COVID-19 Updates

Breakout Session Information


Friday October 7th
9:00 to 3:00

"Inclusion from Birth"

Cost: $75.00 (Limited to the first 30 applicants)
Hotel Lunch Buffet is included.

“Practical Life as the Basis of the Infant-Toddler Curriculum ”
Presenter: Nancy Lindeman
Target Audience: Infant-Toddler, Primary, Elementary
Breakout Description:
This workshop will focus on building inclusive Montessori environments from birth. We will begin this workshop by identifying best practices in Special Education specific to early intervention. We will examine the importance of building relationships with families and their children, sharing resources and support options with families based on data that the practitioner gathers, designing an inclusive prepared environment, and the development of a collaborative coteaching experiences with therapists and support personal.

Participants will:

  • Examine the inclusive mindset for caregivers.
  • Identify tools that are appropriate for gathering data specific to children with potential disabilities in infant & toddler settings.
  • Understand how best practices in Special Education and the Montessori philosophy can successfully coexist.
  • Be encouraged to develop a family resource library. This library will introduce families to developmental milestones, local support resources and current literature about early intervention.
  • Learn how to approach families with concerns about their child’s development and the request for further evaluation from developmental experts.
  • Examining the stages of emotion that families experience when receiving a special education diagnosis and the role the guide has in supporting these families.
  • Explore the coteaching model and understand how to successfully collaborate with therapists.
  • Learn how to prepare the environment for inclusion of all children and their families.

 

About Nancy Lindeman
Nancy Lindeman has been a special educator since 1978. She recently retired as the program director from the Institute for Montessori Innovation at Westminster College. She is Montessori EC, El I-II certified and holds a Montessori Administrators certificate. Nancy has founded and directed a Utah public Montessori charter school and two private Montessori schools. She currently serves on the AMS board of directors and teaches in AMS TEP’s


 


Saturday October 8th Breakout Sessions

Breakout Session 1
9:30-10:30

"Promoting self-care of the young child: Toilet Learning at the developmentally appropriate time"
Presenter: Elizabeth Pabello
Target Audience: Infant-Toddler, Parents
Breakout Description:
Explore some ways to begin the process of toilet learning at a very young age. Rediscover how independent children can be and want to be with using the toilet and everything that goes along with the process.

New inspiration will be gained by looking at the joy of starting the toileting process from the point in time when a child has the capability to stand on his own for a few minutes, the same age the sphincter muscle is usually developed.

About Elizbeth Pabello
I was born and raised in the Chicago area. I began my career teaching and coaching children of various ages in various programs. I studied Nursing, and then went back to education in the field of Montessori. Currently I am an Infant-Young Toddler Lead Teacher.

"Innovative Montessori Playscapes"
Presenters: Kim Hahn and Emily Boner
Target Audience: Infant-Toddler, Early Childhood
Breakout Description:
Description: We will explore the importance of prioritizing movement and engagement in the natural world. It is crucial to devote a portion of the Montessori work time to being outdoors in all seasons. You will be inspired to utilize the space and materials you have to create outdoor playscapes. Examples from Kirkwood Children’s House will be shared.

Ideas for taking Montessori outside in whatever space you have Learn the importance and benefits of giving children opportunities to be outside Share the indoor and outdoor learning environments at KCH and how they came to be Embrace sustainability through using elements of nature to enhance the classroom Adapt and evolve your spaces to meet the needs of your school

About Kim Hahn and Emily Boner
Bio: Emily is currently a Toddler teacher/parent at Kirkwood Children’s House. She has been in Montessori for 10 years and has worn many hats such as Toddler Teacher in Early Head start, Primary Assistant Teacher, headed an I/T Montessori in-home childcare program, Lead Montessori Toddler Teacher.

Kim is currently a Primary teacher and Assistant Head of School at Kirkwood Children ' s House She has been in the Montessori community for years as a Montessori parent teacher and teacher educator She currently teaches EC Math and Sensorial at HMEI Prior to Montessori Kim had a career as a scientist at Monsanto Her passion for Montessori was ignited when her oldest daughter was a Toddler Emily holds a B S Ed in Early Childhood and an AMS I T credential Kim holds a B S in Biological Sciences a M A education and an AMS EC credential.

