News Type: News Items

Free Administrators Session

Sponsored by AMI/USA Join AMI/USA for a free gathering designed to facilitate communication between AMI/USA Member Schools and AMI Training Centers. This event will serve as a listening session for both entities. Training Centers look forward to the opportunity to hear from Member Schools regarding interests and inquiries from administrators, fostering better understanding and collaboration in training initiatives. Administrators will have the chance to ask questions and provide feedback and suggestions for further training enhancements. May 14, 2024 | 7pm EST Click here to register!

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2024 Montessori Administrators Retreat

Sponsored by AMI/USA July 19-21, 2024 Join us for an unforgettable experience at the 2024 Montessori Administrators Retreat! Administrators play a vital role in the effectiveness and vitality of every Montessori program, leading faculty, parents, children and community members to a common understanding and vision of the program’s purpose and mission for children and the larger community. Click here for more details and to register!

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2024 AMI Administrators Certificate Course

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

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Sanford Fund Application is Open!

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

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AMI Training Center Locator

Did you know? AMI/USA’s Training Center Locator Map includes AMI Training Centers in the United States. Click here to check out it out! Montessori education supports the development of the whole child, and is an educational approach which is taught in more than 140 countries across the world. If you are interested in child development and teaching as a career, then Montessori can offer opportunities to work with children from infancy to adolescence. The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) offers teaching diploma courses which are respected worldwide. Why AMI Training? Financial Aid Opportunities Career Opportunities Training FAQs Trainees earn their diploma  through successful completion of an intensive training program conducted by an AMI trainer. The comprehensive training includes educational theory and child developmental psychology, classroom observation, practice teaching, and material preparation. All AMI training courses must meet rigorous standards both in content and teaching staff. Click here: AMI Training Center Locator

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MEx24 Video!

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

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Feb 17 Sanford Fund Application Opens!

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

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Jan 29 Final JEDI Webinar!

Are Montessori Educators Barely Awake, Woke, or Too Woke for Our Time and Place? This discussion and respectful dialogue, not a debate, will center some important questions. What does being “woke” really mean in the context of education in the United States? Is the Montessori philosophy and pedagogy fundamentally “woke”? Are Montessorians “too woke” or are we “barely even awake” as we strive to meet the challenges that all teachers, families and children face in education and our society today? Join us as moderator Sheri Bishop guides a discussion between Montessori colleagues as they offer different perspectives about “wokeness” in the Montessori Movement. Click here for more information on this session!

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Teacher Webinars Series

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

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Jan 9 ASQ Overview – Free Admin Session

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

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

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

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JEDI Webinar Series

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

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Free Back to School Teacher Wellness Webinar!

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

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Application for AMI Recognition Status

Click here for the 23-24 Application for AMI Recognition Status!     AMI/USA administers the AMI Recognition Program for Montessori schools in the USA. Among the many benefits of AMI Recognition, the most significant is the association with AMI, the organization founded by Maria Montessori in 1929. AMI Recognition provides assurance to families, prospective staff and the community at large of adherence to AMI Standards. The consultation visit supports teachers and administrators with program mentoring. Participating programs are listed on the School Locator and receive the Member School Seal for marketing purposes. A recognition certificate is issued by AMI/USA that is suitable for framing and confirms each program’s dedication to AMI standards. For those with a consultation required, the deadline is September 15, 2023. If a consultation is not required, the application deadline is October 20, 2023. Let us know if you have any questions about submitting the yearly application. We look forward to welcoming you!

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Application for AMI Recognition Status opens August 1, 2023!

AMI/USA provides schools that wish to offer an authentic Montessori program with a set of internationally recognized standards of quality. Programs meeting these standards apply annually for AMI Recognition and a certificate is issued which indicates that they meet these criteria. AMI Standards maintain the level of excellence that Maria Montessori envisioned. Consultation is a part of the formal AMI recognition process for schools. For new and rejoining programs and those with a 3-year consultation required, the deadline is September 15, 2023. If a consultation is not required, the application deadline is October 20, 2023. Please let us know if you have any questions about submitting the yearly application. We look forward to welcoming you!

