The theme of the 2017 Annual American Montessori Conference was Montessori Beyond Borders and this was evident as we gathered with over 4,000 other Montessorians from 6 continents and at least 18 countries in San Diego at the start of spring break.
Apart from the choices of more than 200 workshops the conference featured three distinguished keynote speakers.
Nicholas Kristof, himself a Montessori child and parent, inspired us with “Why Your Students Should Care about the World – and Change it”. Kristof, a best-selling author and columnist for the New York Times, drew from his years of reporting in 150 countries worldwide to argue that although students sometimes perceive the problems of the world as too vast to affect, it’s entirely possible for them to have an impact.
Jessica Lahey, a middle school teacher, is also a bestselling author and columnist. Jessica shared some common parenting mistakes, including overprotectiveness and manipulating children’s friendships and provided tips on how the most critical skills- responsibility, organization, and mindfulness – can be achieved through failure. You can learn more about Jessica’s advice in her book “The Gift of Failure- How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed” and at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIl9wQoDxQs
Sonia Manzano, Maria of Sesame Street, inspired us to see the potential in all children and guide them in reaching their pinnacle – regardless of whatever environment they hail from. As she traced the story of her life- from her struggles as a member of a troubled Puerto Rican family living in an impoverished neighborhood to becoming a cultural icon for millions around the world we heard echoes of Maria Montessori’s words ‘free the child’s potential and you will transform him into the world”.
Our guides had an excellent time attending this conference and they are excited to bring much of what they learned into the classroom. Workshop sessions ranged from updating practical life to mindful use of technology to peace activities to empathy through music. With such a wide range of topics, our guides have a lot of takeaways to implement and we’re excited to get started!
To find out more about what we learned at the conference and how it can benefit your family, come to Show & Tell: Tips for the Montessori Family. This educational evening is a great time to learn about incorporating Montessori methods of time management, discipline, and much more! There will also be a Q & A session with our guides.