In 1972, Meighen and Robert Tideman founded Westlake Montessori School. In 1980, the founders moved the school to San Francisco and renamed it Big City Montessori School (BCMS). This was the year that the current director, their daughter Amanda Riccetti, began her work in Montessori education. Beginning with after school care, becoming a Montessori teacher, then taking over as Director in 1999, Amanda has devoted her life educating young children and has touched every role within the school. This foundation has enabled her to hire loving, devoted and ultimately long-tenured staff who are highly trained AMI Montessori teachers, and who are integral to the emotional security of each child in her school. Amanda is actively involved in her program and works side by side with her teachers during the early morning program and the evening program and she still goes into the Montessori classes and works with the children from time to time.
Amanda remains a strong supporter of enrolled students, and she still personally conducts orientation tours and welcomes each new student personally. During Amanda's years with the school, many parents have sought her guidance and support while raising their children. This has inspired her to write a series of quality children's books to provide a charter for parents and a model for their children while they read the books together.
The series, “Learning with Max,” is a five-part collection of beautifully illustrated books that provide valuable lifelong lessons for children entering preschool. Each book in the series follows Max as he explores various preschool scenarios—the first day of preschool, potty training, making friends, learning social skills—and models the correct behaviors for the young readers. The “Learning with Max” series isn’t just for children! Each book contains valuable tips to guide parents along the journey and create consistent parenting among the school community.
The “Learning with Max” series is available for purchase on Amazon and consists of these five titles: “Max's First Day of Preschool,” “Max Learns to Make Good Choices,” “Modeling Social Skills,” “Potty Training with Max,” and “Max is Helpful.” Each family that enrolls as a gift receives “Max's First Day of Preschool”.
Amanda is currently working on a new series of books titled “Reading with Miss Peach” which focus on phonemic awareness and letter sound recognition. After three long years of working on this series, she hopes to have it published in Fall 2017. As both a Montessori teacher and a mother of two children with learning differences, Amanda has personally witnessed the struggle that children may have with learning to read. Her goal for the “Reading with Miss Peach” series is to make learning to read a fun, confidence-building, and educational experience for all children.