"Return to Dwelling in the Prepared Environment"
Presenter: Laurie Stockton-Moreno
Target Audience: Early Childhood, Elementary
Breakout Description:
Adaptation to times doesn't mean eschewing core tenets but rather holding dear to Maria's developmental approach of addressing children's reshaped needs through carefully prepared environments. In uncertainty, innovation may mean humble authenticity of home, nature and peaceful living. This workshop explores fundamental human needs in service of prepared environments that bring peaceful dwelling.

The goals of this workshop are to consider that what is innovative for adults and societies, does not necessarily follow in serving unique development of children, and to provide inspiration for guides to work innovatively in offering children sense of stability, comforts of home, and peace as a true expression of creative environmental design for these times.

About Laurie Stockton-Moreno
Laurie Stockton - Moreno is Director of The Center for Montessori Education at Trine University, is experienced in Montessori education as a guide, teacher educator, consultant, and administrator. Parent of three Montessori daughters, she leverages her architecture background to present on topics of arts, math, and the prepared environment.

"Equity and Inclusion through Ethnomathematics"
Presenter: Aparna Nisankararao
Target Audience: Elementary
Breakout Description:
My presentation will focus on how to make math meaningful through the pedagogy of Ethnomathematics. It will address questions like: How can we design a culturally sustaining math space? How can we cultivate a mathematical identity so that students see themselves as mathematicians?

About Aparna Nisandararao
Aparna Nisankararao, MEd, is a Secondary guide at Starwood Academy in Frisco, TX. She also serves as an Early Childhood instructor for the teacher education program, North Texas Montessori Institute. AMS credentialed (Early Childhood, Elementary I – II, Secondary I – II).
She graduated from Osmania University in India with a Bachelor’s in Botany, Zoology, and Chemistry. She continued her education in India by obtaining a Master’s in English from the University of Hyderabad. Upon her arrival in the United States, she attended Oklahoma State University where she received her Master’s in Zoology. She earned her Master’s in Education at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 2019.

"Lead like a Montessorian: Applying Montessori principles to leadership"
Presenters: Diane Beckham and Vicki Dimmer
Target Audience: Head of Schools
Breakout Description:
This session is designed to inspire and guide Montessori leaders to incorporate the principles of Montessori as they lead their staff and students in their personal Montessori journey. A part of this session will include a list of ten lessons learned during our first year as a new school. The outcome for the participants includes a deeper understanding of how Montessori principles affect everything that happens at school, why students need to see Montessori in all aspects of the building, not just the classroom and allow administrators to connect with others in a lonely profession.

About Diane Beckham and Vicki Dimmer
Diane has been a servant in public education since 1994 and began her work in Montessori in 1999. Since that time, she has worked in many public Montessori schools including CMP, OKC Magnet program, and Kansas’ city public schools. She now resides in Tulsa creating Montessori programs for all.

Vicki Dimmer has been a Montessori educator for over 20 years.  She is a certified Early Childhood Montessori teacher along with obtaining National Board Certification.  She has a Bachelor's in Special Education and a master's in early childhood. Vicki currently serves on the Board of Directors for Cross Timbers Montessori Training along with providing training and mentoring for adult learners.  Vicki provides an in-depth perspective of the new Montessorian to the work of leading a Montessori school.

Breakout Session 2
10:45-12:15

"Supporting Foundational Math Skills in the Infant-Toddler Classroom"
Presenter: Gabrielle Holt
Target Audience: Infant-Toddler, Parents
Breakout Description:
Current research shows that infants enter the world with an innate understanding of foundational math concepts and their brains primed for exploring. Without intentional effort, we often miss this sensitive period. This session will look at the aspects of brain development that allow for the understanding of foundational math skills, what these skills include, and how to support them.

Participants will be able to describe 3 foundational math skills and materials that support them. Participants will be able to sequence the order in which one skill develops from infancy through toddlerhood. Participants will be able to demonstrate an understanding of math talk by sharing a self-created script.

About Gabrielle Holt
Gabrielle Holt IMH - E ( I ), is the Birth to Three Coordinator at Montessori Country Day School in Houston TX She is also a parenting class facilitator and adult educator with a passion for promoting healthy social-emotional development and creating equitable learning environments for infants/toddlers. She holds an AMS Infant Toddler Credential, infant mental health endorsement, and is working towards a Master’s in Early Childhood Disorders at UT Dallas. Gabrielle has worked with infants and toddlers for 10 years and was a Montessori child herself!

