News Type: News Items

The Circle of Distinction Nominations & Call for Abstracts

The Circle of Distinction The Circle of Distinction acknowledges an individual’s lifelong dedication, inspiration, creativity, resilience and passion within the AMI/USA community. We share a sense of commitment to the continuation of Dr. Montessori’s work and there is deep appreciation for the efforts of every individual. The Circle of Distinction offers an opportunity to provide thanks to those whose exceptional personal and professional contribution deserves special recognition. 2020 Honorees Joen Bettmann Barbara Gordon David Kahn Molly O’Shaughnessy Judi Orion Phyllis Pottish-Lewis Submit a nominee for 20201! Call for Abstracts In preparation for the AMI/USA The Montessori Experience 2021 in Orlando February 12-15, we are inviting submissions of presentation abstracts for workshop consideration (Friday, February 12 and Monday, February 15). Topics geared both towards seasoned Montessorians as well as those new to Montessori are welcomed and encouraged. The deadline for abstract submission is June 5, 2020. Submissions should be emailed to our office and should include: A brief bio of the presenter(s); A brief workshop presentation abstract including the proposed length of the workshop (workshops are generally 2-3 hours in length); Any requirements of AMI/USA; Contact information. Please indicate whether, if circumstances dictate, your workshop can be adapted for virtual programming and if you would be willing to present on that basis. Workshop presenters will be notified by June 30, 2020.

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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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2020 Administrators Retreat Update

It was with great difficulty that the decision was made to cancel the upcoming AMI/USA Administrators Retreat originally scheduled to take place in July in Traverse City, Michigan. We understand, however, that administrators may have been especially looking forward to this year’s retreat as a respite from the challenges of today, therefore, alternate plans are under consideration in support of this need. Please watch for more details as plans become firmer. Questions? Feel free to contact either Debby Riordan, Consultant to AMI/USA or Sam Levine, AMI/USA Event Manager.

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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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2020 Administrators Retreat

We are closely monitoring the situation surrounding COVID-19 and will communicate if the event is postponed or cancelled with as much advance notice as possible. At this point in time, we are still moving forward with the July dates listed below. We greatly appreciate your understanding during this unprecedented time and will continue to provide updates as they become available. AMI/USA Administrators Retreat July 12-14, 2020 · Traverse City, MI We are thrilled to be offering the next Administrators Retreat in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan! For details, click here.

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Seattle Overflow Hotel

Overflow Hotel for “The Montessori Experience” Additional sleeping rooms for “The Montessori Experience: Refresher Course & Workshops” 2020 in Seattle are now available at The Westin Bellevue, just a quick 6-7 minute walk from the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, where the event is taking place. Click here to make a room reservation using the AMI group rate.

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Upcoming Consultant Training – June 2020

Consultant Training Yes, the time has come to announce the opening of applications for the Primary and Elementary consultant training THIS JUNE (2020)! We couldn’t be more excited that the Consultation Committee in partnership with the AMI/USA office is conducting this much needed training. Click here for more information and application materials. Please use this payment link to pay the $50 application fee after submitting your materials. Application materials, along with the $50 application fee, are due by January 31, 2020. A HUGE thank you to Arbor Montessori School in Atlanta for hosting the training for us!

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Seattle 2020 Brochure and Registration

The Montessori Experience 2020 Refresher Course & Workshops Seattle, Washington, Feb. 14-17, 2020 Get our official conference app iOS Android For Blackberry or Windows Phone, Click here For feature details, visit Whova >> Registration is now closed for The Montessori Experience: Refresher Course & Workshops in Seattle! Please take a moment to review our digital brochure to learn more about the speakers and workshops we will be offering this year. >> Check out our Facebook event page to connect with other conference goers and find people who may want a room share or room transfer! >> Order your 2020 Montessori Experience and 150th Montessori birthday t-shirts here!   Make your reservations at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue on Seattle’s East Side. If you need assistance, please contact 877-803-7534 or click here to find contact information by Region. If the group rate is no longer available, prevailing rates may be offered for some or all of your dates.

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Baltimore/Columbia Workshop Brochure

Baltimore/Columbia Workshop Montessori: Learning for All  October 11-12, 2019 Join us in Columbia, Maryland, for our first of two regional workshops in 2019-2020. We look forward to partnering with NAMTA for what will be their final regional workshop as well as with EAA, our continuing partner for major professional development events. Advanced registration is now closed. On-site registration will be available. If you have already registered, download the Whova app to create your personalized agenda and connect with other attendees! Get Whova Now >> Download the full conference brochure to learn more about our speakers and their presentations.

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Webinar: Supporting the Natural Development of the Will

Webinar Description: Supporting the Natural Development of the Will Live Event: September 19, 7:00 p.m. ET  The will is a psychic power that humans are not born with, but one that develops over time through experience following natural laws.  The child’s development of will; therefore, is a gradual process that is dependent upon an environment that supports its growth.  Unfortunately, misunderstandings abound regarding how best to support the will in children. It is widely believed that one must break the will in order to strengthen it, using various forms of controlling behaviors.  Montessori offers another approach that is respectful to the child and that is grounded in an atmosphere of free choice.  This webinar will discuss the necessary supports in the child’s environment to allow the will to develop naturally.  The influence of the adult, the physical environment and the community of children will be explored in detail. The live event has concluded. Click here to purchase a recording of the webinar.

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MPPI Conference Registration

Montessori Public Policy Initiative Through the Montessori Public Policy Initiative(MPPI), AMI/USA and the American Montessori Society are working collaboratively to communicate, influence, and participate in policy developments. We believe that by sharing a common voice with our AMS colleagues, the entire Montessori Movement will be strengthened.  Registration for the annual MPPI Advocacy Conference is now open. Click the image below for details.

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Children at Our Borders: One Year Later

A little over a year ago today, AMI/USA issued a statement on the detrimental effects of separating children from their parents in response to the United States’ practice of removing children from their families and placing them in custody at the U.S./Mexico border. A little over a year later, and things are unconscionably worse with little hope for improvement in sight. A little over a year later, and our concern at AMI/USA remains with the children. Read the full statement.

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New 401(k) Benefit Now Available!

AMI/USA is proud to announce the availability of a new 401(k) plan designed to be affordable and easy to administer.  Please, see the attached informational flier with a link to more information or contact Brian Prasifka directly at 972-567-4012 or bp@rsi2.com. For additional collateral materials that might be helpful for your use, click below. Flyer Collateral Materials

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In Memoriam Kay Baker PhD

On April 20, Kay Baker died peacefully after a short illness. AMI wishes to pay tribute to our friend and colleague Kay Baker. Please see AMI’s tribute here.

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AMI Administrators Course

AMI will be offering an Administrators Certificate for the first time in the United States July 7-12 in Houston, Texas! Click here to be directed to the Houston Montessori Institute for more information.

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AMI/USA Administrators Retreat

Registration for this year’s AMI/USA Administrators Retreat, formerly held by the Montessori Administrators Association (MAA), is now open!  The retreat will follow the opportunity to add knowledge gained through the first AMI Administrators certificate course in the United States.  The certificate course and retreat will be held in Houston, Texas this July.  For more information about the certificate course, please, call the Houston Montessori Institute at 281.822.8028, and for information and to register for the retreat, please, click here: https://maa2.wildapricot.org/event-3301383.

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Seattle Affiliates Conference

Montessori Guidance for Adapting to the Global Digital Culture April 4-7, 2019 Greater Tacoma Convention Center, Tacoma Washington The acceleration of technology and the complexity of changes in our current society will define the future for today’s children. Montessori educators will partner with leaders in the newly emerging field of “human technology” to examine technology’s impact on the lives of children and families. The balance to the acceleration of technology is explored through the power of story, nature, and self-expression. The call for a humane technology is also a call to explore the forces that ground us and help us to understand ourselves. As Montessorians we have the knowledge and practice that addresses the development of the “whole person.” A Montessori education develops critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity all within a microcosm of a respectful, harmonious society, thus preparing each individual to adapt to their own time, place, and culture. Follow-up lectures and discussions will include: • Guiding students through the turbulence of social media; • Technology and creativity in math, science, and the arts; • Working with parents to develop realistic guidelines for the right use of technology; • Storytelling as teaching; • The power of nature to inspire and guide development; and • The role of creativity and self-expression across the planes. View the conference flyer. View the evening events flyer. Visit the NAMTA website to view the conference brochure and schedule, register, and book lodging.

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Refresher Course Certificates

Refresher Course certificates of attendance are available by email (free) or regular mail (incurs a $5 processing fee). To request your own certificate, please click here. If you are requesting a number of certificates for a school, please download this certificate request form to your desktop and return it completed to the AMI/USA office. Please note Adobe Acrobat Pro or later is required to complete this form. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Pro, please email us to request an Excel version.

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AMI/USA and MAA Merger

On Friday, February 15th at the opening of the 2019 Refresher Course, AMI/USA Board President, Gretchen Hall, and MAA Board President, John Churn, announced plans to consolidate into one organization. Read their joint statement here. Questions? See below: AMI/USA and MAA Consolidation FAQ Following years of active collaboration to consider more opportunities for improved services and efficiencies among the affiliates of AMI in the United States’, MAA and AMI/USA have reached an agreement to enhance support for administrators through a consolidation of activity within one organization. On 1 March 2019 the functions of MAA will be transferred to AMI/USA. MAA will close all operations as of the transition date. AMI/USA will provide a continuity and amplification of the existing supports for school administrators, previously provided by MAA. This consolidation will also increase the focus of the work of AMI affiliates in the United States to support all Montessori schools, teachers, and parents. This document aims to answer some anticipated questions about the consolidation. If you have other questions, please reach out to AMI/USA at montessori@amiusa.org. What will happen to my current MAA memberships? Current MAA members will become members of AMI/USA; the dues amount that they pay will stay the same at $99/year. Current MAA members will renew with with AMI/USA as AMI/USA Administrator Members. AMI/USA will take over planning and running the Summer Administrators Retreat in partnership with former MAA trustees. How will this affect my current and future dues payment with MAA? There are no planned changes to the membership dues with MAA. Your current member dues cover your membership through the end of your membership period. When your membership is due to renew, your will renew through AMI/USA. What if I am an administrator who is already a member of AMI through AMI/USA, but not a member of MAA? All members of AMI/USA will have an option to change their AMI/USA membership status to Administrator Member and gain access to the additional benefits including the online forum and the administrators document vault. The AMI/USA Administrator Member rate is $99/year. To make this change in your membership, send an email to Director of Membership, Denise Wanits (denise@amiusa.org). What if I am a member of both MAA and AMS? AMS members who are currently members of MAA become members of AMI/USA on March 1, 2019.  Membership in AMI-USA provides Administrator Members with all of the benefits currently available to MAA members plus benefits provided to AMI-USA members such as newsletters, member rates at events, and publications. How does AMI/USA include, connect with, and support members who are not AMI trained? AMI/USA is an organization for everyone interested in Montessori. AMI/USA, NAMTA, and MAA have been open to everyone to join! Having earned an AMI diploma is not a requirement for being a member of AMI, nor is it a requirement for attending most of AMI/USA’s current annual professional development offerings. How will administrators benefit from this consolidation? Simpler memberships: the consolidation of MAA with AMI/USA will provide all of the resources now available within both organizations to be available within a […]