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

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

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AMI/USA is Hiring! Sr. Director of Finance

Association Montessori International of the United States (AMI/USA) seeks an experienced Sr. Director of Finance (SDoF) to join our leadership team. This is a hands-on leadership role that support the organization’s operations and financial functions. Oversees fiscal planning, business operations, and human resource functions. The SDoF is responsible for supporting and executing AMI/USA strategy through effective leadership and strong business acumen. The SDoF reports to and works closely with the Executive Director (ED), collaborates regularly with a cohesive team of Program Directors, contributes to Finance Committee and Board discussions, and interfaces with members, donors, partners and other constituents. The ideal candidate will have 5-10 years of related experience, preferably within a non-profit environment. Job Title:  Sr. Director of Finance (SDoF) Job Type:  Part Time – Exempt Job Location:  Remote + 1 in-person office day per week (AMI/USA Office’s is in Alexandria, VA) Download the position description. To make a confidential application, please submit resume with salary requirements to montessori@amiusa.org. Essential Duties Leads and analyzes a variety of financial information (e.g. budget variances, cost projections, operational and capital outlay needs, etc.)  for the purpose of providing direction and support, making recommendations, maximizing use of funds, and ensuring overall operations are within budget. Federal and/or state financial filings or applications. Assists a variety of external agency personnel (e.g. auditors, grant representatives, regulatory agency staff, etc.) for the purpose of providing information and general finance/operations support. Collaborates with a variety of personnel for the purpose of implementing and maintaining services and programs. Compiles data from a wide variety of sources for the purpose of analyzing issues, ensuring compliance with organization policies and procedures, and monitoring program components. Conducts internal audits for the purpose of ensuring program operations are within budget and in accordance with fiscal practices; presents Board of Director updates, as requested. Coordinates technology programs and databases for the purpose of completing activities and directing services in a timely manner. Facilitating and/or attending meetings, workshops, seminars on a wide variety of topics (e.g. financial procedures, regulatory requirements, community or outside agency requests, interdepartmental needs, etc.) for the purpose of identifying issues, developing recommendations, supporting other staff, and serving as a representative of the organization. Maintains a variety of fiscal documents, files, records (e.g. accounts payable, accounts receivable, special projects, contracts, asset inventories, etc.) for the purpose of providing an up-to-date reference & audit trail. Administers bidding process and contracts for partnerships (e.g. prepare specifications, evaluate bids, recommend vendors for the purpose of securing items and services within budget and in support of the strategic plan. Champions Montessori efforts on all fronts to include travel (local and international), as requested. Perform other related duties as requested by ED Education and Experience Requirements  Bachelor’s Degree in accounting, business, finance or related field. In-depth knowledge of organizational finance/accounting, operations and communications. Proven, successful experience in a related role for an organization or significant department/program. Non-profit organization experience is required. Solid working knowledge and experience with information systems, internet, office/accounting software platforms, and related tools and technologies, with demonstrated proficiency in Microsoft Excel and QuickBooks […]

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Celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Leadership

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

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AMI Administrators Certificate Course Registration is Live!

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

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2023 Administrators Retreat Registration is Live

AMI/USA is happy to announce the Summer 2023 Administrators Retreat “Leading Amid Today’s Challenges” this July 13-16 in Columbia, MD. We are excited to have Whole School Leadership Institute (WSLI) partner with us to co-sponsor this year’s retreat. We are thrilled to host two dynamic keynote speakers, Dr. Pamela Taylor and Dr. Marc Frankel who will lead us in two engaging sessions exploring the challenges and opportunities of leading school communities in today’s social, geo-political and cultural dynamics. In addition, and in response to feedback from Montessori School Administrators, we will host six afternoon workshop options on various aspects of school management. Click here for more details and to register!

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Earth Day 2023

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

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Dr. Ayize Sabater’s Speech at the 2023 MMUN

Dr. Ayize Sabater (he/him) gave the opening keynote at the Montessori Model United Nations (@montessori_mun) in New York on March 15, 2023. His remarks were given to over 1400 MMUN participants from 193 nations. They are indeed “Inspiring youth to create a better world”. Watch the speech in it’s entirety here!  

