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.

For our parents, the link to the Sweetgum Class Blog is  Sweetgum Class Blog

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

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.

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!


Hello, my name is Kay Woods and although I am new to the Bloomington Montessori School. I am however not new to the Montessori or Early Childhood Education. The last two years I have been the After Care Directress, and mid-day assistant in the Stepping Stone and Primary classrooms at the Montessori Children’s School in Jacksonville, North Carolina. I have been in Early Childhood Education for the last 16 years. I was born and raised in the small town of Osgood, Ohio but twenty-one years ago I married my husband Michael who is a retired Marine and the reason we are moving to Indiana as he took a job in Information System Security at Crane Naval Base. Together we have four children, three daughters (Cheyenne, Chasity, Shelby) and a son (James). After completing this school year here in Jacksonville we will complete our move to Indiana and reside in Bloomfield. I have an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and I am happy and excited that I will be able to continue working at a Montessori School. In my free time I like to spend quality time with my family attending my children’s school events such as Cross Country meets and band concerts. I also like to spend time gardening and relaxing at my home. In closing I cannot wait to meet each one of you.

Thank You,

Kay Woods