Workshops & Schedule
Professional Development Hours Awarded:
All breakout sessions are pending approval by American Montessori Society, Kentucky’s Division of Child Care, and Ohio approval. **Be sure to ask your administrator about what professional development forms you will need from the conference.
Keynote: Mastering Classroom Social and Emotional Dynamics to Promote Learning: A Mindfulness Based Approach – Patricia Jennings
Children learn many lessons about life by observing us. The best way we can teach them is to observe ourselves. There’s no better way to develop self-awareness then to practice mindfulness. Research is showing that mindful awareness practices can help by intentionally developing moment-to moment, non-judgmental, open-hearted awareness to stressful and emotionally challenging situations. This includes cultivating emotional awareness, listening to our children with full attention, self-regulation, compassion and nonjudgmental acceptance for the children under our care and ourselves.
Session B Workshops
B1. Montessori Teacher Development: Nurturing the Seeds of Transformation – Crystal Dahlmeier & Sharon Trumpy (All)
Transformative growth requires more than casual reflection and observation. It demands a willingness to question, reexamine, and push towards deeper connection with the self, with others, and with Montessori philosophy. Through in-depth and ongoing examination, we can identify patterns of behavior that may be inconsistent with either our beliefs or Montessori philosophy. In this workshop, we will explore practices that nurture growth and specific strategies that can be implemented to support and encourage lifelong growth and learning.
B2. Field Sketching for Everyone – Barb Scholtz & Brandt Smith (9-12, 12-15, & 15-18)
Field sketching of nature, art, artifacts, people sustains engagement with a subject and is key to Montessori’s ideas about concentration and the polarization of attention. Come learn how and why field sketching is so useful and practice simple sketching techniques that can empower even avowed non-artists to draw confidently. Come prepared to practice with provided materials!
B3. Exploration Before Expectation: Freedom as the First Period in the Montessori Toddler Environment – Rebecca Thompson-Stewart (0-3)
In this dialogic session, Rebecca Thompson-Stewart will lead an evaluation of the philosophical and developmental rationale for exploration as the initial means of didactic experience, as well as offering pedagogical methods for supporting exploration and discovery. Procedures for moving the child beyond exploratory behaviors will be considered. Strategies to model, guide, and assist while enabling the child to make connections across domains will be compared.
B4. Kindergarten Enrichment: Keeping Kindergartners Engaged – Beth Tracy-Kaliski (3-6)
This presentation will focus on enrichment activities teachers can do both in the classroom on a day to day basis as well as group activities that can be done with kindergarten aged children. These enrichment activities will be presented by curriculum area in order to help organize and facilitate implementation in the classroom. This presentation will also help provide activities that will help those children who have entered the second plane of development, yet still in the 3-6 environment, continue to grow and have activities available to them to meet their needs.
B5. Montessori For All Learners: Principles and Strategies for Working with Students with Special Needs – Christine Lowry (0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, Admin., & Parents)
This workshop will focus on understanding needs of students with Sensory Processing and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Participants will enrich their understanding and gain valuable tools and techniques for supporting these students. A brief overview and look at research will inform our framework for understanding an individual student and using observation, plan for specific needs for interventions that provide supports to increase attention, self-regulation, and learning that are manageable and doable in the Montessori classroom.
B6. Back to Basics: Limiting Materials in the Elementary Classroom – Jessica Simpson (6-9 & 9-12)
Limiting materials has advantages that go beyond a neat, clutter-free classroom. In this workshop, elementary guides will learn about the physical, psychological, and educational benefits of fewer classroom materials for themselves and their students. Strategies for incorporating subjects not covered by the Montessori materials will also be discussed.
B7. The 4 D’s – Daydreamers, Drafters, Drifters and Doers: How to get them independently engaged in the Montessori Classroom – Rosemary Quaranta (3-6, 6-9, & 9-12)
We all have children in our classrooms who are not engaged, wander the room, daydream, tag along with other children without every stepping out and leading and quickly go through the materials to check it off the list. How can the teacher help the students gain skills, complete their work successfully, with a deep understanding? Come learn how a teacher can better inspire Drafters, Drifters, Daydreamers and Doers.