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2024 Montessori Experience Call For Presentations Proposals

In preparation for the 2024 Montessori Experience: Refresher Courses and More! in Dallas/Addison Texas, February 16 – 19, 2024, we are receiving presentation proposals for consideration. Workshops will be held Friday, February 16 and Monday, February 20. The theme “Educating for Peace” is inspired by Dr. Maria Montessori’s book Education and Peace. Submissions should be emailed to AMI/USA Events Director and should include: A brief bio of the presenter(s) (min 75 words – 100 words max) and a recent photo to be used on our website (png or jpeg file) A brief workshop presentation proposal (750-1000 words) and length of the workshop (generally 90 minutes) Any requirements or accessibility needs from AMI/USA Contact Information (email, phone number) The event will be in-person but may be taped and offered at cost to AMI/USA Members for 1 year. Please let us know if a video of your presentation can be shared at a later date. Submissions will be reviewed and considered on a first come, first served basis, until all time slots are filled. Please keep our commitment to equity and inclusion in mind when developing your proposal.

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U40: Montessori for the Future Summit 2023

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

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Farmworker Awareness Week in the Montessori Environment

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

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#MEx23 Press Release

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

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JEDI Spring Series

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

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

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

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In Memoriam Tribute: Martha Urioste

Dr. Martha Urioste October 2, 1937 – December 8, 2022 Community, With a heavy heart we announce the passing of Dr. Martha Urioste. She transitioned from this world Thursday, December 8, 2022. Dr. Martha was one of the first persons to bring Montessori to the public sector in Colorado. She was among the first Hispanic-American counselors in the Denver Public Schools, established Family Star – a national 0 – 3 Early Head Start Center based on the Montessori research model, and published her book, The Family Star Story in 2016. Her memorial service will be live-streamed December 19th, 2022 at 10:00 am MST the following link. Su servicio conmemorativo estará disponible (en vivo) el 19 de diciembre a las 10 de la mañana MST con este enlace:https://www.warwickproductions.com/memorial-livestream-broadcast/dr-martha-urioste/?fbclid=IwAR0HoKj5RU1Bl5V9vFXMDfpaDD4dbUH_P1cgXnrkFyFqPNHwV7IrY1Cqaco A touching tribute from Denver Public Schools is available and linked below. To read the full tribute, click here. It is also available in Spanish, Arabic, and Vietnamese on the DPS site. Nos entristece profundamente el fallecimiento de nuestra estimada amiga, colega, madrina de la educación Montessori y antigua líder y defensora de la educación bilingüe en las Escuelas Públicas de Denver (DPS, por su sigla en inglés), la Dra. Martha Urioste.  Para leer el homenaje completo en español, haga clic aquí en el sitio de Escuelas Públicas de Denver. También está disponible en inglés, árabe y vietnamita. In lieu of flowers, Urioste’s family is asking people to donate to Family Star, which has a scholarship fund named after Urioste. You may give through the donation link here. En vez de flores, la familia de Urioste está pidiendo a la gente que done a Family Star, que tiene un fondo de becas en honor de Urioste. Pueden donar con este enlace de donaciones.  

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Gratitude for The National Day of Mourning

Gratitude for The National Day of Mourning By: Siobhan Growing Elm Brown, Mashpee Wampanoag As a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, my elders taught me that to be Wampanoag is to live in a state of gratitude. To me, walking in gratitude means acknowledging the gifts of Creator; the natural world, my family and community, our homelands, our language, and our children. This time of year is my favorite in the natural world. The photosynthesis, the vibrant colors, the crisp and cool air, which leads us in the Northeast to warm sweaters and hot apple pie. It can also be a challenging time for Indigenous people, particularly for Eastern Woodlands tribes. While we welcome opportunities to share our culture with the world and to educate others of our history with accuracy often missing from the curriculum, we are also confronted with the calls and inquiries that increase during this time. If you are part of an organization that only calls on Indigenous presenters in November, we invite you to interrogate this practice. Indigenous History is History. Indigenous people are also present in the here and now with a vibrant culture and way of living on this land; all of the Americas are Indigenous lands. The history of this land is often overlooked and this couldn’t be more glaring than by the flurry of activity November brings. Again, while we welcome the opportunity to represent our culture, we also remember the importance of living in gratitude. There was this same flurry of activity in the fall of 1970. Wamsutta Frank James, an Aquinnah Wampanoag tribal member, was invited to speak at a prestigious event in Massachusetts to commemorate the 350th anniversary honoring the arrival of the Mayflower on the shores of Wampanoag Land. Several days prior to the gala, James obliged a request to review the speech and was notified a few days later that he would not be allowed to give it. The message was deemed “inflammatory” and “out of place” at the celebratory event. After refusing to give a speech that was written by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts event organizers, James, joined by hundreds of Native activists including Everett Tall Oak Weeden  (Narragansett) and allies, gathered in Plymouth and observed the first National Day of Mourning.1 Every Thanksgiving day, since 1970, James’ speech has been delivered on Cole Hill in Plymouth. Native Americans gather, first with a spirit of gratitude and honor for the land, the ancestors, and the resilience of our voices despite the attempts to silence them. The day is recognized with ceremony, songs and a march. In addition to James’ speech, other messages are offered that represent the importance of centering Native American voices rather than silencing them in the name of perpetuating a myth. “History wants us to believe that the Indian was a savage, illiterate, uncivilized animal. A history that was written by an organized, disciplined people, to expose us as an unorganized and undisciplined entity. Two distinctly different cultures met. One thought […]

