AMI Montessori 0-3 Diploma student: Felicia Lui
Felicia Lui recently completed the AMI Montessori 0-3 Diploma at SMTC. She works as a 0-3 guide at Montessori East in Bondi.
What made you decide to transition from your original profession to becoming a Montessori educator?
When I had children, I knew I needed to do something different but it took me 7 years to find out what that was! And after 20 years of freelancing as a commercial hair and makeup artist, I no longer had the same drive and passion as my priorities had changed. I was looking for something that felt more soul-fulfilling and something I could grow with. Being a Montessori educator gives me so much joy and gives me purpose, from the people that I work with, to the children and families I get to guide along their parenting journey – my biggest why though is to (hopefully) create future generations of human beings that will live together with more peace and harmony.
How different was it working in the classroom before and after you completed your Diploma?
When I first started working at KIN, I didn’t feel as I had enough experience. I didn’t come from an education or early education background. The only experience I had was what I picked up as a parent through my own children (now 5.5yo and 8yo) who went through the KIN program and I gained some knowledge from doing the Orientation Certificate. There were some presentations that I even avoided doing because I was so scared of them! (I would ask one of the other educators to swap out with me)
After completing the diploma, I felt a lot more confident with everything in general even though I still didn’t have the same 30 years of experience as some of the educators. I knew more about the child, the purpose of the materials made more sense, and I felt a lot more confident with doing presentations with the children as well as talking to parents when they asked me questions. My biggest learning is just HOW important the adult is as a role model and how we can sometimes be more of a hindrance, so I think I also sit back and observe a bit more too. Self-reflection is also a big part of this journey and I really love the team I work with as they constantly help me develop and grow to be a better educator.
What was the biggest factor in successfully transitioning to becoming a Montessori educator.
Making any big decision to transition is daunting, but I know listening to my gut is what gets me through to the other side. I just knew that I wanted or needed to do this. My husband made me watch the Simon Sinek TED talk on how to find your ‘why’ and this is what helped me to describe it all in words.
The other big factor was being able to complete the 0-3 diploma online for most of the year, then we came together at the end face to face for the practical. It made it a lot easier and possible for me to study with a young family and it also meant I didn’t need to be away from my family in big chunks during their summer holidays. That was the biggest thing I think for me to actually do it sooner rather than later.
Are there any similarities between being a makeup artist and a Montessori educator?
Being flexible. With freelancing, every job is different, with different people and personalities and different briefs. This is the same for each child you work with, each child and family is different and unique. You already have the knowledge and the skills, you just have to work out which tools you need to use that day to get the best results.