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AMI/USA and MAA Merger

On Friday, February 15th at the opening of the 2019 Refresher Course, AMI/USA Board President, Gretchen Hall, and MAA Board President, John Churn, announced plans to consolidate into one organization. Read their joint statement here. Questions? See below: AMI/USA and MAA Consolidation FAQ Following years of active collaboration to consider more opportunities for improved services and efficiencies among the affiliates of AMI in the United States’, MAA and AMI/USA have reached an agreement to enhance support for administrators through a consolidation of activity within one organization. On 1 March 2019 the functions of MAA will be transferred to AMI/USA. MAA will close all operations as of the transition date. AMI/USA will provide a continuity and amplification of the existing supports for school administrators, previously provided by MAA. This consolidation will also increase the focus of the work of AMI affiliates in the United States to support all Montessori schools, teachers, and parents. This document aims to answer some anticipated questions about the consolidation. If you have other questions, please reach out to AMI/USA at montessori@amiusa.org. What will happen to my current MAA memberships? Current MAA members will become members of AMI/USA; the dues amount that they pay will stay the same at $99/year. Current MAA members will renew with with AMI/USA as AMI/USA Administrator Members. AMI/USA will take over planning and running the Summer Administrators Retreat in partnership with former MAA trustees. How will this affect my current and future dues payment with MAA? There are no planned changes to the membership dues with MAA. Your current member dues cover your membership through the end of your membership period. When your membership is due to renew, your will renew through AMI/USA. What if I am an administrator who is already a member of AMI through AMI/USA, but not a member of MAA? All members of AMI/USA will have an option to change their AMI/USA membership status to Administrator Member and gain access to the additional benefits including the online forum and the administrators document vault. The AMI/USA Administrator Member rate is $99/year. To make this change in your membership, send an email to Director of Membership, Denise Wanits (denise@amiusa.org). What if I am a member of both MAA and AMS? AMS members who are currently members of MAA become members of AMI/USA on March 1, 2019.  Membership in AMI-USA provides Administrator Members with all of the benefits currently available to MAA members plus benefits provided to AMI-USA members such as newsletters, member rates at events, and publications. How does AMI/USA include, connect with, and support members who are not AMI trained? AMI/USA is an organization for everyone interested in Montessori. AMI/USA, NAMTA, and MAA have been open to everyone to join! Having earned an AMI diploma is not a requirement for being a member of AMI, nor is it a requirement for attending most of AMI/USA’s current annual professional development offerings. How will administrators benefit from this consolidation? Simpler memberships: the consolidation of MAA with AMI/USA will provide all of […]

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Refresher Course Information

2019 REFRESHER COURSE The 2019 Refresher Course & Workshops will take place February 15-18th at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. SPEAKERS Keynote Speaker Refresher Course Speakers BROCHURE 2019 Refresher Course Brochure REGISTRATION Forgot to register for next week’s Refresher Course & Workshops? Just decided you’ll be joining us? Get a head start on your on-site registration: > Register here by Thursday, 2/14 at 5 p.m. CST; > Stop by Central Registration (Grand Foyer, 5th Floor) at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel to finalize the process. Registration Times: Friday, 2/15: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Saturday, 2/16: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. SCHEDULES Friday 2-15-19 Saturday 2-16-19 Sunday 2-17-19 Monday 2-18-19 HOTEL LAYOUT First Floor Third Floor Fourth Floor Fifth Floor Eighth Floor **Bookstore orders made online from February 14-18 will be shipped on Tuesday, February 19.**

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Onsite Registration Available

Forgot to register for next week’s Refresher Course & Workshops? Just decided you’ll be joining us? Get a head start on your on-site registration: Register here by Thursday, 2/14 at 5 p.m. CST Stop by Central Registration at the Sheraton New Orleans to finalize the process Registration TimesFriday, 2/15: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.Saturday, 2/16: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. See you in New Orleans! AMI/USA The Child’s Place in TimeRefresher Course & WorkshopsNew Orleans, LouisianaFebruary 15-18, 2019

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Update from the AMI/USA Board

Greetings from your AMI/USA Board! In an effort to better communicate and connect our membership with the work of the board, we will be including brief quarterly meeting updates in this and future newsletters. We hope that they serve you as intended. Our July board meeting was held in Simsbury, Connecticut. The location served as the perfect place for review of our past fiscal year, and great discussion regarding the future for AMI/USA. Challenges and opportunities within our Core Programs and Strategic Initiatives, as well as the Affiliates Meeting which has since been held at the IMC in Prague, served as the bulk of our agenda. A highlight of the meeting was our time with Tom Sevigny, President of the MES Fund, with regard to our work together. It was a productive weekend. We wish those starting the 2017-2018 school year much inspiration and discovery ahead! Respectfully, Your AMI/USA Board

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2019 Refresher Course Keynote Speaker

We are excited to announce the keynote address for the 2019 Refresher Course & Workshops in New Orleans!  Challenges  and  Opportunities:  Why  Poverty  Matters  and  Why  Schools  Can  Matter  More  Tammy Pawloski, Ph.D.Life  with  limited  resources  can  negatively  impact  achievement  and  life  success,  but  the  good news  is  that  schools  and  teachers  can  matter  more! The  latest  research  from  neuroscience provides  direction  for  intentional  school  and  teacher  moves  that  can  dramatically  and  positively shift  the  trajectory  for  all  students. Learn  how  to  reframe  the  challenges  faced  by  teachers  in high-poverty  schools  as  opportunities  for  revealing  the  often-hidden  potential  of  every  learner every day. Tammy Pawloski is Professor of Education and Director of the Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty at Francis Marion University.  She holds a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina, and prior to joining the faculty of FMU in 2000, she served on the faculties of USC in South Carolina, and Ventura College and Pepperdine University in Southern California. — The theme for the 2019 Refresher Course & Workshops will be: The Child’s Place in Time. The Refresher Course will take place at the Sheraton New Orleans hotel February 15-18, 2019. More information about workshops and presenters will be available on the website soon! Early bird registration will open in October. If you have yet to book a room at the Sheraton New Orleans hotel, please click here to reserve a room as part of the AMI/USA group block. Alternatively, you may call 888-627-7033 and ask for Association Montessori International group rate. We look forward to seeing you in February!

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AMI Announces Piloting of New Training Formats

As a way of creating greater access to AMI principles and training, two new courses with distance learning components are being piloted through the Montessori Institute of North Texas (MINT).  The Montessori Core Principles course will explore human development over the lifespan as well as take a deep dive into Montessori theory and philosophy.  The Blended Learning AMI Primary Course will use a new format comprised of alternating blocks of distance and face-to-face learning providing more flexibility for potential students.  Both courses will be led by AMI Trainers and will begin this summer. Blended Learning AMI Primary Course at the Montessori Institute of North Texas (MINT) Have you been waiting for a chance to take AMI teacher training, but did your life or distance get in the way? We are now introducing a format that will fit your life! At MINT, AMI is going to start its first blended learning course: you will engage in a balanced course of study that combines alternating blocks of face-to-face and distance learning. This will be perfectly suited for students who can’t attend a course in the traditional full-time format. Click here to view the flyer. 9 July 2019 Montessori Core Principles: new certificate course at the Montessori Institute of North Texas (MINT) A deep dive into Montessori theory and philosophy and a comprehensive study of human development with AMI Trainers at all levels for a focus on Montessori principles throughout life. Click here to view the flyer.

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Diversity Forum Scholarships

AMI/USA would like to announce an additional scholarship opportunity for those interested in attending the Diversity Forum on Friday, February 15th, 2019 at the AMI Refresher Course in New Orleans. To be considered for financial assistance for the Diversity Forum, you must complete the following steps: – Submit a completed application to AMI/USA no later than January 23rd, 2019. – Register for the Diversity Forum within one week of receiving notification of a successful application. – Be able to and attend the Diversity Forum in its entirety, 2:00 – 5:00 pm, Friday, February 15. Five applicant names will be chosen by Embracing Equity for attendance at the Diversity Forum.Awardees will be notified on January 25th. Scholarship grantees must register for the Diversity Forum workshop. The workshop does not require either an AMI diploma or an AMI membership though the latter is strongly encouraged. The scholarship will provide waived registration fees for the Diversity Forum only. Additional Friday or Monday workshop fees, the Refresher Course fee, hotel, and travel are not included. Hotel reservations must be made independently. A $25 refundable deposit will be required at time of registration. A full refund will be made upon completion of the workshop by Diversity Forum attendance sheets. The Diversity Forum scholarships are being supported by the AMI/USA. Go to the application form.

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AMI Marketing Webinar for Schools

AMI Marketing Webinar for Schools More than 60 individuals interested in learning more about how to market Montessori schools listened in on an AMI Marketing 101 Webinar for Schools earlier today (Tuesday, November 6th).  If you listened in then we hope that you learned something useful to your mission of providing Montessori education to as many children as possible.  If you missed the webinar, never fear, click on the following link which will take you to a number of ready-made resources as well as comprehensive research results from the Neimand Collaborative on how to communicate effectively about Montessori education.  Should you have any questions, please, don’t hesitate to reach out to Debby Riordan, Executive Director of AMI/USA (debby@amiusa.org) or Lynne Lawrence, Executive Director of AMI global in Amsterdam (lynne.lawrence@montessori-ami.org). https://montessori-ami.org/resource-library

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Second Overflow Hotel for New Orleans

We are happy to announce that we have secured rooms at a second overflow hotel, just four minutes walk from the Sheraton, where the Refresher Course will be taking place. To make room reservations at the Wyndham New Orleans – French Quarter, please visit: https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/groups/hr/ami-usa-refresher-course1.

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Global School Accreditation (GSA) Update:

Global School Accreditation (GSA) Update: AMI’s Global School Accreditation committee, with the support of teachers, administrators, and trainers, completed five pilot visits in the United States and Canada last year.  These visits were tremendously helpful in refining the documentation and paperwork to be used for the program.  This fall we are planning pilot visits to schools in Morocco, India, Australia, and the United Kingdom.  At the conclusion of these pilot visits, revisions will be made and reviewed with all participating schools.  We intend a third round of pilots to take place in the spring, to finalize the rubric used in determining a school’s status.  GSA is set to launch in some countries in the fall of 2019; the program will begin in subsequent years in countries with an existing accreditation/recognition program. If you have any questions about the Global School Accreditation program, please contact Ginni Sackett, AMI Director of Pedagogy, or Alyssa Schwartz, GSA Committee Chair, or Debby Riordan, Executive Director of AMI/USA

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Refresher Course Overflow Hotel

We know that for some the reservation process at the Sheraton New Orleans has been a challenge. It has been a challenge for the AMI/USA office as well, but we are glad that we were able to help nearly everyone who reached out to us. The Sheraton New Orleans, however, has informed us that we are now officially sold out. Our overflow hotel is the Intercontinental New Orleans which is a 7-minute walk from our home-base at the Sheraton New Orleans. Prices are $189 for single and double rooms, $219 for triple rooms and $249 for quad rooms. For reservations, please contact the hotel by calling 1-800-439-4745, or go online to https://book.passkey.com/event/49805430/owner/110/home.

