Who are we?
Samantha Otte BSC, NCME
Samantha has been a Montessori Directress since 1994. She originally trained in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she qualified and taught in a Montessori school for four years. After living and teaching in London, England for five years, she arrived in San Diego and taught in Poway for four years. During this time she re-certified at NCME (now AMS). As well as fulfilling the Administrator requirements for running a school, she also holds a children's yoga diploma.
Samantha has also completed a course focused on dyslexia, achieving a certificate. She has also implemented the California Phonetic Reading Program into 19 Montessori classrooms, and trained the teachers and assistants to be able to teach this program at a public Montessori school.
Jan has been our creative assisant since 2007. She brings a love of gardening to our children who help plant herbs and tend to the garden. Jan has a rich background in arts and crafts, having made and sold her own stained glass artwork in South Africa, where she lived for more than half her life. Under her guidance our children have created wonderful works of art, dishes of food and an outside area featuring several small vegetable gardens that all the children are very proud of.
What a gem of a school. The dedication, care and attention the child and the parents receive is exceptional. Samantha kept the student teacher ratio very low. The atmosphere there is calm, respectful, organized and has a supportive community. Parents and teachers got to mingle at drop-off and pick-up every day outside. This allowed exceptional communication with the teachers and encouraged parents in building connection. Both of my boys graduated Kindergarten reading and doing math at an advanced level. She promotes connecting the child with the earth and international culture. She teaches peaceful conflict resolution, independence (has them do chores and pick their work) and to improvise as they go (not worry about perfection). I'm forever grateful to have had the pleasure of joining the Windmill family and for them setting a wonderful foundation for my boys to thrive.
Windmill Montessori will always be close to our hearts, even though Phoebe is turning 20 this summer. As a parent, it was a place where I saw my daughter happy, safe, and thriving.
Some of my favorite memories are the tea party and a spring play we had one year. I do not remember the occasion for the tea party, but it was lovely to be served tea in the tiny cups and biscuits on the mini plates, all prepared by children. It felt like partaking in something special in a fairy garden.
The play was about flowers, I think. It was a simple joy to watch the kids feel important, say their lines, and swing their colorful capes. All of it unfolded in the beautiful background of the school patio.
However, my favorite memory is a day when my daughter brought home her invention. Phoebe showed me a used straw attached crookedly to the old, empty scotch tape dispenser and a feather. "What is this?" I asked. Phoebe looked at me with disbelief and said with a whiff of superiority: "Can't you see, mom? It's a feather blower."
Windmill was this place that allowed my daughter to see what could not be seen, imagine imaginable, and dream big.
My child's primary years at Windmill were beautiful, memorable, and cherished. I could not envision a better Montessori experience. Samantha truly nurtures each child on their individual journey, while also building a strong community among students. Everyone in our family has wished the Windmill years could continue into later years of their education! The loving relationship that my child formed with each of the teachers is one that facilitated tremendous growth in these early years. The Windmill graduates continue into first grade with pride in their abilities and confidence in their work. I am so grateful that we invested in these critical years of education and development!