The Montessori Event Series: The Virtual Experience
The Montessori Event Series gives you an inside look on the world's largest Montessori conference. Hear from Montessori educators who attend The Event and secure your registration today.
One of the keys of Montessori is meeting learners where they’re at. The Montessori Event does exactly that by offering the virtual attendance option. For any reason such as saving money on travel, maintaining comfort levels amid the ongoing pandemic, tending to home life while still participating, or simply learning better while comfortable at home, attending The Montessori Event online is an excellent option.
Meet two Montessori educators who share their excitement, advice, and perspectives on virtual attendance.
“To me, Montessori is much more than pedagogy or educational philosophy. It's a way of life. I've always felt that I was a Montessorian, even before I knew what Montessori was. I'm always trying to learn new things and become a better person while seeking out my own cosmic purpose.”
—Dan Kalleres, MEd
Elementary I Team Leader
The Lillian and Betty Ratner Montessori School in Pepper Pike, OH
After attending virtually last year amid the ongoing pandemic, Dan chose to attend virtually this year as well. Partly because he is the primary caretaker of his home and partly because the conference isn’t limited to only one weekend while online, which is the beauty and versatility of virtual attendance.
Dan advises attendees to, “plan out the sessions you want to attend ahead of time, but know that you'll still have 30 days to view sessions you missed, or ones that might overlap with others that interest you. It isn't just limited to the conference weekend!”
It’s important to recognize that virtual attendees shouldn’t feel left out of the experience as a whole because The Montessori Event has so much to offer. Dan explains that “it’s hard to limit myself,” when selecting the sessions that he will attend in just a few short weeks.
Mirroring many schools across the country Dan reflects on selecting his sessions, “I'm looking at the Elementary offerings, since I'm a 6 – 9 guide. My school also has many students with different learning needs, so anything in that realm is appealing to me. I'm also actively working on being anti-biased and anti-racist.” His biggest takeaway from last year’s virtual event was the ABAR teachings.
“I joined the LGBTQIA+ and White Anti-Racist AMS Affinity and Discussion Groups as a result and took the AMS ABAR certification course this past fall (which I highly recommend!). . . . I'm also working to help bring ABAR training to our school staff and am always looking for more resources.”
By attending online and therefore having access to the sessions for a month after The Event ends, virtual attendees need not limit themselves to their designated levels or subject areas. The virtual Montessori Event option is wonderful for those like Dan, who deeply want to improve themselves, their craft, their communities, and their classrooms while still caring for those in their households.
“I believe the Montessori philosophy is a lived philosophy. There are so many facets of Montessori philosophy that are revealed in the company of others, whether it is in discussions, presentations, or finding the connections with what the keynote speakers present. Being among those who also are steeped in Montessori philosophy gives us clarity and solidarity in what we believe in. I know that virtual participation in The Event will give me the same rejuvenation.”
—Meher Van Groenou, MA, MSW
Founder and Director, Montessori School at Five Canyons in Castro Valley, CA
Founder and Director, Montessori Institute of Advanced Studies Teacher Credentialing Program
Reflecting on the changes to The Montessori Event due to the ongoing pandemic, Meher explains that the magic is still there. The “internet has opened up so many possibilities… it gives me the flexibility to join The Montessori Event without having to travel during these pandemic uncertainties. This way I will be able to hear the keynote speakers that I admire so much, attend the sessions I like, and meet my friends.” Though separated by location, Meher celebrates that virtual attendance has not taken away her opportunity to connect with her friends and the Montessori community at large.
Having attended virtually before, Meher passes on her plan for those attending online this year too:
- Make Careful Selections “I choose my sessions carefully, making sure it does not conflict with other things I want to do in the day.”
- Connect with Montessorians “I’ll send a message to my colleagues to meet on Zoom… so we can discuss what we take away from (a session we are impressed with).”
- Build Relationships “We may also do a social gathering with our friends to share what’s happening in our lives, (to share) what is new personally and professionally.”
Just because someone does not attend The Montessori Event in person, does not mean they have to feel isolated online. Virtual attendees will have the ability to connect with exhibitors and to network with other attendees via messenger and chat boards. The space for connecting with colleagues, sharing ideas, and reflecting on poignant speakers still exists virtually, from your home, and for 30 days after The Montessori Event ends.
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About the Author
Kat St.Pierre (she/her) is a former 8th grade English teacher turned freelance content/copywriter. Passionate about being kind to others, the planet, and herself, she loves using her voice to amplify important conversations and educate with empathy. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.katstpierre.com.