Conference Sessions

Here is our amazing line-up for PMET 2019-20!

Diving into the MAP Test: Montessori Material Alignment for Kindergarteners
Yolanda Romanelli
Montessori For All, Lead Guide and Instructional Team Leader
Stacie Schultz
Magnolia Montessori For All, Lead Guide

This session will be focused on exploring the style of the MAP test, including the types of questions that challenge our students to transfer knowledge learned with Montessori Materials in a Primary classroom. It will also feature additional tools and Montessori lessons that can be added to shelves to support knowledge not generally supported in traditional Montessori lessons. 

If the Students are Excited, Their Families Will Come: Thinking Outside the Box to Promote Family Engagement in the Classroom
Christina Keller
Magnolia Montessori For All, Lead Guide

One of the biggest struggles year after year in any school, but particularly ones with a diverse student population, is to engage all families in their students' lives and learning at school. Families are busy with work, taking care of other family members, and meeting their own needs. In this session, explore ways to engage students in creating events that they will want their families to come to in the classroom, such as project and publishing parties, classroom playdates, and student-led conferences. When students are excited about an event, their families are much more likely to come.

Overexcitabilities: Supporting the Whole (Gifted) Child
Krystal Perkins
Wilson Montessori/Houston ISD Magnet Coordinator

Have you ever wondered how to follow the child incessantly bouncing in the chair, who refuses to wear anything but shorts, doodles dragons over every square inch of the workplan, interrupts every single lesson to ask at least one thousand questions, and/or erupts in a tantrum at the drop of a golden bead? Welcome to overexcitabilities! Come learn how these presumed deficits may in fact point to dormant assets waiting within to spring forth. Prevalent in gifted students, these ultra-sensitivities to certain stimuli may be harnessed to educate the human potential. Join the awakening! (Gifted Education Plan implications addressed)

Building Community With an Equity Lens
Rachel Rosen
S.P.A.R.K. 

What does community building with an equity lens mean to you? In this session, participants will have the opportunity to reflect, engage, and learn in small-groups. We’ll talk about what it means to create conditions for equity work, we’ll play S.P.A.R.K., our inclusive community-building activity, and more!
Integrating ABAR (Anti-Bias, Anti-Racism) into Culture Curriculum
Claire Romano
Laura Steele Montessori, Lower Elementary Teacher

We are so busy in the public sector that adding one more thing may seem daunting. So let's expand and explore Maria's cosmic education in culture work and anti-bias, anti-racism to help create the ultimate cosmic education. 

How to Launch an Infant and Toddler Community in a Public School
Magaly Rodriguez
Magnolia Montessori For All, Director of Infant and Toddler 

Are you interested in starting an infant and toddler community in your public school? Come hear our step-by-step journey about how we launched a sliding-scale, tuition- and scholarship-based infant and toddler community for staff children, younger siblings, and the broader community within our public Montessori charter school. We will “pull back the curtain” and share everything about our staffing model, budget, prepared environments, licensing issues, routines and procedures, and challenges. Participants will have online access to all of our forms and templates. There will also be time for questions and answers. Let’s start the Birth to 3 revolution!

Freedom and Responsibility in the Montessori School and Home Environment: Early Childhood
Jinny Gonzalez
Austin Montessori School, Early Childhood Director
Sveta Pais
Austin Montessori School, Director of Outreach and Parent Engagement
For children to become independent beings, they must have both freedom and responsibility.  There is an essential balance between the two. How is this balance achieved and maintained in the Montessori environment for children aged 18 months - 6 years, and how can it be achieved at home?  In this presentation, Jinny Gonzalez (Early Childhood Director) and Sveta Pais (Director of Outreach and Parent Engagement) will discuss ways to build consistency in applying this fundamental Montessori principle in both environments.

