News Type: Info/Resources About Current Events

May 28: Free Montessori Research Symposium

Breaking Ground: Montessori Research Symposium featuring New Doctoral Perspectives May 28, 2024 Time: 7:00 pm EST Location FREE on Zoom! Register Today! Dr. Montessori’s relentless pursuit of knowledge led to groundbreaking research that has paved the way for a multitude of contemporary studies. These ongoing investigations have revealed a wealth of compelling and thought-provoking findings, further enriching our understanding of the subject. Join us for a presentation of cutting-edge doctoral research featuring: “Examination of Montessori Teacher Training: Experiences of People of Color in Public and Charter Montessori Schools” by Dr. KaLinda Bass-Barlow “The Development of Adolescent Students’ Self-Directed Learning Skills within a Montessori Setting” by Dr. Elyse Postlewaite “New Ways of Being White: White Families Striving to Cultivate Antiracist Familial Cultures” by Dr. Katie Kitchens “Montessori Teacher Dispositions: A Mixed Methods Exploration of Scientific Observations for Assessment” by Dr. Courtney Reim The session will be moderated by Dr. Angela Murray, Associate Research Professor at the University of Kansas, Program Chair for the AERA Montessori SIG, and Editor of the Journal of Montessori Research. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the latest exciting findings in Montessori research!

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May 20 Teacher Webinar

Navigating the Complex Emotional Territory of Education May 20, 2024 Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm EST Dr. Sanden will focus on understanding our emotional reactions and learning practical, day-to-day skills of emotional intelligence so we can be more resilient, present, and authentic with ourselves and with the children. Supporting Students by Supporting Teachers For Classroom Teachers and Those That Support Them These webinars are designed for classroom guides, assistants, and others that support teachers in their work and are real discussions about real issues in Montessori teaching work spaces that may hinder teachers from experiencing the true joy of their chosen profession. Through these webinars, we hope to help teachers more effectively cope with the many career stressors they face, model social and emotional skills for students, create supportive prepared environments, and guide students to engage more deeply in learning. Join us for these impactful discussions that can positively influence your daily teaching practice! All sessions are held on Mondays from 7:00–8:30 pm EST Click here for more information and to register!

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2024 AMI Administrators Certificate Course

Sponsored by AMI/USA AMI/USA is proud to sponsor the AMI Administrators Certificate Course! June 21 – 24, 2024 This course is designed for new and veteran Montessori school administrators looking to deepen their understanding of school leadership within a Montessori context. Click here for more details and to register!

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Sanford Fund Application is Open!

The Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts provides AMI/USA members with the opportunity to expand on arts related activities in their Montessori environments. Grant awards may be used to purchase art materials, art history materials, musical instruments, songbooks, costumes and set decorations, and to attend professional development workshops. View the charming video created by one of our Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts recipients! Click here for more information!  

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MEx24 Video!

JOIN US! The 2024 Montessori Experience: Refresher Courses and More! Educating for Peace in Contemporary Life February 16–19, 2024 Event Location: Renaissance Dallas Addison Hotel, Addison, TX, USA Register Here!

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Feb 17 Sanford Fund Application Opens!

2023-24 Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts The Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts provides AMI/USA members with the opportunity to expand on arts related activities in their Montessori environments. Grant awards may be used to purchase art materials, art history materials, musical instruments, songbooks, costumes and set decorations, and to attend professional development workshops. Grant awards average $400.00 per applicant! Click here for more information! Application opens Feb 17, 2024  

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Jan 29 Final JEDI Webinar!

Are Montessori Educators Barely Awake, Woke, or Too Woke for Our Time and Place? 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. Click here for more information on this session!

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Teacher Webinars Series

Supporting Students by Supporting Teachers For Classroom Teachers and Those That Support Them These virtual professional development sessions are designed for classroom guides, assistants, and others that support teachers in their work. These are real discussions about real issues in Montessori teaching work spaces that may hinder teachers from experiencing the true joy of their chosen profession. The goals of the series are to help teachers more effectively cope with the many career stressors, model social and emotional skills for students, create academically supportive prepared environments, and guide students to engage more deeply in their learning. Join us for these impactful discussions that can positively influence your daily teaching practice! All sessions are held on Mondays from 7:00–8:30 pm EST Click here for more information and to register!

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Dec 18 Montessori in Action – Free Author Talk

AMI/USA is proud to celebrate the book Montessori in Action: Building Resilient Montessori Schools by Elizabeth G. Slade. Elizabeth has been a Montessori educator for 35 years. She has worked to build public Montessori programs, implementing Child Study systems and developing the art of Montessori Coaching. She is passionate about leading school start-ups, designing trainings and bringing the Montessori coaching method to hundreds of schools across the country. Elizabeth is a frequent presenter at Montessori conferences. Her book Montessori in Action: Building Resilient Montessori Schools was released in July 2021. Elizabeth earned her AMI Elementary Diploma from the Washington Montessori Institute, and her AMS Administrative Credential at the Center for Contemporary Montessori Studies. In addition, she has a Master of Fine Arts in writing from Spalding University. Register Here Copies are available at the AMI/USA online bookstore. Get your copy today!

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Jan 9 ASQ Overview – Free Admin Session

A webinar with Dr. Elyse Postlewaite on her recent study: Experiences of Montessori Guides and Administrators Supporting Students with Developmental Delays or Disabilities. January 9, 2024 7:00 – 8:30 pm EST Location: Zoom Administrators and educators are invited to hear Dr. Elyse Postlewaite, an independent researcher, who recently completed a development screener study (ASQ) that may interest educators who work with potentially neurodivergent students. AMI/USA supported this study and is inviting you to learn about the findings and possible implications. Click here to register! We look forward to having you join us!

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Mar 18, Apr 29, and May 20 – 2024 Teacher Webinar Series

The 2023-2024 theme for the AMI/USA teacher-focused webinar series is “Supporting the Whole Teacher”. These virtual professional development sessions are designed for classroom guides, assistants, and others that support teachers in their work. These are real discussions about real issues in Montessori teaching work spaces that may hinder teachers from experiencing the true joy of their chosen profession. How many times have you heard a teacher say, “I teach because I love the children” and “Teaching is rewarding”? Yet, nearly half of teachers serving children in a classroom daily leave the profession before their fifth year. There are lots of reasons why we have a national teacher shortage. Besides pay, a major teacher experience that fuels the shortage is being in “a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion”. Caring for ourselves mentally, emotionally, and physically may seem like another task on the endless list, however it will serve us well to make this effort a personal priority. Gaining and strengthening skills in this area is no less important than didactic skills if we are to effectively cope with the many career stressors, model social and emotional skills for students, create academically supportive prepared environments, and guide students to engage more deeply in their learning. Be a part of these impactful discussions that can positively influence your daily teaching practice.  All sessions are held on Mondays from 7:00–8:30 pm EST. Click on the Teacher Webinar Series session title for more information: March 18, 2024 Building a Culture of Belonging for Adults with Tamara Sheesley Balis April 29, 2024 Affirming the Humanity of All Teachers with Patrick Harris II May 20, 2024 Navigating the Complex Emotional Territory of Education with Dr. Lisa Sanden We look forward to having you join us, registration coming soon!

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JEDI Webinar Series

AMI/USA is excited to continue learning alongside our community through a series of webinars focusing on issues of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion through a Montessori lens. Our hope is that with involvement in each JEDI Series session, participants will build greater capacity to engage in conversations about race and impact in American society, and justice and equity within the Montessori community. Join the dialogues to listen, learn, share, and connect with experts and peers as we work to make Montessori spaces more inclusive and accessible. All sessions are held on Mondays from 7:00–8:30 pm EST. Click on the JEDI Series session title for more information and registration. November 20, 2023 Building the Capacity to Educate for Peace: What Everyone Should Know About Peace with Uduak-Abasi Akpabio December 4, 2023 The Future of Montessori Education: The AMI/USA and AMS U40 Summit with Dr. Ayize Sabater January 29, 2024 Are Montessori Educators Barely Awake, Woke, or Too Woke for Our Time and Place? with Sheri L. Bishop We look forward to having you join us! Click here to submit your request for a professional development certificate for these sessions.

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Free Back to School Teacher Wellness Webinar!

The Power of Breath and Laughter for Teachers and Children in the Classroom September 25, 2023 Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm EST Free on Zoom! This free, fun and interactive webinar for teachers is about how to use your mind and body to access more joy and well-deserved relaxation through breathing techniques and laughter yoga. Click here for more details and to register!

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The 29th International Montessori Congress: 2-5 August 2023

The goal of The 29th International Montessori Congress is to raise awareness and understanding of Montessori education as a global influence in our rapidly changing world. The conference theme, “Education for a New World”, promises to inspire all delegates to appreciate the significance of their work and to return to their homes after the Congress with renewed vigour. Early Bird fee is available until June 30, 2023 (until 23:59 hrs. GMT + 7) Click here for more details and to register!

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Celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Leadership

Celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Leadership By Daisy Han   Close your eyes and think about three Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) leaders.  Who do you think of? How long did it take? Can you name three leaders you personally know? In what ways have AAPI leaders been presented in your life? In what ways have you interacted with them? How does your socialization of stereotypes about Asian people impact your perception of our leadership, or even our capacity to lead?  In my own upbringing, as a first generation Korean-American child, I had very little exposure to AAPI leadership. In fact, it wasn’t until college, majoring in Ethnic Studies, that I learned about three of my most inspirational leaders: Grace Lee Boggs, Yuri Kochiyama and Patsy Mink. Yet even with this lack of representation in my daily life, the term “model minority” would haunt me as if to say I had it made to succeed.  Through my career as a Montessori teacher, I have been able to cultivate my voice to confront injustice in one of the most powerful platforms of them all: the classroom.  One of the most prevalent myths about AAPI as a model minority is the idea that the group is overrepresented in leadership and C-suite positions of American society. In reality, while Asian Americans have a high level of representation in professional roles, research into career advancement across workers of various ethnicities suggests the group remains deeply underrepresented among managerial and executive positions. (Gee et al., 2020) The model minority myth creates both a racial wedge that sets Asian Americans apart to reinforce harmful stereotypes and contributes to the perpetuation of racial hierarchies, making it more challenging to build solidarity and work collectively to address systemic issues. In my own role as CEO of Embracing Equity, I have often been mistaken as junior staff to my white colleagues, or even questioned as to why an Asian American woman would be working in the social justice movement in the first place. One funder exclaimed upon meeting me, “You’re doing this work but you’re not even Black!”  Yes, social justice work is everybody’s responsibility and certainly not just the work of Black people. It’s also telling that even with high educational attainment and upward economic mobility, Asian Americans are often seen as doers and not leaders. The stereotype of the subservient, obedient Asian shows up in the room before I do, and it impacts every aspect of my leadership ability.  McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace study surveyed more than 400 large organizations across the United States in 2021 and found that Asian Americans account for 9 percent of senior vice presidents but just 5 percent of promotions from senior vice president to the C-suite. Asian American women make up less than 1 percent of these promotions (Chui et al., 2022). According to the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) website, the 2023 theme is “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity.” So what does this mean? How does this theme’s omission […]

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AMI Administrators Certificate Course Registration is Live!

