We had the good fortune of connecting with Geetha Nagarajan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Geetha, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I share Montessori inspired learning activities using common household items on my social media platform. Utilizing the knowledge gained from my educational degree, certifications, and classroom experience, I explain the significance of the activity; list all the materials required and the process highlighting the benefits it provides to the child. I have gotten many messages from parents across the world thanking me for sharing my learning activity ideas.
I also host and participate in several collaborations on Instagram periodically with other Montessori educators & parents to showcase a wide variety of activities to benefit children’s learning during these tough times we are currently experiencing. In addition to this, I do a weekly Q&A for parents and a live session to demonstrate learning activities. My business/role as a social media influencer trains parents to be a “teacher” for their children.
The pandemic has impacted many families, some of them have lost their jobs while some are juggling health issues, balancing childcare and working from home. By utilizing commonly available household items in a simple, purposeful learning activity for children, I help them two fold: reduce expenses of buying some of the expensive Montessori materials and continue with their child’s learning at home until the situation improves.
My initiative provides quality Montessori inspired learning activities for children directly to their home. It is similar to having an experienced teacher providing her learning manual for parents to use on a daily basis.
In addition to sharing my activities on social media for children, I also provide virtual learning for students, create educational newsletters and blogs for my previous school.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My business is called “Montle at Home”. MONT= Montessori
LE = Learn
MONT + LE = MONTLE
The tag line for my business is “Make yourself at home with Montessori Learning”.
So, my goal is to make people understand how easy it is to implement Montessori learning for younger children under 6 years of age, without the need to buy expensive materials. Most Montessori materials are made of wood and pricey – though some parts of the curriculum would need specific materials, my business and learning platform showcases how most of the lessons can be presented using commonly available household items. For example, I created a whole set of activities in different areas of the Montessori curriculum like Practical life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Science using kitchen container boxes; chickpeas/lentils etc. This helps parents look closer at what’s available at home and present it to their child to teach a specific skill. The ease of the lessons with my detailed descriptions and use of household items are the most distinguishing features that make me stand out.
Instead of being sad or disappointed over losing a job in the midst of the pandemic and within a few days of wrapping up school where I had worked for almost 10 years, I came up with a name for my business, put my thoughts together and started sharing children’s learning ideas. I initially thought this would help the children and parents at my school, didn’t realize that it would become big to benefit people from different parts of the world. I got a message from a mom in Asia a few weeks after I started, thanking me for the simple easy to put together learning activities that has helped her juggle her children’s learning and her work. I had several parents from my previous school that found my ideas useful. This is the wide audience social media provides us.
I don’t have a business background and had just moved to School administration after teaching in the classroom for about 15 years. So, it took a lot of effort, learning soft skills to understand the social media world, technology and online teaching to build my brand.
Due to the pandemic, almost everything had to be done online. Montessori learning is/has always has been a face-to-face type, hands on learning method of education using scientifically designed materials. To take that and change it up to online, hands on learning using common household items was not easy. It took a lot of thinking, planning, understanding, and flexibility to make that change. I wouldn’t say it was very easy or too hard; it sure has been very interesting.
I continue to overcome the challenges that come my way by constant learning from a multitude of sources, hard work and the drive to make it happen. This has helped me branch out to offering virtual learning to students via video chat, preparing high quality newsletters and blogs for local school. In the future, I look to offer consultation services for parents, teacher training, worksheets, lesson videos, products for children’s learning etc.
In summary, I would like to be known as someone who utilized their learning and experiences to establish a brand that revolutionized Montessori preschool learning and made it more accessible to the families.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wow that is exciting. On day 1,I would start with a lovely morning walk at the “White Rock Lake” in Dallas, do some shopping and grab lunch at North Park mall and wrap up the day by taking my best friend to the Reunion Tower in Dallas to get an aerial view of the city.
In addition to this, I would take my friend to the following places during the week:
Allen Outlet Mall
Legacy West in Plano
Watters creek, Allen
Fort Worth Botanic gardens
Fossil Rim (about 1.5 hrs. from DFW metroplex)
2. The Melting Pot, Addison
3. Mesero, Legacy West
4. Yellow Chilli Dallas, The Shops at Legacy
5.Grimaldi’s Pizza, Watters Creek in Allen
1.Museums in Dallas
2. Sundance square, Fort Worth
3. Grandscape, The colony
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, I would like to thank my family for their encouragement supporting my idea and coming up with the name for my business. They also played a big part in helping me with the creation and maintenance of my social media platform. Their timely feedback and constructive criticism has been extremely helpful in molding my entrepreneurial journey.
My favorite book is “Simon Sinek’s “Infinite games”. He talks about how every business/individual finds oneself at crossroads- one leading to “victory” and the other to “fulfillment”. People who have a purpose or know “why” they are doing what they are doing are in the long haul of success, not only for themselves but also to inspire others. Success, for me, is a combination of doing something I am passionate about while ensuring I give back to the community. This book inspires and assures me the importance of “fulfillment” in the journey to “success”.
I would also like to give a big shout out to all my former students, school director, co-workers and the contacts I have established through my role as a social media micro influencer. Their support and encouragement drives me each and every day to do my best and come up with my most creative children’s learning activities.
In addition to all the above, I am thankful and grateful for having a blessed life with all basic needs and good health, which has helped me tremendously in being creative and sharing children’s learning activities during the global pandemic.
Facebook: Montle at Home