¡Buenos Días! Honoring our Latinx Students and Families
Nashielly Stein
Founder, Felicidad Spanish Immersion Montessori

This workshop will focus on how to be more culturally responsive to our Latinx community in the classroom and in your school, including ways to engage families and incorporate Spanish in the environment. 

Weaving Unity in a Diverse Public Montessori School
Lindsey Pollock
Garden Oaks Montessori, Principal

Attendees will hear about our public school journey and the strategic plan we have to value diversity on our campus and recruit families from all over the city of Houston!

Working with Parents to Unleash the Power of Language
Charo Alarcon
Lumin Education, Montessori Mentor 

The first three years of life are the foundation for language acquisition. The quantity and quality of language acquired during this period will have a tremendous impact on the child’s reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Recent research shows how the emotional aspect of language acquisition in the first few months of life influences the quality and speed of further development. It is much more than just naming objects for the baby. Parents of infants and toddlers hold the key to their child’s language development and we, parents and teachers, must work together to provide our children an optimal language experience. 

Terrific Tension: You will never be a prophet in your own land – speak the truth anyway. 
Margaret Dickerson
Early Childhood Educator/Director

Advancing equity is disruptive. It disrupts systems. It disrupts sensibilities. It disrupts liberal “wokeness.” It disrupts who we think we are and creates opportunities for us to be change agents. Black and Brown children still lack the access, resources, and results that their White counterparts are experiencing. We must do better. Walk beside me as we juxtapose legendary disruptors from Dr. Maria Montessori to rapper Lizzo, to help us identify the “terrific tension” in our equity work and how to intentionally use our power and privilege in everyday situations to get out of our comfort zones and move into revolution.  

Chickens in Your Community 
Alison Davis
Lake Air Montessori Magnet School
Glenda Bain
Lake Air Montessori Magnet School

Basic know how of chicken keeping at school will be discussed including housing, basic needs, incubating and student involvement.

Freedom and Responsibility in the Montessori School and Home Environment: Elementary
Grae Baker
Austin Montessori School, Head of School
Frances Fitzpatrick
Austin Montessori School, Elementary Director

Foundational to any Montessori environment, the freedom given to a child is an essential element that facilitates deep, authentic engagement allowing for development to occur through the child's own activity. This freedom the child enjoys in the environment is not boundless and is directly correlative with associated responsibilities the child displays as s/he develops increasingly higher levels of functional independence.  In this presentation, Grae Baker (Head of School) and Frances Fitzpatrick (Elementary Director) will explore the balance between freedom and responsibility between the ages of six and twelve.
The Prepared Adult: Looking Inward Before We Look Outward
Sara Cotner
Montessori For All, Executive Director

Montessori teaches us to look first at ourselves and then at the environment before turning to the child. This session will focus on us as Prepared Adults. Participants will rotate through four (out of 10) self-selected 10-minute interactive “centers” focused on various aspects of preparing ourselves as people and practitioners, including: evaluating key areas of our lives to identify strengths and areas for growth; naming our main priorities for self-care; working through an implicit bias test; sharing and listening deeply; drafting a vision statement; understanding our Myers-Briggs types; working through guided meditation; identifying our “triggers” (i.e., activators) and naming strategies for self-regulation; clarifying our values; and making a north star rock. We will discuss why dedicated time to prepare ourselves matters, process what we learned through our experiences with the activities, and brainstorm how to translate these ideas into our work with children. 

Fostering an Inclusive Community: A Gender & Sexualities Curriculum for Montessori Educators
Jared Woods
Montessori For All, Lead Guide

As educators, we are in a unique position to influence the normalization of LGBTQ identities in our society through our students. Considering the alarming suicide rate of LGBTQ youth, this privilege ought not be taken lightly. Guides and administrators are often interested in discussing topics surrounding gender identity and sexuality with their students, but may not know where to begin. Attendees of this session will leave equipped with the necessary tools for creating a school community in which all students feel comfortable with their own identities and with examining alternative constructions of gender and sexuality.