Sponsored by AMI/USA AMI/USA is proud to sponsor the AMI Administrators Certificate Course in July of 2023 in Columbia, MD. This course is designed for new and veteran Montessori school administrators looking to deepen their understanding of school leadership within a Montessori context. Click here for more details and to register!

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Earth Day 2023

This Earth Day, we are featuring submission from students at Butler Montessori. After listening to their presentation at the 2023 Montessori Experience: Refresher Courses & More, we are proud to showcase these youth who are moving from rhetoric to action. Save The Earth Project (STEP) Our Story – Our Future By: Alvin, Grady, Imani, Ken, and Max Our Story Save The Earth Project (STEP) is a climate service organization created by a group of Butler Montessori students: Alvin, Grady, Imani, Ken, and Max. At the February 2020 Montessori Model United Nations Conference, young climate activist Alexandria Villaseñor spoke about climate change and inspired us to take action. When we returned to Butler Montessori, the five of us couldn’t stop thinking about what we could do better for our local environment. Thus, STEP was created. In the beginning, we had big plans for STEP: to go on beach clean-ups, hold fundraisers, and implement more green products in our schools. As a result of the pandemic, however, many of our plans were put on hold. However, in our last year all together at Butler, we committed to doing all that we could to further STEP. We participated in a Fridays For Future Ribbon Strike, hosted a campus-wide trash collecting competition for the younger classes at our school, an Earth Day assembly and street chalk, and more. While we had a somewhat unclear vision of where our organization would go once we all went off to high school, we committed ourselves to keeping STEP going and growing it into a larger organization with international reach. Our Future We are starting to ramp things up, and hope to do more as the years go on! This year we have been focusing on redesigning STEP chapters to be accessible in more schools, solidifying our mission and vision, and getting out the word about who we are. Most recently we were invited to speak at the 2023 AMI/USA Montessori Experience event in Baltimore. We gave a presentation to Montessori teachers, parents, and administrators about STEP’s past efforts and what we are hoping to do in the future of the organization. Our main goal is to expand. We hope to extend our organization all across the country, and hopefully the world, one chapter at a time. We want to open STEP chapters anywhere we can, whether that school be Montessori, public, private, or anything in between. Once we open more chapters, we can reach and educate a much larger audience, and plan bigger, more exciting initiatives, specifically designed for youth to make a meaningful impact in the fight against climate change. Another thing we are extremely excited about is the Montessori & Adolescent Practitioners Symposium (MAPS) where we hope to hold our very first STEP Summit! We are partnering with Train Montessori to invite adolescents from STEP chapters to Denver in October 2023. We plan to have many representatives of our chapters present what they have done as their passion projects, and what they plan to do […]

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U40: Montessori for the Future Summit 2023

  APPLY HERE! The American Montessori Society (AMS) and Association Montessori International / United States of America (AMI/USA) are thrilled to announce the U40: Montessori for the Future Summit. Join a diverse cohort of Montessori educators under 40 who are members of AMS and/or connected to Montessori through AMI/USA. These critical thinkers and creatives are committed to exploring and researching, value collaboration and diverse perspectives, and exchange knowledge to craft innovative approaches for the future of Montessori education. Participants will experience an immersive program to impact the Montessori Movement and work to improve how we think about how teachers are recruited, what teachers need to know to be successful with the ever-changing demands, and how to bolster teacher retention. Other ideas for exploration may arise from the initial work and will be incorporated as well. AMS and AMI/USA invite all Montessori changemakers to apply for this program that celebrates the extraordinary young educators (under 40) who have demonstrated tremendous impact and success in their respective positions. Why Attend By bringing both AMS and AMI educators together for this critical work, the global Montessori Movement will be strengthened. The initiatives that come from this work have the potential to improve teacher education and schools worldwide, thereby improving the support given to teachers. In addition, the structured program and guiding of diverse Montessori practitioners through this process will establish a movement that will continue to rethink structures and practices for our associations. Objectives Forward-thinking Montessori educators from established Montessori schools and teacher training programs along with AMS and AMI/USA staff, will discuss, research, and brainstorm sustainable pathways for Montessori to expand its reach and ways in which the pedagogy, teacher education, and school leadership can evolve to better meet the needs of children and adolescents of today. The group will propose ideas for both AMS and AMI/USA to begin working on innovative solutions. After this event, we hope to have developed a foundation for several long-lasting initiatives whose work will continue beyond this year. Event Details Cost Participation is directly funded by AMS and AMI/USA. This includes airfare, lodging, and 5 planned meals: Thursday: dinner Friday: breakfast, lunch, and dinner Saturday: breakfast Timeline Registration Opens: March 30, 2023 Submission Deadline: May 8, 2023 Notification of Acceptance: May 12, 2023 We look forward to reading your applications for this exciting gathering of minds. Please note: If accepted into U40: Montessori for the Future Summit, you must purchase airline tickets by May 22, 2023, and submit the receipt for reimbursement by May 25, 2023. Eligibility and Selection Process Participants are selected based on aptitude, experience, a desire to collaborate, a desire to innovate, and the drive to become more impactful leaders in the Montessori community who are committed to accelerating change within themselves and their organizations. Admissions will ensure a diversity of perspectives and experiences both in Montessori schools and teacher education programs. An AMS, AMI, or AMS-approved Montessori credential is required (any level). Those applying through AMS must have an active AMS membership. […]

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Farmworker Awareness Week in the Montessori Environment

Farmworker Awareness Week in the Montessori Environment March 25-31, 2023 By: Marina Sáenz, M.Ed. Farmworker History in the Settler-Colonial United States The last week in March is National Farmworker Awareness Week. It is “a week of action for students and community members to honor farmworkers’ important contributions and to raise awareness about the issues they face” (SAF, 2023). While farm work has largely remained unchanged, there is hope for a new day dawning in one corner of the country. The story of farm labor in the Settler-Colonial United States cannot be told without the history of the Native People who have worked with the land since time immemorial. In the last few hundred years, kidnapped Africans were among the first to begin harvesting food at a large scale, against their will while seeking liberation. After slavery was abolished, farm conditions remained difficult to change.The Smithsonian Institute explains:  In the South, sharecropping and the racial and structural legacy of slavery made it impossible for large-scale organization. Lynching, segregation, and other racial terror and policing tactics maintained a racial status quo to the detriment of Black and non-white citizens (Perez, 2020). People may be surprised to learn that many of our favorite ingredients, like tomatoes, chiles, and blueberries, are still picked by hand. The Wilson Center says there are approximately 1.5 to 2.5 million US farmworkers today. (Martin, 2020) This makes it possible for the majority of the country to have food in grocery stores, restaurants, and school cafeterias.  Family Stories of Farm Labor In my family, I heard stories from my late father, aunts, and uncles about working in “la labor” or “the fields” as children. They harvested tomatoes, melons, citrus, onions, hops, blueberries, apples, and potatoes across several states ranging from Oregon to Idaho to Michigan before returning to a new harvest in Texas where the cycle would repeat again. Photo of my Uncles, Aunt, and Father near a migrant farmworker camp in the 1960s. My father began to work in the fields as a young child. After his mother passed away at the age of 13, migrant farm work was necessary in order for his family to survive. When I asked my father about these times, the response was “Lo que tu quieres saber, yo quiero olvidar” or “What you want to know, I want to forget.”  While this work is dignified, earnest work, it is difficult to ignore the injustice of children picking fruits and vegetables instead of learning in school. In fact, children have been historically excluded from federal labor protections in agriculture. Amy Volz of the Immigration and Human Rights Law Review writes “Due to loopholes in the Fair Labor Standards Act, children are exploited daily on farms across the United States” (Volz, 2022). Consciousness + Commitment = Change In the early 1990s, a group of farm laborers began to gather in a parking lot in a small Florida town known as Immokalee. “The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a worker-based human rights organization internationally […]

