“I was trying to give the independent power to them,” she said.
Peckar is a West Potomac High School alumna, Class of ’97. She moved on to graduate from Rutgers University and then became a certified Montessori teacher. She taught pre-k and elementary in New Jersey, and Mount Vernon, where she was the Director at the Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theater. She has written plays for almost twenty years before moving to Martha’s Vineyard where she currently resides.
Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play, the Montessori Northwest information said. Their description is filled with terms such as creative choices, age-appropriate activities, exploring knowledge, and maximum potential. In the late 1920s, Dr. Maria Montessori linked this teaching to music and social interactions, among other things and this is in-line with Peckar's theatrical lessons.
The various plays in her book are geared to get the students into the music through dialogue and character. The object is for a school or particular teacher to follow the lessons in the book, get the class to put on the plays, and adopt the teachings in the play even if it is on a temporary basis. The formula relies on participation, and Peckar feels the lessons and teachings will remain with the students “so they can really own their characters,” she said.
“I created this book and laid out everything for an educator to run with it,” she said.
“If I can reach just one educator or artist and inspire them during this challenging time for all theater arts, then I have done my job,” she said.
Currently she’s doing all this from her home in Martha’s Vineyard, which is an island community off the shores of Cape Cod and Massachusetts – a distance from Mount Vernon. “I have roots on this island, I’ve been coming here every summer since I was a baby,” she said. Peckar’s family had a house on the island, and when her grandmother died, it went empty for a few years until Peckar and her boyfriend moved in a few years ago. She started substitute teaching at the Montessori school on the island, and went full time after that.
Being a summer vacation destination, Martha's Vineyard sees an additional 200,000 people there in the summer, and all the vacation amenities as well, but this isn't year round. The few full time residents form a tight community in the winter, said Peckar. "Most places close and there is a tight knit community of places that stay open and really take care of each other," she said. "We actually do something called the ‘summer shuffle’ where we rent the house out in the summer and we move up island to avoid all that," she said.
The summer also brings in a celebrity or two, she said. "I’ve had run-ins with Bill Murray, Tony Shaloub, Amy Schumer, Ted Danson, Jim Irsay but no Kennedys. Most people on the island have a story or two," she noted.