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2019 Refresher Course Brochure

We are excited to release the brochure for the 2019 Refresher Course & Workshops in New Orleans, February 15-18, 2019. Download the brochure. You have the option of printing the brochure and cutting out the registration form and mailing it to: AMI/USA 206 N Washington St, Ste 330 Alexandria, VA 22314 Alternatively, you can register online (recommended). To view updates about the 2019 Refresher Course & Workshops, visit https://amiusa.org/2019-refresher-course/.

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2019 Refresher Course Speakers

We are excited to announce the 2019 Refresher Course speakers! Our annual Refresher Course & Workshops will take place in New Orleans, February 15-18. 2019. We are looking forward to the energy that this historic city will lend to our gathering of Montessorians from across the country (and beyond!) and hope our participants come away from the event feeling energized and enthusiastic! The Child’s Place in Time is the theme for the 2019 Refresher Course. We can’t wait to see what kind of discussions are generated around this topic. The venue for the 2019 Refresher Course & Workshops will be the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. Please click here to reserve a room as part of the AMI/USA group block. Alternatively, you may call 888-627-7033 and ask for Association Montessori International group rate. Stay tuned for information about alternative accommodations in New Orleans. Registration, along with our full digital brochure, will be coming in October. Please continue checking the website for additional updates about our speakers. We can’t wait to see you in February! Assistants to Infancy The Child’s Place in Time: Adaptation and the Spiritual Value  of Work Sharlyn Smith, international trainer, presenter, and AMI examiner. Sharlyn holds AMI diplomas at the 0-3 and 3-6 levels and has more than 25 years of classroom experience as well as experience as head of school. She is the 0-3 Director of Training at the Montessori Training Center of St. Louis. Primary “Unperverted by Prejudice and Undistorted by Fear” The Universal Child’s Sensorial Journey to Cultural Human Ginni Sackett, Director of Pedagogy at AMI, is an AMI trainer at the 3-6 level, as well as a lecturer, consultant, and examiner, with over 35 years of experience in Montessori education. Elementary A Deep Dive into Deep Time: The Goldmine of Story in the Timeline  of Life and the Timelines of Humans Carla Foster, Director of Elementary Training at the Montessori Training Center Northeast and the Montessori Institute of Prague. She holds AMI diplomas at the 3-6 and 6-12 levels and has been an elementary trainer since 2011. She was a keynote speaker at the 2017 International Congress.

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Montessori’s Framework: Reshaping Education for All Children

Montessori’s Framework: Reshaping Education for All Children November 8-11, 2018 Doubletree Dallas Campbell Centre, Dallas, TX School superintendents, administrators, trainers, researchers, teachers, and social service providers will join to create a comprehensive education model with Montessori at the center. Montessori education will be examined alongside trauma-informed practice and anti-bias awareness while results of research will guide our work to expand access for all children to quality Montessori education. Lynne Lawrence, executive director of AMI, and John Merrow, author (Addicted to Reform) and education journalist, will launch a discussion of a Montessori global strategic plan that can serve as a lasting model for public and private consideration. Key presentations will guide the discussions, study, and reflections that will define the framework for bringing Montessori into the center of reshaping education. Follow-up lectures and roundtable discussions will serve as stimuli for action to guide the implementation of Montessori in diverse settings and communities. Topics will include early childhood development, assessment and Montessori outcomes, the impact of stress and trauma, integrated services in a community, public policy, and leadership in the public sector. View the full program to see the full schedule, keynote titles and descriptions, breakout offerings, and speakers. Online registration is fast and simple, or a registration form can be printed from the program. Conference events take place at the Doubletree Dallas Campbell Centre, telephone: 1-214-691-8700. Please be sure to mention the NAMTA room block when making your room reservation.

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Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos’ Announcement

Dear AMI/USA Community, Do you feel the energy? Have you heard the buzz? If you haven’t then you certainly will soon as Montessorians in the United States learn about the $2 billion committed by Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, and his wife MacKenzie to fund non-profit work supporting homeless families and to create “Montessori-inspired” preschools in low income areas. It is exciting to think that our desire to make Montessori education more accessible will receive support on this scale, and you can be certain that AMI/USA and AMI global will be working collaboratively with other Montessori organizations to ensure that our offer of support to Mr. Bezos and his team is heard. Our collective expertise in child development and Montessori education practiced with integrity could be invaluable to this effort. Here is Mr. Bezos statement excerpted from BusinessInsider.com: — I talk often about the importance of maintaining a Day 1 mentality. It’s always Day 1, and I work hard to apply that mindset to everything I do. It was a Day 1 outlook that made me reach out to ask for suggestions on approaches to philanthropy last year. By so many important measures the world keeps getting better, and it’s one of the fantastic aspects of human nature that we humans never stop looking for (and finding!) ways to improve things. Our lives are better than our great grandparents’ lives, and their lives were better than their great grandparents’ lives before them. If our own great grandchildren don’t have lives better than ours, something has gone very wrong. Where’s the good in the world, and how can we spread it? Where are the opportunities to make things better?These are exciting questions. MacKenzie and I share a belief in the potential for hard work from anyone to serve others. We all have that capacity. Business innovators who invent products that empower, authors who write books that inspire, government officials who serve their communities, teachers, doctors, carpenters, entertainers who make us laugh and cry, parents who raise children who go on to live lives of compassion, and many more. In addition to Amazon my areas of focus so far have included investment in the future of our planet and civilization through the development of foundational space infrastructure, support of American democracy through stewardship of the Washington Post, and financial contributions to the dedicated and innovative champions of a variety of causes, from cancer research, to marriage equality, to college scholarships for immigrant students, to decreasing political polarization through cross-partisan support of principled, next-generation military vets running for Congress. We’re excited today to announce the Bezos Day One Fund. It will begin with a commitment of $2 billion and focus on two areas: funding existing non-profits that help homeless families, and creating a network of new, non-profit, tier-one preschools in low-income communities. The Day 1 Families Fund will issue annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families. […]

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2019 Refresher Course Keynote Speaker

We are excited to announce the keynote address for the 2019 Refresher Course & Workshops in New Orleans!  Challenges  and  Opportunities:  Why  Poverty  Matters  and  Why  Schools  Can  Matter  More  Tammy Pawloski, Ph.D. Life  with  limited  resources  can  negatively  impact  achievement  and  life  success,  but  the  good news  is  that  schools  and  teachers  can  matter  more! The  latest  research  from  neuroscience provides  direction  for  intentional  school  and  teacher  moves  that  can  dramatically  and  positively shift  the  trajectory  for  all  students. Learn  how  to  reframe  the  challenges  faced  by  teachers  in high-poverty  schools  as  opportunities  for  revealing  the  often-hidden  potential  of  every  learner every day. Tammy Pawloski is Professor of Education and Director of the Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty at Francis Marion University.  She holds a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina, and prior to joining the faculty of FMU in 2000, she served on the faculties of USC in South Carolina, and Ventura College and Pepperdine University in Southern California. — The theme for the 2019 Refresher Course & Workshops will be: The Child’s Place in Time. The Refresher Course will take place at the Sheraton New Orleans hotel February 15-18, 2019. More information about workshops and presenters will be available on the website soon! Early bird registration will open in October. If you have yet to book a room at the Sheraton New Orleans hotel, please click here to reserve a room as part of the AMI/USA group block. Alternatively, you may call 888-627-7033 and ask for Association Montessori International group rate. We look forward to seeing you in February!

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Refresher Course 2019 Hotel

We are excited to announce that the hotel for the 2019 Refresher Course and Workshops – The Sheraton New Orleans Hotel – is ready to accept your room reservations! Please click here to reserve a room as part of the AMI/USA group block. Alternatively, you may call 888-627-7033 and ask for Association Montessori International group rate. We look forward to seeing you in February!

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Building Partnerships in Support of the Child, Teacher, and Parents

AMI/USA is excited to announce that registration for the first AMI Affiliate Conference in the United States is now open!  As a reminder, AMI/USA, EAA, MAA and NAMTA have committed to three joint professional development conferences throughout 2018 and 2019.  The first conference will be held in Baltimore, Maryland in October of 2018.  Please, see the attached brochure for more information and click on the registration link to register for this event.  Click here for information about the November conference in Dallas, Texas and stay tuned for information about the April 2019 conference in Seattle. Click here to register for Building Partnerships in Support of the Child, Teacher and Parents. Click here to view the conference brochure. Reserve your room at the Sheraton Columbia Town Center by September 18, 2018 to receive the special NAMTA rate of $126 (lodge) or $144 (tower). Call 1-888-627-8318 and state that you are reserving under the NAMTA room block.

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Upcoming Professional Development Events

Upcoming Affiliate Events Just a reminder about this year’s professional development events, coordinated by the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association (NAMTA) in partnership with AMI/USA, the Elementary Alumni Association, and the Montessori Administrators’ Association. The events will take place October 11-14 in Baltimore, MD, November 8-11 in Dallas, TX, and April 4-7 in Seattle, WA. Click here to learn more. Click here to download the flyer.

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MPPI State Advocacy Retreat

MPPI State Advocacy Representatives, MPPI is thrilled to announce our Fall 2018 State Advocacy Retreat, to be held at the Crown Plaza Old Town Alexandria, September 30th-October 2nd. This third MPPI retreat will once again bring our Montessori advocates from all over the country together to participate in valuable advocacy training and share successes and challenges in our work. This year’s retreat will feature introduction of the new MPPI/MACTE Montessori Teacher Credential Recognition Toolkit through our credential recognition bootcamp. MPPI is excited to unveil our new Montessori/ECERS-3 and Montessori/CLASS Crosswalks, developed through dialogue with the ECERS authors and collaboration with Teachstone. Retreat attendees will have the opportunity for in-depth training on the development and use of these valuable tools. Hotel reservations for the MPPI State Advocacy Retreat are now available at this link, or by calling the hotel directly at 866-732-4555 or 703-683-6000 and identifying your reservation as MPPI, or Group Code WOT. Retreat registration will open in the coming weeks, first for MPPI State Representatives, then for all other interested advocates. We are excited to share all of the new supports we have to offer all of you and to have the chance to catch up on everyone’s work! For questions, contact Denise Monnier at denise@montessoriadvocacy.org.