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#MEx23 Press Release

Photograph above by: Jill Fannon Photography Click here for a pdf version of our Press Release The 2023 Montessori Experience: Refresher Courses and More Unites Over 930 Educators from Across the Country February 28, 2023 The 2023 Montessori Experience: Refresher Courses and More took place at the Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor this President’s Day weekend and was attended by over 930 Montessori educators, administrators, and caregivers. The opening keynote speaker was Nikki Giovanni, world-renowned poet and children’s book author. This was the first annual conference to take place completely in-person since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Our event began Friday morning with an opening from our Executive Director, Dr. Ayize Sabater. Hundreds attended workshops throughout the day – a constant stream of Montessorians pouring in from all around the country. You could feel the energy in each room as attendees gathered to dive deeper into the topic of Spiritual Preparation. We gathered as a large group once more to honor author and long-time Montessorian Phyllis Pottish – Lewis as well as listen to our opening keynote, Nikki Giovanni. She read several poems and touched on many important issues that we are facing today. Nikki Giovanni began the night with a powerful statement – “If all I have are words then I have to use them.” Level intensives took place on Saturday and Sunday for Assistants to Infancy Assistants and Guides, Primary Assistants and Guides, Elementary Guides, Adolescent Guides, Administrators, as well as an open workshop track – Grounded and Growing for educators, administrators, and caregivers. Monday began with more workshops and opportunities for dialogue surrounding Montessori research efforts. The closing keynote “Sisters in Spirit” on Monday was a culminating conversation on spiritual preparation with three women and passionate leaders in the Montessori movement – Dr. Nitana Hicks Greendeer (Wampanoag), Interim Director of Weetumuw Katnuhtôhtâeekamuq; Pastor Jessica Jackson, Head of School for Morning Glory Montessori; and Karen Clark, Montessori-trained guide and coach with Know Thyself, Inc. Mr. Rico Newman (Choptico Band of Piscataway-Conoy Indians) brought our gathering to a close with a traditional blessing and parting words for educators – learn about the Original Teachings from the land where you are a guest. Lynne Lawrence, Executive Director of Association Montessori Internationale reminded us of the dire need to prioritize the rights of children in the United States. Finally, this year’s closing Town Hall featured the unveiling of our Strategic Plan presented by AMIUSA Executive Director, Dr. Ayize Sabater and members of the AMIUSA Board. Nikki Giovanni is introduced before taking the stage at the Montessori Experience on Friday, February 17, 2023.  Left to Right: Pastor Jessica Jackson, Koren Clark, and Dr. Nitana Hicks Greendeer (Wampanoag) at the Closing Keynote: “Sisters in Spirit” on Monday, February 20, 2023. Mr. Rico Newman (Choptico Band of Piscataway-Conoy Indians) sharing parting words with educators on Monday, February 20, 2023. Executive Director of Association Montessori Internationale, Lynne Lawrence at the closing of the Montessori Experience on Monday, February 20, 2023. AMIUSA Executive Director, Dr. Ayize […]

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JEDI Spring Series

SESSION 2: Exploring Gender Expansiveness in the Montessori Environment March 20, 2023 at 7 pm EST Transgender Visibility Day is on March 31, 2023. As a prelude to this day of recognition, our goal at AMI/USA is to explore gender expansiveness in Montessori settings. Please join us as Sara Bloomberg moderates an open discussion with Olli Lehman, M.A. and Ashley McLean, both Montessori colleagues who are personally and professionally close to this important topic. This conversation will take place via Zoom on March 20th at 7pm EST. About our Speakers: Sara Bloomberg, MA (they/them/theirs) lives on the unceded land of the Timucuan in what’s now known as St Augustine. Sara is a co-founder of Blossoming Beyond the Binary, a consulting group that helps educational communities embrace and develop gender diverse practices and curricula that uplift and center lgbtqia+ children, families, and educators. Sara co-wrote Queering Your Culture: The Importance of Gender Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom for Montessori Life. They co-wrote Intentionally Inclusive: THE LGBTQIA+, Gender Diverse Montessori School for the Montessori Collaborative World Review: The Montessori Roots of Social Justice (AMS/AMI). Sara has led workshops for AIMS Illinois, Crescent Ridge Academy Montessori Education Instruction, Endeavor Schools, AMS TME, for the Montessori Alliance of Tennessee, BAMA, and MEPPI. Sara also presents on this topic for various AMS affiliated TEP Programs in the US and across the globe. Sara was the head of the Early Childhood division at the St. Augustine Public Montessori School in Saint Augustine, Florida; founding director of Battery Park Montessori in New York City. Olli Lehmann is a lead guide at City Garden Montessori School. She has been living authentically as a Non-binary Trans woman for 15 years. She received her Masters of Arts in Education and her Bachelor’s in English from Truman State University. She has been working in St Louis schools for 7 years. She has worked in a variety of roles, as an art teacher, classroom assistant, and for 2 years as a lead guide. She is currently working towards her 9-12 Montessori certification. While working at City Garden, she has organized a social justice club, as well as the school’s first Gay Straight Alliance. She is an advocate for all underrepresented students, and a supporter of all queer and trans children. Ashley McLean is a trained primary Montessori educator. She taught for 12 years at Wellan Montessori School in Newton, MA. After leaving her position in Newton and moving to Maine, she decided to homeschool her two elementary-aged children. Ashley has presented on several topics at the annual Montessori Schools of Massachusetts Conference and has written various posts for the Wellan Montessori School blog. She currently works as a Library Assistant at the Southwest Harbor Public Library in Southwest Harbor.  Ashley loves hiking, biking, reading, and writing, as well as spending most of her time exploring the outdoors with her family. To register for this session or all 3 sessions, click here: https://amiusa.org/2023-jedi-series-registration/ SAVE THE DATE! SESSION 3: Neurodiversity in the Montessori Environment: A Forum April […]

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service – January 16, 2023

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service – January 16, 2023 On this day of service, the nation will honor the memory and tireless work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  On this day, and after it passes, all educators, from all backgrounds, will be well served by continuing to critically examine his philosophy regarding the purpose of education in our society, particularly for children of color.  Dr. King’s dream for education was “far grander than integration alone”. He envisioned education to be quantitatively and qualitatively equitable.   “It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture.  Education must enable a man to become more efficient and to achieve, with increasing facility, the legitimate goals of his life.”  This philosophy and ideology align with the basis of the Montessori movement founder Maria Montessori’s belief that, “This is education, understood as a help to life; an education from birth, which feeds a peaceful revolution and unites all in a common aim, attracting them as to a single center.” Historically, some marginalized communities within the United States, including African American communities, identify with Dr. Montessori’s message of inclusion and hope.  We are on the cusp of Black History Month.  It is the perfect time to explore the question posed by the great African American poet, Langston Hughes, in his historical poem, “What Happens to a Dream Deferred?” and to address if the current Montessori movement has succumbed to gradualism or is intentionally moving toward systematic equity… that complex combination of interrelated elements consciously designed to create, support, and sustain social justice.  Are Montessorians using personal and collective power and privilege, to, as past Montessori parent, advocate and philanthropist Kyle Galbraith expresses, “put our focus on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion as a logical outgrowth of our spiritual understanding of the Oneness of all life?”  Have Montessorians realized that “all lives are intrinsically interconnected, we cannot create a world that works for ourselves and our loved ones unless it also works for everyone else?” This is service to humanity. In honor of Dr. King and educational philosophy and work to bring equity into all schools, please join a diverse panel of Montessorians as they discuss how power and privilege in the Montessori community can be used to realize the dream of right of entry and justice in all Montessori spaces.   Panel Participants Sheri Bishop, AMI/USA Human Rights and Social Justice Advisor, Moderator Maia Blankenship, Co-CEO, Black Wildflower Funds Jimmy and Kyle Galbraith, Past Montessori Parents, Montessori Advocates, and Philanthropists Fatima Green, Assistant and Montessori Primary Level Trainee, Lee Montessori Public Charter School Sinuda Kapalczynski, Head of School/Guide, Fulton Montessori School BethAnn Slater, Head of School, Middleburg Montessori School and AMI/USA Primary Trainer Alex Brown, Advisory Board member, Black Montessori Education Fund Link to Registration: https://amiusa.org/2023-jedi-series-registration/

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The 2023 AMI/USA Montessori Experience: Refresher Courses & More!

Announcing the 2023 AMI/USA Montessori Experience, Refresher Courses and More! Join us in Baltimore, MD from February 17 – 20, 2023 for a weekend to focus on the Spiritual Preparation of the guide in service to all children. Each track and offering will provide a unique perspective on this important topic from our vibrant community of presenters and speakers including Dr. Donna Hicks, Sarah Werner Andrews, M.Ed., Koren Clark, M.Ed., Paula Lillard Preschlack, M.Ed. and many more dynamic leaders in our community. Download: The 2023 Montessori Experience brochure here!   Click here to register

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Orange Shirt Day, Every Child Matters

Image and beadwork design by Tia Marie Pocknett© Orange Shirt Day – September 30th  This summer, I had the opportunity to meet my biological family in Canada–my Mi’kmaq family.  My homecoming was filled with a spectrum of feelings that I found myself unable to describe to my family, my husband, my coworkers, and my friends.  For the longest time, I have wanted to connect with them and I was finally getting this moment. During my reunification visit, I met Aunts, Uncles, Sisters, Brothers, and most importantly, the Matriarch of my family.  In the beginning, the stories of my mother and grandmother were stories of minor trauma but trickled with happiness and laughter.  Through this happiness, my aunt began to tell me a small account of her experience at a Residential School. I remember as soon as the words “Residential School” left her mouth, my back straightened and my complete focus was upon her.  She told me how much she hated being there and how she needed to get back home.  So, she did what most children who were lucky enough to do, and that was to run back home to her mother. She was a lucky one who made it back; many children who tried to escape these schools either fell victim to inclement weather and natural physical land conditions that made the journey too difficult, or were recaptured and dragged back to these schools. Her return was short-lived, as she was brought back to the residential school.  I could feel her anger, her sadness, but most importantly her strength in her words as she shared a minuscule story.  I knew better than to ask any more questions about her experience; I knew I was meant to listen to her account. “On September 30, 2021, Canada will hold its first-ever statutory holiday observation of Orange Shirt Day, also known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, to commemorate the missing and murdered children from residential schools and honor the healing journey of residential school survivors. Orange Shirt Day has been widely observed since 2013 to raise awareness about the residential school system and its impact on Indigenous communities for over a century.” (Garcia). Spirit Walks and calls for recognition around Orange Shirt Day in Canada are growing larger each year.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was organized in 2008.  The commission worked to gather stories (data) from Residential School Survivors and observe the effects these institutions not only had on the individual, but also how this impacted Indigenous Nations and communities throughout Canada. After the conclusion of data collecting that came from this committee’s investigation, it was decided that Residential Schools played a key role in Canada’s complacency in the cultural genocide of First Nations People of Canada. TRC Officials have also made discoveries of large empty graves with children’s remains inside. “In its final report, the TRC has identified 3,200 deaths although it noted that the exact number of students who died at residential schools […]

