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AMS 2017 Living Legacy: Alice Renton

Alice RentonThe 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.

Add your tribute

The spirit of Montessori is echoed in your message.Although you have been an inspiration to me, for most of my career, it was in Rome,Italy that you awakened in me that spirit. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have spent amazing moments in time with you. Congratulations,Alice.

Victoria deLilla, colleague

05 /24 /2017 - Lake Worth,Florida,USA

Congratulations, Alice! I can't think of a more deserving Living Legacy. Your presentations on teaching a second language and Cosmic Education have been a valuable part of my teaching toolkit for many years. I also remember with gratitude your mentoring and mediation as I guided a young staff member through her internship. i am grateful to have your influence on my life's work, and to know you have been influential to so many other teachers.I am sorry that I am not able to be there when you receive your honors. Muchas Gracias!

Kay Lawson, student, friend

03 /07 /2017 - Estes Park, CO, USA

Alice, you are on my shortlist of heroines. Thank you for inspiring me early in my life, both as a mother and as a novice Montessori teacher. I learned volumes from you, most importantly how to observe and follow the child, but also how to find my own potential. My deepest gratitude for igniting the spark that shined a light on my Life's Purpose. With great affection to my esteemed colleague and mentor. Paz y cariño~ Debra Lucero Kraft

Debra Lucero Kraft, Alice was my instructor for Philosophy, Sensorial, and Cosmic Education in 1987.

03 /06 /2017 - Wheat Ridge

Alice, what an honor for you to receive the Living Legacy Award,one you so deserve and have earned. I am so excited that i will be attending the conference and to share with so many students of yours your beautiful night. Hopefully we can connect in San Diego. You have influenced and guided me throughout my journey of teaching and being involved in the Montessori community. I feel blessed to know you and to have you as my professor. Thank you for being you and sharing your life with all of us. Many hugs, Lorraine Carter

Lorraine Carter, She was my supervisor at MECR and also my instructor for Infant toddler philosophy and also cosmic education

02 /16 /2017 - Denver, Colorado

You have helped generations of children and Montessorians with your modeling, observations, discoveries and your work. You are an inspiration to all and always kind, caring and thoughtful. Thank you for being a part of our Montessori society and touching so many lives.

Amy Henderson, Colleague

02 /14 /2017 - Fort Worth, Texas

Congratulations!! It is a great pleasure reading about your Legacy Award you deserve it.


02 /14 /2017 - MIAMI

Dear Alice, I have often wished that I could listen to your philosophy lectures again. You were my instructor at MECR over 20 years ago and you made a profound impact on me. Thank you for that. Congratulations!

Jackie Grannis-Phoenix, Student

02 /13 /2017 - Camden, ME

Congratulations, Alice! This is very well deserved! Of the many innovative things I learned from you, my favorite is still doing Sensorial with things like ten shells for seriation, etc. Best wishes, see you in San Diego, John

John Chattin-McNichols

02 /13 /2017 - Seattle

Dear Alice, You were a profound inspiration to me in my training. I still re-read my theory essays and use them in presentations. This is such a deserved honor and I send you my gratitude and love.

Meghan Kane Skotheim, student

01 /25 /2017 - Bainbridge Island

Alice, Congratulations on this well deserved honor! You have been my mentor, teacher, colleague and friend for many years. You have inspired and educated me to be my best as a montessorian. Thank you!!

JANET ENGEL, colleague

09 /14 /2016 - COALDALE, COLORADO

Alice, Congratulations!! I was so pleased to read about your "Living Legacy Award" For all your hard work and wonderful success - you certainly deserve the honor!! You gave wonderful presentations to our parents and I have learned a great deal from your workshops at MECR!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Jean Chorbajian, friend

09 /10 /2016 - Lafayette, CO 80026

Que hermosa historia! Gracias por ser parte de la union de multiculturas del Método montessori. Estpy empezando una escuelita en EU, que enseña español a los niños. Estoy muy emocionada y me alegra haber leído su historia.