"Relax, Follow the Child: How to be Present with Children Outdoors"
Presenters: Amanda Salley and Janne Bang Guerin
Target Audience: Infant-Toddler, Early Childhood, Parents
Breakout Description:
This workshop will look at how to trust children in an outdoor environment. We will explore current research on the importance of free-play, risk-taking, and how these ideas are integral to Montessori Philosophy. This is possible through simplifying, letting go of notions on how to teach, and embracing the child-led experience.

1. Review of current scientific research on the importance of free play and risk-taking in childhood. 2. Recognizing the relationship between these concepts and the Montessori Philosophy 3. Review Montessori’s Preparation of the Teacher as it applies to being in an outdoor environment. 4. An opportunity for discussion, reflection, and exploration of the workshop themes.

About Amanda Sallley and Janne Bang Guerin
Amanda Salley, MA, EC teacher, background in art and art history, now shares her childhood connection to nature as teacher and mother. Janne Bang-Guerin, MFA, EC teacher, background in art and sculpture, a passion for nature, and a belief in the importance of connecting children with nature.

Janne grew up in Denmark and has lived in multiple countries. She has a background in art. Amanda also has a background in art and a graduate degree in Art History. Amanda and Janne previously worked together in the classroom and are currently both leads in their own classrooms. Both share a passion for nature, and strongly believe in the importance of connecting children with nature. Both have studied the Forest School Movement, and attended multiple related conferences. They work together to encourage each other and fellow educators to explore the richness of integrating nature and the Montessori Philosophy.

"Curating the Modern Montessori Classroom: Cultivating Beauty Through Preparation"
Presenter: Eryn Weems
Target Audience: Early Childhood
Breakout Description:
This presentation will address the importance of curating a classroom filled with beauty intentionality and cohesion. By homing in on the elements of design we will discuss the incorporation of everyday style and elegance. From the art on the walls to the works on the shelves the classroom reflects beauty, growth, and joy.

Goal #1: Inspire teachers to curate beauty in every aspect of the classroom. Goal #2: Integrate daily practices that air teachers in becoming a classroom connoisseur. Goal #3: Awaken the awareness, desire,k and respect for beauty within the child. Goal #4: Provide well-vetted resources and materials.

About Eryn Weems:
I am a recent graduate of the Hope Montessori Educational Institute and American Montessori Society circa 2020. Additionally, I offer real - time classroom experience as Lead teacher in the Hope Montessori Primary classroom. Prior to my journey with Hope Montessori, I was an Intelligence Analyst with the Air Force. I am happily married to my Mr. Incredible and am a proud mother of three beautiful children.

"Elementary Math: Beyond the Golden Beads"
Presenter: Cynthia Barraza
Target Audience: Elementary
Breakout Description:
Math can be overwhelming for many teachers in the elementary level. Specially, when our own experience with Math is not positive, during our time together, we will go over extensions of the lower elementary math curriculum along with ways to connect it to other areas of the curriculum, like geometry, history and language.
Attendees will have a quick review of basic materials in the elementary level. Then we will go over extension lessons that can be given, to interest of the child. Attendees will be given a list of the extension lessons along with the lesson itself, so they can implement it right away.

About Cynthia Barraza:
Cynthia is originally from Chihuahua, Mexico. She holds a BA in Psychology and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education. Through her career, she has taught in the 3-6 level and 6 - 12 level in the USA as well as in Mexico. In 2010, she founded Discovery Garden Montessori.

Cynthia Barraza is the Head of School and founder of Discovery Garden Montessori. She holds a 3 - 6 AMS certificate and a 6 - 12 CEMAC certificate. She has 15+ years of experience teaching and administering Montessori schools.

"Children's Literature in the Montessori Classroom"
Presenter: Sydney Seidel
Target Audience: Infant-Toddler, Early Childhood, Parents
Breakout Description:
We will explore the impact of children's literature on the child's language and social-emotional development. We will consider the importance of the prepared environment, with suggestions on how to create inviting reading spaces, how to mindfully select different genres of children's books, and how to encourage a love of books and reading
Attendees will gain a renewed appreciation for the importance of children's literature, and a deepened understanding of its impact on the child's language and social-emotional development. The attendees will be inspired to create inviting reading spaces, to mindfully curate and expand their collection of children’s books, and to read aloud daily.