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International Day of Peace

International Day of Peace, 2022 Peace Like A River: Inner Peace and the Prepared Environment   International Day of Peace is being observed today, September 21, 2022.  This is the day that the United Nations (UN) invites all countries and people to honor cessation of hostilities during the day and raise important issues.  The actual purpose of universal peace day is to foster acceptance by engaging all the people to make a commitment towards peace by remaining non-violent.  This day is an ambition to remove all the differences amongst each other and build a culture of peace everywhere. This year’s theme “End Racism Build Peace” was chosen because “Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures, and everyday life in every society. It continues to be a driver of persistent inequality.  And it continues to deny people their fundamental human rights.  It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments, and… the linkages between racism and gender inequality are unmistakable.” Click here to learn more. Today’s acknowledgement and commitment aligns with the Montessori approach.  She always, through her writings, actions and pedagogy, advocated for educating for peace.  Thus, this has been at the core of our work with children around the world.  Dr. Montessori’s belief that the spiritual and social revolution of humankind will only be realized through the child.  Our approach to sharing history and the stories that we tell to reveal how people meet our fundamental human needs has allowed Montessorians to focus on our uniqueness, our similarities, and peace efforts around the globe that help us connect as a human race. AMI/USA staff, members, board directors, and stakeholders “acknowledge that building and maintaining an inclusive, racially equitable culture will be never-ending and that ever-lasting transformation requires courage, persistence, unwavering commitment, and individual and collective accountability.” Read our full equity statement here. It will serve us well to never forget the fragility of peace and racial harmony, especially in these days of social unrest and violent war.  The responsibility of each prepared guide is to foster these values in the Montessori environment and work to dismantle systems and methods which do not support them. Dr. Montessori envisioned the guide as a temporary scaffold by which a permanent, stronger foundation would be built for the construction of a renewed society.  Embedded within her educational theory is the idea that children, though they may be unaware of their inherent and collective value to the world, are equipped with the tools to build a more cohesive society that can be free from war, racism, and oppression. Dr. Montessori’s work guides us toward spiritual preparation that leads one to lay down prejudice, intolerance, and racism if they are to fully serve the child.  If the vision of a society is to be centered around unity and cooperation of humankind, how can racism endure within the Montessorian’s heart, or within the schools or in the classroom? An environment cannot be fully prepared if it bears the thumbprint of colonialism, oppression, or bias (be […]

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National Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

September 15th – October15, 2022 “Hispanic heritage holds an indelible place in the heart and soul of our Nation, and National Hispanic Heritage Month reminds us that the American identity is a fabric of diverse traditions and stories woven together. Since the beginning, our country has drawn strength and insights from Hispanic writers, scientists, soldiers, doctors, entrepreneurs, academics, and leaders in labor and government.  Our culture has been enriched by the rhythms, art, literature, and creativity of Hispanic peoples. And our deepest values have been informed by the love of family and faith that is at the core of so many Hispanic communities. All these contributions help us realize the promise of America for all Americans (Biden, Joseph, 2022).   The Association Montessori International/USA (AMI/USA) values the lives, lived experiences, contributions, and talents of our Hispanic colleagues with whom we work and the families and children we serve.  The U.S. Hispanic population reached 62.6 million in July 2021, the United States Census Bureau reports. Americans of Mexican origin account for nearly 62 percent (37.2 million people) of the nation’s overall Hispanic population as of 2019, per Pew Research Center. The second largest group are Americans of Puerto Rican origin with 5.8 million people.  Another 3.3 million people live on Puerto Rico as of 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Americans with origins in Cuba, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Colombia, and Honduras each have a population of roughly one million or more.  Hispanic-identifying people make up the nation’s largest racial or ethnic minority at 18.9 percent.  To appreciate the vibrancy of the growing Hispanic population in the United States, and their community influence, it would serve us well to guide learning about the geography, culture, music, food, and daily life of Hispanic Americans within our homes and classroom spaces.  As we make lesson plans and create culturally relevant prepared environments, it is a great time to pay homage to those who identify as Hispanic-Americans beyond thirty days.   Expand the musical genres and styles that we offer children.  Amplify what the children hear.  Explore varying types of music, including Hispanic instruments and rhythms.  Dialogue about all aspects of the music, musicians, artists, and embarking on research to learn more about the universal language of song are great follow-up activities. Foods, cooking practices, and celebration are an aspect of one’s culture that brings history to everyday life.   Another way to embark on and continue the celebration is to highlight books, artwork, or images that you are offering your students.  During National Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond, we are challenged to intentionally center humanity over accomplishments.  This means we are moving at a slower pace as we learn more through conversations, art, books, and documentaries.  It could also mean we are extending our imagination beyond highlighting culture primarily through curated booklists.  As guides to the children in our lives, we want to create as Dr. Rudine Bishop Sims would say, “mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors.” We want to create “mirrors” – a situation in which people of […]

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Juneteenth 2022: Educate, Celebrate, Activate

Whether it is Martin Luther King Day of Service, Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Veteran’s Day, behind most national recognition days lies a history of struggle, evidence of perseverance and courage, and most importantly, a story of resilience.  The historic Juneteenth holiday, a commemoration of the end of slavery, is a day when Black communities honor our past, present, and future.  After more than a century and a half later, we continue to celebrate our collective history and power.  Juneteenth — now officially recognized as a federal holiday in 2021 — offers us a day to honor [and value] the people whose backs this country was built upon and to embrace the community, resilience, and joy that comes with being Black.  Juneteenth is not just a celebration of emancipation from slavery, it is a celebration and testament to the enduring spirit of Black people (Legal Defense Fund). James Baldwin reminds us that “History is not the past.  It is the present.  We carry our history with us.  We are our history” (Goodreads). Juneteenth is a time that Black people remember our ancestors.  It is a time to tell our backstory – our experiences of triumph, tragedy, inclusion and oppression, resilience, and defeatism. Enjoy the oral history shared by Naomi Carrier. For others, it can be a time to truly listen to these stories because, “America is now in that balancing act trying to figure out how we have physically moved beyond slavery, but mentally and structurally we are still there because our stories separate us based on race.  The first step to racial healing is to connect with your own stories of race, what you have been taught and what you believe is true” (Stone). If more storytelling is infiltrated in our society, we will realize that we can intentionally build a broad narrative that describes a shared future that includes validation of equitable relationships, structures, and distribution of resources.  We can offer support to one another in surviving, thriving, and when necessary, recognizing the power of resilience that we all possess.  Without an understanding of our own stories, and those of others, we will pass the harm embedded in our DNA along to future generations and there will be no radical change (Hooker).  An important part of Montessori pedagogy is to share our human stories, our history, from the beginning of our existence up to our current time and place, with the children.  Yet, as you know, states are passing laws to ban honest discussions about racism, sexism, and oppression, and to silence those who speak the truth about our nation’s past.  Every student has the right to an equitable and inclusive education that tells the truth about our nation’s past.  As we were reminded during the 2022 Montessori Experience: Refresher Courses & More, which held the theme, “Beyond Resilience: Creatively Redesigning our Future.”  I think that nobody expresses this reality more than the poetess Nikki Giovanni when she wrote, “Style has a profound meaning to Black Americans.  If […]

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Caribbean-American Heritage Month

June is Caribbean-American Heritage month.  Over 13.4 million Americans claim Caribbean heritage. The thirteen Caribbean countries are all islands. (Operation World). About 90% of Caribbean-Americans come from five countries: Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago.  “Caribbean immigrants have been contributing to the well-being of American society since its founding (Census.gov). Though Caribbean-Americans like Colin Powell, Cicely Tyson, W.E.B Dubois, James Weldon Johnson, Harry Belafonte, and Sidney Poitier have been exalted as trailblazers and heroes, there are millions of people who have not yet made the history books but have added to the significant fiber of this country. As I write this, I think of Langston Hughes’s poem “I, Too.” (Spacey)  The first words of the poem, “I, too, sing America” resonates with me because a vast gap in representation exits.  To ensure the vibrancy of this growing African diasporic community, it would serve us well to guide learning about the geography, culture, music, food, and daily life of Caribbean-Americans within our homes and classroom spaces.  As we make lesson plans and create culturally relevant prepared environments for summer programs and/or the 2022-2023 school year, it is a great time to pay homage to those who identify as Caribbean-Americans beyond thirty days.  I offer a few suggestions. Expand the musical genres and styles that we offer children.  Amplify what we hear. Select a day throughout the week to routinely explore varying types of music, including Caribbean instruments and rhythms.  Dialogue about all aspects of the music, musicians, artists, and embarking on research to learn more about the universal language of song are great follow-up activities. Foods, cooking practices, and celebration are an aspect of one’s culture that brings history to everyday life.  When we talk about the Caribbean- American experience and food, it is valuable to include the African diaspora–the mass dispersion during the transatlantic slave trades from the 1500s through the 1800s of African people.  Those enslaved Africans brought with them the knowledge of herbs, spices, and cooking techniques that created cultural distinctions that still influence many Americans today.  Imagine how different vegetables, spices and herbs can be included in food preparation, expanding a school garden, and researching the health benefits and cultural rituals that include these indigenous ingredients. Another way to continue the celebration is to is to highlight books, artwork, or images that you are offering your students.  During Caribbean-American Heritage Month and beyond, we are challenged to intentionally center humanity over accomplishments.  This means we are moving at a slower pace as we learn more through conversations, art, books, and documentaries.  It could also mean we are extending our imagination beyond highlighting culture primarily through curated booklists.  As guides to the children in our lives, we want to create as Dr. Rudine Bishop Sims would say, “mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors.” We want to create “mirrors” – a situation in which people of the global majority are represented as citizens that constantly relive historical references that depict tragedy.  Children should see themselves, […]

