Brenda Erickson is an Association Montessori Internationale (A.M.I.) certified Montessori Primary teacher with four decades of experience teaching children to read. She is the founder of Counterpane Montessori School, a non-profit 501(c )3, in Fayetteville, GA.
A proud member of the Rotary Club of Peachtree City and an honorary member of Rotary Club of Pretoria East, she has been a Rotarian since
January 2006. Brenda is the Literacy Chair for her district. This is her fifth opportunity to serve as District Literacy Chair. She was twice the recipient of the North American Literacy Award. She is a member of the Paul Harris Society and is a major donor.
Brenda is the developer of Souns – a Montessori-minded, early literacy program that teaches the fundamental tools of print. Through Rotary, the Souns program has been the basis for District Simplified Grants, Matching Grants, and Global Grants for early literacy in South Africa, Puerto Rico, and the USA. Brenda serves Rotary by volunteering to train for this program.
Most importantly, Brenda is the mother of three amazing children who have (thus far) added four equally amazing grandchildren to the mix.
Through the Souns early literacy program, early childhood educators and parents acquire tools to help children build early literacy skill by introducing a concrete letter in association with its most common sound in the child’s language. The child first learns the individual letter sounds, then how to build words by listening to spoken sounds, and finally to read words by sounding out the letters.
While Souns is easy to implement, does not require extensive training, and utilizes durable materials, sustainability has been the key to progress. From observations – seeing a child delight in sharing their first written “story” or gleeful about sounding out their first sentence at age 5 – is the greatest assurance of sustainability. A teacher who feels empowered in his or her teaching is going to want to continue the successful method.
We even hear anecdotes of teachers taking the Souns materials with them when they leave one school to go to another. Preschools with a long history of using Souns have assimilated the program so well that their experienced teachers train new teachers. Ultimately, success in the classroom – building little readers – is the greatest assurance of sustainability.