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“Life. Liberty. Montessori!” CMS attends the Annual AMS Conference
“The new education has as its primary aim the discovery and freeing of the child," Dr. Maria Montessori wrote. Ten Cambridge Montessori School faculty and administrators attended the annual American Montessori Society (AMS) Conference “Life. Liberty. Montessori!” last week in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and a birthplace of American independence. We celebrated the respect for discovery and freedom that drives Montessori education. Just as the American founders used a revolutionary idea to form a new nation, Montessori educators around the world are bringing the Montessori philosophy to the world of education.
Dr. Ingrid Tucker lead a panel discussion for new heads of Montessori schools titled, “The First Year of Montessori Headship,” with other heads of schools from across the country. “The conference was a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues and also see members of my team get excited and rejuvenated. CMS faculty and staff have such a passion for what they do,” she said.
CMS’s Upper Elementary teacher, Laini Szostkowski also presented a workshop, titled “Building the Self: A Toolkit for Self-Regulation”. Her workshop examined current psychological research on self-regulation, describing its compatibility with Dr. Montessori’s vision of the normalized child. This was her first AMS conference. “It was amazing to feel the sense of community and purpose I got from being surrounded by fellow Montessorians. Hearing Julian Bond speak was one of my major highlights, since he is such an important historic figure. Julian Bond is a notable civil rights leader who worked very closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I learned techniques and resources for introducing children to matter and atoms, got some food for thought on how to reorganize a math curriculum, and was inspired by the story of a failing urban school in Philadelphia that has turned itself around by committing to a Montessori program complemented by other curricula,” Laini said.
Anu Makin, lead teacher in the Yellow Room, also shared similar spirits, “It was my first AMS conference; it was a great opportunity to meet and network with other Montessori teachers from around the country and to share their ideas and strategies. I feel motivated, inspired and refreshed.” Blue Room lead teacher Jenny Dos Santos said, “I was impressed by the stellar keynote speakers. The workshops inspired constructive and practical strategies for daily life in the classroom. It was wonderful to bond with colleagues and find that all of us have the same goal: to foster a positive and beneficial environment for our students.”
Nicole Coman, CMS School Psychologist, and Marion Geiger, Orange Room lead teacher, also enjoyed their first AMS experience. Nicole revealed, “I learned so much and it made me even more excited about being a part of our CMS community. The most powerful presentation was Joyce Pickering's Montessori Applied to Children at Risk (MACAR) workshop on the planes of development as it relates to students with learning differences. She is incredibly knowledgeable about a variety of learning profiles and she shared some incredibly helpful recommendations for the Montessori environment. I am really looking forward to her presentation at CMS in April!”
Curriculum Coordinator Charles Terranova and Middle School teacher Joyce Nett brought back the excitement of attending the “Hero’s Journey”. Charles affirmed, “I am filled with pride for the staff members of CMS who attended. I am joyful having renewed my friendships with Montessori professionals from around the world.” For Elementary and Middle School Director Doug Dziedzic “the conference reinforced a passion for Montessori education. Specifically, I have a renewed belief in collaboration and partnership between families and the school, as well as among the faculty and staff.”
There was also an opportunity for fun at the conference, specifically the Liberty Ball, AMS’ fundraiser. The event was hosted by CMS’ own Munir Shivji, Director of Toddler and Primary Programs and AMS Board Member.
Together, we renewed our focus on compassion and connectedness in an increasingly fractured world, so that we can help our children and ourselves deepen the calm, mindfulness, and resilience that are hallmarks of liberated learners.
CMS remains committed to providing faculty, staff and administrators with professional development. If you are interested in learning more about the conference, AMS is offering audio recordings from the conference. Please visit www.amshq.org for more information.