About Sydney Seidel :
Sydney is an EC Lead Teacher at Hope Montessori Academy (Lake St Louis). She is the Language Instructor and a Field Consultant at Hope Montessori Educational Institute. Sydney has spoken at national and regional Montessori conferences. She has a background in History and English Literature.

Sydney is an AMS early childhood credentialed lead teacher at Hope Montessori Academy (Lake St. Louis). She is the Language Instructor and a Field Consultant at Hope Montessori Educational Institute. Sydney has presented with Susie Shelton-Dodge about Montessori peace education at national and regional Montessori conferences. Sydney has a B.A. in History and a minor in English from Wheaton College.

Breakout Session 3
1:30-2:30

"Cultivating Parent Partnership in the Infant Community"
Presenter: Cristina Sova
Target Audience: Infant-Toddler
Breakout Description:
There is no denying the importance of the parent teacher alliance in Montessori childcare. Advocating for the children we serve, and empowering parents aids in the continuity of home life and school. Infant educators will be empowered to build meaningful partnerships with infant parents.

About Cristina Sova :
Cristina Sova has been working with infants and their families through a Montessori lens for over 10 years. She is leading daily in an infant environment and is a teacher educator at Hope Montessori Educational Institute. Currently she is a member of the AMS Instructor Academy. She has presented at several AMS Montessori Events. She is a mother to two young sons in their first plane of development.


"Illlustrating a Child's Worldview: Using Art History to Give Visual Context to Abstract Concepts"
Presenter: Amanda Allmeroth
Target Audience: Early Childhood, Elementary
Breakout Description:
In this presentation we will be looking at modern and historical art as observable representations of topics in cultural studies, social justice, world history, and US history. We will discuss how examples of painting, sculpture, artifacts, and photography provide a rich visual language and broaden the worldview of children in the Montessori environment.

About Amanda Allmeroth :
Amanda started a career in Montessori as a teacher's assistant while completing her undergrad in Art History She fell in love with Montessori philosophy inspiring her to complete an Early Childhood Certificate from HMEI. Now she combines her passions of art history and teaching as an instructor.

Currently, Amanda is a Lead Teacher at Hope Montessori Creve Coeur and the Art, Geography/Culture, and Technology instructor at HMEI. Her educational background and career experiences have shaped the ways in which she illustrates and expands the worldviews of children in the three to six environment.

"Paradox Management in the Montessori Classroom"
Presenter: Marcy Bourdo
Target Audience: Infant-Toddler, Early Childhood, Elementary, Administrators, Parents
Breakout Description:
Montessori pedagogy is filled with paradoxes. The paradoxical questions are simple, such as: freedom or limits, individual or community, control, or faith in the child, intervene or observe, order or spontaneity? The challenging work of the educator is in seeking the answers, but this requires balance through mindfulness, reflection, and observation.

The role of the adult in Montessori is to love the paradoxical questions in Montessori and pursue the journey of seeking answers. This workshop will explore these complex paradoxes and provide strategies for balancing the struggle.

About Marcy Bourdo :
Marcy Bourdo is the Education Coordinator for Starwood Schools in Frisco, Texas and instructor through North Texas Montessori Institute. AMS-credentialed (Early Childhood and Infant-Toddler).

"Our Reflection: The Grace of Montessori and Equity"
Presenter: Darcell Williams Butler
Target Audience: Infant-Toddler, Early Childhood, Elementary, Heads of School, Parents
Breakout Description:
“It is not enough for the teacher to love the child.
She must first love and understand the universe.
She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.”
Maria Montessori
In this seminar we will bravely dwell into the meaning of grace and equity in our Montessori environments. We will reflect and discuss the intersection of grace and equity as it relates to our environments and the children and families we humbly serve. We will bravely and honestly discuss our individual perspectives and the powerful impact we have on educating the “Human Potential” of our children. What does grace and equity look like, feel like, and sound like as we strive to ignite the joy of lifelong learning and activism within the souls of our children.

