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!