The American Montessori Society is proud to celebrate Alice Renton as the organization's 2017 Living Legacy. A highly esteemed member of the Montessori community in both the United States and Latin America, Alice is also an internationally recognized consultant and specialist in language development and second-language acquisition.
Currently Alice is a guest lecturer, field consultant, and board member of the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, CO, where, since 1978 she has served in various capacities, including as instructor in Language, Philosophy and Sensorial, and academic director.
She is also the founder and sole proprietor of In Other Words, a company that develops Spanish language curriculum and resources for Montessori Early Childhood classrooms.
Born and raised in Mexico City, it was there that, after settling into life as a young married woman and new mother, Alice read E.M. Standing's Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work—and was transfixed. Says Alice: “I immediately phoned Don [her husband] and said, ‘This is the kind of school we want for our children! Let's find out if there are any in Mexico; if not we'll have to start one!’”
Several months later, the couple traveled to Chihuahua, in northern Mexico, to the only Montessori school in the country, where they saw their first prepared environment. They were enthralled. Don was offered a job if he got training, so off they went to Van Nuys, CA, where he enrolled in an AMS training course; subsequently, Alice pursued her own training at Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Chicago, IL. She did her internship at a school started by parents in Monterrey, Mexico.
Says Alice: “Our 2 older children were in our class—our dream fulfilled!”
Her professional Montessori career launched in 1965, when she started teaching at Escuela Montessori de la Ciudad de México, in Mexico City; 7 years later she and her husband cofounded the Casa de los Niños, also in Mexico City.
In 1977, Alice and her family moved to Colorado, where she became a specialist in bilingual/multi-cultural approaches to Montessori education, participating in and consulting with a variety of cross-cultural programs and initiatives, including Head Start, migrant education in California, and dual-language Montessori.
Alice has worked as a Montessori instructor, field consultant, and guest lecturer in the U.S. and South and Central America, where she developed a reputation as a specialist in the areas of Sensorial education, Cosmic education, and Montessori philosophy. She has served as lecturer in Early Childhood education at Boulder's Naropa University and at various Montessori training centers.
An avid writer, Alice has been published in Montessori Life, the NAMTA Journal, and Public School Montessorian (among others) and translated Montessori books by Aline Wolf, AMS 2006 Living Legacy, and Celma Perry, AMS 2005 Living Legacy, into Spanish. She has presented at numerous conferences, including AMS's and NAEYC's.
The American Montessori Society has benefitted from her many contributions, including as an on-site team member for teacher education programs seeking AMS affiliation, and bilingual coordinator of Comité Hispano Montessori (originally an AMS committee for supporting Montessori education in Latin America, now an independent organization known as Comunidad Interamericana Montessori).
Alice holds Montessori Early Childhood teaching credentials from both AMS and the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).
She has 3 children and 6 grandchildren—all of whom, she is happy to say, are Montessori-educated.
Alice is much loved, honored, and respected. She has inspired hundreds of adult learners with a greater appreciation of Montessori's ideas about Cosmic education and education for peace, and she has informed and promoted multicultural consciousness throughout the Montessori community.