Dr. Daniel Morrell
When my daughter was 2 years old, my wife and I were exploring different types of child care. We had tours in several facilities and found an acceptable location at a local church, where we placed a deposit for the upcoming term. While making preparations to start this nervous time in our lives and to allow others to care for our child, my wife decided to tour the Blue Ridge Montessori School (BRMS). We were very impressed with the Montessori philosophy, the professionalism of the teachers, the safe environment, and the care provided to the children. Consequently, we decided to change our childcare arrangements to BRMS. We quickly realized that BRMS was not just childcare but a place where children grow physically and intellectually. The following year I was welcomed onto the Blue Ridge Montessori Board of Directors and
have been active with the BRMS BOD since this time. My daughter is now 7 years old and is a second-grade elementary student. During this time period, I have learned many contributions and techniques of the methods founded by Maria Montessori’s philosophy. The Montessori method utilizes the child-centered approach to allow the child to lead his/her learning process with the teacher’s ability to utilize the task specific educational items within the classroom to modify their environment to the learning level of the child. The child is provided with an environment to facilitate learning while the child’s inherent self-motivation to learn and explore the environment propels educational growth in a satisfying and gratifying manner. As they learn from their environment, the child is taught by older peers while teaching younger students what they have already mastered. This technique has been proven to be successful by educators in many professions for many years and is commonly called the Teach Back Method of learning. I am intrigued by this learning process of the child’s exploration of their environment as they progress to critical thinking and skill development with the use of environmental modifications and peer collaboration.
My name is Dr. Daniel D. Morrell and I have a daughter, Kendall, who is currently a second- grade elementary student at Blue Ridge Montessori School. I am married to Raena M. Pettitt, D.O., who is the Chair of Family Medicine at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM). I am a graduate of Riverside High School, Taylor, Pennsylvania and my post high school educational accomplishments include an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Lackawanna College, Scranton, Pennsylvania; Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; and Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Occupational therapy from Nova Southeastern University (NSU), Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While at NSU, I was fortunate to become President of the School of Occupational Therapy. I have been an occupational therapist for nearly 20 years with a focus of practice on physical disabilities and Geriatrics rehabilitation. My professional training includes vestibular, cardiopulmonary, stroke, and orthopedic rehabilitation in home health, acute care, assisted living, and long-term care settings. Recently, I have obtained certification credentials with the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP). I have held positions as a clinical occupational therapist, lead therapist in multiple settings, and as a Director of Rehabilitation, where I feel I have been able to learn management skills, teamwork, and experience the collaboration required to succeed in a care/service providing business. I’ve been an active member of the Blue Ridge Montessori School Board of Directors for approx. 5 years.