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Montessori Parents Research Released

As Montessori educators, we have a unique offering to children, supporting their natural development. But we haven’t always been successful communicating our message to families and the non-Montessori world. With that in mind, AMI recently sponsored a research initiative to better understand parents’ perceptions of Montessori and their wishes for the early learning years for their children. AMI engaged the Neimand Collaborative to direct the research, with supporting grants from the Trust for Learning and the James Walton Foundation. Montessori organizations in the United States have set a goal to deliver a clear message about the value of a Montessori education, speaking with one voice.  With that goal in mind, AMI, supported by the Montessori Leaders Collaborative, is sharing this work with ALL Montessorians so that more schools and programs can more clearly articulate what Montessori is and does. Researchers interviewed nearly two thousand families from across the United States representing a range of  races, cultures and economic areas. The results will not be surprising: Parents wish their children to develop into strong, capable and morally responsible individuals, who are lifelong learners and doers, through a partnership with teachers in achieving this goal. This desire aligns perfectly with Montessori principles and practice of providing a richly prepared  environment so that children can develop a love of learning in a peaceful community, yet we have often not communicated this clearly. Please click here to view a summary of these findings. All Montessorians are encouraged to use and share this research to promote greater access to Montessori for more children. A collaboration among: Association Montessori Internationale Association Montessori International—USA The Montessori Foundation and International Montessori Council National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector American Montessori Society North American Montessori Teachers’ Association Montessori Administrators Association Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education Montessori Public Policy Initiative Montessori for Social Justice

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Massachusetts Recognizes Montessori Teacher Credentials

The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care has approved the recognition of Montessori credentials from teacher education programs accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE). Montessori teachers in Massachusetts will need only to submit a transcript from their training program and credential verification from MACTE to receive verification of their credential.  Please click here to learn more about the process.  Congratulations to the Montessori Schools of Massachusetts Advocacy Committee for their work on this effort!

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Remembering Elizabeth Hall

Elizabeth Gardner Hall of Denver, Colorado, a longtime trainer of teachers at the primary and assistants to infancy level, died after a brief illness on May 19, 2018. Ms. Hall, 83, was a staple in the Montessori community in Denver and around the globe. Ms. Hall was trained by the Association Montessori International from birth to three years (Dr. Silvana Montanaro), three to six (Margaret Elizabeth Stephenson) and six to twelve (Camillo Grazzini). Her Montessori legacy is The Montessori Institute which she founded with Judith Orion in Denver, Colorado in 1989. Ms. Hall was a piano teacher prior to discovering Montessori. She began her Montessori career as a teacher in 1964. She co-founded several Montessori schools and was a leading figure in Montessori school administration. After teaching for about 10 years, she began her teacher training career in the Washington, DC area at The Washington Montessori Institute. Over her lifetime she also trained in the Philippines, Australia, and Denver, Colorado. Additionally, Ms. Hall was an examiner and consultant nationally as well as internationally at the 0-3 and 3-6 levels. Outside of her life as an educator, Ms. Hall followed her passion for music. She attended Westminster Choir College and earned a degree in music. She regularly participated in concerts as a contralto and was a member of the Sweet Adelines, her church choir and the Windcrest chorus. Ms. Hall especially enjoyed singing with the Colorado Symphony in the holiday performance “Too Hot to Handel,” conducted by Marin Alsop, for several seasons. A memorial is scheduled for June 23, 2018 at The Montessori Institute from 4:00-5:00. Donations can be made to The Montessori Institute or the Sweet Adelines International.

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Georgia Adopts New Montessori Teaching Certificate

The state of Georgia has created a Montessori teaching certificate, thanks to the hard work of Montessori Partnerships for Georgia. The new certificate is open to anyone who holds a Montessori credential from a program accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE), passes the appropriate subject-area tests, and meets Georgia’s additional special requirements. Read Montessori Partnerships for Georgia’s FAQs for more information.

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Montessori for Social Justice Conference

AMI/USA is a proud sponsor of the 2018 Montessori for Social Justice conference, to be held in St. Paul, MN, June 27-July 1. Montessori for Social Justice (MSJ) is dedicated to promoting anti-bias, anti-racist Montessori education. They bring together Montessorians of all trainings to work towards educational equity and the success of all children. At this year’s conference, AMI/USA is thrilled to support the keynote address, presented by Lorena and Roberto Germán, as well as scholarships for attendees. Click here to register and click here to learn more about MSJ.

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MES Applications Due May 1

Planning to start AMI training this summer or fall and need financial aid? Make sure to apply for the MES Fund Scholarship by May 1. Details on eligibility requirements and how to apply are available here.

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Remembering Dr. Silvana Montanaro

Dr. Silvana Quattrocchi Montanaro, AMI Trainer and author passed on March 30, 2018. Dr. Montanaro was instrumental in the revitalisation of AMI’s 0-3 course and in training many of AMI’s leading 0-3 trainers and practitioners. Her work embodied the vision and spirit of Maria Montessori and lives on in all the children and adults with whom she both directly and indirectly interacted. Please see the tribute to her contribution which Karin Salzmann created in 2010.

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2018 Refresher Course Recap

The 2018 Refresher Course & Workshops in Phoenix, Arizona was the event’s most successful year yet! Including NAMTA’s Adolescent Workshop, the Refresher Course received 1,200+ participants who enjoyed, as one participant put it, “true” refreshers at every level from a diverse and experienced group of presenters. We were excited to have trainers from México presenting at the Assistant, A to I, and Adolescent levels and were energized by Korean-American presenter Daisy Han’s Monday morning discussion on “Embracing Equity.” Some highlights from the event included AMI/USA Board President Gretchen Hall’s inspiring call to action at Friday night’s opening keynote, and keynote speaker Alice Waters’ speech emphasizing the holistic connection between Montessori education and school gardens. We were honored to have Ms. Waters sign copies of her latest book, Coming to My Senses, following her keynote address. We were also happy to welcome the inclusion of Montessori for Dementia and Ageing (MAGDA) presenters in our Friday workshop lineup. The MAGDA advisory board is doing wonderful work in this area across the globe, and their workshop and materials drew a lot of interest from Refresher Course attendees. We are beyond thrilled to bring this annual gathering to New Orleans next year and are looking forward to keeping the momentum going! We hope you’ll join us there. In the meantime, please take a moment to complete an evaluation of the event so that we can continue to improve this important professional development opportunity for our members. Please contact our office if you did not receive one by email or you did not complete one in Phoenix. See you in New Orleans, February 15-18, 2019!

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Keynote Address from Gretchen Hall

If you are one of the 1200 people that attended the 2018 Refresher Course & Workshops in Phoenix, AZ and were able to attend the Friday night Keynote Address, you know how inspiring AMI/USA Board President Gretchen Hall’s speech was. In addition to the brilliant Alice Waters, who was the main speaker, we heard from Alyssa Schwartz, Interim Executive Director of AMI/USA, Gretchen Hall, Board President, and Phillip O’Brien, AMI Board President. Many have asked for Gretchen’s speech, and we are happy to make it available here for all to enjoy and share. Very best, The AMI/USA Team Download a PDF of the speech here. Keynote Address – Gretchen Hall AMI/USA Refresher Course Phoenix, AZ  February 16, 2018 Sixteen years ago I attended my first refresher course, on the advice of a consultant.  I was at once, awed and intimidated by the greater community and yet felt a connection to something bigger than my isolated work as a teacher.  Since that day, I have attended every refresher course and my roles in the AMI community have evolved from teacher to administrator, consultant, trainer, presenter and as President of AMI/USA.   From my experiences, I stand here today with a very different perspective of our community than from that naive teacher of 16 years ago. It is from this perspective that tonight I would like to share with you a vision and an appeal. From where I stand, the AMI movement in the USA is standing at a precipice – with beautiful vistas on the horizon and a terrifying view of the chasm below.  How did we get here and how do we move forward is what we need to reflect on today. At the core of AMI’s mission is to preserve the legacy of Dr. Maria Montessori.  We have worked hard to preserve that legacy and today we enjoy a reputation of quality implementation and high standards.  Yet we have paid a price for this recognition.  In preserving, we became protective.  We fervently held onto the past and protected it from those who threatened it.   Just as a mother protects her baby, the protection originated from a source of love and devotion.  But as we know, too much protection is an obstacle to growth and over time we got in our own way.  We became exclusive and were critical and judgmental of those who thought differently.  Our movement became divided and fractured, even amongst ourselves.  Individual needs were placed above the needs of the community.  In protecting the past, we put the present and the future in jeopardy and we created chasms.  A culture of “them ” vs “us” evolved, a sentiment which is disturbingly reflected in our politics today.   We began to measure others on how “Montessori” they are and we used the term “Montesomething” to discredit and devalue others.  Classifying ourselves as “trained” and “non-trained” divided us further.  We boast that our pedagogy lays the foundation for social cohesion, yet we have failed to achieve cohesion in our own community. Dr. […]

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Refresher Course Certificate Requests

Refresher Course certificates of attendance are available by email or mail (with a $5 processing fee). To request your own certificate, please click here. If you are requesting a number of certificates for a school, please download this certificate request form to your desktop and return it completed to the AMI/USA office. Please note Adobe Acrobat Pro or later is required to complete this form. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Pro, please email us to request an Excel version.

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Indiana Montessori Endorsement

Thanks to the efforts of United Montessori Schools of Indiana in conjunction with Indiana Department of Education, early education and elementary teachers that have received Montessori training at a MACTE accredited institution will be able to add a Montessori endorsement to their Indiana teaching licenses. Learn more by visiting the UMSI website: https://www.umsindiana.org/credential-recognition

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AMI/USA Welcomes New Board Members

The AMI/USA Board would like to announce the selection of KaLinda Bass-Barlow and Connie Black to serve on the Board of Directors. KaLinda and Connie were selected from a pool of excellent candidates and bring both a wealth of experience and a diversity of perspective to the governance of AMI/USA. The Board looks forward to the contributions of KaLinda and Connie as we serve our mission of bringing the principles of Dr. Maria Montessori to the education of children through its support and advancement of the AMI Montessori community in the United States. KaLinda Bass-Barlow is mother of four remarkable young men and a passionate Montessori educator. She currently serves as the Principal of Harold Holliday Montessori School, a public Montessori School in Kansas City, Missouri. KaLinda has been dedicated to the field of education for 13 years, and has served in urban school districts in Houston, Texas and Kansas City and overseas in Abu Dhabi, UAE. As an administrator, KaLinda has been shaped by the successful school leaders that have influenced and molded who she is as a leader. While relatively new to Montessori, KaLinda is committed to providing access to quality Montessori education to all children. She is currently working towards her AMI Primary Teacher Training at the Montessori Institute of North Texas. She is honored to work in collaboration with the AMI/USA Board to serve the AMI Montessori community. An AMI 3-6 Trainer, Connie Black currently serves as Director of Outreach programs at the Montessori Center of Minnesota. In that role, she oversees their AMI EsF recognized Montessori Partners Serving All Children initiative, whose mission is to provide exceptional, quality early childhood education experiences for underserved communities. Connie also serves as Director of Training for the Montessori Training Center Northeast satellite three-summer course, offered in Boston 2017-2019. She also serves as an AMI consultant and examiner. Connie holds a B.A. in English and Theatre from the University of Tennessee Martin and a M.Ed. from Loyola University of Maryland. She has 15 years of experience in Montessori Children’s Houses, as well as 8 years in public school settings working with children with special needs. With over ten years of experience implementing “Montessori Year Round” as well as “Montessori All Day,” Connie is interested in seeing Montessori education being made more broadly available to all children. Her three children are now grown, and she finds great joy in being “Grand” to four grandchildren. Connie lives with her husband, Lynn, in Duluth, Minnesota.