About Darcell Williams Butler :
Darcell is a Montessori lower Elementary teacher at Washington Montessori School in St. Louis, Missouri. Previously, Darcell was the lower elementary teacher and the Curriculum and Instructional Coordinator at City Garden Montessori Charter School in St. Louis, Missouri. Darcell is certified by the American Montessori Society at three levels: Early Childhood: Missouri Montessori Teacher Education Program; Elementary I: Central Ohio Montessori Education for Teachers; and Elementary II: Montessori Teacher Education Center—San Francisco Bay Area. She is certified for Montessori Teacher Coaching Training by Montessori in the Public Sector and Crossroads Antiracism Organization and Training. She has multiple awards and honors for her teaching since 1985 in elementary schools, universities, and Montessori Teacher Preparation programs


"Bringing Montessori to Areas without Montessori"
Presenters: Karol Diniz, Katie Pieh and Leslie Kennedy
Target Audience: Infant-Toddler, Elementary, Heads of Schools
Breakout Description:
Passionate about providing Montessori education to unreached children? Curious to know how others have creatively connected families and communities in various settings? Come hear the stories of three women who are bringing Montessori into the lives of homeschooling families in Manaus, Brazil, a rural community on the Minnesota prairie, and an emerging school in rural Montana. This will be an interactive panel discussion with opportunity for questions.

We will: 1. Encourage people to use their own tools and resources to make Montessori happen. It doesn't matter where you are or what you have, it is possible to start.
2: Encourage those to enlarge the Montessori community in the world by offering Montessori education in unreached places. 3: Help understand how to embrace diversity and inclusiveness. Montessori education is universal and can connect us through the globe.

About Karol Diniz, Katie Pieh and Leslie Kennedy :
Karol Diniz is originally from Manaus, Brazil. Since a young age she has been involved in teaching and interested in child development. Karol holds a bachelor’s degree in Education and a graduate degree in Psychopedagogy from the Federal University of Amazonas. She holds the Early Childhood credential from the American Montessori Society and in 2018 she returned to HMEI to pursue the Infant Toddler credential.

Karol also shared her love for people and language skills from 2005 to 2009 when she volunteered her interpretation services on Mission trips, mainly with “Amazon Vision Ministries”. Through the mission she met her husband and has lived in Springfield since 2012. For almost a decade, Karol has served the community of Springfield MO with Montessori Education, but her passion is to spread Montessori awareness with families from Manaus, Brazil. Karol enjoys riding her bike, walking, reading, traveling, and dance parties with her son Noah.

Katie Pieh is co-Teacher Leader at Wildwood Montessori, a Wildflower school in rural MN. Katie holds bachelor’s degrees in Literature and Religion. Originally from the Chicago area, Katie discovered small-town life with her husband in Montevideo, MN. In 2017, Katie partnered with another mother, who opened a Montessori school in her home. The following summer, pregnant with her third daughter, Katie pursued the Infant Toddler credential from HMEI and began working with the Wildflower organization to expand Wildwood Montessori to provide Montessori education to families in the area from all walks of life.

Leslie Kennedy is co-founder, along with her husband, of Elevate Montessori School in Livingston, MT. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from University of Missouri-Columbia. She and her husband met while working in Yellowstone National Park. They settled in the area to raise their two daughters. They spend time skiing, hiking, camping, swimming in hot springs and rivers. They discovered the beauty of Montessori through HMEI and began Elevate Montessori. We are bringing our vision to life by strong communication, teamwork and valuing those around us. This has allowed us to build a school that offers our own scholarship program, strong parent involvement and low staff-turnover.


Breakout Session 4
2:45-3:45

"Beyond Crayons: Getting Creative about Art in the Montessori Toddler Environment"
Presenter: Hannah Musselwhitee
Target Audience: Infant-Toddler
Breakout Description:
In this hands-on workshop, participants will connect with their own inner child - like artist that may have been lost along the way, experiment with a variety of high-quality art materials as well as recyclables and learn how and why to implement more process-oriented art into their classroom.

Participants will leave inspired and equipped to implement process-oriented art into their Montessori toddler classroom.

About Hannah Musselwhite :
Hannah Musselwhite has over 13 years of experience working in a Montessori setting implementing Montessori practice into school leadership, classroom settings, parent relationships, art- based curriculum and adult education.