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Pride is More Than a Parade

Pride is More Than a Parade By: Angela Ma I want to share the joy of Pride–the elation of living and loving out loud, the color, and the unabashed queerness in the streets. I want to share the joy, I do, but it’s a terrifying time.  There’s a myth–one that declares there’s one way to have a family, a body, and a mind. This is the myth of a “real America” which claims one best religion, race, and language. It’s a myth of one right way to love and one right way to be a boy or girl. The claim to righteousness and superiority presumes a right to power, dominance, and affluence.  This myth is dangerous. People outside this privileged group face vitriol and violence for merely asserting their right to a dignified existence and the full expression of their humanity. From terrorist mass shooter manifestos in Charleston and Buffalo to white nationalist chants in the streets of Charlotesville and our nation’s Capitol, they claim “we will not be replaced.” It’s not just violent extremists that claim this right. Cable TV hosts posit a conspiracy will plant immigrant electors to replace “legacy Americans” and an AP Poll finds one in three Americans believe this replacement conspiracy. This claim of a right race, religion, and ethnicity is also a claim to right ideas, sexuality, and gender norms. Laws in Texas, Florida, and now my home state of North Carolina erase and stigmatize families, teachers, and children with “Parental Rights” bills that assert their right to refuse the legitimacy and inclusion of all families, all gender expression, and all identities in our schools. It’s a claim to control the story of America. Young children who come to understand themselves in the stories of their culture are the most vulnerable to this insidious myth.  Family is where healthy identity begins, but not all families are revered for their love and connection. The myth has us imagine a normal and right family as a woman and man in their first marriage with children, when less than half of families actually fit this mold.  How can we help every family feel seen, included, and valued? How can we destroy this story of heteronormativity that claims it’s not just normal to be straight, but better to be straight? How can we show every child with our words, our attitudes, and our actions that any way to be a boy is ok, any way to be a girl is ok, and any way to be you is ok? I like to think we’ve progressed past the rigid gender norms of my grandparents, but infants as young as 10 months associate objects like a scarf and hammer with gender. Adults make ridiculous assumptions about gender, simply based on a child’s clothes or hair. When children don’t fit our assumptions they hear, “You’re not performing your gender correctly” or “You’re not becoming the person we expect you to be.” For LGBTQ+ youth, it’s hard to hear that you’re okay, you’re […]

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An Open Address and Collective Position Statement: Critical Race Theory

The undersigned Montessori organizations challenge the national, state, and local legislative policies and laws that serve to regulate, limit, and intentionally omit what is taught about an honest history of the United States of America, the roles that all citizens played in its development, and exploration and discussion of racism and bias and its impact in our society.  Beyond this, schools are implementing book bans and librarians and administrators are removing books from libraries (Natanson, 2022). Far too often, instead of an honest historical account, many educators offer an “inaccurate account of American history… [where non-European] …. [p]eople of other races are either pushed outside of the historical narrative, completely left out of the accounts, or their contributions are minimized because they are deemed inferior or different” (Takaki and Stefoff, 2012). Over the last year, our nation has been immersed in discussions and legislative actions surrounding Critical Race Theory (CRT) or as some call it, “antiracist training and divisive concepts” (Stout and Wilburn, 2022).  CRT is an advanced graduate school legal academic framework based on the notion that racism is not simply about individual prejudice, but it is prejudice embedded in our country’s laws, institutions, and policies (Levin, 2022).  As a Montessori collective, we recognize that our independent and public schools operate within different legal contexts.  We implore school leaders, teachers, and caregivers to educate themselves on the issues, understand local dynamics, and dig deep to help children develop an honest historical perspective and a moral compass that supports good judgement for the cultivation of more harmonious relationships in our society. This statement serves as an urgent call to action for all educators to, as Maria Montessori did, advocate for the rights of children in all communities.  This includes employing effective teaching approaches that emphasize the contributions of diverse cultures which exist in classrooms, schools, and communities, staying vigilant about policies state legislatures and local boards of education are doing, and making our voices heard if anti-CRT policies are proposed.  This action affirms guides who are courageous enough to “teach with historical integrity” (Acker, 2021).  With the knowledge of multiple perspectives, children may be able to think critically, ask questions, “cultivate positive identity formation, confront racial and ethnic injustice, and be more prepared to live and work together in a diverse world” (Learning for Justice, 2021).  “When this transformation occurs, …we then become witnesses to the development of the human soul; the emergence of the New [Human], who will no longer be the victim of events but, thanks to his clarity of vision, will become able to direct and to [mold] the future of [humankind]” (Montessori, 1949/2019). Click here to access additional background information and resources about CRT and legislative restrictions on the freedom to read, learn, and teach.   Co-Signers Montessori Public Policy Initiative (MPPI) Wendy Shenk-Evans, Executive Director International Montessori Council (IMC) Kathy Leitch, Executive Director Tim Seldin, Chair Montessori Educational Programs International (MEPI) John Moncure, President Association Montessori International/USA (AMI/USA) Ayize Sabater, Ed.D, Executive Director Montessori for Social Justice (MSJ) […]

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Our Response to The New Yorker Article

In response to a March 3 article in The New Yorker entitled “The Miseducation of Maria Montessori,” our Executive Director, Dr. Ayize Sabater, submitted a response to the magazine for their consideration and publication. Here is a summary of our questions and concerns that were submitted:  

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AMI/USA Solicits Guest Essays on Topics of Equity and Inclusion

We are so grateful for the diverse skills, knowledge, cultures, and human experiences of the AMI/USA community. There are many talents and voices within our membership that can be amplified via AMI/USA platforms. We are extending an invitation to our members to collaborate with the AMI/USA team to pen statements for national holidays, national heritage days and months, and international days that are relevant to our mission and that align with the AMI/USA equity statement. You may want to educate, lead a call to action, and/or reflect on the importance of these occasions in your communities. In the recent past these commentaries and statements have been written from the “Desk of the Executive Director” or other AMI/USA staff.  As we move forward and grow in our justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) work and approach, and after receiving suggestions from learned Montessori colleagues, we want to broaden the circle of social thought and facilitate opportunity to listen and hear the voices of those most impacted by history, current social situations, and have lived experiences that are relevant to the topics. During month long celebrations, we can accept more than one statements, stories, and/or social commentaries. Seeking Writing Proposals for Upcoming Topics: 04/22/22          First Day of National Poetry Month                            First Draft Due   03/15/2022 05/01/22          Asian Pacific American Heritage Month                    First Draft Due   04/15/2022 05/01/22          Mental Health Awareness Month (Self-Care)            First Draft Due   04/15/2022 05/02/22          National Children’s Book Week                                First Draft Due   04/15/2022 06/01/22          Caribbean American Heritage Month                        First Draft Due   05/15/2022 06/22/22          Pride Month                                                               First Draft Due   05/15/2022 06/19/22          Juneteenth                                                                 First Draft Due   06/06/2022 07/04/22          Independence Day                                                    First Draft Due   06/15/2022 09/22/22         International Day of Peace                                         First Draft Due   09/07/2022 If you are not quite ready to pen a full statement or social commentary, writing a post for our social media outreach is a great start. First drafts are due 5 days before the designated celebration day. 04/15/22         First Day of Passover (Judaism) 04/17/22          Easter (Christianity) 04/27/22         Holocaust Remembrance Day (from a justice and reparations perspective) 05/05/22          Cinco de Maya (Media Post) 05/08/22          Mother’s Day (Media Post) 05/30/22          Memorial Day (Social Media) 06/18/22          Autistic Pride Day (Neurodiversity) All writers will collaborate with Sarah Kozicki, AMI/USA, Director of Communications and Digital Strategy for AMI/USA formatting and Sheri Bishop, HRSJ Advisor and/or Ayize Sabater, Executive Director, for content review. To express interest, please complete the form at https://amiusa.org/human-rights-social-justice-forum/. In the “share” section include a short biography, the topic of interest, a title of the intended statement or commentary, and the major idea(s) for the content. After your completed form is posted, Sheri Bishop will reach out to discuss the proposal. As an appreciation, $100 will be paid to those writing full statements after the writer submits an invoice to AMI/USA for payment. Those that have social media content published will benefit from cross-posting on desired social media platforms.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of National Service: January 17, 2022

From the Desk of the Human Rights & Social Justice Advisor   Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of National Service January 17, 2022   “The Tranquilizing Drug of Gradualism”   Summer came, and the weather was beautiful. But the climate, the social climate of American life, erupted into lightning flashes, trembled with thunder, and vibrated to the relentless, growing rain of protest coming to life through the land. Explosively, America’s third revolution – the [1963] Negro Revolution – had begun. (King, 1964)   What a telling example of how African American life in America is different yet so much the same. The same words that the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used to describe the racial climate in America in 1963 could be applied 57 years later to the public demands for change that were reignited in 2020 with George Floyd’s brutal murder!   Open the PDF to keep reading.  

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Thanksgiving – An Indigenous Perspective

  On behalf of AMI/USA, I welcome Sinuda Kapalczynski as our guest writer during Indigenous Heritage Month.  Please enjoy her eloquent and rich story about what we know as Thanksgiving. Sharing our stories helps us arrive at understanding and to create a shared human narrative.  We are grateful for you, Sinuda!  – — Sheri L. Bishop, Human Rights and Social Justice Advisor Click the image below to read.  

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Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 Spotlights

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month 2021, we interviewed a few Latinx Montessorians to hear their unique perspectives on what the month means to them personally and how to respectfully and inclusively incorporate celebrations and reflections into the Montessori classroom. Click on the images below to read the full spotlights.

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2021 AMI/USA JEDI Series

AMI/USA is excited to continue learning alongside our community through a series of webinars focusing on issues of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion through a Montessori lens. Listen, learn, share and connect with experts and peers as we work to make Montessori spaces more inclusive and accessible.  Mark your calendars! Thursday, August 19 • 7:00 p.m. EDT: Critical Race Theory: Talking through the Confusion Speakers: Dr. Valaida (Val)  L. Wise and Wendy Shenk-Evans Moderated by: Dr. Ayize Sabater & Munir Shivji Saturday, September 18 • 12:00 p.m. EDT: Building Resilient Montessori Schools: A Discussion Speakers: Hannah Richardson, Rachel Kimboko, Daniel Bissonnette Moderated by: Elizabeth Slade Get 25% off retail price on Montessori in Action: Building Resilient Montessori Schools in the AMI/USA Bookstore! The eBook will be available within 24 hours of purchase. Print copies will be shipped after the September 18 event and will be shipped separately from other books. Sunday, September 19 • 12:00 p.m. EDT: Montessori Books: A Community Conversation Authors: Mariana Bissonnette – Babies Build Toddlers, Simone Davies & Junnifa Uzodike – The Montessori Baby, Erica Moretti – The Best Weapon for Peace: Maria Montessori, Education, and Children’s Rights, Elizabeth Slade – Montessori in Action: Building Resilient Montessori Schools Moderated by: Dr. Mira Debs (Diverse Families, Desirable Schools: Public Montessori in the Era of School Choice) Sunday, October 24 • 12:00 p.m. EDT: Neurodiversity and Disability through the Montessori Lens Speaker: Andrée Rolfe, Ed.D. Wednesday, November 10 • 7:00 p.m EST: Spiritual Vitality in Diverse Montessori Environments The panelists represent Buddhism (Lucy Golden), Christianity (Martha Ochoa), Islam (Maya Soriano), Judaism (Andy Lulka), Native American indigenous spirituality (Siobhan Juanita Brown), African spiritualism (Koren Clark), and Catholicism (Zoraida Villarrubia Concepción). Thank you to those who made a Collaborator donation to this series! BethAnn Slater, Lynne Breitenstein-Aliberti, Michelle Becka, Erin Lopez-Brooks, Alexander Montessori School, Metrokids