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AMI/USA Bookstore Schedule

The AMI/USA Bookstore will be closed February 15-19 while our staff works to make the 2018 Refresher Course a successful and productive event. Please place orders before Wednesday at 12 noon ET or wait until Tuesday, February 20. We look forward to seeing everyone in Phoenix!

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Refresher Course 2018 Speakers

We are excited to announce the speakers for the 2018 Refresher Course! Learn more about our speakers below. The 2018 Refresher Course & Workshops will take place at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix, AZ. Click here to make a room reservation using the AMI group rate. Assistants to Infancy Maria Teresa (Chacha) Vidales is an AMI Director of Training at the Assistants to Infancy Level at the Montessori Training Centre of British Columbia. She has directed courses in Dallas, Texas, China and Australia. She also co-directed the Assistants to Infancy Course in Japan and San Diego, and collaborated with the course in Denver. Maria Teresa serves as AMI examiner, consultant, lecturer, and workshop leader. Maria Teresa also holds the AMI Primary diploma. She has operated a school in Mexico since 1989, and has been working with children close to thirty years. Chacha also served on the AMI Board of Directors. Primary Jennifer Shields is a director of AMI primary training for the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola University Maryland. Jennifer holds both the AMI Primary and Assistants to Infancy diplomas. She earned a B.A. in English Literature from Georgetown University and an M.Ed. from Cleveland State University. Since her lucky start as an assistant in an AMI class in 1990, Jennifer has participated in the Montessori community in a variety of roles. She is an examiner and consultant for AMI. Jennifer loves observing in classrooms, coaching teachers and teacher trainees, working with parents, and spreading the insights made by Dr. Montessori to anyone willing to listen, most recently to primary teacher trainees in Geneva, Switzerland. Jennifer delights in her three young-adult children, and in her wonderful husband. She relishes a daily ramble (especially with her German shepherd), reads novels and newspapers religiously, and cooks vegetarian meals in her free time. Elementary Jamie Rue is the Director of Elementary Training at Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola University Maryland. During her ten years teaching in Montessori elementary classrooms, she served as a guide for children aged 6-9, 9-12, and 6-12. She holds AMI Primary and Elementary diplomas, and earned a B.A. in English and Religion from Augustana College (Sioux Falls, S.D.) and an M.Ed. from Loyola University Maryland. Jamie currently serves as treasurer on the AMI/USA Board of Directors and is a past vice-chair/treasurer of the AMI Elementary Alumni Association. Jamie presents at workshops and conferences around the world, but is happiest when at home with her husband and two teenage daughters. Assistants Maria del Coral Ruiz received her AMI primary diploma from the Centro Internazionale Maria Montessori, Perugia, Italy. She is a primary trainer, examiner and lecturer with AMI, and has over 25 years of Montessori experience as head of school in Puebla, and Monterrey, México. She has had training responsibilities in Puebla, México, Hang Zhou, China, Houston, Texas, U.S.A, San José, Costa Rica, Quito, Ecuador, Murcia, Spain and Montpellier, France. She spent many years working with abandoned and living in the street children in Puebla by providing Montessori experiences on different environment sets. Parents Kristi […]

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MPPI News and Updates

October 17, 2014 The establishment of the MPPF has always been a high priority of the Council. It is designed in an effort to both share the work and issues being addressed at the state level, as well as to glean advice and input from other Montessori associations. Combined we represent the largest sectors of Montessorians, and the organizations are able to efficiently communicate information to their constituents and provide valuable perspective “from the field”. We are thrilled to have an overwhelming response to this first conference call, with representatives from over 20 different affiliations participating. We view this inaugural call as an exciting opportunity to openly demonstrate the value we know we can derive from strengthening our collaboration with the broader Montessori community, and the significance it will have for the grassroots advocates in each of the states. September 18, 2014 As the Montessori Public Policy Initiative gears up for another busy academic year, we want to keep the state groups and advocacy coalitions abreast of the work that’s been done and our organizational structure moving forward. Through the significant work that was undertaken by MPPI consultants Christine Lowry and Kimberlee Belcher-Badal on behalf of the initiative last year, we were successful in supporting many states with their advocacy goals.  We want to express our gratitude for their hard work and dedication as they move on to other endeavors now that their contract period with MPPI has ended. In the coming months, the MPPI will undertake a needs-assessment of the initiative in an effort to identify and prioritize the issues in the states; identify how the MPPI council can help support the work of the states working at a grassroots level; determine how to best use shared resources with the two national organizations to support the states; and continue to examine the best structure for providing a high-level of legislative and policy guidance to ensure that Montessori is well represented in each state. We will continue to update the state groups and advocacy coalitions via the listserve and respond to inquiries and concerns as we undertake the needs-assessment process.  The vision of the MPPI is that “through coordination and collaboration with national organizations and state coalitions, the MPPI will support and advance the implementation of high quality Montessori through advocacy action.” Please feel free to direct questions or concerns to any of the founding members of the MPPI Council. Bonnie Beste, AMI/USA Rich Ungerer, AMS Sharon Damore, AIMS August 28, 2014 We are pleased to welcome several new members who will be a part of helping this initiative continue to grow. Mary Ellen Kordas joins the Council as an additional AMS representative.  Mary Ellen lives in California and has been actively involved in Montessori advocacy and practice there in both Northern and Southern CA.  She is the former head of Valley Montessori School, is on the AMS Board and is the treasurer for the California Montessori Council. Wendy Schenk-Evans joins the council as an AMI/USA representative as the Head […]

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SIMS Receives MACTE Accreditation

AMI primary training at the Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies (SIMS) is now accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education! MACTE is recognized by the US Department of Education as the sole accreditor of Montessori teacher training programs. We are delighted to congratulate Ann Velasco, Director of Training, and SIMS on this accomplishment.

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Refresher Course Diversity Forum

The entire AMI community is invited to come together at the 2018 Refresher Course in Phoenix to discuss what actions we can take to welcome the diverse future ahead. This open conversation will take place 5:00-6:00pm on Friday, February 16. For more information or to RSVP, please email Alyssa Schwartz.

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Update: Building the Pink Tower

Building the Pink Tower Coming Soon to the IMC in Prague As the AMI community knows, schools throughout the country are bound by the common vision of offering a high-quality, Montessori-based education that is designed to allow children to achieve their full human potential. These schools are transformative environments for children, their families, and even their communities. The documentary film project Building the Pink Tower (working title) will shine a light on how Montessori schools demonstrate what is working in education right now. Through the power of storytelling, our film will invite viewers to enter a range of Montessori classrooms designed for toddlers through high school seniors to experience and be inspired by ideal learning in action. Viewers will hear from experts leading education innovation across the country and learn how Montessori education is leading innovation in a broader context, addressing issues relating to poverty, racial justice, and social justice. The school communities featured in the film include: – Lumin Education in Dallas, where starting early with home visits to families with infants and offering education through third grade has transformed a community and resulted in long-term school success. – Cornerstone Montessori and the Montessori Center of Minnesota in St. Paul, where a culturally grounded and community focused school works in partnership with a  Montessori training program. Both are catalysts for expansion of Montessori throughout the Twin Cities. – City Garden Montessori School in St. Louis, where a school community’s commitment to ending racism intersects with Montessori education through grace, courtesy,  and development of executive function skills. – Lake Country School (Minneapolis) and the Lake Country Land School (Glenwood City, Wisconsin) where students, including adolescents, are immersed in a  comprehensive Montessori program and experiences like working on a farm and 100-mile bike trip that foster development and independence. – Milwaukee Public Schools which is home to the largest district Montessori program in the country, with seven schools serving students from pre-school through high  school. The MPS district illustrates how Montessori education can become part of a district-wide strategy, including leading in making early childhood education more  widely available. Co-Producers and Co-Directors Vina Kay and Jan Selby have shared a directors’ vision in a short video available here. See an example of a story at Lumin Education here. Jan and Vina hope members of the AMI-USA community will join them in Prague for the opening night of the International Montessori Congress, where they will share a rough cut of the film for the first time. Look for more news about other ways to see the film in the coming months.

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Register for the 2018 Refresher Course

Registration is now open for the 2018 Refresher Course & Workshops. We are excited to offer a full slate of workshops in addition to the main lecture sessions, all related to the 2018 theme: The Complete Classroom: Preparing the Intangible Environment. Look through the digital brochure (below) to view speaker info, workshop and session descriptions, registration info, hotel info, and more. Register online here. Please note: Monday’s Workshop A is now about AMI’s Bold Goal. Please visit our special events page to learn more. The NAMTA Adolescent Workshop will once again be held concurrently with the Refresher Course.  Please click here to learn more and click here to register. Make sure to book your hotel room at The Arizona Grand Resort soon in order to secure a room at the AMI group rate. Click here to book your room or call the on-site reservations department at 877.800.4888 to make your reservation with the AMI group rate. **AMI/USA’s room block at the Arizona Grand Resort is already completely booked.  Click here to view our overflow hotel options.**  View the digital brochure.