Hannah is passionate about authentic Montessori practice with infants, toddlers, and their families. She enjoys creating dynamic classroom spaces, and teacher-made materials. Hannah is also the proud mother of two boys, who attended Montessori school infancy through early childhood


"Urban Gardening: A Realistic Beginners Guide"
Presenter: Haisha Bowens
Target Audience: Early Childhood
Breakout Description:
The goal of this presentation is to enable the beginner gardener to apply this workshop to indoor and outdoor classroom environments. Participants will leave with tools needed to develop, create, and experiment with a horticulture program. Participants will be able to introduce nature into a limited urban landscape as well as into the classroom. We will discuss the benefits of exploring nature and the steps needed to begin an Urban Gardening program.

About Haisha Bowens :
Haisha Bowens is an Early Childhood 3-6 AMS credentialed guide and Montessori Country Day School located in Houston Texas. Haisha also has experience in the public Montessori sector of education. Haisha is very passionate about learning and implementing an all-inclusive education on nature, sustainability and mindfulness.
Haisha Bowens has been in the education field for over 10 years. She has worked with most age groups as well as special needs and home school children. Haisha has an adorable dog named Bruce Banner and nurtures an expansive collection of indoor plants in her home.


"Leadership to Support Montessori as a Liberatory Practice"
Presenters: Dr. Nicole Evans and Dr. Luz Casquejo Johnston
Target Audience: All Attendees
Breakout Description:
Leaders like teachers must undergo what Dr. Montessori calls Transformation. Leaders must be able to transform themselves in order to begin the work of preparing an environment of liberatory practice. Dr. Evans and Dr. Casquejo Johnston will facilitate a discussion and help leaders begin to dream and design a liberatory and equitable space.
Takeaways will include:
Name the three levers of transformative change
Name and develop equitable and liberatory leadership strategies
Self and professional tools for reflective practice


About Dr. Evans and Dr. Johnston :
Dr. Luz Casquejo Johnston has been part of the Montessori movement since the mid-70’s as a primary student where she experienced the joy and challenge of building her intellect within a community that embraced and celebrated her. Later as a lower elementary teacher, charter school leader, teacher education and program director, Dr. Casquejo Johnston worked to create just communities. She was on the founding board of Montessori for Social Justice (MSJ) and currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Justice/Equity/Diversity/Inclusion (JEDI) Committee of the AMS Board of Directors.

Dr. Nicole Evans (she/her) is Embracing Equity’s Director of Leadership and Coaching. She has been in the education field all of her life. She grew up in the home of an educator and was always following her role model, her dad, around while spending many hours in his classrooms. While serving as an educator for over 20 years, one of the most amazing and rewarding times in Dr. Evans' career was when she served as the principal of a Montessori school in St. Louis. In her current role, she uses her experience and expertise to guide adults as they embark upon centering equity in themselves and in their learning environments.


"Jumpstarting our Innovation and Creativity"
Presenter: Nancy Lindeman
Target Audience: All Attendees
Breakout Description:
Many heads are better than one! Let's put our innovative and creative practices together and design something new. Join Nancy for the opportunity to build on what she is seeing in the field of Montessori Education and your wonderful ideas. We might create a new paradigm!


About Nancy Lindeman :
Nancy Lindeman has been a special educator since 1978. She recently retired as the program director from the Institute for Montessori Innovation at Westminster College. She is Montessori EC, El I-II certified and holds a Montessori Administrators certificate. Nancy has founded and directed a Utah public Montessori charter school and two private Montessori schools. She currently serves on the AMS board of directors and teaches in AMS TEP’s.


"The Benefits of Montessori Practices in Urban Public School Education and Communities"
Presenter: Dr. Lisa Small
Target Audience: Educators, Heads of Schools, Parents
Breakout Description:
Dr. Small will explore the benefits of implementing Montessori in her public school and the community. Lisa will discuss the potential impact of peace education in urban communities with a public Montessori educational program. She will address how the additional layers of learning resources support traditional instructional practices and maximize learning. Finally, she will address how Montessori education can limit the over identification of special education.