Supporting Equity: Lumin Education's Home Visiting and Play Therapy Programs
Stan Ferguson
Lumin Education, Leadership Coach

Lumin Education believes “starting young and involving parents” is crucial to success in education and life. Increasingly, research supports this commitment. Stan Ferguson, a Lumin staff member and Licensed Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist will share why Lumin Education is so committed to providing, whenever possible, pregnancy to three years old in-home parent education to the families it serves. He will discuss Montessori principles, psychological constructs, and recent research supporting this approach. Stan will also share the history and rationale for Lumin’s school based play therapy program, explain how this supports equity in education, and describe how parents can use the power of play in the lives of their young children.
Restorative Justice Part 1: An Introduction to Participatory Democracy in the Classroom
Shirene Garcia
Parent & Racial Social Justice Committee Chair at MMFA; Founding Program Manager at Austin Health Commons

Restorative Justice is a practice rooted in indigenous philosophy and ways of being. While it's more commonly known for its use in the criminal justice field, it has wide applications in other settings. In the classroom it can be used to build community and transform the way students - and teachers - interact with each other, forming a non-hierarchical, participatory democracy. In Part 1 of this 2-hour session, you will learn about the history, values, and applications of restorative justice in schools. In Part 2, participants will learn experientially by sitting in a Circle, the hallmark restorative practice, and applying the techniques presented throughout this interactive session. Attending both parts is strongly encouraged but not required. 

Self Care for Teachers
Megan Perez 
Lake Air Montessori Magnet, Primary Guide

In this session, teachers will learn about the importance of self-care and will learn how to integrate self-care strategies into their daily routines in order to cultivate well-being.

Literacy For All
Sejal Dev
Lumin Lindsley Park Community School, Primary Guide
Jamie Thompson-Griffin
Lumin Lindsley Park Community School, Elementary Guide

This session is designed to foster learning and discussion of best practices in direct and explicit literacy instruction within our Montessori framework for all types of learners including English Language Learners and children with different learning needs in our Montessori environments. 

The Guide's Work: Guiding Work
Alex Abel
Goodwater Montessori School, Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Are you interested in strengthening the Culture of Work in your elementary community? Join us as we explore the ways in which the prepared adult, the prepared environment, self-construction, Second Plane characteristics, and the types of work play into building a focused, purposeful, and joyful learning environment. 
Freedom and Responsibility in the Montessori School and Home Environment: Adolescent
Bill Sneed
Austin Montessori School, Adolescent Administrative and Pedagogical Coordinator
Jesse Gevirtz
Austin Montessori School, Adolescent Administrative and Pedagogical Coordinator

The stage of early adolescence marks the initial transition towards adulthood. This can be a challenging time as the individual seeks to understand their own identity and place in society. In addition, tremendous physical transformation is also occurring. These factors may induce a period characterized by turmoil and emotional upheaval. Supporting this transition calls for a different approach and environment compared to the elementary, and the principles of freedom and responsibility take on new meaning. Adolescent Administrative and Pedagogical coordinators Bill Sneed and Jesse Gevirtz will present on the application of these ideas at the adolescent level, ages 12 to 15.

Launching Identity Affirmation Groups for Children in Intentionally Diverse Schools
Dr. Nicole Evans
City Garden Montessori School, Principal

In this workshop, we will discuss how to plan and launch Identity Affirmation Groups for children in intentionally diverse schools.

The purpose of Identify Affirmation Groups is to support children to feel:
1) connected to a community with a shared identity
2) pride in one’s identity
3) understood
4) supported and cared for

We will talk through the process step-by-step, including how to select your groups, identify and train leaders, and support leaders to thoughtfully plan and implement their groups. The goal is to integrate Identity Affirmation Groups into the school as seamlessly and easily as possible in order to strengthen our anti-bias and anti-racist Montessori communities. We will be sharing best practices from public Montessori schools that have been implementing this model.

