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Montessori Leaders Symposium Breakout Sessions

Join our presenters for a weekend of inspiring discussions and idea-sharing.

Leading with Montessori Tenets

As your local Montessori community grows it can be difficult to stay focused on Dr. Montessori’s core tenets. The day-to-day work of leadership, governance, instruction, and administration has a way of taking center stage. In this workshop, you will learn how to use Montessori fundamentals as a “North Star,” informing your decision-making and response to hot topics, such as school safety and inclusion. You’ll also learn how Montessori tenets are a starting point for generative conversations that aid in the transformation of the teacher, engaging parents, and serving the child. The foundation for this workshop will be “The Fundamental Tenets of Montessori Education,” a defined set of essential elements published by the AMS Teacher Education Action Commission (TEAC). These tenets will spark reflection and analysis of both teacher education and classroom practices. You’ll come away with a clear understanding of the tenets, and how to leverage them for success—whether you are a school leader or a teacher educator.

About the Presenter

Mary Schneider is a Montessori leader with over 35 years of experience. She recently retired as from Woodinville Montessori, in Washington state, where she was the founding head of school, after overseeing its growth from 4 to 400 students, ages 18 months – 18 years. She taught in the classroom for 20 years before moving to full time administrative work. Mary is also a teacher educator and the executive director of the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest. Mary served as a member of the AMS Teacher Education Action Commission, chair of the AMS Teacher Educators Section, and on the boards of both AMS and the Northwest Association of Independent Schools. Mary is AMS-credentialed in Elementary I and holds an Early Childhood credential from Seattle University Montessori Teacher Education Program.

We Are Torch Bearers! Living a Life that Belongs to the Community

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations.” —George Bernard Shaw

The ultimate outcome of a mature Montessori community is to change the world for the better. But how do we get there? In this session you will explore your work as Montessori leaders in nurturing this calling not only in yourself, but in each member of your community—from children, to parents, to faculty and staff, to instructors, to our greater human family. We’ll center on a towering truth: As Montessori educators, we know that the world is our stakeholder, and it needs our talent and industry. Together with your fellow leaders, you will reflect on healthy school culture, balancing academic and human development expectations, the shifting employment ethos, and the ways you can help kindle and protect the "splendid torch" of each member of your school and/or teacher education program community. You’ll come away inspired to tackle the immense and essential task of your daily work.

About the Presenter

Jennifer Nolan is the head of school at Seton Montessori in Clarendon Hills, IL. She is an experienced Montessori educator, teacher educator, and educational leader specializing in organizational communication, staff development, parent education, practical life curricula, and leadership. She explores these topics with adult learners as a faculty lecturer and administrator program coordinator for the Seton Montessori Institute. Jennifer is a frequent presenter at Montessori conferences around the world. Jennifer holds AMS Administrator and Early Childhood credentials.

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