B8. Mindfulness Practices for your Classroom: : Improving Focus, Behavior, and Learning Through Mindfulness – Dr. Suzie White & Dr. Patricia White (6-9, 9-12, 12-15, & 15-18)
Mindfulness is a powerful tool to impact the mindset of both teachers and students. In this session, participants will experience different mindfulness activities. Participants will receive handouts and resources to bring into their classrooms immediately. This session explores the ways mindfulness changes the brain, and mindsets. Participants will leave with clear ways to introduce mindfulness into their own lives, and into their classrooms.
Session C Workshops
C1. Mindfulness and the Emotional Art of Teaching and Learning: Enhancing the Prepared Environment – Patricia Jennings (All)
At its core, teaching is an emotional practice. The social and emotional dynamics of the classroom play a key role in promoting student learning and fostering prosocial behavior. Drawing upon basic and applied research in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and education, this workshop will provide valuable information about how mindfulness-based approaches can help teachers manage the stressful demands of the classroom, cultivate an exceptional learning environment, and revitalize teaching and learning. Participants will learn some simple mindful awareness practices for managing stress and promoting wellbeing.
C2. The Power of the Prepared Environment – Elizabeth Bronsil (3-6, Admin., & Parents)
The carefully prepared environment is the foundation of the Montessori Philosophy. It is the stage for promoting independence, concentration, order, and trust in the child to make appropriate choices. In this workshop, we will discuss how the environment is a clear message to children that you respect the true nature of the child and how the prepared environment includes the preparation of the adults as observers.
C3. To Climb, To Dig, To Collect, To Categorize: Turn Your Field Trip Into A Montessori Field Experience – Jack Jose & Krista Taylor (6-9, 9-12, 12-15, & 15-18)
Montessori’s vision of dynamic field experiences will be explored through this engaging and interactive presentation. A fundamental component to Montessori education is the connection of classroom learning to application in the real world. For many adults, field trips are often the most memorable component of their school experiences, and yet these can prove to be the bane of a teacher’s existence. Jack and Krista will explore the why, what, and how of successfully taking students out of the classroom. Structures, examples and materials will be provided to allow participants to transform traditional field trips into powerful field experiences.
C4. Anything’s Possible: Songs for a Montessori Environment – David Kisor (3-6, 6-9, Admin., & Parents)
Participants will learn how music, lyrics and movement can be used to nurture Concentration, Independence, Community and Self Regulation in the Montessori environment. Participants will become familiar with appropriate key research findings, listen and move to the songs based on Montessori principles and child development research, and explore ways to use the songs in the classroom and the home.
C5. Current Montessori Research – Laura Saylor & Vanessa Rigaud (All)
Montessori research is accelerating and generating ever more insight into many aspects of Montessori theory and practice. Join Laura Saylor, a member of the AMS Research Committee and Vanessa Rigaud of Xavier University to learn more about the latest developments.
C6. Measuring What Matters: Meaningful Assessment for Montessori Environments – Jacqueline Cossentino (3-6, 6-9, & Admin.)
Assessment is an increasing concern of all educators. Montessori schools face special challenges related to the demand to measure results that, often, do not match the goals and outcomes of Montessori learning environments. We will do a deep dive into capturing the impact of an education that emphasizes self-regulation, cognitive flexibility, initiation, collaboration, and risk-taking, and how to measure these abilities by tracking outcomes related to Executive Functions, Social & Emotional Development, literacy, and numeracy.
C7. Teaching and Parenting the 21st Century Child – Beth Bayfield (0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, Admin., & Parents)
Are the needs of the 21st century child different than those of the children who Dr. Montessori served in the first Casa dei Bambini? This interactive workshop will highlight the needs of children today and how we can partner together and find balance. Participants will leave with an action plan to get back to basics and focus on the child. We can be world changers in our homes, in our classrooms, and in our communities.
C8. Going Beyond the Level of Mere Understanding – Peter & Rosann Larrow (3-6 & 6-9)
Are you looking for ways to help your students develop to their fullest potential, for ways to help your students go beyond merely replicating the lessons you present, or ways to challenge your students to use their creativity to develops their own variations and make discoveries. Then this discussion is for you as an Early Childhood or lower elementary directress. Come discover the 4th Period of the 3-Period lesson.