Truncating the Montessori Curriculum for New Kindergartners
Yolanda Romanelli
Montessori For All, Lead Guide and Instructional Team Leader

This session will be aimed at identifying key lessons to help Kindergartners succeed in a Montessori Elementary Classroom, while also identifying lessons that aren't as necessary, and should not have time devoted to them. 
Windows and Mirrors
Wendy Freed
Wilson Montessori, Lead Guide

Children need to learn about the world around them. We often do this through books, artwork and experiences. Children also need to see themselves represented. Let's start to think critically about each book we read, each piece of artwork on the shelf and each experience we give the children.  

The Problematic Message of the Consumerist Aesthetic
Jennifer Wester
ArborCreek Montessori School & ArborCreek Montessori Academy, Art Guide
Sima Cheregosha
Head of School
Kelsey O'Keefe
Administrator

A look at the I-Did-It-Myself aesthetic verses the consumerist, packaged aesthetic and its relation to the development of personal voice, work ethic, and self-efficacy.

Tea Parties for All
Glenda Bain
Lake Air Montessori, Waco ISD

How to prepare, set up, and host a Tea Party experience to help promote Grace and Courtesy for any age group.

(Part 2) Restorative Justice: An Introduction to Participatory Democracy in the Classroom
Shirene Garcia
Parent & Racial Social Justice Committee Chair at MMFA; Founding Program Manager at Austin Health Commons

Restorative Justice is a practice rooted in indigenous philosophy and ways of being. While it's more commonly known for its use in the criminal justice field, it has wide applications in other settings. In the classroom it can be used to build community and transform the way students - and teachers - interact with each other, forming a non-hierarchical, participatory democracy. In Part 1 of this 2-hour session, you will learn about the history, values, and applications of restorative justice in schools. In Part 2, participants will learn experientially by sitting in a Circle, the hallmark restorative practice, and applying the techniques presented throughout this interactive session. Attending both parts is strongly encouraged but not required.
Literacy For All
Jamie Thompson-Griffin
Lumin Lindsley Park Community School, Elementary Guide
Sejal Dev
Lumin Lindsley Park Community School, Primary Guide

Learn about specific literacy interventions designed for the Montessori Elementary student. These research-based interventions are shown to give English Language Learners and students with learning differences more skills in reading. Connecting the sounds within words to print and connecting what the child can read to their own writing is crucial. This can all be done in the Montessori environment with quick, impactful lessons that will get your students excited about reading and on their way to exploring the Universe! 

Appraisal, Not Just State Standards, Creating a  Montessori Quality Evaluation Tool
Laura Aasletten
Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet, Dean of Instruction
Erendira Ledesma
Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet, Dean of Instruction
Lindsey Pollock
Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet, Principal

Public Montessorians work diligently to ensure the students are getting a quality education that meets state standards but how do we assess the quality of our Montessori program? Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet in Houston is in the process of completing our Montessori Accreditation through the  International Montessori Council. We have created a Montessori evaluation tool that aligns with the National Montessori in the Public Sector guidelines for providing authentic public Montessori and complements our district Teacher Appraisal and Development system. 

Supporting Queer Individuals in the Montessori Classroom
Ashley Speed
Co-Founder & Consultant/Queer Consultants; Founder/Diamond Montessori
D. Ann Williams
Founder & Past Director/Zora Montessori, Co-Founder/Queer Consultants, and Communications Officer on the board of Montessori for Social Justice

This workshop will teach you how to support queer students, families, and staff in the school communities. LGBTQ+ people and their struggles have been erased and/or criminalized throughout history. This erasure is still rampant in our schools through the centering of cisgender and heteronormativity in classroom books and materials and administration policies and procedures. Participants will leave with resources for ensuring more queer representation in the classroom (books, pictures, works); tangible ways in which to support queer staff and families (school policies and sample documents); and deeper understanding of queer issues and concerns (current terminology, notable history, and current concerns).