welcome to aim!

Helena Public School System

AIM, formerly Age of Montessori is thrilled about the opportunity to work with Helena Public Schools to train and certify Montessori Teachers. The information below is an overview of our programs and pricing for the Early Childhood and Elementary I Levels. We are also creating a standalone Elementary II Program that will be available in the Spring of 2023. 

Our Program Director, Mary Ellen Maunz, and assistant Program Director, Karen Walton, are available to come to Helena to speak with teachers, administration and parent group interested in utilizing AIM's Montessori training. 

Additionally, depending on the number of teachers enrolled in each level, we are prepared to enroll Helena teachers in their own cohort, allowing intentional, connected learning among co-workers. AIM is also flexible in our Residency model and can offer a custom on-site location that will accommodate work and school schedules. 

Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Candace Babcock
Executive Director

early childhood course overview

During this course you will delve deeply into the philosophy and psychology of Montessori education for the 2 and a half to 6-year-old child. You will also gain the foundational knowledge of the 4 great Montessori avenues of learning, practical life, sensorial, language and math. Montessori classified children in this age group in the absorbent mind stage – ready and excited to engage in learning and exploration! This course will teach you how to capitalize on that excitement by preparing an environment in which children will thrive. During this course you will delve deeply into the philosophy and psychology of Montessori education for the 2 and a half to 6-year-old child. You will also gain the foundational knowledge of the 4 great Montessori avenues of learning, practical life, sensorial, language and math. Montessori classified children in this age group in the absorbent mind stage – ready and excited to engage in learning and exploration! This course will teach you how to capitalize on that excitement by preparing an environment in which children will thrive. 

elementary grades 1-3 course overview

It is a grand adventure to become an elementary level Montessori guide! During this course you will delve deeply into the philosophy and psychology of Montessori education for 6- to 9-year-old child. Children in this age group have moved from the absorbent mind to the reasoning mind, and the Montessori elementary curriculum focused on capturing their imagination and building a genuine interest in learning!

meet our early childhood faculty

Karen Walton

early childhood level coordinator & assistant program director
Karen in the Level Coordinator for Early Childhood, Internship Coordinator and Residency Instructor. She has been working at Age of Montessori since 2018. Before that, she owned & taught at her own Montessori school in rural Montana. She has a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, an Early Childhood certificate and a Master's of Education in Advanced Montessori. Karen is newly certified in American Sign Language. 
She has taught music in the public-school sector in addition to teaching in Montessori classrooms since 2007 both in Rhode Island and Montana. At Age of Montessori, she works with interns, observes Montessori classrooms, and participates in webinars. 
When she is not working, she can be found gardening, trail running and cooking. She enjoys long walks with her dog, Jax and camping trips with her husband. 

Diana Palmeres

early childhood level coordinator
Diana lives in North Carolina where she has continued to work for Age of Montessori since 2012. 
From 1975, after reading her first Montessori book --“Her Life and Works” while pregnant with her first child, Diana has taught in many Montessori classrooms across the country, in both private schools and public Montessori. 
The opportunity to continue sharing the Montessori message and help with the training of Montessori certified teachers came after her retirement from public Montessori—what a blessing that was! 
She loves to be outdoors in nature, and to spend time with her two adult children and grandchild. 

Bethany Fuqua

early childhood instructor
Bethany currently resides in Billings, MT.  She and her amazing husband, Jon, have twin daughters, a son, and a chocolate Labrador retriever.   She has bachelor degrees in Elementary Education and Child Development Family Science from North Dakota State University.  She has been in Early Childhood classrooms since 2007 and completed her Early Childhood Montessori training through Caspari Montessori Institute in 2008. 
In her very little free time, Bethany enjoys visiting hot springs, reading about Montana history, and going on outdoor adventures with her family.  

Liz Goodman

early childhood instructor
Liz currently teaches in a primary classroom at King’s Wood Montessori School in Foxboro, Massachusetts. She lives in Sharon, Massachusetts with her husband where they raised two children, a recent college graduate and rising college junior. Liz holds a M.Ed. in Montessori Education from Xavier University, a Montessori Early Childhood Certification from aim, and a B.A. in U.S. History from Central Connecticut State University. Her experience as an educator spans over 20 years both as a high school teacher, and for the past 11 years in an early childhood Montessori classroom.  
In her free time, Liz loves to read, hike, practice yoga, travel, cook, and spend time with family and friends. She is also a huge Boston Celtics fan!

Maleah McPherson

early childhood instructor
Maleah has been teaching at the Montessori School of Yakima in Yakima, WA since 2016. She holds a Montessori Early Childhood Certification from aim., a M.A. in Environmental Education from California State University of San Bernardino, and a B.S. in Recreation Management from Central Washington University. She has worked at a variety of summer and environmental education camps and transitioned into teaching after her daughter began her Montessori education at age 5. 
Maleah lives in Yakima with her husband and their daughter. They spend most of their summer and many weekends in the woods at camp. In addition to sewing things for her classroom, Maleah loves hiking with her family, skiing, playing music, and reading.  

