Shop?
In January 1999 I took an extended leave from teaching Montessori to start a family. Within 3 ½ years my husband and I were blessed with 3 children. We wanted to raise them with the Montessori philosophy and so we followed our 3 children, learning from them what they needed to further create themselves. The toddler years were full of real practical life activities that didn’t require many special materials. We simply made sure we had size appropriate furniture and real-life items for our children to use and learn from.

As our oldest child began showing signs of readiness for the Moveable Alphabet I started my search for Montessori Language materials. During my years of teaching I had made many language materials by hand for my classroom, but since I had taken my leave half-way through the school year, I had left everything behind for my students. When I thought of purchasing them for my own children I was awestruck at the hefty prices the suppliers were charging! I decided to begin creating my own language materials for my children to use at home.

By 2004 I had created enough Montessori materials to open a store on eBay. I was hoping a few sales a month would help offset the cost of some wooden math and Sensorial materials I wanted to purchase. I was completely overwhelmed by the response of my eBay customers. My sales took off and I was requiring help from my husband and mother (and anyone else who would offer) to print, package, and ship the orders.

By 2008 my time was spread very thin as I had 3 children, a large volume of orders, an eBay store, a website, and the desire to keep designing materials. It was then that I decided to stop printing and shipping orders, and go completely digital. Offering Montessori materials in digital file format allowed me more time to design materials and spend less time printing/packaging and delivering orders to the post office. For my customers it meant greater accessibility, a huge drop in the prices, no shipping charges, and instant delivery regardless of their location.

What are some of your favorite materials and why?
I absolutely love the geography materials. They are definitely my favorite visual material. I have not done a lot of traveling and the geography materials have helped me to get a sense of how people in other countries live. As the geography materials have been created my list of future travel plans has grown!

I love the language materials for a completely different reason than the geography materials. The language materials don’t have the same visual impact; however I’m thrilled with the ease with which children have learned to read by using them. It’s a clear 3 stage/step process that prepares and guides the child towards reading. There are no great tricks to be taught, just the simple process of decoding words. We’ve made it simple by breaking down each stage/step into smaller digestible lessons. This allows the child to absorb each concept, put it to use in the lesson, be successful and gain confidence. Top it all off with the grammar lessons
and the children are well on their way to becoming total fluent readers.

What are some of the things you have coming up for Montessori Print Shop?
We are constantly working on new materials for each area. Sometimes our ideas come from our children, from customers making requests, or we simply feel inspired to create something that has interested us. Our new releases for the upcoming month will be focused on math extension lessons. Our longer term goal is to create short readers to compliment our Pink, Blue, and Green Language Series. 

Readers leaving a comment at the Montessori Print Shop blog will be emailed a code for 10% off their next purchase! Coupons are valid through November 30th 2010.  

Jennifer is the owner of and the author of the Montessori Print Shop blog. Check out the shop to see the products mentioned in the interview and more!


  1. Nice interview! I love hearing how people have discovered the Montessori Method. Thank you for sharing. Oh yeah I headed over to the Montessori Print Shop to get the coupon. Thank you again.

  2. thank you so much for such inspiring post . i love montessori printshop and have been drooling over their material for so long . oh and i love your blog , the way you started montessori is very encouraging .god bless.

  3. Thank you for providing a wonderful interview. In the past few months, I have discovered how wonderful Montessori education is for children!

  4. Thank you all for your lovely comments. Jennifer is quite knowledgable in Montessori as well as being a talented business owner! My children enjoy her products very much, and I enjoy reading her blog and low prices!

  5. Jennifer and Susana, thank you for sharing :-)


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