Children in Montessori schools receive substantial support
towards becoming unique individuals with healthy interpersonal and learning skills. But research shows that these aims, as well as children’s well-being, are undermined by the broader cultural environment’s focus on consumerism and materialism. Professor Kasser will review psychological studies and theory on personal values to show how Montessori educators and parents can create resilience to the damaging effects of consumer culture and facilitate their students’ optimal growth.
Forming a Critical Bond—Support and Collaboration
Between Schools and Families
Realizing the critical importance of the role of the parents in the creation of the child’s foundation for language, independence, movement, the intellect, and emotions, how can school communities support families so they can support their children? Schools need to become family communities rather than just educational institutions. They must work collaboratively with families to ensure that every community’s newest member can have their basic needs met.
Dr. Montessori referred to the first three
years of life as a period of construction—the “psychic embryo.” She was very clear about the role of the environment in supporting the development of this psychic embryo. In today’s world, where families are inundated with all the “things to buy,” we offer another approach: how to be with our children and support them during this formative age.
Join your A to I colleagues in exploring the bedrock of our pedagogy and our role in supporting families in providing the foundation from which their children feel the love, nurturing, and support necessary in today’s sometimes overwhelming world.
“Their Joy Was Like a Flame”
Working at the Intersection of Home, Casa, Community, and Culture
Montessori tells us that for successful education of young children, “we can only proceed indirectly” and “we must help each person individually” … “no teacher had taught them … their joy was like a flame” (1946 lectures: page 10).
The influences of many environments arrive with each child who enters the Casa dei Bambini. The 3-year-old who talks incessantly, the erratic 4-year-old, the bored 5-year-old — and many other behaviors — reflect influences of home, community, and the larger culture. They can challenge our vision of the universal child and seem to thwart the expected outcomes of Montessori education.
In this refresher we will first explore the context of these behaviors, then identify essential elements of Montessori education which can neutralize cultural obstacles to natural development, while supporting healthy and secure adaptation in the modern world. We will:
affirm core concepts from all areas of the Casa
generate strategies to liberate spontaneous interest, readiness for literacy and mathematics, and character traits necessary for prolonged and productive engagement with purposeful work
cultivate a positive balance between advocacy for natural childhood and a friendly attitude towards the larger culture which is the ultimate destination of the children in our care
Principles of the Prepared Environment:
How the Prepared Environment Supports Cosmic Education
This workshop will explore the details of the physical and psychological prepared environment for the elementary child. In addition to the theoretical aspects of Cosmic Education and the characteristics of the child, Alison will also address how to encourage and inspire meaningful work. She will provide practical advice on the organization and maintenance of your classroom; working with parents and administrators in support of the child’s environment; and developing a positive, collegial relationship with your assistant. Refresh and energize your spirit with ideas for improving your work while remaining calm and focused on the essential priorities of a successful Montessori classroom.
Nurturing and Growing Leadership Inside Your Own Community
In this workshop Dan Newby will introduce the history, development and possibility of natural learning, and coaching as a field of study centered on the nature of knowledge. There is tremendous value in addressing how we know—not simply what we know. During this rich day of interactive learning participants will explore the habits and ways of being that get in the way of learning, known as the enemies of learning. The five speech acts (requests, offers, promises, assertions and declarations) will be discussed with distinction being paid to usage of language. Three key models for communication will be introduced: conversations for action, possibility, and complaint. All of the areas covered will be immediately applicable and can be practiced in your daily work as a school administrator.
In 1963, the headline in the St. Paul paper stated: “Montessori: different because it works.” It is still different and it still works.
Montessori represents the best educational practices that are currently being extolled, and now – more than ever – it needs to be available to all children regardless of their social or economic status.
Molly will share the results of the Montessori Center of Minnesota’s efforts to build diverse and board-based community partnerships that to go back to the Montessori method’s roots in order to ensure the future for all children and the health of humanity.
Parents aren’t the enemy and relationships with them need not be antagonistic. Sometimes we tend to get frustrated, but if we reexamine our perspective it can lead to a mutually beneficial relationship that supports their child’s future in a Montessori classroom.
We need to communicate, relate, and describe what we do for their children—and how we do it—in a respectful manner. It is a process that takes time, and it is up to us, as administrative professionals, to create a successful collaboration.
How do we help parents understand their role? How do we communicate what we do in Montessori? And how does that fit into their perspective on modern society? These are the questions that will be explored with concrete suggestions.
Igniting Your Child’s Innate Strengths:
The Role of Family in Positive Constructions
exploration into fanning your child’s inner flame by identifying their strengths, preparing a home environment where those strengths are developed and nurtured, and how families can most effectively help their child carry the light between home and school. Using a blend of film, case studies, and interactive scenarios this workshop will also address; blended and divided families; parenting different genders; positive discipline; bullying; effects of labeling children; and communication with the school and other parents.
The Role of the Assistant in a Montessori Environment:
Supporting the Developing Human Being
In this course, participants will explore how the young child learns through his own activity. We will examine the assistant’s role in observation of the child’s behavior, in setting limits and preserving freedoms in the prepared environment, and in being an impeccable model of movement and language. The group will sing, focus on language, movement, observation,and setting limits.
The Human Spirit – Guiding the Destiny of the Universal Child
Paula Polk Lillard—author, head of school, and Montessori mother and grandmother with half a century of work for Montessori education—reflects on Montessori’s unique emphasis on the human spirit within each child that makes possible the realization of human destiny.
Stepping Into a New Role:
Developing Skills for Leadership
Trained administrators are vital to flourishing Montessori schools. Within the next decade the United States will undergo a generational shift as Baby Boomers retire. As schools shift their focus to the continuity of leadership, opportunities will arise.
Traditionally we have believed that a leader’s role was either to “tell others what to do” or to “motivate” them to take action. As new organizational forms emerge, these interpretations of leadership no longer serve as they once did. An interpretation that “we are all leaders, that leadership and coaching are inextricable, and that motivation of others is accomplished by inviting rather than pushing” is proving much more effective. Leading in this manner requires a fundamental shift in the way leaders see themselves and their roles. This interactive session will provide teachers making—or who want to make—the transition to a leadership role with a new perspective and new tools they can use immediately in their leading.
Are you looking for a way to contribute your Montessori voice and talents beyond the classroom? Join us for this training for state coalition teams—and all others interested in joining this important initiative—as we begin to build advocacy networks in each state. This will allow us to coherently address state and national representatives, respond to state legislation and regulations before bills are signed, be a part of the national education debate, and bring national awareness to Montessori.