Nichole Holtvluwer, owner
Passionate about the child under three, with an emphasis on authentic AMI Montessori, Nichole is a "toddler whisperer" of sorts. She has built an understanding, through nearly 16 years of experience and observation, of the life and times of the youngest of children. She is a hopeful enthusiast who believes when young children are respected and understood by the adults who surround them, they have the power to change the course of our world.
I began my work with children as the “neighborhood nanny," caring for all the children who lived around my family home in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado. Yet it wasn’t until I entered a Montessori school for the first time that my life’s work began to take shape.
In 2001 I was hired on as a teacher's assistant in the Toddler Community at a Montessori school in downtown Denver. I remember observing for the first time, awestruck as I looked upon the environment, and utterly confused as to what I was seeing:
A child ironing?
Everyone in cloth underwear!
Is that little boy arranging flowers?
And over there, she’s slicing a banana!
He’s feeding a fish!
What is this magic?
What have I got myself into?
I would be lying if I said my first day, which started out this lovely, ended up that way. The children nearly broke me, as they tested every limit I had. I left feeling defeated. But on day two, I returned and fell madly in love with this age group. The children had me at our second hello, though I was still baffled by them.
16 years, 4 schools, training at the Montessori Institute of Denver*, seminars, workshops, refresher courses and countless hours spent with the child & family under three years, and I feel the same sense of awe, but with a fully stocked belt of tools to navigate this crucial time of human development.
In May of 2016 I left my position as the Toddler Guide at the Montessori School of Washington Park in Denver, Colorado. In the years I spent at MSWP, creating and guiding an environment that met the needs of each family that entered, I came to understand that while adults want to nourish and guide their child, there is not a clear set of guidelines for doing so.
From here, Radicle Beginnings was officially born.
My goal is simple - to help you help your child. Children are the key to a brighter future for humanity, provided they are surrounded by adults who not only love, but also support them in creating the self.
My years in the prepared Montessori environment allowed me to bear witness to so many different brains doing the important work of developing. While there are many similarities among children, each and every child navigates the world to the tune of their own song. It was Maria Montessori who told us as adult’s working with our young (be it parents, teachers, caregivers) that we must “follow the child.”
My years following the child, and honoring each child’s individual spirit, have provided me an arsenal of tools for discovering this secret of childhood.
So while some define this time as the “terrible twos” I have come to learn with the right mix of knowledge, patience, mindfulness and intuition these can be the terrific twos! The terrific ones! The terrific birth! The terrific pregnancy! Hard? Absolutely - but brilliant all the same, if we allow ourselves to trust in the child, in nature and the universe, and in our ability to continue to learn.
These are Radicle Beginnings.
*2003 Assistants to Infancy (Conception to Three) Diploma from The Montessori Institute of Denver, Association Montessori International (AMI)