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The 2022 JEDI Series

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Webinars As our 2020 Racial Equity Statement declares, “We acknowledge that building and maintaining an inclusive, racially equitable culture will be never-ending and that ever-lasting transformation requires courage, persistence, unwavering commitment, and individual and collective accountability.  We encourage all members, especially those that identify as an ally, social justice activist, anti-bias/anti-racist educator, social justice healer and/or an artistic and creative storyteller, to lift your voices and together let us all participate in this transformational journey.  “Today an urgent need imposes itself upon society: the reconstruction of methods in education and instruction, and [they] who fight for this cause, fights for human regeneration.”(Montessori, 2014) Indigenizing Montessori Through Personal Reflection and Intentional Preparation At AMI/USA we are intentional about how we hold space for our collective work. We recognize that we are on Indigenous land and give gratitude for the original stewards of the land. November is Native American Heritage Month. It is a celebratory time to acknowledge the unique contributions made by Indigenous Peoples. Yet sadly, cultural erasure is still a reality. This month offers an opportunity to remember the entirety of our nation’s history — including and especially Native American history, the systemic issues still faced today, and the supportive, uplifting action non-Indigenous people can take to right historical wrongs. In defiance of this erasure, it is imperative for educators to educate in a way that highlights and affirms the Indigenous lives, culture and tradition prior to what is now America. It will also serve us well to honor their current and active presence in the struggle to reclaim sacred lands and rightful place in this nation. Join an AMI/USA sponsored virtual discussion to amplify the diverse and rich histories of Indigenous People. Exploring inspiring stories that come from the source of the culture which we now seek to appreciate and acknowledge can be a foundation for truthful teaching. This will require us to continuously be students with open minds, open hearts, and hold the intentions of being a guest in someone else’s territory. Working with Indigenous communities, we can create purposeful and intentionally structured prepared environments. Sinuda Kapalczynski and Sheri Bishop will guide participants through a conversation that centers important topics from Indigenous land acknowledgements to the Montessori prepared environment, and the prepared classroom cultures that amplify genuine Indigenous narratives. Thursday, November 10, 2022 at 7pm EDT: Online Location: Zoom Registration:  AMI/USA is pleased to offer webinars at little to no cost for participants.  In support of Native American Heritage Month, we highly encourage participants to make an online donation upon registration, during or after the event.  A portion of the proceeds will go to support the work of First Nations Development Institute, a non-profit organization whose mission is “to strengthen American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities.” Sinuda Kapalczynski, M.Ed. Sinuda graduated from St. Catherine’s University with a Primary certification and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.  She is an experienced Primary guide, writer, mother, environmental scientist, and the Director […]

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

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

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National Study of Montessori Teacher Dispositions: SOFA

Researchers want to hear from you! A research study designed to learn more about what AMI Certified Montessori Teachers with students ages 3 – 6 years in the United States report regarding scientific observation for assessment as a disposition and as a disposition in action. RESEARCH FLYER_National Study of Montessori Teacher Dispositions Scientific Observation for AssessmentV2  

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Exciting Study – Montessori for Neurodivergent Students

AMI/USA wants to understand the experience of Montessori teachers and administrators with supporting students with developmental disabilities or delays. You are invited to participate in a research study and take a FREE online course on the Use and Implementation of the Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) in Montessori settings.

