The Montessori Event Series: Meet Two Presenters

The Montessori Event Attend Virtually

The Event exists because of Montessorians who share their detailed, creative, and thorough work. From honoring the full child to honoring childrens’ connection with nature, these Montessori Event presentations could benefit any educator. In this Montessori Event series, meet presenters, Donna and Jill.

Meet Donna

Donna D'Hoostelaere

—Donna D'Hoostelaere
Head of School
Aldea Montessori in Phoenix, AZ


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.

Donna’s presentation titled, “Children Who Are Not Yet Peaceful: A New Approach” is on The Nurtured Heart Approach, which she’s been using in the classroom for 7 years. Explaining her methods, Donna says, “We focus on what the children are doing well and correctly, rather than dwelling on what is going wrong. And we honor the gifts in each child and give them the language to express their gifts.”

The Nurtured Heart Approach has changed Aldea Montessori, as she explains that adults no longer see children’s behaviors as “difficult.” Instead of focusing on challenging behaviors, adults meet each child with compassion and understanding as adults focus on the students’ greatness. She “hopes that anyone who attends this session leaves with a new perspective on how to approach EVERY child.”

Though Donna has attended 20+ AMI conferences, this is her first time attending The Montessori Event. Reflecting on what she wants to gain from The Event, Donna says, “As an administrator of a school, I'm hoping to gain from other administrators. Most of the sessions I'm attending have to do with parent and staff relationships.”

Meet Jill

Jill Nowacek

—Jill Nowacek
Montessori Toddler Teacher
Barrie School in Silver Spring, MD

Jill’s presentation is titled “Nature As Your Classroom,” and her “hope is that teachers return to their classrooms with a new perspective of nature and learn how to use nature as a tool for their class instead of just free play.” Deeply understanding that nature is an essential part of physical and mental wellbeing she explains, “I want to show how nature helps calm children and teaches them body awareness. Nature means giving children a foundation that is not manipulated by other people. Nature is constantly changing and growing. In experiencing nature and the world, toddlers learn who they are and how they fit into this big world.”

Looking forward to the in-person connection that The Event offers, Jill explains, “Going to the Montessori conference each year is the highlight of my year. I get excited to learn new ideas to bring back to my classroom of toddlers. The week after the conference, my classroom is full of all the new ideas and I have this boost of energy in the classroom that lasts throughout the year. The energy that comes from just being around so many educators that share the same passion for Montessori philosophy is exciting.”

For those who have attended The Event in the past, you’ll know that it brings educators and communities closer together. For those who are new to The Event, your Montessori community will surely and warmly welcome you.

If you’re attending The Event and are still on the fence about which presentations to add to your list, “Children Who Are Not Yet Peaceful: A New Approach” and “Nature As Your Classroom” would benefit any educator.

About the Author

Kat St. Pierre Montessori Life Blog 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 or

Interested in writing a guest post for our blog? Let us know!

Results for:

More from Montessori Life