2013 Refresher Course Recap
On February 15th, 820 eager Montessorians gathered in sunny Tampa, Florida for the 2013 Refresher Course and Workshops. This year’s theme, “Guiding the Universal Child to Maturity – The formative roles of family, school, community & culture,” provided the perfect platform for participants to delve deeper into their practice.
Throughout the weekend participants discussed the roles of family, the prepared environment—both school, the community with its diversities and challenges, and then the surrounding global culture—looking at the trends and dynamics. Participants were challenged to set personal goals and engage with one another.
The Keynote Lecture:
Children, Values, and Consumer Culture
Professor Tim Kasser, Ph.D. kick-started the conference as he reviewed psychological studies and theory on personal values. His stimulating presentation focused on how Montessori educators and parents can create resilience to the damaging effects of consumer culture and facilitate their students’ optimal growth.
Dr. Kasser holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is currently professor and chair of psychology at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. He is the author of numerous scientific articles and book chapters on materialism, values, and goals, among other topics. His books include: The High Price of Materialism; Psychology and Consumer Culture; and Meeting Environmental Challenges: The Role of Human Identity. He spends a good deal of his time working with activist groups that protect children from commercialization, promote ecological sustainability, and encourage a more “inwardly rich” lifestyle than what is offered by consumerism.
Download the powerpoint from Professor Kasser’s lecture here!
Download the powerpoint orientation notes from Professor Kasser’s lecture here!
Watch Tim’s video The High Price of Materialism here!
Below is feedback about the courses:
Assistants to Infancy Level:
Forming a Critical Bond—Support & Collaboration Between Schools & Families
“I love Judi! She’s such an inspiration. I particularly enjoyed the discussion groups. It was great to hear how other people meet the challenges we face everyday. I learned a lot.”
“Judi is very well-spoken and inspirational. The content of our sessions provided ideas for growth, long term vision, as well as real concrete plans for our return to the community. There was a good balance of lecture from Judi and collaboration amongst the A to I attendees. Amazing weekend, thank you!!”
“I loved Judi’s lectures! As always, I am leaving inspired and full of knowledge. Would loved to have listened to her the entire weekend!”
“Very practical discussions I’ll be able to take back to my classroom. Especially appreciate the introduction to bring up bébé as a way to introduce a variety of topics to parents. Always refreshing to hear Judi speak!”
“This was just what I needed! Information was so relevant to what I want to do with families. Judi is knowledgeable and practical as always. Everything was great!”
“Their Joy Was Like a Flame” Working at the Intersection of Home, Casa, Community, and Culture
“Ginny is an amazing person. This was my first experience with her. She re-confirmed for me what I know our methodology is—truly follow the child and your heart. This weekend has been another spiritual transformation – Namaste Ginni!!”
“Ginni was an optimal presenter. One can tell she has seen it all, done it all, experienced it all in a primary Montessori classroom. By sharing her experiences and reminding us to embrace the happenings in the world as we know it rather than demonstrate fear, even in today’s technological and popular culture saturated world, she serves to remind us exactly why we get up each and every day and do what it is we do—we do it for the children, the children who will cultivate life and joy separate from the circumstances from which they come. We present the experiences and the children will flourish. Great and timely lecture!”
“Ginni was fabulous! She was realistic and gave us fresh ideas to use immediately in the classroom. She did a great job of refreshing our theory in a practical manner.”
“I very much enjoyed the lectures! Thank you, Ginni, for your insight, dedication, deep understanding of the context, humor, and grace!”
“Ginni gave us a spirited and encouraging/empowering seminar that actually presented a plan not a mere theory or opinion to work with the Universal Child. Reflecting on “1st World” issues that present the 21st century child with obstacles, she demonstrated how to use Montessori principles and practices to guide them toward their own best practices. Lovely!!”
Principles of the Prepared Environment: How the Prepared Environment Supports Cosmic Education
“Alison is a great inspiration. I appreciate the digital resources that she has provided for us. I can go back and share with my teachers.”
“Alison did a wonderful job. Her lecture was very informative and I will be a better teacher for being here.”
“This was my first refresher course and I found the review of theory to be reinvigorating.”
“Alison did an amazing job covering so many topics. I loved how she balanced the importance of work with the children’s needs for love, respect, and understanding. Very inspiring!”
“Very carefully thought out and organized. Alison has such a lovely manner and presence.”
NAMTA Adolescent Workshop
The adolescent workshop successfully presented information pertaining to the fundamentals that teenagers need to grow into purposeful adults. Featured speaker Dr. Joseph Allen presented, “Clear and understandable examples about the importance of adult feedback. As a parent of an adolescent, I appreciate the way the speaker approached the subject.”
The Luncheon Lecture:
Montessori and the Human Spirit
Paula Polk Lillard was the featured speaker for Sunday’s Luncheon Lecture. As an author, head of school, and Montessori mother and grandmother with half a century of work for Montessori education, she reflected on Montessori’s unique emphasis on the human spirit within each child that makes possible the realization of human destiny. Her lecture entitled “Montessori and the Human Spirit” earned her a standing ovation.
The 2013 Refresher Course and Workshops were lovingly dedicated to Renilde Montessori. The conference ended with this quote:
“A child who is allowed the freedom to learn all the essential disciplines of its environment through spontaneous activity, driven by ‘the creative urge of life,’ will know itself. A child who is given the absolute assurance that its existence has profound meaning to those who gave it life, will never have to search for meaning. A child who is allowed to participate as a contributing member of its family and every milieu it further encounters, will become responsible for itself and capable of assuming responsibility for others. Such a child will grow strong and free and hard, its initial grace intact, its felicity of being an ineradicable given. It will become an individual not needy of a group to give it power and purpose, but a fully functioning, independent element in an enlightened, interdependent society.”
- Renilde Montessori, 1998
CLICK HERE FOR THE 2013 WORKSHOPS RECAP