New & Events from Holy Trinity Montessori
From Our Teachers
Our HTM teachers recently attended the American Montessori Society's 2016 Annual Conference in Chicago. This conference draws Montessori educators from all over the world who come to listen, learn and grow together!
This is what the AMS website says about the conference (read more here):
"In 2016, we’re gathering in Chicago to discuss and reflect on the fundamental principles, values, and perspectives at the heart of Montessori. It’s an exciting time for the Montessori movement, and we’ll reaffirm our unity of purpose as our numbers grow and our approach gains rapidly increasing interest and recognition. Join us at the American Montessori Society 2016 Conference as we build on our past and welcome the bright future of Montessori education."
All of our teachers and staff at HTM were greatly impacted by the ideas shared at the conference. We asked them to share some of their insights and inspirations with us. These are their responses.
Heather Dennis, Toddler Community
Annie reminded us to "listen to the the hidden story behind difficult behavior." This spoke to me in so many ways as a reminder that we can not see the world as the child sees it, as he sees through his own eyes and his own experiences.
This workshop was only a small taste of the wealth of inflation that Annie Brook can offer our community! I am looking forward to diving deeper in to her work and learning more!
KaToya Jackson, Primary A
This was also my favorite lecture because I felt like she was promoting the same thing we promote in the class. We want each child to find what brings them joy in the class, and feel empowered, encouraged and confident it that work. This lecture inspired me to incorporate poetry into my classroom next year; both reading and creating. I am looking forward to reading more of Sarah's work and sharing these practices with Primary A.
Molly Selby, Primary A
The AMS Conference is always such an inspiring weekend, filled with practical insight from fellow Montessorians along with moving testimonials from skilled professionals within a wide variety of fields. Over the course of the weekend I went to many inspiring breakout sessions and learned things about a wide variety of topics ranging from the importance of a child's birth story to the importance of letting your children climb trees. I'm excited about all practical tools this conference gave me about incorporating nature and care of the environment into the classroom. However, the biggest takeaways, for me, came from the key note speakers we had each morning.
On the second day Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, talked to us about his many years as a lawyer and the fight to rescue individuals from death row. I was deeply moved by his stories of clients that were juveniles tried as adults, or the mentally unstable tried as though they were not. Many of his stories were hard to hear. The atrocities committed by the justice system in states all across the country can quickly lead me to an attitude of hopelessness. But Bryan told us that "hopelessness in the enemy of justice." According to Bryan, in order to change the world we need to protect our hopefulness. We also need to put ourselves in situations that may be uncomfortable, but in which we are so desperately needed.
Mr. Stevenson talked about the importance of America confronting its past in order for us to ever get past some of the deeply rooted biases and racism that still permeates our culture. This thought got me thinking about the way I was taught about American history in school and how little time was spent on the dark parts of our time as a nation. I believe that education is the key to changing the narrative of our nation, to letting go of the pain and hurt that we humans have caused each other, to preventing further pain and damage on our planet, and moving towards a future where we learn from our past and stop committing the same mistakes over and over. I'm so grateful for Bryan Stevenson and the work that he does, and so blessed to have been able to hear the ways in which he believes we all of the power to change the world.
Priscilla Arjes, Primary B
The AMS conference was so fulfilling. Each workshop I attended inspired new ways to use the materials in the classroom, improve classroom management and how to work with each child's different personality.
One new thing we are trying this week in Primary B is with our food prep activity. Instead of just cutting apples to eat as a snack, we are cutting and peeling apples each day and saving them to make an apple pie at the end of the week! We have also been grinding our own cinnamon to add to our pie! I love this new concept for this Practical Life activity. The Primary B friends are extra excited about the tasting part of this work.
The conference was also very fulfilling on a personal level. I so enjoyed how each keynote speaker addressed the value a person's emotional and physical health. It's something so simple, but something so important. We get so busy and forget to take care of ourselves! If we aren't caring for ourselves, we aren't able to give the best to the people we love and toward our jobs. It's good to know that if I'm taking care of myself, I'll have more to give to these friends I'm lucky enough to spend each day with.