About Dr. Small :
Dr. Lisa R. Small is the current lead principal of Washington Montessori Elementary School in St. Louis Missouri, with 16 years of experience in urban elementary education. Dr. Small transitioned from a career in business to one in education as a middle school special education teacher. As a special education teacher, Dr. Small worked relentlessly to ensure that students with disabilities received a quality education that aligned with their unique needs. Dr. Small also took on leadership responsibilities such as a mentor to new teaching staff, special education team leader, and various leadership duties that supported administrative staff. Her work with students, families, the community, and staff justified her nomination and acknowledgement as a “Shining Star” for St. Louis Public Schools, who has gone over and beyond expectations for student achievement. During her years as a middle school special education teacher, Dr. Small, as a single mom, continued her hard work and her studies in the field of education and completed her master’s degree in Elementary Education, and her Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. After a few short years in the classroom, she received the call to leadership as an elementary school Assistant Principal for Saint Louis Public Schools, which propelled her even further in the work of leadership as the current lead principal of Washington Montessori Elementary School of St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Small’s disposition of education has shifted to embrace and apply approaches to coaching, teaching, and learning that reach into the cosmic realm of Montessori philosophy and practices.


"Grace and Courtesy in an Islamic Montessori Environment"
Presenter: Marah Zabibi
Target Audience: Early Childhood
Breakout Description:
Many ingredients go into making a Montessori class. As Montessori teachers, or Educator, we learned about the importance of the prepared environment, the ways we give lessons, and other ways to educate or guide our children One of the most important ones is the attention we need to pay to “Grace and Courtesy”.


About Marah Zabibi :
Marah Zabibi holds a BA in English Literature and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education Administration from the University of Missouri St Louis She earned her Montessori teaching credential in Early Childhood Education from Hope Montessori Educational Institute (HMEI) in Lake St Louis Missouri.

She has more than 10 years of experience in teaching and supervision in the field of Early Childhood Education and currently serves as Director of @adsearlychildhoodCenter. She believes that children are the future and that educators should nurture the intelligence of the child. In her free time, Marah likes to spend time with her grandchildren reading and making art activities.


Breakout Session 5
4:00-5:00

"Thoughts on the Past and Future of Montessori Education"
A Conversation with the 2023 American Montessori Society's Living Legacy: Susie Shelton-Dodge

Presenters: Susie Shelton-Dodge interviewed by Theresa Callahan
Target Audience: All Attendees
Breakout Description:
We invite you to join us as we explore and honor the history of the AMS Living Legacy Award. We will reflect on the past and the future of Montessori education. We have a rich past in our concern for all the children of the world and the importance of their education. Currently, we in the American Montessori Society are engaged in a movement to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in every aspect of our work. Dialogue is important. In addition to a conversation between Theresa and Susie, we will welcome questions from the attendees.


About Susie and Theresa :
Susie Shelton-Dodge is the Early Childhood Level Coordinator and the Early Childhood Practicum Coordinator at Hope Montessori Educational Institute. She has spent more than 40 years working in Montessori education at both the Infant & Toddler Level and the Early Childhood Level. Currently, Susie serves as the Chair of the AMS Living Legacy Committee and as an Infant & Toddler Commissioner on Teacher Education Action Committee. Susie & David Shelton-Dodge have been selected as the 2023 AMS Living Legacy’s.

Theresa Callahan is AMS certified in the Early Childhood Level has been the Director at Hope Montessori Academy in Creve Coeur since 2010. As a second-generation family member of the school’s founder, Theresa is proud to carry on her father’s vision for quality education and care for young children. Prior to being named Director, she has pursued this passion through many roles throughout the school’s organization. As a certified Montessori educator, she taught in the classroom and shared her love of reading as the school’s librarian. These positions helped give her a unique insight in her work transforming the architectural/environmental design of the various schools to be aesthetically pleasing as well as functional learning environments. She has mentored Montessori adult learners, interns, classroom assistants and parents throughout her various positions. It is her goal to build community and connection based on the fundamentals of Montessori philosophy for families at her school. Theresa has built her life around her Montessori family as much as her own family.

Her interest in the Foundation for Barnes Jewish Hospital comes from her family’s legacy and commitment to health care in the community. The values and dedication of her grandfather and father in establishing Faith Hospital many years ago continues today through the family’s philanthropy. As a life-long resident of the city of Creve Coeur, Theresa’s recognizes the importance of BJC West County Hospital in the area and supports endeavors for its growth. Theresa has volunteered for many local charities, including Friends of Kids with Cancer, Autism Speaks, United Way, Angel’s Arms, Villa Duchesne Mother’s Club, and is an active member of The American Montessori Society.