Tag Archives: 2013

More From the Montessori Leaders Collaborative

A few days ago I wrote about the Montessori Leaders Collaborative and the big projects that are emerging from their work.  Two more pieces that deserve mention:

Jennifer Davidson, Executive Director of Montessori Northwest, the Portland, Oregon training center which sponsored the 2013 International Montessori Congress, announced the Teacher Formation Working Group.  “Teacher Formation” rather than training is by design, to acknowledge the reality that the developmental work of becoming a Montessori teacher extends well beyond the training course.  The project will be a census of U. S. teacher preparation and professional development programs similar to the schools census.  This long-term survey will build a database of teacher training programs based on data already collected by MACTE, and will consider quality principles such as evidence of candidate learning, faculty learning and inquiry, and program capacity.  The Group has an immediate goal of connecting state teaching credentials to teacher training programs.

Also announced at the MLC breakout and recently launched online is the Montessor Charter Management Association (MCMA), a cooperative venture of NAMTA and NCMPS.  From the website:

MCMO is a network of charter public Montessori schools across the United States. We provide wide-ranging support including school management, coaching of school leaders, professional development, staff recruitment, fundraising, marketing, and more.

The Montessori movement is on the move!  Watch this space for more to come.

2013 Montessori Congress: Glass Classroom

A highlight of the 2013 International Montessori Congress in Portland, Oregon this week was a “Glass Classroom” installation in downtown Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square.  Modeled on the Glass Classroom at the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco, the Portland event featured toddler, children’s house, and elementary environments operating for three hours in the middle of the bustling public space known affectionately as “Portland’s Living Room.”  Children climbed stairs, sliced bananas, walked on the line, rolled up rugs, counted golden beads, worked on grammar boxes, and even laid down for a nap, as curious adults passed by and stopped for a second look.  These aren’t the greatest shots, but they give the flavor of the event.

toddler environment

children’s house


The first Glass Classroom was itself a highlight of Montessori’s first visit to the United States.  The American Montessori Society has a good account of the event here, and the photograph below shows  (left to right) Mario Montessori, Helen Parkhurst, Maria Montessori, and Adelia Pyle looking on.


The 1915 Exhibition has inspired other models over the years.  In 2011, Crossway Community Montessori Charter School in Maryland presented a demonstration children’s house, and the 2012 AMS Annual Conference in San Francisco featured an elementary classroom.  Montessori in the Square, the 2013 Congress event, with classrooms at three levels, is the largest such exhibition to date.

2013 International Montessori Congress

The Montessori Observer has been offline for a while, loyal readers will have noticed, as the author moves across the country, settles back into the old house, and starts a new job.  But there’s something happening in Portland, Oregon that is too momentous to pass up.  That would be the 2013 International Montessori Congress.

Many—perhaps most!—TMO readers are here at the Congress in person.  But for those who couldn’t come, or curious as to what it’s all about, here’s a little context and background information.

The first International Montessori Congress was held in 1929 in Helsingör, Denmark, and the Association Montessori Internationale was founded by Maria Montessori and her son Mario at this event.  Since then, 26 Congresses have been held, including the current gathering in Portland.  Recent Congresses were held in Chennai (2009), Sydney (2005), and Paris (2001), and it last took place in the United States in Palo Alto in 1972.  (The complete list can be found at AMI here.)

The Congress features keynotes, breakouts, receptions, materials displays, school tours and more—in other words, much of what you will find at a typical AMI-USA, NAMTA, or AMS conference.  But historically the Congress has had greater significance than that.  As an international gathering of the Montessori movement, the Congress is intended, in the words of Congress organizers,

to cause movement and action in the international community; evoking the constant evolution of the Montessori movement by building on the intentions and accomplishments of the proceeding Congress.

Previous Congresses have marked turning points in the development of the international Montessori movement, such as the re-organization and revitalization of the Australian Montessori movement following the 2005 Sydney Congress.

Today’s challenge for Montessori is to greatly expand the method’s reach beyond its niche in classrooms of privileged children in Western developed economies, and to reconcile the differences which divide the Montessori world and prevent the movement from being a more powerful force in the world education crisis.  AMI President André Roberfroid spoke directly to these issues in his opening address, specifically welcoming the President of the AMS Board of Directors, Joyce Pickering, clearly stating that the Congress, although organized by AMI, was a Montessori event open to all, and challenging attendees to banish the idea that Montessori is only for those who can afford it.

There’s much more to share about the Congress: Brian Swimme’s inspiring keynote, the Glass Classroom in the middle of downtown Portland—and that’s just today’s events.  More to come as the event unfolds.

Cycles In Nature: A Montessori Adolescent Event


The Montessori Institute for the Science of Peace, Educateurs Sans Frontières, and the 2013 International Montessori Congress have put together an exciting event to “bring Montessori adolescents into the big picture and celebrate their role in the Montessori world and beyond.”

Montessori schools with adolescent programs are invited to organize participation in an international “Cycles in Nature” event. Students will spend May 30 on their bicycles, reflecting on and documenting the natural world, and  submit writing, images, sound, etc., for a youth statement on the environment to be presented at the 2013 International Congress in Portland, Oregon this summer.

In addition, schools are invited to sponsor adolescents to attend the Congress and take part in keynotes and special events planned for them, including a youth training for Educateurs Sans Frontières, AMI’s global children’s outreach program.

This an exciting opportunity to get our Montessori youth represented at the Congress, and involved in the growing Montessori peace movement.  Get involved and pass it on!

More information:

2013 Congress to Publish 1913 Diary and Lectures


The International Montessori Congress is the most significant event and gathering in the Montessori world.  Founded in 1929 by Maria Montessori and marking the birth of AMI, and held every four years or so since that time, the Congress is an international gathering of Montessorians of from all backgrounds and trainings.  The four day event in Portland, Oregon (July 30 through August 3) features keynotes from Brian SwimmeJudith SnowPaul Hawken, and Vandana Shiva, three days of breakouts, a Gala celebration, museum exhibits, school tours, nature outings, and more.

2013 is the centenary of Montessori’s 1913 1st International Training Course in Rome, and the Congress will feature a museum exhibit of artifacts from the course.  In addition, the Congress website has announced the publication of two exciting documents, available at the event:

This last is particularly exciting.  In 1913, Montessori was know worldwide for her method, which had been adopted all over Europe and was spreading to Asia and North America.  Her first book, The Montessori Method had been translated into English and was popular in the U.S.  But the book, while including sections which describe the materials and their use, is a mixture of theory and practical direction that adds up to a tantalizing glimpse of Montessori’s classroom practice at that time.  These lectures, including 13 theory lectures and 9 practical lessons offer a rare look into the development of the method.

Congress registration is still available here.  It’s $545 plus travel and lodging, but it’s not something that’s going to come around again next year.  If you can make it, I urge you to go.  I’ll post more about the speakers and events in the next few weeks.

2013 Registration Now Open

2013 International Montessori Congress logo

Registration for the 2013 International Montessori Congress is now open!  This is a once-in-a-lifetime event taking place in Portland, Oregon next summer. Don’t miss it.

Registration | Montessori Congress 2013

Registration | Montessori Congress 2013.  Details and pricing out today, in the newsletter and on the site. Out now.  Looks pretty fantastic.  Look it over here.