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New Refresher Course Events

Several special events will take place at this year’s Refresher Course and Workshops!  Details on locations will be available in your registration folder when you arrive in Phoenix. Friday Diversity Forum Gather to discuss what actions we, the AMI community, can take to welcome the diverse future ahead.  This open conversation will take place 5:00-6:00pm. It Takes a Village During the Keynote Address on Friday night, AMI/USA and NAMTA will present NAMTA’s newest film.  “It Takes a Village” is a short documentary demonstrating Lynedoch Sustainability Institute’s Ecovillage. Lynedoch Ecovillage is a small community approximately 12 km outside Stellenbosch, South Africa. Located midway between two very different environments, Lynedoch navigates a progressive approach to socially, racially, and economically integrated and inclusive community living. Gardens, woodlands, and home landscapes are surrounded by a small mountain range and creek to create a living and learning community of beauty and sustainability. The ecovillage includes a Montessori school for children to age 6. Book Signing Please join us immediately following the Keynote Address for a book signing with Alice Waters.  Copies of her new book, Coming to My Senses, will be available for purchase at the AMI/USA Bookstore. Saturday Yoga AMI Primary teacher and yogi Sarah Dosmann will once again offer early morning yoga sessions 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. School Tours School tours will be held at four AMI-recognized schools in the Phoenix area, beginning at 6:00pm: Keystone Montessori: Charter School. Toddler, Children’s House, Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Adolescents Creo Montessori Community: Private School. Toddler, Children’s House, Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary Tempe Montessori School: Private School. Nido, Toddler House, Children’s House, Lower Elementary Augustus H. Shaw Jr. Montessori: Public Montessori School. Children’s House, Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Adolescent Sign up to reserve your spot for School Tour Transportation.  The ticket will include round-trip transportation to two AMI schools and back to the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa. Please contact Lauren Franchek with questions specific to School Tours. Sunday EAA Business Meeting At AMI-EAA’s annual business meeting, held Sunday morning 7:30-8:45am, we meet with members at the Refresher Course to: update members on events of the last year, discuss past and future summer conferences, inform membership about board transitions/introduce new additions, discuss outreach to Elementary teachers both domestic and international, introduce current pedagogues, look for ways to strengthen and serve mission – supporting elementary teachers in their work, answer member questions/queries At our upcoming meeting in Phoenix, we will be welcoming Melinda Nielsen and Regina Cyvas onto the board as Allyson Creel (Chair) and Wendy Tye (Outreach Coordinator) cycle off.  We are grateful for all of Allyson and Wendy’s years of dedication to AMI-EAA and we look forward to working with Melinda and Regina. This year’s Annual Summer Conference will be on July 17-22, 2018 at the University of Colorado-Boulder.  To submit a proposal to present, please click here. Yoga AMI Primary teacher and yogi Sarah Dosmann will once again offer early morning yoga sessions 7:00–8:00 a.m. in the hotel on Saturday & Sunday to help fellow participants […]

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MPPI Receives Implementation Grant

The American Montessori Society and the Association Montessori International/USA are excited to announce that the James Walton Fund of the Walton Family Foundation has awarded a three year implementation grant to the Montessori Public Policy Initiative (MPPI). MPPI is a collaborative project of AMS and AMI/USA which strives to promote policies that protect authentic Montessori implementation.  The initiative works to build on a groundswell of activism through the establishment and support of state advocacy groups and coalitions, working together toward the shared goal of advancing Montessori by shifting the public policy landscape. Since this joint advocacy initiative began, MPPI’s state advocate network has grown from 13 states to nearly 40. The implementation grant will provide funding for full time staff and organizational support to further strengthen our state advocacy groups and equip them with the resources and training they need to successfully advocate for public policy that will allow Montessori education to flourish and provide high quality Montessori opportunities for all children. MPPI’s work over the next 3 years will be driven by its Strategic Plan, which has 4 areas of concentration: Empowering and equipping MPPI state advocacy groups Effectively communicating a universal definition of Montessori education for use in policy work Establishing a seat at the table for national policy conversations Solidifying MPPI’s future by ensuring the organization has sustainable funding, structure, and staffing. We are equally thrilled to announce that Wendy Shenk-Evans has agreed to be MPPI’s Interim Executive Director. Wendy has been a part of the MPPI Council for three and a half years and has capably led the Council as chair for much of that time. She brings the diverse skill set the position requires along with a deep passion and commitment for MPPI’s work. She will assume her responsibilities on a part-time basis  in the new year, transitioning to full-time once her responsibilities in her current school conclude. You can read a message from Wendy here.

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Wisconsin Passes Montessori Teaching License Bill

The state of Wisconsin has approved the AMI Diploma as a pathway to a state teaching credential!  Under new legislation, AMI Diploma holders who pass the state teaching license exams will be eligible to qualify for a state Montessori teaching license.  Congratulations to the Wisconsin Montessori Association for their hard work in having this bill passed!  State Representative Joel Kitchens released the following statement, after the Montessori Teacher’s License bill was signed into law: “I am very pleased that the Montessori Teacher’s License Bill has been signed into law by Governor Walker. Wisconsin has been struggling with a teacher shortage over the last few years, especially in rural areas, and this bill is another great step in addressing this situation. This bipartisan bill will allow for additional qualified teachers to obtain their initial teaching license without compromising the standards we hold for educators in Wisconsin. “I would like to thank the Wisconsin Montessori Association, who played a crucial role in crafting this bill and getting it through the legislative process. I would also like to thank Sen. Luther Olsen (R- Ripon) for co-authoring this important bill, which plays a small but vital role in tackling our teacher shortage and will send a message that Wisconsin is actively working to address the needs of our schools and our children.

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Bookstore Holiday Schedule

The AMI/USA Bookstore will be closed for business during the week of Thanksgiving (November 20-24, 2017) and from December 25, 2017 through January 1, 2018. You will still be able to place orders online, but they will not be processed until the bookstore has reopened for business. Anyone urgently needing books before these dates should place their orders BEFORE 12:00 P.M. (Eastern Time) on Friday, November 17 and Friday, December 22. Please keep in mind that the AMI/USA Bookstore can only process orders during regular business hours (M-F, 8:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.) and therefore does not process orders on weekends. We look forward to fulfilling your orders. If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact sarah@amiusa.org.

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Overflow Hotel for 2018 Refresher Course

Additional sleeping rooms for 2018 Refresher Course participants are available at the Best Western Plus Tempe by the Mall. +free parking and wifi +hot breakfast +free airport shuttle +free shuttle to/from the Arizona Grand Resort. **Guests must reserve shuttle service to the Arizona Grand Resort when they check in at the front desk.** To make a room reservation at the Best Western Plus Tempe by the Mall for the special rate of $149/night, please call 480-820-7500 and refer to the Association Montessori International/USA rate. Room reservations must be made by February 2, 2018 in order to take advantage of AMI/USA’s special rate.

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2017 Salary Survey Results

This year, 94 schools responded to the survey questions as compared with 92 schools from 2015.  The information gathered represents a cross-section of schools from various geographic regions as well as different types of school communities.  As always, in addition to presenting comparisons of salaries for teachers, administrators and classroom aides, the report also breaks down pertinent information regarding benefits offerings for employees and child tuition assistance plans. Thank you to those schools and individuals who dedicated themselves to this process.  We hope the information will be beneficial as you continue your work.  View the 2017 Salary Survey.

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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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Montessori preschool boosts academic results

According to a study published in Frontiers, “children in Montessori preschools show improved academic performance and social understanding, while enjoying their school work more. Strikingly, children from low-income families, who typically don’t perform as well at school, show similar academic performance as children from high-income families. Children with low executive function also benefit from Montessori preschools.” Read more.

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AMI Seeks New Board Member

AMI is governed by an international board, nominated by our members. This board plays an important role in the strategic direction of our Association. Next year April, board member Guadalupe Borbolla will be retiring, as she will have completed two full terms. We owe her a big thank you for her dedicated service and many contributions to AMI’s work.This is a call to our membership to help nominate candidates to fill the vacancy, as per April 2018. In light of the current composition of the Board, this position needs to be filled by an AMI diploma holder. AMI welcomes candidacies from all backgrounds, as we are dedicated to diversifying our board. If you want to see who currently make up the AMI Board, please have a look at their photos and names below. For a short introduction, and to view all profiles, please click here.  Nominations need to be in by 8 December 2017 All nominations need to be received by 8 December 2017 by the AMI Secretariat (send to nina.monfils@montessori-ami.org), after which they will be evaluated by the AMI Nomination Committee, chaired by Jennifer Davidson. This committee will make final recommendations to the full AMI Board. If you would like to know more and become involved, here are three official documents to be downloaded. The pdf forms can be filled in digitally. Download Profile of New Board Member Download Nomination Form to be Signed by both Nominator and Nominee Download Board Nomination Form to be Filled in by Nominee

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Call for Board Nominations

The AMI/USA Board is seeking nominations for two new board members to replace Debby Riordan, who assumes the position of Executive Director in June, and Jamie Rue, who resigned from the board.  Jamie and Debby have each served the AMI/USA community for more than 3 years and their contributions as board members will be missed. We are seeking candidates for these vacancies now to ensure a seamless transition process for the new board members, who will assume their board positions in July 2018.  We would like to fill one vacancy with a current AMI trainer or an AMI trainer in training.  The other vacancy does not have any specific requirements. Nominations should be sent directly to Alyssa Schwartz.  Please submit a letter supporting the nomination of your candidate and accompany it with the candidate’s resume or CV by December 15, 2017.  Before suggesting a candidate, you must confirm with that person that he or she will be willing to serve if selected.

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Refresher Course CEUs Available

AMI/USA, in conjunction with Loyola University, is pleased to offer Continuing Education Units for this year’s Refresher Course.  CEUs are offered in addition to college credit from Eastern Washington University. Please click the letter below to learn more, or email montessori@loyola.edu or montessori@amiusa.org for additional questions. Letter to Participants

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New Executive Director Announced

The Board of Directors of AMI/USA is pleased to announce the appointment of Debra (Debby) Riordan as the new Executive Director of AMI/USA.  Debby will assume her position by June 9, 2018, replacing interim Executive Director Alyssa Schwartz.  The Board will work with Debby and the AMI/USA office to create a plan that will ensure a smooth transition.  Debby has a rich diversity of experience to bring to the position and has demonstrated support to AMI/USA in numerous capacities; attached is a letter introducing her to you. Currently, Debby is the founding head of Southlake Montessori; an AMI/USA recognized school in Southlake, Texas.  Debby started her Montessori journey as a parent and served on school committees and Boards before deciding to undertake AMI Elementary teacher training.  Since receiving her diploma, she has served as an elementary guide, an assistant head and founding head, all with  AMI/USA  accredited  schools.  Her passion for  Montessori  inspired  her  to additional service beyond her school communities.  Debby is co-chair for the Montessori Alliance of Texas steering committee, a collaboration of AMI and AMS schools that advocates on state requirements and regulations.  She has presented at AMI/USA refresher courses on topics related to advocacy and parenting.  Debby founded Montessori360, an education consulting firm grounded in AMI Montessori education.  She holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Ohio State University.  Debby currently serves on the Board of Directors for AMI/USA as well as the MES fund board.  Previous to her work in Montessori, Debby worked in marketing and research, skills which will compliment her new position well. The AMI/USA board is thankful to Heads Up Educational Consulting for providing a detailed process which resulted in a robust pool of candidates.  The AMI/USA Board began the search process by identifying important stakeholders in the Montessori community to serve as an advisory committee.  Heads Up interviewed each of the advisors, along with the AMI/USA staff, to identify key candidate criteria as well as to help us gain a deeper understanding of our own strengths and weaknesses as an association.  We were grateful for this valuable input, which informed us that our community wants a passionate, inspirational leader who will work collaboratively to move the association forward while honoring the rich history and authenticity that defines AMI in the United States.   We are confident we have found these qualities in Debby Riordan. In her philosophy of leadership statement submitted with her application, Debby wrote: There needs to be a “leader” who can see and guide towards a vision, who can be creative in approach, who can ensure that efforts are not stalled and who keeps enthusiasm and hope alive, who takes the problems and challenges that no one wants and turns them into opportunities and who, at the end of the day, knows that it is not by his or her efforts alone that incredible things happen, but rather by the efforts of a team that he or she has built and nurtured and supported and empowered. The AMI/USA Board looks confidently towards a […]

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Refresher Course Scholarships!