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July 4th, 2021 Message

From the Executive Director’s Desk – Guest Essay – Sheri Bishop AMI/USA Human Rights & Social Justice Advisor The Truths are Self-Evident On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence to dissolve the connection between Great Britain and the thirteen colonies declaring the “United Colonies of North America” to be free and independent states. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This declaration embodies major ideas, people have certain inalienable rights including life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, all men are created equal, and as individuals we have a civic duty to defend these rights for ourselves and others. Also defined and protected in the founding document are stated freedoms.   The Declaration of Independence has given this nation a great legacy and at the same time achieving equality and freedom for all has been America’s greatest challenge. “It took the Civil War, which President Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address called “a new birth of freedom,” to vindicate the Declaration’s famous promise that “all men are created equal” (Rosen and Rubenstein). Still today, it is not unreasonable to adamantly question if equity and freedom has been realized for all. Some would say that our nation is more divided than ever. Yet, because of children, it is never too late to support and advocate for change.   We have time between the end of this unique and taxing 2020-2021 school year, and the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, to rest and reflect. The time around July 4th is prime time to determine how we will move forward to fully reimplement Montessori practices next fall. On this holiday I remember that Dr. Montessori “shed genuine light on social, political, scientific, and religious thought” (Peace and Education, p. ix). She was an activist. She advocated for equity within our human race. However, unfortunately, the Covid -19 pandemic showed us that equity can be an illusion. Many families and children did not have the resources needed to fully engage in the full educational process, Montessori or otherwise. As guides rose to face the challenges of the limitations of a virtual classroom, the children’s freedom of work choice, their freedom of movement, the freedom for them to work and collaborate with others, their freedom to socialize and build their social communities was interrupted.   As we prepare to welcome our children back to the physically open environments, we must prioritize her philosophy regarding freedom, and above all else, establish the conditions for it. As Dr. Montessori states, “freedom is a conquest and not a gift. No one can give freedom to anyone. It has to be conquered…” (Joosten). The Montessori concept of freedom means that each child, each person is navigating in our space and time under conditions that are favorable to their lives (Ramani). The fundamental freedom – the freedom of […]

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Equity Statement Forum – June 9, 2021

Click here to access the recording from this session! Date : June 9, 2022 Time: 7pm ET Join us on Wednesday, June 9 at 7pm ET (4pm PT | 5pm MT | 6pm CT) as we discuss the AMI/USA Equity Statement that was released in February and serves as our commitment to building a just, equitable, diverse and more inclusive organization. Location Online – Visit https://amiusa.org/event/ami-usa-equity-statement-forum/ for details and registration. Webinar Master AMI/USA

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Memorial Day Blessings and 100th Tulsa Remembrance

From the Executive Director’s Desk Memorial Day Blessings and 100th Tulsa Remembrance As Executive Director, I am humbled to send blessings on behalf of AMI/USA to all of our nation’s fallen soldiers, on this Memorial Day.* Memorial Day is a time when many within our nation show gratitude and reverence for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. There is not one community in our country who have been spared this pain and heartache. There may be many current AMI/USA members affected by the horrors of war, where too many have lost loved ones, whether sons or daughters or husbands or wives, in conflicts as recent as the Afghanistan or Iraqi conflicts. Additionally, I want to take a moment to make a heartfelt acknowledgement of all of the racially victimized veterans (Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC)) who have lost their lives protecting the United States of America. And, I want to take a special moment to acknowledge the Black WWI veterans who lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Some of these veterans did not die overseas fighting for America, but instead these patriots died, 100 years ago, here in the USA fighting to protect their community (please click the link below for the 100th Tulsa remembrance observation). It is interesting to note that the universal carnage of war is proof positive that our country is capable of coming together around a common goal, unfortunately far too often it has been to rally for war, not peace. Hopefully, we, as Montessorians, can nurture our children to be motivated and unified to uphold peace/justice. By following the teachings of Dr. Montessori who called for individual, and societal transformation, peace can follow, as opposed to the continued loss of precious life that happens too often in war. Dr. Montessori teaches “that we mistakenly call the permanent triumph of the aims of a war ‘peace’ [which] causes us to fail to fail to recognize the way to salvation, the path that could lead us to true peace (Montessori, 1949, p.7).” My hope is that those that have experienced the loss of a loved one will find personal comfort in knowing that this nation sets aside this day to remember and thank those, known and unknown, for their service and valor. “The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude” (Jeff Miller). Let us remember that Memorial Day is not just a vacation day, but it is an opportunity for us to remember the ways in which all (Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, Black, White, LGBTQIA, etc.) have fought because they truly hoped to realize a “just peace” (Han and Moquino, 2018) that is ultimately rooted in the truth of the humanity of all. Click here to read our 100th Tulsa remembrance observation. References: Brown, D. (2021, May 28). The Devastation of the Tulsa race massacre. Washington Post Online. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/interactive/2021/tulsa-race-massacre-centennial-greenwood/ Han, D.  and Moquino, T.  (2018). Moving beyond peace education to social justice education. AMI/USA Journal (Spring). Retrieved from: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a8266baf14aa1dab6c210a6/t/5b084dfc352f533114091730/1527270909223/Moving+Beyond+Peace+Education+to+Social+Justice+Education.pdf Kramer, R. (1988). Maria Montessori: A Biography. Perseus Publishing, Cambridge, Mass., p. 251. Montessori, M. […]

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Earth Day 2021 Updates

Meet the Earth Day Event Speakers! Join us on Earth Day April 22 starting at 7pm ET for a diverse panel of community leaders who will share on topics related to environmental education, environmental justice and sustainability. After the speakers share, we will have a Q&A and a casual conversation space. We can discuss questions arising from what the speakers shared and film Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops. We encourage attendees to share what they are doing in their communities. We are thrilled to announce the speakers for the upcoming event, more information and speakers will be added to the event website page as the event gets closer.  Speakers include: Carlos Chiver Jassan will speak about the regenerative work he is doing in México City and Montessori Everywhere’s The Earth Project Judith Cunningham will share about her work with Montesssori Model UN and upcoming Climate Summit and will be joined by Marilú Mejía-López. Marilú is a Montessori climate activist who developed two projects for the Youth Impact Forum which she will share Dallas Nelson is the Director of the Lakota Language & Education Initiative at the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He will share what they are doing around sustainability and environmental education. Dorothy Lerma & Stephanie Becerra are lead guides at Siembra Montessori and will share information about their medicinal herb garden and how they’ve kept the children connected to the land during this difficult year where physically being outside together is not always possible. Maritza Darling-Ramos is a Community Organizer with the Southeast Youth Alliance, a grassroots community organization located on the Southeast side of Chicago. Arielle King is a Maryland-based 23-year-old environmental justice and anti-racism advocate. Click here to learn more and register for the free event! Environmental Education Resources We hope you’ve enjoyed the resources provided to spark some Environmental Education ideas! We are excited to share some updates as we all prepare to celebrate Earth Day on April 22: Check out the Environmental Education Resource Library for more resources! Click here to view the recording for the Administrators Session held this Wednesday, April 7. Thank you to our panelists! Below are the Resources Highlighted by the 4/7 Session Panelists: Cosmic Education in the School Garden by Sarah Kozicki from the 2018 AMI/USA Fall Journal St. Croix Montessori School’s Environmental Education program Centennial Montessori – Independent School Example of Outdoor Learning from the Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative. Earth’s 10 Commandments Similarities between Environmental Education and Montessori No-Waste Lunch Guidelines Developing an Environmental Ethic Bio-Regional Quiz Environmental Education Resources Reminders: Encourage your students and/or children at home to submit a project to Montessori Everywhere’s three-month Earth Day celebration culminating in September 2021. Kids can connect with others around the world working on a similar project in their community. Have your school or classroom join Earth Day Network (EDN)’s “Three Days of Climate Action” April 20-22, 2021. If you don’t want to wait until April 20, EDN has curated a list of actions you can take right now. If your school already has something planned, you can register your 2021 event here. Watch the film Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops leading up to Earth Day 2021.

