Photos by Sadie Glass Photography

The Sweet Gum Early Childhood classroom offers an all-day program for children between the ages of 3-6. The program includes a morning and an afternoon work period along with 4 outdoor times, lunch, rest time and 2 group meetings. During the work periods, teachers give children individual and small group lessons in Practical Life, Sensorial, Art, Mathematics, Language, Science and Geography. During the daily group meetings children participate in discussions, songs, games, stories and presentations.  Montessori children are encouraged to solve problems independently, to guide their own education by following their interests and to do purposeful work, with an emphasis on freedom of movement.  We give children the opportunity to learn in a beautifully prepared classroom with teachers who are trained to foster independence, leading to an optimal, peaceful, learning environment.

“It is a great blessing to teach using a method that is dynamic, time tested, respects the individual, and is a powerful force for positive social change.” — April Waxler, Lead-Teacher Sweet Gum Classroom

Our Sweet  Gum Class Lead-Teacher April Waxler, has been featured in Trillium Montessori’s Blog – Classroom Showcase.

Two new members of our Sweet Gum team will be joining the class come fall 2016-2017, Kay Woods and Laura Lasuertmer.


April Waxler — April was born in Bloomington and happily returned to raise her family. She lives in a historic mid-century neighborhood with her husband Jay, dog Manni, daughter Sophie and son, Teddy. She also has an adult son, Nikita who lives nearby. April has a great love of art and nature. She enjoys collecting and playing vintage records, going for walks around town and riding her bicycle. April has a B.A. degree in Early Childhood education with a Kindergarten teaching endorsement. During her college course work she studied child development theory. Jean Piaget and Edouard Seguin were inspirational to her as a teacher. When her oldest son was a toddler she came to work as a teacher at Bloomington Montessori. She was amazed to witness developmental theory successfully applied in a classroom. It was a transformative experience. April moved to Virginia the following year and attended Montessori teacher training courses at the North Carolina Center for Montessori Teacher Education.

I believe it is a great blessing to teach using a method that is dynamic, time tested, respects the individual, and is a powerful force for positive social change. — April Waxler

Quinn Moncada is excited to join the Magnolia classroom this fall. Quinn recently relocated to Bloomington from Ft. Drum, New York, where she worked teaching three and four year olds in a traditional pre-kindergarten classroom. Quinn has five years of traditional teaching experience, and was driven to transition into Montessori education based on her passion for holistic child development. Outside of the classroom she enjoys reading, running, and spending time with her horses. Quinn appreciates the welcoming community she has found at Bloomington Montessori, and is looking forward to connecting with all of the families who attend.

Lyndsey Taylor joined BMS in the 2017-2018 school year. She provides assistance in a few areas: setting up lunch for the Hickory class, serving the lower elementary lunch, supporting the lower and upper elementary Spanish classes, and working in the Aftercare program. She is also studying Library Sciences at Ivy Tech. In her free time, you can find her reading comic books, working in the garden, or playing with her cat, Charlie.

Christy True has been joyfully teaching in the Sweet Gum preschool classroom since 2005, and worked as a sub at BMS for several years before taking this job. After living in France for an extra year of high school, Christy earned a B.A. in French and a M.S. in Education from Indiana University. Before joining the BMS teaching team, Christy worked as a nanny for two BMS students, as an au pair coordinator, she taught weekly private group French lessons to preschoolers, taught French to K-6th graders at a local Montessori school, and taught children with autism at University Elementary School. She and her ethnomusicologist husband, Daniel Reed, have a blended family with 4 children. Her two biological children are both happy graduates of BMS. Her passions outside of school include spending time with friends and family, enjoying the arts, outdoor and foreign adventures, bike riding, organic gardening and cooking, yoga, and researching whatever topic has grabbed her interest. Teaching preschoolers at BMS is one of her greatest joys in life!


Terri Vilardo has been an assistant teacher in the Sweetgum class since 1993. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University in 1991.She and her husband Greg have three children, Lindsey, Caitlyn and Andrew. Terri enjoys reading, sewing, and crossstitching. Her family enjoys decorating their yard and home for Halloween and Christmas. Terri loves working with young children because of the joy they experience in the everyday moments.