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Beyond Land Acknowledgements

Indigenous Peoples Day 2022 How do we come to the circle? At AMI/USA we are intentional about how we hold space for our collective work. On this Indigenous Peoples Day, we recognize that we are on Indigenous land and give gratitude for the original stewards of the land. Moving beyond land acknowledgements is a journey of deep listening and reflection. Today we turn to AMI/USA Human Rights and Social Justice Advisor, Sheri Bishop, as she shares her journey with us. This excerpt is from our recent Montessori Regional Conference in the Missouria Nation, home to the Osage and Niutachi tribes, also known as Kansas City, MO. Indigenous People and Land Acknowledgement AMI/USA Regional Conference Kansas City, MO I thank you for the opportunity to guide you to a disposition of reverence as we honor the Indigenous nations and land now known as Missouri. The two original and most powerful tribes to hold the lands, the Osage tribe and the Niutachi tribe that were a part of the Missouria nation and about 7 other tribes, reigned on millions of acres between the time the Europeans arrived and the 1830 Indigenous Relocation Act. Today and there is not one Native reservation in the state. We know that the land was stolen using intentionally misleading and fraudulent treaties and land deals. We should also recognize that racism, actions that were perpetuated by greed, and the intentional destructive laws in five crucial areas destroyed this Native community. Native economies were devastated, Native cultures were dismantled, Native spiritual practices and worship sites were stamped out, children were separated from their parents and sent to residential boarding schools to be acculturated and assimilated, some to never return. Tribal powers of self-government and self-determination were eradicated. I respect the nations of Indigenous People who presently live on this land and in area…the Chickasaw, Delaware, Illini, Kanza, Ioway, Otoe-Missouria, Quapaw, Sac & Fox, and Shawnee tribes that spent time here protecting and nurturing the land, waters, and all of nature for the generations that were destined to follow. I respect the roughly 26,000 Indigenous people (4% of the population) now living in Missouri that continue to honor the earth. Intellectually, I know that Land Acknowledgements are only a basic, first step on the way to addressing the ongoing inequities, systemic injustice and genocide faced by Indigenous people. The only true justice that follows an acknowledgement is Land Back action. As an individual I do not yet know how I can amplify and support Land Back efforts. I will start by routinely donating even a small amount to Indigenous organizations that drive this cause. Today I ask you to do the same. I also know that all over this country, upon the unyielded lands of the Native people are buildings and great wealth built by the hands and resting on the backs of the stolen labor from my people, my African and African American ancestors. The only true justice that can right this reality are fair and equitable reparations. […]

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Orange Shirt Day, Every Child Matters

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

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Our Response to The New Yorker Article

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

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Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 Spotlights

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

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Memorial Day Blessings and 100th Tulsa Remembrance

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

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BMEF 2021 SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS DUE MAY 14

BMEF 2021 SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION PROCESS IS NOW OPEN 2021 SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION PROCESS                                   OVERVIEW  The Black Montessori Education Fund is designed to support your independent growth as a culturally competent Montessori student, educator, and administrator. You may propose any use of this scholarship that is relevant and aligned to the mission of the BMEF (see below for details). Receipt of funds is contingent upon approval of your application by the BMEF staff and advisory board.  GRANT USES  The Black Montessori Education Fund is an opportunity to support your personal and professional goals in Montessori. Previous Awardees have used their grants to:  • Obtain Montessori training    • Recruit families of color to attend Montessori school    • Launch a Montessori program or school  Criteria To be eligible:    ▪ Recipients of funding must be of African descent    ▪ Recipients seeking funding for teacher training or tuition assistance must be in good standing as deemed applicable by their training center/Montessori program   ▪ Recipients of funding must be willing to support and promote the advancement of the BMEF  TIMELINE          April 23, 2021           Funding Round Opens  May 14, 2021             Deadline for Applications  May 28, 2021           Anticipated Date for Funding Decisions  June 7, 2021             Confirmed Grantees Receive Funding For any questions about the Black Montessori Education Fund or the application, feel free to contact Latonya Spivey, Program Coordinator at latonya@blackmontessorieducationfund.org APPLY NOW