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Women’s History Month 2021 “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced”

From the Executive Director’s Desk Guest Essay – Sheri Bishop Women’s History Month 2021 “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced” The presidential proclamation for Women’s History Week in 1982 read, “American women of every race, class, and ethnic background have made historical contributions to the growth and strength of the Nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways.…Recognizing that the many contributions of American women have at times been overlooked in the annals of American history, I encourage all citizens to observe this important week by participating in appropriate ceremonies and activities planned by individuals, governmental agencies, and private institutions and associations throughout the country.” In 1987, the first presidential proclamation for Women’s History Month, read: “Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 1987 as Women’s History Month. I call upon all Americans to mark this month with appropriate observances to honor the achievements of American women.” Susan Scanlan, a long-time expert on public and gender policy and President Emeritus of the Women’s Research & Education Institute (WREI), helped author legislation that established the month of March as Women’s History Month. Congress considered it and passed the legislation, Public Law 100-9. Since 1995, each president has issued an annual proclamation designating March as “Women’s History Month”. The National Women’s History Alliance selects and publishes the yearly theme. Since many of the women’s suffrage centennial celebrations originally scheduled for 2020 were curtailed, the organization is extending the annual theme for 2021 to “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.” (NWHM) Historically, much blood, sweat and tears have been shed to uphold the notion that every citizen should be able to cast one vote during our US democratic elections.  A common misconception is that every American has always been afforded the right to do so, and that when we do, we can elect a government that represents us. Of course, that wasn’t true in the 19th century, and unfortunately, it’s still not true today. (Free, L) Marginalized people in our country are challenging gerrymandering and voter suppression practices during every election. However, the woman’s right to vote – after a 72-year hard-fought battle that included street speaking on soapboxes, propaganda blitzes, marches on Washington, DC, parades, pageants, protests, and incarcerations – lead to triumph. (PBS) After the 19th Amendment became law on August 26, 1920, tens and now hundreds of millions of women have the agency, the power, and the ability to affect the trajectory of our lives via the ballot box. In many arenas we have earned acquisition of political clout and influence. This idea, exemplified in 2021, is more important than ever. As with many other historical issues in America, during this monumental effort to gain women’s voting rights, our country’s people were operating under the idea that one group’s narrative was interfering with another’s. (Hooker, DA) The women’s suffrage movement came on the heels of the social and political fight for Black men to gain their right to vote. The leaders of the early suffrage movement thought that white women should have […]

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Black History is Not Optional

 Black History Is Not Optional  We, the undersigned Montessori leadership organizations in the United States of America, are responding to the recent actions of the leadership of the Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden, Utah, which allowed parents to make the decision regarding their children’s participation in Black History month activities, as well as the entitlement of the parents who demanded such an option be given.  We Name  The contributions, experiences, and history of Black people in the United States have consistently been whitewashed, overlooked, forgotten, discounted, and erased. Black history must break out of the confinements of Black History month and be fully integrated into literature, art, science, music, history, and other disciplines. Allowing parents to opt out sets the clear and dangerous precedent that the rich and robust history of Black Americans (and by extension other marginalized Americans) can continue to be ignored.  While the decision has since been rescinded, the fact that parents felt entitled to opt out of Black History Month content is yet another painful reminder that Black voices are consistently silenced by White voices and that White privilege often manifests in threats, bullying, and intimidation.  We Confess and Commit  When events such as this expose the prevalence of racism and White privilege, it is easy to call it out. It is harder to acknowledge that the situation in Utah is a mere reflection of the daily happenings within each and every one of our national Montessori organizations. We owe it to ourselves and our communities to be transparent about that and commit to liberatory change. While our organizations have taken on a number of initiatives around diversity, equity, and inclusion, it remains far too easy for our members and stakeholders to opt-out of anti-bias anti-racism training, examination of our materials and practices through an anti-bias lens, and engagement with and inclusion of BIPOC individuals and perspectives within our Montessori community.  We Invite  It is tempting to simply vilify the parents and leaders at this school in Utah, but similar situations happen at schools that are not committed to an anti-bias anti-racist learning environment. Such a commitment means White people must do the continuous work to understand how their biases manifest and how they participate in racist systems. This work cannot be sidelined any longer and it never ends. We invite you to reach out to any of the undersigned organizations for assistance and collaboration as we ourselves continue to undertake this work. It is incumbent upon us as leaders and educators not only to educate children about the history, accomplishments, perspectives, and experiences of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other marginalized people, but to walk with and educate parents as well when they request policy and practices that do not align with the educational goals and philosophy of Montessori education.  Montessori Public Policy Initiative (MPPI)  American Montessori Society (AMS)  Association Montessori International/USA (AMI/USA)  International Montessori Council (IMC)  Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE)  Montessori Educational Programs International (MEPI)  Montessori for Social Justice (MSJ)  National […]

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“The Butterfly Effect” by Koren Clark

We are thrilled that Koren Clark is part of our distinguished speaker line up for the upcoming Virtual Montessori Experience. Koren will be sharing on the topic of Montessori as a healing tool for our liberation.  In preparation for her workshop, we are excited to share a link to an article she wrote that speaks to the nature of the workshop – it’s called, “The Butterfly Effect.” Click the image below to view the full article through Montessori International Koren Clark, MEd (Montessori education), is a Montessori-trained guide and coach with over 20 years in the field of education. She holds an AMS Elementary I credential, an Administrator credential from New Leaders, and California state-teaching certification. She is a UC Berkeley graduate and has gone on to conduct educational research internationally in Egypt. She has lived in Zimbabwe and Germany. Koren founded an independent school, Lotus Blossom Academy and is the designer of KnowThyself Inc., a Montessori materials and professional development organization. She currently serves on the board of the Black Montessori Education Fund and Montessori Life and also partners with Wildflower Schools, where she helps teachers develop liberated teacher-led Montessori micro-schools. Koren is a mother of three who loves spending time in nature and writing poetry. Thank you Montessori International for allowing us to share this article! Check them out on social media: @montessoriuk on Instagram and Montessori Centre International on Facebook. Want to learn more from Koren? Join us at The Virtual Montessori Experience for her session on Monday, February 15! Click here for the schedule and register by following this link!

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From the desk of AMI/USA Executive Director Ayize Sabater, Ed.D.

“As I arose this morning I had deep thoughts about the American political upheaval which recently transpired on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. My primary question and concern as a father, educator, and educational leader is, “How are we addressing the #AttemptedCoup on the #USCapitol” not only with our own children, but with those students and adults whom we face each day, both inside and outside of our classrooms, our schools, and/or our homes?” Continue reading.

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Call for Success Stories in Family Engagement

 Share Your COVID-19 Success Story at The 2021 Virtual Montessori Experience (February 12-15)  We want to celebrate you and all of the amazing things happening in your school community! We know this year has been a challenge mainly because of this pandemic but your ability to adapt has been inspirational and there is much to learn from your experience. Take a moment to reflect on all that you have accomplished.  Family engagement and support has taken on a whole new meaning in 2020 and we want to showcase the unique way that your school community has overcome some of these pandemic challenges during The 2021 Virtual Montessori Experience.  If you are willing to share your story, please submit a short video (no longer than 2 minutes). You can answer any of the following questions or simply tell your story of family engagement during the course of the pandemic.  How has the pandemic impacted your relationship with families? How have you engaged with parents as educators of children? How have you made families feel more included in your school community? How have you reframed your parent education to parent partnership? How are you listening to your families and responding to their needs? How have you helped families expand Montessori into their homes? Do you have any vivid examples of successful family engagement? Click here for a quick guide on making and sending in your submission!  Click here to complete the submission form!  Submissions are due by Friday, January 15, 2021  Please contact Samantha Levine, AMI/USA Director of Events, with any questions!

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Social Justice Webinar Series

AMI/USA is excited to learn alongside our community through a series of four free webinars focusing on issues of race, bias and injustice through a Montessori lens. Listen, learn, share and connect with experts and peers as we work to make Montessori spaces more inclusive and accessible.  All funds raised will support the work of the Black Montessori Education Fund (BMEF). Donate Today: US $50 US $100 US $150 Other Amount Mark your calendars! Monday, September 21 • 7-9pm EDT: De-Centering Whiteness in Montessori Spaces Speakers: Katie Kitchens, Mara Matteson, and Colleen Wilkinson White community members are invited to attend this event prior to attending the rest of the events in the series. Webinars will be recorded for later viewing. Sunday, September 27 • 4-6pm EDT: Remembering Indigenous Voices in the Classroom Speaker: Trisha Moquino Monday, November 2 • 7pm EST: The Anti-Bias & Anti-Racist Administrator  Speaker: Amelia Allen Sherwood Sunday, November 15 • 4pm EST: Preparing Ourselves Spiritually and Mentally for Revolutionary Social Change  Speaker: Sheri Bishop

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Fall 2020 Online Conference

Montessori Leadership for Tumultuous Times: Embracing Our Cosmic Task in Support of Universal Solidarity OCT 9 – 11, 2020 INTRODUCTION “Human Solidarity in Time and Space” (San Remo Lecture II, 1949) is a rallying call for Montessori school leaders, administrators and educators to pursue a vision of inclusivity, interdependence and the common good. Dr Montessori reminds us that we can draw on the timeless nature of “human solidarity, rooted in a distant past and extending its branches towards eternity” to provide leadership in a polarized and unequal society. This weekend of virtual sessions will provide expert guidance on issues of identity, diversity and culture, and provide new insights for those who are committed to building schools and communities where all feel welcome. To register, click here!

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Webinar recording available & bonus audio!

If you missed our March 26 webinar with Jesse McCarthy and Karin Ann, the recording is available for purchase, including bonus audio in which both presenters answer additional questions that were posed by attendees during the live webinar. Jesse and Karin took the opportunity to augment the parent communication focus of the original webinar by specifically addressing school concerns during this difficult time. Karin shared how The International Montessori School has been providing distance learning opportunities for their students in Hong Kong.

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COVID-19 Resources

With the spread of COVID-19 impacting our communities, AMI/USA is sharing resources (below) to ensure that everyone is supported during this unique crisis. We understand that the situation, challenges, and questions are changing with what seems like each passing moment, so we are learning with the rest of the country about how to move forward together. Much of what you see below is a result of collaborative work being done with other organizations, schools, and training centers. Our commitment is to mutual support and information sharing. As Canadian film director, Deborah Day once said: “Encourage, lift and strengthen one another. For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all. For we are connected, one and all.” School update: Due to the continued uncertainty around COVID-19, all remaining AMI/USA school consultations scheduled for the 19-20 school year have been cancelled. We look forward to serving those schools during the 20-21 school year. We will continually be updating this page, but please don’t hesitate to contact our office if you don’t see what you need or if you have found a resource that might be useful to others. Check our Facebook page for upcoming distance learning opportunities for school staff and parents. Visit our COVID-19 Resources Page

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Hurricane Recovery Funds Distributed