Two of the keynote speakers have TED talks that you all should check out. Their names are: Bryan Stevenson and Sarah Kay. Mitchel Adler was the third speaker, and you can also find some of his work online. They were all so inspiring. Enjoy!
Cara Erbe, Lower Elementary
She discussed techniques to help the children retain their math facts. One technique that we have been using in Lower Elementary since we've been back is one in which the children use a ball or hula hoop and rehearse their facts out loud while either bouncing the ball or hula hooping. This activity engages the child in a much different way and has been proving to be really fun and effective! This is just one of the amazing suggestions that Betsy made during this session and we are also practicing other techniques she offered to add some excitement around what can be seen as a daunting task!
Jaime Moran, Lower Elementary
I have often heard at other conferences that the teacher or guide can set the tone of the classroom and the children will identify and adapt that same tone. This lecture really enlightened this concept for me not only in its definition, but it also provided a step-by-step guide on how to achieve this balance of self awareness and self care. I hope to use this information both at home and in the classroom to create this balance!
Jessica Polsteen, Upper Elementary
My favorite seminar at the conference was "The Development of the Atom," as explained by Michael Duffy. Mr. Duffy is the author of "Children of the Universe," a wonderful book about Montessori cosmic education (which I love)! I was very excited to meet him and hear him discuss this in person. We also heard from a poet named Sarah Kay, who was a main speaker at the conference. She performed her poetry out loud for us and shared her experiences as a Montessori student in New York City. I was so inspired by her passion and I hope to give all of our children what she gained through her Montessori experience!
From a practical perspective, I have already incorporated many fun math games that we saw at the conference. These are designed to engage the children with different ways of solving math problems.I know our Upper Elementary classroom is going to benefit from the things I learned at this conference an I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to grow as an educator.
Laura Frith, Office of Development
As I first time attendee of the American Montessori Society Conference, I arrived with my fresh new notebook and list of all my top choices for break out sessions. I was a bit conflicted as it was hard to choose among all the interesting topics. There were an abundant number of administrator sessions from Grant Writing, Strategic Planning, Leadership and Board Development. I gained wonderful tips, resources and insights from these sessions.
I also loved to hear all the takeaways from the sessions others attended. For me, a unique moment of the weekend was when the entire conference gathered in an exhibit hall during the key-note speaker’s address on Emotional Intelligence. It was very inspiring to sit among over 3,000 other Montessorians from all over the country. I felt very proud to be a part of the HTM team and am very excited for the future of our school.
Kate Riley, Head of School
For me the most valuable takeaway from the conference involved seeing the teachers become completely immersed and excited in the process and philosophy of Montessori education! Each day of the conference, I watched our teachers become more inspired and that much more eager to come home and share the new knowledge they learned. As with any career, sometimes we all need fresh inspiration. Teaching is no exception - we definitely need opportunities to learn new methods and absorb great ideas! Conferences like this give us the chance to listen to the most renowned minds in our field, which always challenges and inspires us. They also refresh our excitement about our calling to teach, lead, love, and encourage your children in the classroom
As both a Montessori educator and a Head of School, it is a means so much to me that we can maximize such a wonderful opportunity for self-improvement and growth. We thank you for allowing us to attend the American Montessori Society conference and look forward to sharing all of our new knowledge with you and your child each day!
Calendar & Events
4/7 - Discovery Night: Montessori Transitions. If your child is moving up to a new Classroom Community at HTM, you'll definitely want to participate in this parents-only evening to learn what you can expect next year! We also recommend this event for all parents who want to learn more about what's in store for your child as they grow. 6:30 PM
4/15 - Mother/Son Spring Fling, 6:30 PM
5/6 - Grandparents & Special Friends Day, 9:30 AM
5/6 - "SWAMPED" Musical Performance, featuring entire HTM Student Body; performances at 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM
5/27 - Last Day of School; Parent Assembly for End of Year Ceremonies, 10:00 AM; Early Dismissal and End of Year Celebration Picnic, 11:00 AM