Susan Mayclin Stephenson became interested in children at a very early age. When she was eleven, her youngest brother was born prematurely and Susan had much of the responsibility of caring for him during their mother's recovery for months following the birth.
In 1963-1964, at age nineteen to twenty she traveled around the world on the maiden voyage of The University of the Seven Seas (now known as Semester at Sea), spending several months aboard ship studyingin class while at sea and in various situations while on land. Studies included a sociology course on childhood and education, during which she visited homes, schools, orphanages, hospitals and other institutions, and attended university lectures, in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia.
In 1969, when her first daughter began attending a Montessori school in San Francisco, California, Susan was in graduate school studying to be a philosophy professor. When she saw the immediate positive results of her daughter's experience, she went to the head of the Montessori school to ask where to go to get the best Montessori teacher training because she considered what was happening in her daughter's Montessori classroom the practical application of the best that philosophers had to offer concerning the meaning of life, education, creativity, and happiness. It emphasized kindness and consideration for others, and brought the arts into the everyday life of a child in a beautiful way, weaving artistic expression of all kinds into a creative study of other disciplines.
The family moved to London where Susan attended the Maria Montessori Training Organization in Hampstead in 1970 - 1971. During this time she also read in the Rudolf Steiner Library in London, learning everything she could about Waldorf education. For the last thirty years she has continued to be both a devil's advocate, and a student, of Montessori and several other kinds of early childhood educational practices, such as Reggio Emelia, Suzuki, Waldorf, and Homeschooling
To access educational web site text written by Susan, go to:
For a peek at her art, go to:
The following is a list of Susan's academic work on whichcombined with thirty-six years of parenting, thirty years of teaching, ten years of homeschooling, and one year of grandparentingher writing is based:
Undergraduate studies: Denison University (Granville, Ohio), Alliance Francaise (Paris France), Purdue U and Indiana U extension (Ft. Wayne, Indiana), Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana), The University of the Seven Seas (Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia), San Francisco State University (San Francisco, California)
Graduate or extension courses: San Francisco State University (SF, CA), Stanford University (Stanford, California), University of the Virgin Islands (USVI, St. Croix), The Berkeley Psychic Institute (Berkeley, CA), University of California (Berkeley, CA), Harvard Graduate School of Education (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Traditional Degrees: BA, Philosophy; MA, Education
Terminal degrees: Association Montessori International diplomas for three levels, three years of graduate work:
Her teachers and lecturers included Mario Montessori, Mario Montessori, Jr., Renilde Montessori, and several others trained by Dr. Maria Montessori herself.
Susan has attended master classes given by Dr. Suzuki, visited the Suzuki Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan, and, at the request of Mrs. Suzuki, made presentations and a video on Montessori for the very young child. In her work to discover the best in education, by combining Montessori practice with that of Teaching for understanding (TfU), and Project Zero (PZ), she studied, along with participants from twenty-six countries, under Howard Gardner (Frames of Mind, and others), at The Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Susan has taught children from birth through college, has worked as a counselor for juvenile delinquents, and a school administrator; she has published articles and lectured (on open classroom, language, physics, music, math, homeschooling, and Montessori education) in colleges and universities, Montessori training centers, conferences, and schools in New Zealand, Japan, Peru, the Virgin Islands, and the USA.