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

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

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Black History is Not Optional

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

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AMI/USA Equity Statement

Dear AMI/USA Colleagues, Members, Collaborators and Community Members At-Large, Since the first day of the 2020 AMI/USA Refresher Course in Seattle, many of you have been speaking to issues of equity and have called for organizational analysis and transformation. After months of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training received by AMI/USA leaders and after building our foundational anti-bias/anti-racist knowledge, we embarked on the task of formulating an equity statement for publication in October 2020. There were numerous meetings and after several iterations of the statement, a broad-based group that included representatives from the AMI/USA Montessori Experience, the Executive Director, members of the Board of Directors and organizational staff (view Board and staff here), the Human Rights and Social Justice (HRSJ) Committee (view committee members here), the HRSJ Advisor (Sheri L. Bishop, M.Ed.), and at-large Montessorians was convened. Rachel Feres, moderator of Equity 2020 Group, Cierra Littlejohn and Betsy Romero from Lee Montessori Public Charter School, and Sinuda Kapalczynski from Fulton Montessori School were willing participants. This ad-hoc committee reflected who we are as an organization, AMI/USA leaders, school level leaders, guides, public and independent Montessorians, colleagues working at wealthy schools and those working at schools that charge sliding scale fees. Most importantly, all of us, with our own many diverse identities were able to agree on this one most important value that is now held by AMI/USA… “We value the lives, lived experiences, contributions, and talents of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) with whom we work and serve and strive to establish an organizational ethos that prioritizes humanity.” With this in mind, we as the Executive Director and the Chair of the Board of Directors of Association Montessori International of the United States (AMI/USA) submit this to you, and to all those with whom we collaborate, our living and forever evolving equity statement. Sincerely,        Ayize Sabater, Ed.D.                  Mary Levy AMI/USA Executive Director      Chair, AMI/USA Board of Directors

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AMI/USA Welcomes New Board Members

Dear AMI/USA Community: The AMI/USA Board of Directors would like to announce the selection of Dallas Nelson, Jacqui Miller, and Barbara Williams to serve on the Board of Directors. We had a robust response to our call for nominations and these individuals were selected from a pool of excellent candidates. Dallas, Jacqui and Barbara’s personal strengths, breadth of experience and diverse perspectives strengthen and widen our AMI/USA leadership. Dallas, Jacqui and Barbara are deeply connected to the communities they serve and bring their thoughtful, active and steadfast leadership to AMI/USA at a time great change and transition for our organization. Please read about Dallas, Jacqui and Barbara below and join us in welcoming them to the AMIUSA board of directors.

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

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

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In Memoriam Estela Palmeri

The following was shared by John Page – Good Afternoon, I had an extended conversation with Queta Harlan this afternoon, Estela Palmeri’s sister, who informed me that Estela passed away on November 5. I was a former student of Estela’s in Los Angeles for the school year 1971-1972. At that time she was unmarried with the last name Colmenero. Years later, after Estela closed the center in Los Angeles, she wanted to start up Montessori training again, using a summers format, and she requested to do so at our school, Meher Montessori school in Monterey Park. So Estela used our school to house her training center for a number of years. It was our dear pleasure to have such a wonderful dedicated Montessorian use our facility to train so many people who traveled from all over the world to train with her. Estela was also a consultant for AMI and worked closely with many schools from all over the world. I cherish my memories of her, her intelligence, warmth and 100% dedication to the Child! Thank you, John Page Click here for more detail about Estela’s life and work. Also see below from Brenda Striegel-Fox November 12, 2020 Estela was appointed to the Sponsoring Committee by Mario Montessori in 1977 and served until her retirement in 1997. From 1979, I worked as secretary to that committee and came to know Estela both as a colleague and a friend. Her deep-seated interest in the Montessori Method and her commitment to the work of the Sponsoring Committee in the running of the Training of Trainers Programme were valued and respected. It was my privilege to have known and worked with Estela. Please accept my deepest sympathy. May she rest in peace. Brenda Striegel-Fox

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