AMI/USA is thrilled to announce that up to fourteen scholarships are available for teachers and administrators to attend the 2020 The Montessori Experience: Refresher Course and Workshops. The scholarship will allow teachers and administrators to attend who may not otherwise have the financial resources to do so.  Up to fourteen recipients will be chosen, with a representative number attending each workshop (i.e., 2 Assistants, 2 Administrative, 2 Equity Intensive Workshop, 2 A to I, 2 Primary, 2 Elementary, 2 Adolescent). Please click here to apply!  The application will close November 20. The fine print: Scholarships will take the form of waived registration for Saturday and Sunday sessions only. Supplemental Friday and Monday workshops may be purchased separately. Recipients must meet the criteria listed below and will be chosen by random lottery. Recipients must attend the entire conference; scholarships may not be transferred or postponed. A $100 refundable deposit will be required at time of registration and will be refunded after full attendance at The Montessori Experience: Refresher Course and Workshops. Each recipient must procure travel, lodging, and AMI and EAA (if required) membership, independently. Criteria for Acceptance +Hold an AMI diploma at the necessary level +Be an AMI, and/or EAA member if necessary for attendance or be willing to join +Currently work in a Montessori classroom or school +Is from a school with limited funds and would not be able to attend without additional financial assistance

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Refresher Course Workshops

We are excited to bring a lineup of engaging workshops to the Refresher Course again this year! Open to both AMI trained professionals and the general public, these workshops offer insight into various topics related to this year’s theme: The Complete Classroom. Scroll below to learn more. The 2018 Refresher Course & Workshops will take place at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix, AZ. Click here to make a room reservation using the AMI group rate. FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16 Mindfulness & Montessori: A Focus on Teacher Well-being and Stress Relief Presented by: Breon Michel, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Teachers are pulled in a million directions in order to meet the ever-changing needs of children and their families. The mind can feel like a sandstorm at the end of a jam-packed school day. This is where mindfulness comes in. Learn how mindfulness can quiet a busy mind, help teachers respond to challenging situations with greater ease, and serve as an energy boost throughout the day. The class will include an overview of what mindfulness is and how it relates to teacher well-being + classroom behavior. Teachers will take home research-based, practical tools, including short guided mindfulness meditations, that help them incorporate mindful breaks at work and home. Support Services and Interventions for Children in AMI Elementary Environments Presented by: Liesl Taylor, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Increasingly high percentages of children are experiencing levels of challenge and crisis significantly detrimental to their ability to access all that our environments have to offer. How do we approach supporting all children in the AMI school setting? With whom do we collaborate? How do we better prepare our selves and our environments for this essential work? Grounded in the context of Montessori pedagogy and contemporary research, we’ll delve into case studies as we consider these questions. By doing so, our point of departure in responding to a child in crisis or with significant challenges is from a place of deeper knowledge, understanding, and compassion, affording every child increased access to a richer and more meaningful education. Advocacy Training for Montessori Public Policy Presented by: Ashley LiBetti Mitchel, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. This workshop will provide information for advocates for excellence in Montessori education. You will learn about legislative and regulatory processes germane to the education policy world, and how to build strong coalitions for action. You will also learn about the Montessori Public Policy Initiative—a collaboration between AMS and the Association Montessori International/USA—and the exciting progress the organization is making to support effective policies to protect authentic Montessori implementation. Introduction to Montessori for Ageing and Dementia Presented by: Jennifer Brush, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Montessori for Ageing and Dementia is an innovative approach to dementia care that can be adopted for individuals or groups as a philosophy of care. The goal of the Montessori program is to support older adults and people living with dementia by creating a prepared environment, filled with cues and memory supports, that enables individuals to care for themselves, others, […]

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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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Refresher Course 2018 Speakers

We are excited to announce the speakers for the 2018 Refresher Course! Learn more about our speakers below. The 2018 Refresher Course & Workshops will take place at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix, AZ. Click here to make a room reservation using the AMI group rate. Assistants to Infancy Maria Teresa (Chacha) Vidales is an AMI Director of Training at the Assistants to Infancy Level at the Montessori Training Centre of British Columbia. She has directed courses in Dallas, Texas, China and Australia. She also co-directed the Assistants to Infancy Course in Japan and San Diego, and collaborated with the course in Denver. Maria Teresa serves as AMI examiner, consultant, lecturer, and workshop leader. Maria Teresa also holds the AMI Primary diploma. She has operated a school in Mexico since 1989, and has been working with children close to thirty years. Chacha also served on the AMI Board of Directors. Primary Jennifer Shields is a director of AMI primary training for the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola University Maryland. Jennifer holds both the AMI Primary and Assistants to Infancy diplomas. She earned a B.A. in English Literature from Georgetown University and an M.Ed. from Cleveland State University. Since her lucky start as an assistant in an AMI class in 1990, Jennifer has participated in the Montessori community in a variety of roles. She is an examiner and consultant for AMI. Jennifer loves observing in classrooms, coaching teachers and teacher trainees, working with parents, and spreading the insights made by Dr. Montessori to anyone willing to listen, most recently to primary teacher trainees in Geneva, Switzerland. Jennifer delights in her three young-adult children, and in her wonderful husband. She relishes a daily ramble (especially with her German shepherd), reads novels and newspapers religiously, and cooks vegetarian meals in her free time. Elementary Jamie Rue is the Director of Elementary Training at Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola University Maryland. During her ten years teaching in Montessori elementary classrooms, she served as a guide for children aged 6-9, 9-12, and 6-12. She holds AMI Primary and Elementary diplomas, and earned a B.A. in English and Religion from Augustana College (Sioux Falls, S.D.) and an M.Ed. from Loyola University Maryland. Jamie currently serves as treasurer on the AMI/USA Board of Directors and is a past vice-chair/treasurer of the AMI Elementary Alumni Association. Jamie presents at workshops and conferences around the world, but is happiest when at home with her husband and two teenage daughters. Assistants Maria del Coral Ruiz received her AMI primary diploma from the Centro Internazionale Maria Montessori, Perugia, Italy. She is a primary trainer, examiner and lecturer with AMI, and has over 25 years of Montessori experience as head of school in Puebla, and Monterrey, México. She has had training responsibilities in Puebla, México, Hang Zhou, China, Houston, Texas, U.S.A, San José, Costa Rica, Quito, Ecuador, Murcia, Spain and Montpellier, France. She spent many years working with abandoned and living in the street children in Puebla by providing Montessori experiences on different environment sets. Parents Kristi McAlister is […]

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AMI Affiliates in the United States

During the recent International Montessori Congress in Prague, representatives from AMI affiliate organizations in the United States met to discuss their ongoing collaborative work. Click: Letter to Membership to read the complete update.

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Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents

Now for sale in the AMI/USA Bookstore! Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents: A Selection of Articles – a must have for schools and their parents. Click here to learn more and purchase.

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Refresher Course Hotel Open for Booking

The Arizona Grand Resort is open for booking!  Join us for The Complete Classroom:  Preparing the Intangible Environment at the 2018 Refresher Course in sunny Phoenix, Arizona, February 16-19. Click here to book your room or call the on-site reservations department at 877.800.4888 to make your reservation with the AMI group rate.   The group rate is available until January 20 or until the room block is fully booked.  We can’t wait to see you in Phoenix!

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Request for Proposals to Research Montessori Impact

The Brady Education Foundation is requesting proposals for funding to conduct research on the impact of Montessori education in under-resourced communities. BEF has committed $3 million over five years to support this important work. Please click here to read the complete press release and learn how to submit an RFP.

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Missouri Montessori Early Childhood Curriculum Approved

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has approved the Montessori early childhood curriculum!  A crosswalk mapping the Montessori primary and A to I curriculum to Missouri’s early childhood state standards was submitted on behalf of AMI and the American Montessori Society.  The curriculum is approved for AMI-recognized schools and AMS-accredited schools only, ensuring that the quality of the Montessori name is protected.  The Montessori curriculum will soon be listed on the DESE website and in the Missouri Preschool Program Administrative Manual.

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AMI Training Center Receives Major Grant

The Walton Family Foundation has awarded a grant of $4.8 million to the University of Hartford and Montessori Training Center Northeast (MTCNE) to establish an undergraduate Montessori education program at the University. The new bachelor’s degree program will launch this fall for early childhood and elementary education with a Montessori concentration. The goal is for the Montessori bachelor’s degree to become a tuition-based, self-sustaining program by 2022. The award is one of the largest educational grants in the University’s history and recognizes the decades-long partnership between the University and MTCNE. Read the full press release. To learn more about the bachelor’s degree with a Montessori education concentration program, download the brochure.

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Refresher Course 2018 Keynote Speaker

AMI/USA is thrilled to announce the 2018 Refresher Course Keynote Address will be delivered by Alice Waters! Over the course of 40 years, Alice Waters has created and passionately supported a culinary philosophy that maintains that food should be organic, sustainable and locally sourced. Opening her restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley in 1971, which has ranked among the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” for the last four decades, her commitment to finding the highest-quality, seasonal ingredients has created a network of local farmers and purveyors dedicated to sustainable agriculture. Her focus on education further led to the creation of the Edible Schoolyard Project in 1996, which is committed to transforming public education and supports projects that incorporate gardening and preparing healthy meals into the school curriculum. Waters’ influence is extensive: she is vice president of Slow Food International, a nonprofit organization that promotes and celebrates local artisanal food traditions and has more than 100,000 members in over 130 countries. Her other numerous honors include being co-recipient, with Kofi Annan, of the Global Environmental Citizen Award from Harvard Medical School in 2008, and being named to the French Legion of Honor in 2009. Her speaking engagements include, among others, lecture series and university talks related to food ethics and values, just and sustainable agriculture, and the transformative power of growing, cooking, and sharing food. Alice Waters is the author of ten books, including The Art of Simple Food: Notes and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution, In the Green Kitchen, 40 Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering, and her most recent book, The Art of Simple Food II: Recipes, Flavor, and Inspiration from the New Kitchen Garden. Alice Waters is also a trained Montessori teacher. Click here to read a recent interview in which she discusses how Montessori affects her cooking. For more information on Alice Waters, please visit http://www.prhspeakers.com/speaker/alice-waters.

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2017 Refresher Course Recap!