The Relief Fund established in the name of the four United States AMI affiliates to help schools who were located in the path of the recent hurricanes officially closed Sunday, October 15th.  Since that time the fund has received checks for over $3000 more in donations.  Notably, one of those was from a school fundraising effort championed by the students that netted over $3000.  There were several other donations received as a result of student fundraising – Montessori kids know how to get it done! The current amount in the relief fund is over $20,000.  Congratulations to your organization and its members for supporting such a worthwhile effort.  I will be able to distribute significant amounts to schools that were hit very hard by the storms.  At least one is still working to get back in their space having also lost most of their materials.  Probably the hardest hit was the school in the Virgin Islands.  Happily when I last spoke to them they were getting ready to re-open.  The remainder of the schools either lost materials and furniture or had damage to their buildings. At least one was hoping to be able to support some families so that they can remain in school.  The schools that will be receiving a check from the fund are (in no order):  Bay Colony Montessori, Nederlands Montessori, St Catherine’s Montessori, the Islamic Academy, South Florida Montessori Academy, Clearlake Montessori, and the Virgin Islands Montessori School. They are very grateful for the support. In addition, I worked closely with Dr. Betsy Coe in Houston to help connect many schools with other schools, individuals and businesses to get them help.  Dr. Coe collected both materials and care kits (put together by schools) and distributed them as we learned about their needs.  It was so gratifying to hear from the many schools who couldn’t give a cash donation but perhaps had materials or furniture they were willing to share. We also heard from companies willing to help either with donations or discounts.  Those companies were Maitri Learning, Miss Ronda’s Readers, and Montessori Woods (furniture).  I have thanked them all for their generosity. I have just recently received a contact from Puerto Rico who works with public schools there who are working to become Montessori programs.  Anticipating that schools there would need help, I put aside funds so that we could help when we were finally able to connect.  There are 50 public schools who are working towards implementing Montessori in their schools. I am in contact with a representative of an organization that supports these schools to work out a plan to get funds to them. This was a great effort on so many fronts and brought together not only the US Affiliates but also both AMI and AMS.  It was a pleasure working with Dr. Coe and I appreciate all her efforts.  As we stated originally, the criteria for receiving assistance was need, not affiliation.  Thank you all for your support. Warm Regards, Jan Deason […]

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Helping Montessori Schools in Hurricane Areas

Over this past weekend, many of our Montessori schools, members, and families were impacted by Hurricane Irma in Florida, the US Virgin Islands, and along the Southeast coast.   This comes just weeks after Hurricane Harvey devastated the SE Texas region.  In order to provide financial support to the entire Montessori community affected by these recent disasters, the AMI Affiliates are expanding the Montessori Harvey Relief Fund to coordinate funds and resources. The PayPal account established following Hurricane Harvey is still open.  We thank those of you who have donated already, and hope that those of you yet to donate will help us to support those schools and community members now rebuilding following Hurricane Irma.  You may donate using the link below. Montessori Hurricane Relief Fund MAA continues to coordinate the collection of funds into this designated account to be distributed to schools once the storm passes and the damage is assessed.  The AMI Affiliates will act in good faith to use these funds to provide substantive support to as many Montessori school communities as possible. Specific amounts will be determined based on funds available, individual school needs and the larger identified needs of Montessori schools in the Houston area, Florida, the USVI, and other states affected by the hurricane.  We will continue to update you once we determine the process of how and to whom funds will be distributed. If you are aware of schools impacted by the storms, please contact Jan Deason.  She is a past MAA board member and will be coordinating our efforts. Please contact Michele Shane if you have any questions.     AMI/USA                  AMI-EAA                    MAA                      NAMTA Alyssa Schwartz        Allyson Creel            Michele Shane            David Kahn Gretchen Hall            Wendy Tye               James Moudry           Jacquie Maughan

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Letter Regarding Recent Events

Dear AMI/USA Community, Just three weeks ago we came together as a global movement to share Pathway to Peace:  Montessori Education for Social Change.  In the short time since the International Montessori Congress in Prague, we have seen violence and hatred erupt at home and abroad.  The events of the past week reinforce the importance of the work each of you does to create peace in your communities.  As Dr. Maria Montessori wrote, “When individuals develop normally, they plainly feel a love not only for things, but for all living creatures.  This love is not something that was taught; it is the natural result of leading the right kind of life.  …  Love is not the cause but the effect of the normal development of the individual.”  The Montessori education we provide for children can and will change the world, but we must also work together to combat the hate that has emerged. AMI/USA stands with each of you who takes peace education to heart and supports our objective of promoting global peace, human development, and human rights through the application of Montessori principles.  We will not tolerate hatred, anti-Semitism, racism, or fascism in our communities.  May we strive, together, to embody the “genuine qualities” that Dr. Montessori wrote would emerge in the child. As we embark on a new school year, we urge you to make use of the resources available to discuss the events in Charlottesville with the children in your environments – when appropriate.  We do this work because we believe it can make a difference for children, and now is the time to act on this belief.  As we saw in Prague, Montessori education is a pathway to peace.  We look forward to traveling that path with you. “We have reason to believe that all mankind may one day become better.” Yours, Alyssa Schwartz Interim Executive Director On behalf of the AMI/USA Board of Directors

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MPPI Holds 2nd State Advocacy Retreat

The Montessori Public Policy Initiative, a joint collaboration of AMI/USA and the American Montessori Society, conducted its second State Advocacy Retreat in Washington DC this past month. Seventy-five Montessorians from 27 states and 8 national organizations, including the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, Montessori Educational Programs International, Montessori for Social Justice, and the Montessori Administrators Association among others, came together to network and share resources and ideas. Participants focused on a wide range of policy issues including QRIS and rating instruments, curriculum alignment, and teacher credentialing at both early childhood and K-12 levels, and gained skills in strategic planning, lobbying, and publicity. In addition to working together on these topics, Retreat attendees heard from Secretary John King of the US Department of Education (click here to see his video!) and Danny Carlson, from the National Governors Association. As the Montessori Public Policy Initiative begins initiating its strategic plan, under the leadership of Interim Director Charis Sharp, opportunities to work together in person underscore the importance of this work.

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Exciting New Events at the Refresher Course

We are excited to be offering some new activities at the 2017 Refresher Course & Workshops that will offer participants unique opportunities for networking, getting involved in advocacy efforts, and taking care of mental and physical health during this busy and productive weekend! More details will be available in the digital brochure, to be released next month. Morning Yoga Classes Primary teacher and certified Yoga instructor, Sarah Dosmann, will be leading early morning Yoga sessions from 7:00 – 8:00 a.m. in the hotel on Saturday & Sunday to help fellow participants become focused and centered in anticipation of the busy day ahead. State Advocacy Gathering Join Montessori advocates from around the country at the bar for an informal discussion and gathering.  Leaders from the Montessori Public Policy Initiative and representatives of state advocacy groups will be on hand to share insights and stories from their important work protecting authentic Montessori. Friday, from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Parent-Infant Class For the first time, a parent-infant class will be offered Saturday morning from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Come observe a parent-infant class in session and have an opportunity to speak with A to I trained guides about how to organize parent-infant classes and the benefits for your school School Tours We are happy to announce that local school tours are back this year. We will be touring local AMI schools from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.

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Parents’ Workshop in Long Beach!

AMI/USA is currently accepting registrations for the Parents’ Workshop, a part of the annual Refresher Course & Workshops!  This one-day workshop offers an opportunity for parents to learn from an experienced Montessorian about how they can support their children at home.  Please click on the flyer for more information and click here to register!

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MPPI Holds First Ever State Advocacy Retreat

The Montessori Public Policy Initiative, a joint collaboration of AMI/USA and the American Montessori Society, brought together 80 Montessorians from 26 states for the first ever MPPI State Advocacy Retreat this October 25-27 in Washington, DC.  The Retreat participants learned from national education figures, learned from each other’s successes and challenges, and had an opportunity to make a commitment to continued work in their states. For more information, or to share this with others in your community, please click here.

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MACTE Accredited Training Approved for Wisconsin State Teacher Licensure

The Wisconsin Montessori Association, WMA, has successfully secured an alternative Montessori teacher-licensing track. WMA sponsored this legislation by hiring a lobbyist, Sarah Archibald, former legislative aide to Senator Luther Olsen. Sarah, along with Phil Dosmann, former WMA Board Treasurer and Montessori consultant for WMA, met with key legislators to advance this legislation. Wisconsin becomes one of a handful of states, including Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Ohio and South Carolina, that recognize a credential from a MACTE-accredited Montessori teacher training for a state-licensing pathway. The Wisconsin legislation allows a graduate from a program accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education, MACTE, to apply for a Wisconsin state teaching license to teach in a public or charter Montessori school. Montessori trained teachers who complete a rigorous MACTE-accredited teacher training program that includes lectures, practicums, and student teaching will be eligible. Trained Montessori teachers will need to complete the following requirements: a.) hold a bachelor’s degree, b.) complete a three credit course in special education, c.) earn a passing score on any standardized examinations required by the State Superintendent for a license to teach the same education levels and subjects issued in accordance with existing state law regarding teacher license, including an examination identical to the foundations for reading test administered in 2012 as part of the Massachusetts tests for educator licensures. These tests will include the Praxis I and II.  Candidates will also be assigned a mentor teacher who is an experienced Montessori trained teacher during their first year in order to support their professional development in preparation for meeting the requirements for a professional educator license. Additional details will be forthcoming once WMA and DPI representatives meet to define the requirements stipulated in this legislation. For more information regarding MACTE and MACTE accredited teacher education programs, please contact www.macte.org. –Phil Dosmann On behalf of the Wisconsin Montessori Association

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Nepal Earthquake Relief

Donate to Relief Efforts in Nepal Dr. Montessori wrote, “We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.” On Saturday, April 25, more than 4,000 individuals lost their lives and countless more were injured or displaced in a massive earthquake in Nepal. It is at these times that the interconnectedness of the world that Dr. Montessori spoke of becomes ever more meaningful. AMI/USA knows that many schools and classrooms are looking for ways to bring safety and security to the children and people of Nepal. We invite teachers, schools, and Montessorians across the country to donate what they can to help with recovery efforts in South Asia. Please make your tax-deductible donation to the Red Cross here. Many organizations are coordinating relief efforts in Nepal: please click here for a longer list of organizations soliciting donations.

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Register for the 2015 Public Montessori Unconference

Montessori for Social Justice, an independent group of Montessorians dedicated to public Montessori education, will be hosting its second Public Montessori Unconference in Salt Lake City this June.  The gathering, held June 26-27, will be an opportunity for those involved in and interested in Montessori in the public sector to network, strategize, and share the successes and challenges of working in a diverse area of education. Also during the Unconference, the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS) will present a new workshop on Assessment and Montessori. Thanks to the generosity of the Trust for Learning, participation in the NCMPS workshop will cost a mere $15 (originally a $135 fee).  Please click here to learn more about the 2015 Public Montessori Unconference, and click here to register.

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