Christine Shepherd

early childhood instructor
Bio coming soon!

early childhood course content

meet our elementary faculty

Suzanne Tipton

elementary I & II level coordinator
Suzanne Tipton found Montessori while working as a high school Math & Science teacher in Thailand. She completed the Lower Elementary course with Age of Montessori and led her own Lower Elementary classroom at Montessori School of Louisville for four years. She made the difficult decision to leave the classroom in pursuit of her passion for training teachers.

Montessori education changed her life and she is eager to help others realize the beauty of this style of teaching. She lives in Tennessee near her niece, Kathryn, and nephew, David Michael, whom she adores wholeheartedly. (They think Auntie Q is a party!)

She also loves to draw, travel, read, scuba dive, hike, camp, and especially cooking. She has been working on writing her own cookbook for a few years now so if you are interested in vegetarian recipes, look no further!  

Janet Nordemann

elementary I & II instructor
Janet Nordemann began her career in education in 1971 in a traditional school in the St. Louis, MO area. In 1976, she discovered Montessori and in 1980 received her AMS Montessori Elementary 6 – 9 certification. Recently, she earned her Montessori Elementary 9 – 12 certification from Age of Montessori (now aim). In 2000, she became certified in Gifted Education. After teaching 40 years in both lower and upper elementary and in a gifted program, she retired from the classroom in 2011.

In 2011 Janet joined the Board of Directors for Authentic Institute of Montessori and served as a volunteer. in 2015, she began working at aim in the elementary teacher training program. She’s had many meaningful moments teaching, one being the two weeks spent in Russia teaching adults about Montessori. Mentoring and advising teachers who are taking their Montessori training is the highlight of her career.  

Montana is now her home where she lives with her husband. She likes traveling, going for walks or soaking in the beautiful Montana hot springs. She enjoys reading history books, biographies, and the occasional historical fiction novel. She is a lifelong learner who is grateful for the opportunities she’s had to continue learning through her work and recreation.

Karla Hahn

elementary I & II instructor
Karla is a part-time instructor for Age of Montessori, where she has trained teachers in 2 upper elementary residencies, worked as a mentor and co-led webinars on dyslexia and teaching Montessori online during the pandemic.

Karla received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in special education from Florida State University. She has over 40 years of teaching experience in both regular and special education, and during that time continued her studies in educational research, brain-based learning and obtaining her Montessori certification for ages 6-12.

During her last 15 years of teaching, Karla taught in a public Montessori school in Jacksonville, Florida. She retired in June of 2021 but continues her work with aim and as a reading tutor in a Title 1 elementary school.

When she is not pursuing her educational interests, Karla enjoys gardening, travel, cooking, Pilates and spending time with family and friends.  

Amy Anderson

elementary I & II instructor
Amy grew up on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, spending most of her childhood on or near the water. She studied fine art in college and later built a successful business photographing weddings using medium format film.

While working as a photographer, Amy also began to teach art in community centers, museums, and as a volunteer in a public high school. Her love of teaching grew, and she began to study various alternative approaches to education.

She moved to Boston and worked at a large homeschool resource center, working with children of all ages. There, Amy continued to learn about different approaches to education, and her love for and interest in Montessori grew.

After five years in the snowy Northeast, Amy returned to the South and settled in Florida, where she began working as an assistant teacher in a Montessori elementary classroom. She enrolled in teacher training and is now in her fifth year as a lead teacher in a 6-12 class.

Amy views teaching as spiritual work, work which calls us to connect meaningfully with the children in our care, to cultivate classroom communities in which every child feels valued, and to nurture a deep love of the world we live in.

In her free time, Amy continues to enjoy film photography, as well as singing, kayaking, curling up with a good book, watching old movies, and going to the beach. She lives outside of Orlando, Florida with her husband and two daughters. 

elementary I course content

coming soon!

elementary II (ages 9-12) certification

We are excited to share that we will be offering a stand alone upper elementary course in near future! 
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what our aim alumni have to say

"I mean, how cool is it that you not only get these manuals describing each step of what each lesson entails, but you're able to watch and experience spot as a teacher, go through each step of those lessons and you can watch it as many times as you need.

You can look at that video and it's going to give you the confidence you need to go in there and just nail it. I love the video library. It's amazing."

"What I love about aim is that you're getting a super comprehensive understanding of the philosophy and teachings of Maria Montessori, and then you're going into the classroom and you are figuring out how to do it yourself, and you are getting the tools both through faculty observation and mentoring, how to really make it your own. I loved the in-depth understanding that I received in the academic program."

"The online course was so thorough and thoughtfully done that I knew during the course that I was going to be very well prepared and good at what I was doing. As somebody who is very invested in what it means to be a teacher, not just to deliver content, but to affect a child's life, the online course created space for me to explore and refine those parts of myself in preparation to be a better guide for the children in my care."