Roxi Mcdermott

Roxy feels the Preschool years are the most formative years in a child’s life and does not take that lightly. Roxy loves what she does and the children she gets to work with. Roxy was first introduced to the Montessori Method in 1991 when she took a job as a Teacher’s assistant at a Montessori School in Auburn Washington. Roxy instantly fell in love with how the children moved throughout the classroom that was prepared just for them. They were able to use all their senses to learn. There was a freedom that she never experienced in a school or childcare facility. It was beautiful how the children would work with their materials and engage in lessons with joy and focus. It was an easy choice for Roxy to pursue the courses she needed to become a certified Montessori Preschool teacher. From day one in Roxy Montessori Preschool journey, her mission has not wavered. Roxy’s hope is to offer each child the opportunity to realize his or her potential, to promote and instill self-confidence and independence. To create opportunities where they will seek and enjoy cooperation with others, that the child will gain a sense of responsibility for themselves and their actions, and to have an environment that lets them foster their creative intelligence and imagination. More than anything, Roxy hopes to instill a joy of work and a love of learning.

“When I met Roxy, I was an experienced mother of four, had taught gymnastics for many years, and thought I was pretty good at working with children. As I watched Roxy orchestrate her Montessori classroom however, I had my eyes opened to a whole new level of purposeful, creative, and kind direction. Her students learn to relax and work quietly and purposefully, finishing one task and putting it away neatly before continuing to the next. They became (generally speaking) polite, friendly, and communicative with one another under her tutelage. They are curious! And she is curious with them, enthusiastically exploring owl pellets she collects from her front yard with them, and discussing the finer points of the books she reads aloud with hilarious voices. When Roxy is confronted with a conflict between students, she helps them work together toward a solution both parties can embrace. She gently coaches parents in how to nudge their little ones toward healthy independence and consideration of others. She’s taught preschool in this Valley for so long (originally at her On Our Way Montessori) that occasionally I have teens and young adults come in for gymnastics or dance who see “Miss Roxy” and greet her with delight, still confident that they are special to her, and glowing with memories of happy days in her classroom. Roxy still teaches preschool, but now I also see her share her gifts with a new generation of teachers.” – Jessica Edwards – Owner Head Over Heels Gymnastic Center

“Ms. Roxy” McDermott has been a leader in early childhood education in the Polson community for decades. At the Montessori preschool, Ms. Roxy utilizes a relational approach to welcome young children into their first educational setting. She recognizes each child as a unique person with their own developing ideas, feelings, thoughts, experiences, and personal preferences. Her empathy and recognition of each individual child results in distinct child empowerment. When young children are seen and valued, they realize their capabilities. Ms. Roxy has a beautifully gentle way of supporting children developing skills in ‘helping’ roles, highlighting their responsibilities in home, school, and community settings. In my observation her curriculum is focused on emerging skills of self-awareness, communication, and contribution. Not only do young children in her program benefit from her kindness and empathetic approach; but she additionally staffs her program with bright, energized young adults who are mentored by her and co-teach in the Montessori way. The team Ms. Roxy has built around early childhood education propagate her philosophy. Through her influence she is sending forth not only engaged and emotionally aware young children but also co-staff, parents, and adults who witness her approach that are inspired to engage with young children in our community in an empowering

way. Ms. Roxy is an exceptional educational role model in our community and her valuable contributions with lifelong dedication are worthy of public recognition. – Dr. Emily Hall

Roxy’s ability to quickly form a strong connection with her students is the backbone of her all-around educational greatness. After not being in any type of school or day care during covid, we had concerns about how my daughter would fare once starting pre-K. Without exception, from the first day until her very last, my daughter left Mrs. Roxy’s class with a smile and arrived to school with excitement and anticipation. To me, there’s no better indicator of the environment created by a teacher than these daily sentiments. In the brief glimpses I had of her classroom during pick-up and drop-off, I saw her alleviate fears and anxiety with kind words and looks, and also use a perfect combination of hugs or firm boundaries when each was appropriate. Her approach, while a far cry from authoritarianism, commanded respect from each child in her class. From speaking with other parents, each has been blown away by her ability to very quickly understand each child’s particular quirks, needs and learning styles, and to adjust her teaching style accordingly. I think it’s hard to pay a higher compliment to a teacher than recognition of that particular ability.

The final piece that forever ingratiated Mrs. Roxy in our hearts, came at the end of our daughter’s first year of pre-k. Looking forward at the next school, my daughter would be old enough for kindergarten, but also young enough to do another pre-K year at Head-Over-Heels, then skipping kindergarten and starting public school in 1st grade. My wife and I spent hours discussing what would be best, as she was thriving with Mrs. Roxy, but we worried about her falling behind if she skipped Kindergarten. Roxy gladly sat down with us to discuss these concerns. She heard us out, then without a second’s hesitation, told us, “whichever choice you make, it’ll be the right one. She’ll do great either way.” This was such a relief to hear, and right away, we both said, “alright, we’ll see you in the fall.” Our daughter did another year with Mrs. Roxy, and is flourishing in 1st grade now.

Our daughter still does dance and gymnastics at Head-Over-Heels, and is but one of MANY former students who run to Mrs. Roxy to give and receive a big hug every time they see her in the building. She is a radiant source of joy, security and love for all students and families who have been lucky enough to have her in their lives. I cannot think of a more deserving person for this award. Sincerely, Aron, Kate and Lola Haire