Our theme in 2023 comes from the iconic song written by Paul Kelly & Kev Carmody which pays tribute to the Gurindji people. The song is symbolic of the broader movement for Indigenous equality and land rights in Australia. We take inspiration from this iconic song as it resonates with Maria Montessori’s mission for education to propel us forward towards justice, equality and peace. The ‘little things’ we do in our schools and centres can create big change.
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Professor Pasi Sahlberg is a Finnish educator, teacher, and author. He has worked as a schoolteacher, teacher-educator, academic, and policymaker in Finland, and he has advised schools and education system leaders around the world. In 2013 his book “Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland” won the Grawemeyer Award (U.S.) for an idea that has potential to change the world. His most recent books include “Let the Children Play: How more play will save our schools and help children thrive“ (2019, with William Doyle), and “In Teachers We Trust: The Finnish way to world-class schools” (2021, with Tim Walker).
Schools that offer children alternative educational experiences have long served an important purpose alongside mainstream schooling. Interestingly, wide range alternative education models have emerged in almost all education systems during the 20th century. Now, when the nations around the world are recovering from the global pandemic, interest in alternative schooling is increasing. In this presentation I outline the state of global education before the pandemic, then discuss how different approaches to school education have coped with recent uncertainty, and finally offer some lessons for Montessori community to consider from the global experience, and encourage other parents and educators in current mainstream approach to learn about the benefits of alternative education.
“If Maria Montessori were still alive, how would she use technology in the classroom, with children and teachers, without betraying the principles of her methodology?”.
The MonTech Project blends the fundamental principles of Montessori pedagogy with the core ideas of Creative Technologies.
Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and with a consortium of eight partners from six European countries, MonTech is a collaborative, multidisciplinary project which aims to develop creative technological activities according to the principles of the Montessori pedagogy. The idea is that these innovative computing tools, added to Montessori, will help to promote learning through play, creative thinking, practical life, and will add non-linguistic elements.
While ‘creative technology’ is a generic term, in the framework of the MonTech project, these are Technologies for Creative Learning. Through Constructionism, Maker Education, Computational Thinking, Creative Computing, STEAM and Tinkering, children can engage with technology as a medium of creative expression.
Amelia Cobb is a non-Indigenous Montessori educator living on the lands and waterways of the Garigal people. She identifies as an Ally to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Amelia read Indigenous Studies at Melbourne University and has worked with Aboriginal communities in Arrernte. Amelia is a Montessori graduate from Balmain Montessori School and is currently directing a 9 – 12 classroom at Montessori East.
Amelia has developed a comprehensive curriculum: Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in the Montessori Classroom in consultation with Clarence Bruinsma, an Aboriginal educator from Yaegl country in Far North NSW. Clarence grew up in Aboriginal communities and brings invaluable insight to the program based on firsthand experiences of Aboriginal history and culture.
Dr. Montessori’s founding belief was that education is the key to social change as the child has the capacity to transform humanity. As Montessori educators living and working in Australia, we have a responsibility to reverse the culture of silencing First Nation voices and in so doing help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
This workshop will equip participants to feel more confident in embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in their classrooms or learning centres by introducing a culturally inclusive, holistic, and authentic curriculum that aligns with key Montessori lessons across the 3 – 6 and 6 – 12 age groups. Participants will engage in a process of truth-telling to address the true history of our country which has been denied for too long. They will then learn how to integrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives within some of the key Montessori lessons and Great Stories as well as in their everyday classroom practices. Even if you attended the online workshops earlier in the year, this session caters for the extension of your practice and includes cycle group collaboration with your peers.
How do we maintain and reignite independent and motivated learning in young children? By the age of five, too many children are losing their spontaneity and eagerness to learn independently. Teachers are commenting on the lack of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills that children demonstrate when entering school and that this lack of readiness has an ongoing impact on a child’s learning. Why have these skills disappeared in more recent times?
In this workshop educators will have the opportunity to explore optimum environments for brain development, strategies and parental input that will support a child’s learning into their future.
I started my Montessori journey under the guidance of the team at MMTO in London. I arrived in Australia in 1976 and with a group of keen parents founded Northside Montessori School where I was the initial 3 – 6 Director. Since then I have had the opportunity to work in varying schools supporting children, families and educators.
More recently I completed my Masters in Educational Neuroscience. Throughout my studies the pedagogy of Montessori has resonated with me and having recently returned to the classroom I see this demonstrated on a daily basis.
Katy Walker is a talk-therapist, writer, speaker, Mum of two and Founder of The Clearing Room, an adolescent counselling and wellbeing education service in the Adelaide Hills.
Katy was also privileged to be invited on staff part-time at The Hills Montessori School for 2022 as Student Wellbeing Worker.
As children navigate the full spectrum of human emotion within the confines of a rapidly developing brain, they are constantly seeking guidance from the adults around them. In this workshop, learn how to create the psychological safety required for managing big emotions, and gain skills to teach and model emotional literacy when it matters most.
Listening is a skill that requires focus, intent, commitment and conviction. In this workshop, participants are invited to explore listening as a super-power in the classroom. Discover practical tools for enhancing listening skills, and how to implement these for the benefit of your students.
Montessori Dance offers an approach to embedding dance into the Montessori learning environment that aligns with the principles of Montessori and Cosmic Education. The movement activities focus on fostering creativity, curiosity, observation, collaboration, choice-making and improvisation. Children develop ownership of the dance phrases they make and respond to ideas, concepts and stimulus through movement.
Montessori Dance’s approach is influenced by postmodern dance and somatic practices. We view dance as an art form and a language through which human intelligence and creativity can express itself in infinite ways. Introducing the creative movement activities offered by Montessori Dance could also open the doors for further explorations into dance styles and dance from around the world.
The possibilities are endless!
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Kei Ikeda is a qualified Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) 6-12 educator with over 10 years of experience as a lead guide in the Montessori classroom.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Dance and English combined with a Bachelor of Education from the University of New South Wales. Kei is passionate about making dance and movement as a form of expression available for all children and adults.
An active member of the Montessori community, Kei has supported AMI 6-12 teacher training courses in various capacities as well as contributing to the Australian-Thai Montessori Supporters Group.
Involved in Montessori education since 2011, Tim Moore has worked in a small team to establish the Adolescent Program at The Hills Montessori School. He has an enduring passion for transformative education arising from his experience working in diverse contexts from rural and remote communities to urban mainstream independent schools and universities. He holds both master’s and bachelor’s degrees in education, authoring papers published in academic journals on the case for critical pedagogy in contemporary education and role of agency and transformation Montessori pedagogy.
Toward a Whole School Approach to Embedding Authentic First Nations Learning
This presentation will explore some of the opportunities and challenges for non-Aboriginal educators seeking to engage authentically with First Nations cultures and perspectives within a Montessori context. Through critical reflection on our own personal and professional journeys, we will explore the roles we play as practitioners in this space, the importance of partnership and consultation with First Nations people, as well as practical strategies for developing our accountability to the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership standards; the curriculum frameworks we work within; and our commitment as Montessori teachers to provide education that is for the betterment of humankind.