The 2017 Refresher Course and Workshops took place February 17-20 in Austin, Texas. We were delighted to welcome nearly 1,000 teachers, administrators, parents, and assistants, along with the 130 participants of the NAMTA Adolescent Workshop. Participants at this year’s Refresher Course focused on The Calculating Mind: Cultivating Discovery, Persistence, Problem Solving. Among the weekend’s many highlights was the Keynote Address with Dr. Ross Greene, who provided a poignant yet humorous talk on his collaborative approach to addressing behavior problems. We also heard from AMI Executive Director Lynne Lawrence and AMI Board President Philip O’Brien about some of AMI’s new and ongoing initiatives, including the Bold Goal of tripling the impact of AMI Montessori in the United States by 2021. The Friday workshops were very well-attended and our presenters, Alison Awes on Dyslexia and Debbie LeeKeenan on Anti-Bias Education, both provided meaningful, hands-on information for teachers and administrators to take back to their school communities. Saturday morning, we kicked off the 2017 Refresher Course with new opportunities for participants, including an early morning yoga class and a Parent-Infant class demonstration.  The Refresher Course and Workshops speakers – Sara Brady, Uma Ramani, Phyllis Pottish-Lewis, Ann Velasco, Ben Moudry, Connie Black, Liza Davis, and Jen Cort – all exemplified the commitment Montessorians share to thinking deeply about our practice and our work with children. The Refresher Course concluded on Monday with a diversity of topics for attendees to explore.  The morning began with an exploration of Educateurs sans Frontières projects around the world (with more than twice as many attending as RSVPed!).  The Special Interest Workshops, which were introduced last year in Long Beach, continue to offer an opportunity for participants to delve into a topic briefly and intensely, with their fellow teachers from other planes of development. Our varied set of workshops this year included: music, parent communication, and the role of the adolescent program in a whole school vision. Special thanks to the AMI-EAA Board, NAMTA, and all the amazing local volunteers who made the Refresher Course a success. AMI/USA hopes you had a wonderful time in Austin, and we look forward to seeing everyone next year in Phoenix, Arizona!

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Executive Director Search

Heads Up Educational Consulting and Triangle Associates are leading the search for an executive director for AMI/USA,  a membership organization for American Montessori schools and educators dedicated to preserving and expanding authentic Montessori education. Founded in 1970, the association today is a vital operation serving approximately 3,400 individual and school members. The deadline to submit an application for the executive director position has been extended to August 15, 2017. AMI/USA is seeking an executive director to lead the organization’s operation and growth, and in concert with the board of trustees, to define its direction and future. AMI training and experience in Montessori education are preferred but not required. Deep education experience, association leadership, and/or advocacy work will also qualify strong candidates for consideration.  While AMI/USA is located in the Metro-DC area (in historic Old Town, Alexandria), a candidate who would need to telework rather than relocate will be considered as well. Pat Bassett, Rich Odell, and Judy Schechtman are working with the AMI/USA Board to conduct this search. The position is available January 1 or July 1, 2018, depending on candidate availability. Please click here to find more information and email any of the consultants or AMISearch@ta-stl.com if you have questions or would like to arrange an exploratory conversation.

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New Training Courses in Boston, NYC, & Seattle

Montessori schools are growing and expanding in both the Boston Area and New York City, yet AMI teacher training in these populous United States cities has always been minimal. The demand for Montessori teachers in both locations is very high. As various states begin to expand Montessori programs, the shortage of teachers also grows, making it very difficult to operate quality AMI schools with local resident employees. AMI training center satellite locations are one way that AMI is addressing this need expressed by larger Montessori communities. Satellite locations have occurred before in our AMI history; however, they are now taking firmer strength on both coasts of our country. Montessori Northwest has expanded to offer programs in both Seattle and San Francisco and now Montessori Training Center Northeast (MTCNE), located in Hartford, Connecticut, plans to address the needs of both New York City and the greater Boston Area. Satellite options from established training centers offer operational experience, financial stability and can leverage existing training talent and expertise needed to launch successful new AMI courses. Working with advisory teams in both locations, MTCNE has submitted feasibility studies to establish satellite locations starting this summer 2017. A new three summer AMI Primary Course will begin in Winchester, Massachusetts using the well-established Children’s Own School as its location with Ms. Connie Black as the AMI Primary Director of Training. MTCNE is also proposing a recently renovated NYC building, Montessori School SoHo, be the home to a new 2-summer AMI Assistants to Infancy Course to begin in June of 2017. This course is still currently in the final stages of review. Details about either of these two new offerings can be found on the MTCNE website. AMI-USA is pleased to welcome these greatly needed satellite locations and looks forward to a stronger presence in both Boston and New York City.

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In Memory of John Snyder

Dear AMI Community: It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that John Snyder passed away peacefully last week, surrounded by his family.  This is a profound loss for the Montessori community. In addition to formerly serving on the EAA board, John served the staff, children and families of Austin Montessori School for the past twenty years.  He continued to provide guidance and engaging company for many in the school community up until his passing.  He will be deeply missed.   Here some words of wisdom from John’s poetry collection: “Waves” What is the shape of a wave? That is my shape, a brief swelling on the surface– my deepest thoughts, my care, my projects, all spindrift in the wind. Do not say that I  came into the world, lived a little while, and returned to my source. See the wind-driven froth for what it is, dive deep. Say, instead, no world to enter, no one to enter it, no life to live, no death to die, no source to leave or return to. Say I am the ocean taking the shape of a wave, surrounded by limitless waves, swelling out of that greatest wave, the tide – incalculable power breathing in, breathing out forever. – John Snyder, “infinity minus one”

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AMI Announces Chief of Staff Position

AMI is pleased to announce a new career opportunity for professionals ready to step up and meet the global challenges that will impact Montessori education and AMI’s growth, based at Headquarters, in Amsterdam. Click on the below link to view the position description. View Recruitment Information.

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MPPI Receives Major Grant

AMI/USA and the American Montessori Society recently secured funding to move ahead vigorously on new initiatives of the Montessori Public Policy Initiative, thanks to a generous grant from the Walton Family Foundation. The MPPI is a collaboration of AMS and AMI/USA, with a mission to create a groundswell of activism through the establishment and support of grassroots advocacy. Specifically, the grant will enable the MPPI to work with Bellwether Education Partners on a survey of approximately 30 states to determine each state’s “policy landscape” with respect to issues particular to the practice of Montessori. The scope will encompass Early Childhood and K – 12 and focus on issues such as teacher credential recognition, licensing challenges, and Quality Rating Improvement System instruments. It is anticipated that the State Policy Landscape Analysis will yield a wealth of helpful information for Montessori state groups involved in affecting policy. Many representatives of these groups have expressed that having a clearinghouse of other states’ successes and obstacles would give them more informed strategies in their own efforts, and support collaborative efforts such as the sharing of resources, ideas, language, and lessons learned. The results will also provide MPPI with a clearer picture of where to focus the energy of the MPPI council and staff in providing support and guidance. This will be particularly useful as the transition to a new administration is sure to bring about significant shifts in federal policies. We are grateful to the Walton Family Foundation for their support and look forward to working with them and with Bellwether Education Partners, and with all of our colleagues at the MPPI.

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Refresher Course 2018: Phoenix

Mark your calendars! We are thrilled to announce that the 2018 Refresher Course and Workshops will be held in Phoenix, Arizona!  The Refresher Course will take place Presidents’ Day weekend, February 16-19, 2018.  Phoenix is home to a vibrant Montessori community, with more than 10 AMI schools and the Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies, offering AMI primary and assistants teacher training.  The Refresher Course will be held at the Grand Arizona Resort, where attendees can swim, hike, and enjoy the beautiful desert environment.  The last time the Refresher Course took place in Arizona was in 1997, also the first year that a course was offered for Assistants to Infancy practitioners.  It has been far too long and we can’t wait to return!  More information about the hotel and speakers will be available next summer.

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AMI Training Centers to Receive MACTE Accreditation

AMI/USA is pleased to announce that two additional Training Centers have been approved for full MACTE accreditation.  Congratulations to the Montessori Training Center of St. Louis on its accomplishment at the Early Childhood level, and to The Montessori Institute of Denver for accreditation at the Infant and Toddler level.  MACTE accreditation is a significant achievement that takes dedication of time and resources by the Training Centers, and in turn offers trainees and graduates benefits and quality assurance.

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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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2017 Workshop Presenters

Announcing the Workshop Presenters for the 2017 Refresher Course & Workshops!  We are pleased to announce the workshops presenters for The Calculating Mind: Cultivating Discovery, Persistence, Problem Solving, which will take place in Austin, Texas from February 17-20, 2017. To book a hotel room, please visit our hotel information page. Stay tuned for more information about additional workshops and special events. PARENTS’ WORKSHOP Life after Montessori – What Parents Can Expect Beyond the Classroom Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Alison Sherrill Alison Sherrill has served as an AMI guide and administrator for over twenty years. She is currently the Elementary Coordinator for AMI recognized Arbor Montessori School in Decatur, Georgia (18months – 14 years). Alison earned a BS in Early Childhood Education from The University of Georgia as well as a diploma from Association Montessori Internationale at the Elementary (6-12) level. She is also certified by the Children and Adults with ADHD Disorder (CHADD) organization to lead parenting classes. Alison is the past president and current Board member of the Montessori Institute of Atlanta, an AMI teacher training program. In addition to Alison’s work with families in a school setting, she serves as an officer with her national sorority, Sigma Kappa, in the mentoring of college age women at both the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of North Georgia . Alison is the proud parent of two Montessori daughters. FRIDAY SPECIAL INTEREST WORKSHOPS We are pleased to be offering two long-format special interest workshops on Friday, February 17 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Our expert presenters will cover important topics in depth in these interactive sessions, and professional development certificates will be offered for full attendance. Workshop A: Supporting the Dyslexic Child in the Montessori Prepared Environment Alison Awes Alison Awes holds Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) diplomas at the primary (ages 3–6) and elementary (ages 6–12) levels, a bachelor of arts in art history from Smith College, a master of arts in Latin American studies from Tulane University, and a master of education in Montessori education from Loyola University Maryland. Extensively knowledgeable, Awes has served as an elementary guide (teacher) in both lower elementary (ages 6–9) and upper elementary (ages 9–12) classrooms. Following many years of studying and working with children, Awes completed the rigorous AMI Training of Trainers Programme to become a teacher trainer. She is director of elementary training at the Montessori Center of Minnesota as well as co-director of elementary training at the Maria Montessori Institute, London. She further uses her expertise in her role as external examiner on AMI courses at other institutes and as an AMI consultant. Awes works to advance the philosophy and spirit of Montessori as a board member for both private and charter Montessori schools, as well as other organizations including the AMI Elementary Alumni Association. An international lecturer, she has given numerous workshops on a wide variety of topics including dyslexia, the psychological and physical prepared environment, and inspiring meaningful work in the elementary child.   Awes attended Montessori school until the age of twelve. […]

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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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