Kiani Torres

09 /04 /2016 - Navarre

I will always treasure your inspiring words. I learned so much about philosophy, pedagogy and the inner lives of Toddlers from you. Fondly, Dana McCabe

Dana McCabe, student

09 /02 /2016 - Albuquerque NM USA

I will always treasure your inspiring words. I learned so much about philosophy, pedagogy and the inner lives of Toddlers from you. Fondly, Dana McCabe

Dana McCabe, student

09 /02 /2016 - Albuquerque NM USA

Alice, you were my philosophy and cosmic education instructor when I took my training in 1982-83. You really impacted me on a spiritual level.You spoke right from your heart to ours. I have kept your words and ideas in my heart for my entire Montessori career.

Leigh Lasik, I met Alice when I took my training many years ago. She was my philosophy and cosmic education intstructor.

08 /31 /2016 - Littleton Colorado

Ms. Renton, I was blessed to have you as my Philosophy trainer at MECR in 1992. One day as you were teaching I saw around you a beautiful white aura. The experience has stayed with me always and represented your love of children, Montessori education and my connection to this beautiful philosophy. I am a better teacher and person due to my relationship with you.

Denise (Betzag) Glenn, Trainer/Student

08 /26 /2016 - Littleton Colorado

Hi Alice, You were my field consultant at MECR during 2004/2005. I also took your spanish workshop. Thank you for touching my life. I have been a Montessori directress now for 10 plus years. You are an inspiration to so many. I am honored to have learned from you

Angelica Evans, Student

08 /20 /2016 - Austin tx usa

Alice, I have not met you, but read your very impressive Living Legacy. You are an inspiration to all of us, you have experienced some outstanding achievements, you can be very proud of. CONGRATULATION!

Britta Mackel, no relationship, just someone who is impressed

08 /03 /2016 - Mississauga,Ontario/Canada

To Alice Renton Im so glad of your nomination as Montessori Legacy, proud to be one of your former Language students at Meca-Seton training center. Appreciated your help in bilingual Spanish curriculum and still remember our talks when you visited Chile yrs ago. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Nora Ana Ramirez, Language Teacher Meca-Seton,Ill. / Friend

07 /29 /2016 - Puerto Rico , USA

This is great news! Congratulations and well deserved.

Debbie Diesing , Former student At Mecr

07 /26 /2016 - Warrenville,Il USA

Alice, Your work has inspired me and my Montessori circle for years; respected and esteemed are certainly the words to describe how we hold you in our thoughts and heart.

Marge Ellison, fellow Montessorian and admirer

07 /25 /2016 - Houston, TX

Well deserved honor Alice! Thanks for all your years of work, dedication and inspiration!

Erwin Turner, She was my field supervisor

07 /19 /2016 - Boulder, Colorado US

Congratulations on all your wonderful contributions to the Montessori community . You should also be proud of the far-reaching positive effects beyond Montessori that you have generated.

Jane Stiles, admirer

07 /17 /2016 - Toledo/Ohio/USA

Congratulations Alice! I am so fortunate to have had you as an instructor at RMMTP (currently MECR), in Cosmic Education, Sensorial. You strongly influenced my year long project in Education for Peace. This honor is well-deserved.

Kim Dion, Alice was an instructor/mentor at RMMTTP (now MECR) when I obtained my EC credential

07 /16 /2016 - Boulder, CO US

Congratulations Alice, Sincere thanks for the influence you have had on my Montessori journey. Your presentation on the Tendencies of Humans made a lasting impression on me in training at CMTE/NC. Thank you for your lifelong dedication to Montessori Philosophy.

Jo-Anne Long, Student

07 /16 /2016 - Charlotte,N.C.

