De-Centering Whiteness in Montessori Spaces

September 21, 2020

This session provided foundational information aimed at helping white community members show up in accountability for Montessorians of the Global Majority, including the speakers of the sessions in the rest of the Social Justice Webinar Series.



Webinar Master


De-centering Whiteness in Montessori Spaces

On Sept. 21, 2020, we explored some of the ways in which whiteness informs and limits our ability to fully realize Dr. Montessori’s vision for justice. We learned about the historical construction of whiteness, the legacy of racism in schooling, and the ways in which racism manifests within the Montessori community and ourselves. This session, which was created specifically to address the role of white Montessorians striving to work in solidarity to dismantle racism, encouraged white participants to dive deeply into their own racial identity development in order to engage authentically in movements for racial justice.

Suggested Reading

About the Presenters

Katie Kitchens (they/them/she/her) has worked in public, private and non-profit Montessori environments for the past decade as an instructional coach, teacher trainer and primary and elementary guide. Currently, Katie is pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Studies, researching racial identity development in young white children. Katie is also grateful to be the English Speaking Elementary Guide at the Keres Children’s Learning Center. Katie strives to work in partnership to uproot racist ideology within themself and their community, and work in coalition toward what Dr. Montessori called universal liberation.

Colleen Wilkinson is an AMS credentialed teacher (Early Childhood), teacher educator, consultant, and a Director at Montessori Country Day School in Houston, Texas. She lives with her wife, teenage daughter, and many pets in the suburbs. She serves on the AMS Peace and Social Justice Committee. In her local school district, she serves on the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee and District Education Improvement Committee. In addition to her partnership with trauma-informed care and social justice organizations, she provides professional development and support groups for parents and educators. She is passionate about trauma-informed care, ABAR work, adoption and foster care, and disability rights. She has said: “The most important aspect of a Montessori classroom isn’t the Pink Tower or the Colored Bead Stair, it is the relationship you have with each and every one of your students.”

Mara Matteson, originally from Ohio, did her teacher training at the University of New Mexico and taught for the Bernalillo Public Schools for 16 years.  In 2005, she completed Elementary Montessori training at the Washington Montessori Institute at University of Maryland Loyola.  She earned her New Mexico Administrative license in 2006,  and now works as the administrator for the Keres Children’s Learning Center (KCLC), a nonprofit Montessori school dedicated to native language revitalization and educational sovereignty at Cochiti Pueblo

All funds raised will support the work of the Black Montessori Education Fund (BMEF).

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