Season of Gratitude: I Am Thankful for AMS
It’s hard to believe another holiday season is upon us. As the weather begins changing in my part of the world and storefronts and homes begin to fill up with holiday decorations and music, I am pausing to reflect.
Like many, one thing that I am always grateful for is family, both my biological relatives and the family I have found in the Montessori community. Community—another word that carries significant weight for me.
Long before stepping into the role of executive director for the American Montessori Society, I considered AMS and the larger Montessori movement to be my community. Each year, as I attended The Montessori Event as an educator, and later, as a board member and then board president, I was amazed at the passion and dedication of the educators I was engaging with every day.
Each year, I left The Montessori Event inspired and eager for the next conference. I wanted to hold onto that tangible sense of community I felt walking the hotel halls between keynote speakers and workshop presentations. It was always a little bittersweet knowing I wouldn’t be in the company of my AMS family again for another 12 months.
It was with this feeling in mind, that we at AMSHQ began to brainstorm what would become the Traveling Symposium. The Traveling Symposium officially launched earlier this fall. Held in Houston, TX, and Tacoma, WA, so far, this one day event has featured a series of workshops and spotlights focused on current practice and on Maria Montessori’s timeless philosophy. The final regional event of the year will be held December 3 in Cincinnati, OH.
While this symposium does give participants 7 hours of CPD and new resources and insights specific to all program levels, one of the greatest benefits comes in the connections attendees make with other Montessori educators in the surrounding areas.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank and acknowledge the individuals who made these events such a success. Thank you to the members of the AMS Board of Directors, Regional Action Commission Workgroup, and to Marie Conti, the new AMS director of regional community relations. I invite you to learn more about this unique group and be in touch should you be interested in joining them. And, thank you to the local hosts and organizers as well as the other AMS staff members who made these events possible. We couldn’t do it without your support.
It can, at times, feel like we are doing our work in isolation. As the executive director of a fully remote organization, I understand the unique challenges of fostering a connected workspace across time zones. The importance of events such as the Traveling Symposium truly cannot be overstated. I know I speak for the entire staff at AMSHQ when I say we are so grateful for the opportunity to connect with YOU, our members, on a local level.
For many, the start of the holidays and the end of the calendar year brings tight schedules and looming deadlines. While it can be easy to give into the overwhelm, I invite you to approach this season with a sense of ease and abundance, to lean on your Montessori community, and to revel in simple moments of profound gratitude.
I look forward to partnering with you throughout this final month of 2022 and I look forward to seeing all we create in the new year together.
About the Author
Munir Shivji, MEd, is the executive director at the American Montessori Society. Previously, he was the founding head of two Montessori schools in Texas and founding director of Cambridge Montessori Institute. He is also a former director at the Cambridge Montessori School and former Montessori Early Childhood teacher. Previously, Munir served on the AMS Board of Directors for 7 years. AMS credentialed (Early Childhood, Administrator).