Felicidades!! Que gusto recibir esta linda noticia! Te mereces este premio! Con todo cariño te felicito! Loreto Wille

Loreto Wille, Friend

07 /15 /2016 - Chicago , Il

Que alegria, Alice, el ver tu nombre en esta noticia de LIVING LEGACY ... con grande admiracion, agradecimiento y deseandote sigas adelante en tu mision por el mundo por el bien de los ni;os y sus padres. Desde el otro lado del mundo con gran cariño: FELICIDADES Y UN FUERTE ABRAZO, CARO


07 /15 /2016 - MOSCU, RUSIA

I'm so glad to see Alice as the 2017 Living Legacy. I'm grateful to have her as part of my Montessori story!

Jennifer West, Student, MECR Colleague and Roommate

07 /14 /2016 - Colorado

Dear Alice, I'm thrilled to learn that you are being honored. I don't think you would remember me as you have taught so many Montessori interns. I was Meca 8 student in 1978/79 with Celma Perry Pinaho and I clearly remember that you taught Sensorial. I still remember coming home and telling my husband about you and told him that our sensorial instructor looked like a doll. You had such perfect movements during the presentations. Thanks for teaching me how to present materials with accuracy. I am not sure if I will be able to attend the conference. Best of luck and you deserve to be recognized. Lalita Trehan

Lalita Trehan , Trainer and intern

07 /14 /2016 - Sugar land, Texas USA

Alice Renton is bilingual in Spanish and English, and within her she has the heart of her Spanish mother and the intellectual acumen of her English/Irish father. Alice is deeply respectful of the poor and the humble, generous in her giving of her time and energy to the causes dear to her, and relentless in her pursuit of excellence in herself and everything in which she becomes involved. While the Living Legacy may imagine it is honoring Alice, she is honoring the Living Legacy by joining their roster! Alice Renton worked for MTEC-San Francisco Bay Area for a number of years in the rain and cold the our migrant camp training Hispanic woman during the winter months. She exhibited respect, generosity, excellence, and a Spanish heart and an English/Irish mind. Kudos!!

Pamela Zell Rigg, Employeer and Friend

07 /14 /2016 - San Leandro, CA USA

Congratulations Alice! I appreciate your years of work in and for bicultural / bilingual Montessori programs.

Natalie Danner

07 /14 /2016 - Independence, OR

Dear Alice, I want to thank you for the wonderful Spanish materials that you lovingly made for the Montessori community. I have watched so many children benefit from their use and I am thankful for your creative work! Congratulations! Teri Canaday Montessori Center of Jackson

Teri Canaday

07 /14 /2016 - Jackson


Luis villacreces

07 /14 /2016 - Ca

Congratulations on this recognition, Alice! We still reflect fondly on our training with you at Telluride Mountain School and are so proud to acknowledge you for this distinction!

Karen Walker, Received training

07 /14 /2016 - Telluride, CO

Felicitaciones, Alice! It's been a joy getting to know you through my work at AMS--thanks for all the support you've given us with the Montessori Life articles and more--and I look forward to getting to meet you in person in San Diego.

Marcy Krever

07 /13 /2016 - New York, NY

Congratulations, Alice! Your career is such an inspiration to all educators.


07 /13 /2016 - New York

How blessed I feel to have heard your philosophy talks during my EC and Infant Toddler Training. You are a gifted speaker who made me think deep and forward about the possibilities encapsulated within the child and humankind. You also gave me hope and inspiration in an opening talk for Angelina Lillard. You shared how far Montessori has come in the US from the beginning. When classes were in churches and Directresses had to scramble for materials. Now Montessori is established in the public and charter landscape. Schools are everywhere and materials are easy to find through the web all over the world. If this much has been achieved in a lifetime what impact will a few generations of Montessori growth be like? I also treasure the story of a migrant farm worker child who inspired their family to eat on boxes with a newspaper tablecloth after being exposed to grace and courtesy in a Montessori class for migrant farm children. Thank you Alice for your brilliance and inspiration.

Mercedes Dugan, Student of Alice, Philosophy and Spanish

07 /06 /2016 - Boulder

Congratulations Alice! Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to the Montessori movement, we are all extremely grateful.

Whitney Falcon

06 /10 /2016 - Austin, TX

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