Are Montessori Educators Barely Awake, Woke, or Too Woke for Our Time and Place?

January 29, 2024

AMI/USA is excited to continue learning alongside our community through a series of webinars focusing on issues of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) through a Montessori lens.

Scroll down for more information and to register!

The term “woke” is an adjective derived from African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and has been used within Black culture for decades. Over the last few years, the word “woke” has been given different meanings, especially in the educational world. Being “woke” for many educators including Montessorians, means being receptive to a theoretical framework like critical multicultural education or culturally relevant teaching (the other CRT). It can be defined by teaching practices that integrate justice-related issues with pedagogy. Some view it as truth in education. Other educators, including Montessorians, believe that this philosophical and pedagogical approach is counterproductive and divisive in our classrooms, schools, and our current day society.

This discussion and respectful dialogue, not a debate, will center some important questions. What does being “woke” really mean in the context of education in the United States? Is the Montessori philosophy and pedagogy fundamentally “woke”? Are Montessorians “too woke” or are we “barely even awake” as we strive to meet the challenges that all teachers, families and children face in education and our society today?  

Join us as moderator Sheri Bishop guides a discussion between Montessori colleagues as they offer different perspectives about “wokeness” in the Montessori Movement.

Sheri Bishop received her AMI Elementary diploma in 2014 from the Montessori Institute of Atlanta, her M.Ed. from Loyola University of Baltimore in 2015, and her AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of North Texas in 2022. After eight years of classroom experience, she founded Catalyze Consulting, LLC. She currently assumes her role at AMI/USA as the Human Rights and Social Justice Advisor, offers support to the Montessori Institute of North Texas as their Diversity and Equity Consultant, and occasionally enjoys the opportunity to reconnect with children as a Montessori classroom substitute.