Montessori classrooms are ”prepared to encourage a child’s independence, freedom within limits and a sense of order,” according to the American Montessori Society. At Denali Montessori School in Anchorage, primary teacher Jasmin Austin has made a lasting impact on her students while adhering to the Montessori method.


KTVA 11’s Teacher of Week said she uses a kind yet firm approach to keep her first, second and third graders engaged.


“We do have a lot of fun times. We like to get animated, we like to have fun in the afternoons and sometimes we dance, sometimes we sing songs,” Austin explained. “But, the kids know that there is a level of expectation. I do expect that this work is going to be done. I expect you to do the work the best that you can do it. And I expect that you are learning.”


Instilling that sense of personal purpose starts by being aware of their needs.


“Every morning they walk in, we greet each other. We shake hands. We say, ‘how you doing,’” Austin said. “I feel like I’m really in tune with what’s going on in my classroom and what’s going on with each child.”


Austin has been at Denali Montessori since 1997. She first worked as a Campfire counselor before taking on a role as a special education teacher and then primary teacher. She said she loves the Montessori philosophy.


“I love kids. I love, you know, engaging with kids. I love seeing them you know, that light bulb come on and I love seeing them take something that we’ve been learning and apply it to other things, I just, I love that,” Austin said.



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