Education Through Peaceful Living

At Shining Mountains Press we believe in the natural beauty of life.  We dedicate our work to creating a centered sense of peace within every individual, adults and children alike, building sustainable cooperative communities and encouraging all people to honor their authentic nature as well as their neighbors.

As a family owned business, we work together to meet the needs of our clients, we share a passion for respect and we delight in sharing this love with others.

Meet our team below:

Sonnie McFarland – Director/Consultant
2011 American Montessori Society Living Legacy

Sonnie is recognized around the globe as a visionary and pioneer in the field of education for peace and consults nationally and internationally on community building, effective parenting, adult centering techniques and peaceful living skills for children and adults. She has worked in education for more than 40 years as a Montessori classroom teacher, head of school and consultant. She is active on a multitude of boards and educational committees, has written and published articles in numerous magazines and has authored several books.

In March of 2011, Sonnie was honored by the American Montessori Society as the 2011 Living Legacy for her esteemed work in the field of peace education, community building and classroom management. The American Montessori Society is the largest governing organization for the Montessori community and bestows this honor once a year on an individual who has made significant and positive contributions to the Montessori community.

Sonnie began her fascinating journey with children in 1969 as she became a mother and Montessori teacher within the same year. While wondering what career path would bring her interests and passions together, she found “Montessori’s Own Handbook.” Within the first chapter, she knew that she had found her life’s work – educating children for peace.

With a Bachelors degree in Sociology from Brigham Young University completed, Sonnie earned her American Montessori Society teaching credential in 1969 and taught in early childhood classrooms for 24 years, directed Montessori Youth Summer Programs for 15 years, founded and directed the Shining Mountains Montessori Children’s’ Center in Pueblo, CO for eight years, and served as Head of School/ Head of Education at the Montessori School of Denver for 11 years.

She is a past member of the American Montessori Society (AMS) Board of Directors as well as the Association of Colorado Independent Schools (ACIS) Board of Directors and is currently the chair of the AMS Peace Committee. Sonnie authored the AMS Peace Education Position Paper which outlines the critical elements that foster education for peace in classrooms and schools.

Further, Sonnie independently authored two books: “Honoring the Light of the Child: Activities to Nurture Peaceful Living Skills in Young Children” and “Shining Through: A Teacher’s Handbook on Transformation.” In addition she co-authored a third book with her husband Dr. Jim McFarland, “Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self.” She has also written numerous professional articles that have appeared in Montessori Life, Holistic Education Review, The Montessori Reporter, Montessori International and Children of the New Earth.

In addition, she is highly sought after as a consultant in the areas of peace education, adult centering skills, community building and effective parenting. She also leads many workshops, school in-services and retreats, as well as delivers powerful and meaningful keynote addresses. As well, Sonnie works as a Peace Education Instructor at several Montessori Education Centers across the United States and around the world.

Dr. Jim McFarland – Founder

For more than 45 years Dr. Jim McFarland has been a pioneer and visionary in the field of communications. He inspires people to improve themselves, improve their relationships and improve their communities with his wisdom, insights and talents as an experiential group facilitator. Through extensive education, research and analysis, Dr. Jim has synthesized complicated emotional topics into easily understood and implemented tactical approaches to community building and effective parenting.

Dr. Jim McFarland holds a Bachelors degree in Speech from the University of Utah, a Masters degree in Interpersonal Communication from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in Interpersonal Communication from Northwestern University. He taught communications theory, public speaking, interpersonal and group communication courses at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, Southern Colorado University in Pueblo, Colorado and Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado. Outside of the collegiate arena, Dr. Jim facilitated and directed a variety of middle school/ high school age leadership programs.

As well, he has done extensive research and analysis in the areas of personal development, effective parenting and community building. Dr. Jim’s conception of the CPIR Model of Community Development has proven to be successful in creating a more efficient and cooperative corporate culture in a variety of organizations. The CPIR Model focuses on creating nurturing climates, effective processing skills, a sense of individual identity and more cooperative relationships with family members, classmates, professional colleagues and other communities of people. When the four elements of C (Climate), P (Process), I (Identity) and R (Relationship) are manifesting themselves, a community can be said to be functional and healthy. To the extent they do not exist, the community becomes dysfunctional and unproductive.

Additionally, Dr. Jim and his wife, Sonnie, co-founded the Shining Mountains Center for Education and Consciousness that incorporated a Montessori Children’s Center, Yoga Center and Adult Education Center. For more than 30 years, they have been teaching and writing about effective parenting skills. Their work allows parents to create a more positive, respectful view of their child and their role as caregivers. This work also includes teachings about effective communication skills, positive discipline techniques, creative problem solving, understanding children’s behavior and the enhancement of children’s self-worth. He co-authored a book with his wife Sonnie on this topic titled, “Montessori Parenting: Unveiling the Authentic Self.” Further, Dr. Jim’s work was published in Montessori Life wherein his compelling article titled, Lao Tzu, Montessori and the Watercourse Way of Peace explores the deep rooted connection these great thinkers share on how to live a peaceful and fulfilled life.

Further, Dr. Jim travels throughout the United States and abroad presenting, consulting and facilitating groups on the topics of community building, effective parenting and communication skills. He is also available to lead workshops and retreats in these areas.

Family Business


Shining Mountains Press is a family owned business that has grown up together as our family has grown. Love and respect have always been present in the McFarland home and as a true testimonial to the effectiveness of Dr. Jim and Sonnie’s life’s work, both of their children, Christian McFarland and Jeannie McFarland Johnson currently work happily for Shining Mountains Press. Even their three grandchildren help out where they can whether it be packing up books for shipment, editing photos or smiling for a picture used in a presentation or book cover.

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