2018 Conference Theme - FINAL

Montessori Florida Coalition Teacher and Parent Education Days 2019

“Montessori Minds, Hands, and Hearts”

Dr. Montessori revolutionized the child’s world when her work unleashed the knowledge that the power of the child’s mind is unlimited.  She then connected the revelation that the hand is the chief instrument of the mind and her method was born.  Dr. Montessori’s work of the heart has fueled so many people around the world; from the countless children whom have benefited by her discoveries and the adults who follow in her footsteps and continue her work.

The Montessori Florida Coalition is focusing on this trilogy as the theme of this year’s conference. We believe the three are interwoven and necessary in order to have an authentic Montessori experience. Join us for a day of focus on how minds, hands, and hearts are vital to the Montessori movement and how this movement has changed the world.


Dates: Friday, January 25th, 2019 through Saturday, January 26th, 2019

Location: Barry University Miami Shores, Florida

Saturday Conference Topics:

“Cosmic Connections Through Geography and Science”

Presenter: Ms. Helen DeVere (Session 1)

Target Audience: Early Childhood

The traditional geography and science material sequences (parts of the Dr. Montessori’s cultural curriculum) are shown in the power point presentation along with supplemental ideas to encourage more involvement and discovery of the children. The sequence is not linear, but pulls ideas and questions from their interest. Art and Food Prep. are logical off-shoot of Geography and Science, relative to biomes, cultures, flags, artwork, planting, harvested and preparing food. The materials displayed are examples of supplementary materials children’s work. A small handout outlines many of these materials and ideas for leading children to new discoveries. “When the child is an active participant, s/he sees connectedness among these areas and often finds a lifetime interest.”

Return to top of page.

“Teacher’s Tools for the Soul: Nurturing Spirituality to Model Peace in the Classroom”

Presenter: Ms. Lorena Tasker (Session 1)

Target Audience: All

Have you ever wonder how Maria Montessori went from being a scientist to develop a peace curriculum that fosters the child’s spirituality? What does it take to connect with the children, parents and colleagues as human beings, not just ‘human doings”? How do we teach peace if we do not feel it? We will explore Maria Montessori spiritual influences during her early years, and then expand our set of tools to deepen on our own spirituality and model it to our students.


Return to top of page.

“Educando a los Padres y Conectándonos con Ellos”

Presenter: Ms. Monica Gargiulo-Benitez (Session 1)

Target Audience: All

Este taller explicará cómo crear colaboraciones cercanas y productivas con los padres por medio de varias estrategias como sesiones de orientación, noches de educación para padres, y desayunos familiares. Ustedes aprenderán a guiar a los padres hacia la mejor manera de apoyar a sus hijos y a la escuela, además animándolos a ser embajadores para el Movimiento Montessori.

Return to top of page.

“Open your World! Ways to promote child literacy in your Montessori Infant or Toddler Community”

Presenter: Ms. Cristina Valente (Session 1)

Target Audience: Infant/Toddler

Open your World! Ways to promote child literacy in your Montessori Infant or Toddler Community.
Come learn how to bring the past (The Library) into the future!
This workshop will look at ways to get infants/toddlers excited about reading. We will explore how to pick and choose books for a Montessori Infant or Toddler Community, along with other ideas for your classroom environment.

Return to top of page.

“Where the Sidewalk Ends True Discovery Begins”

Presenter: Mr. Geoffrey Bishop (Session 1)

Target Audience: All

The topic Nature, as it is connected to a child’s development is a fundamental and important aspect of educating the whole child. In main stream education the natural environment is sidelined and mostly ignored as an inconsequential part of a child’s wellbeing. This could not be further from the truth, study after study has proven that a child’s connection to the natural world enhances their ability to focus, to concentrate, to create and to imagine, this connection has far reaching health benefits as well as benefits in the areas of social and emotional wellbeing as well as physical health.
This presentation will energize and revitalize the teachers desire to reconnect their children to nature, to re-embrace the natural world and to discover the importance of that connection. The presentation will highlight different activities and curriculum ideas teachers can use to reengage their children and connect them to the natural world. We will take a close look at children’s nature connections through uninterrupted outdoor time, art, silence and listening, literature and writing exercises, these will engage students in an environmental way. We will look at play and the benefits that the natural world with its loose parts, excited children to play in a focused and creative manner.

Return to top of page.
“The Montessori Bells:A Refresher Course”

Presenter: Ms. Kim Barreto Loaiza (Session 1)

Target Audience: Early childhood, Elementary

This session will introduce the sensorial Montessori bell lessons and discuss why they are often difficult and nerve-wracking to present. Tips and strategies of how to manage having the bells in the environment will be discussed. Included will also be techniques for feeling more comfortable with the bells and why it is so important to include them in your classroom, rather than remove them or consider them optional. If you received instruction of the bells in your training, this will be a refresher course that helps solidify the aims for the foundational bell lessons. If you have not previously received bell training, this will be an informative session that presents the foundational lessons, and gives the attendee the confidence to present the bell lessons in the environment. If you are not musically inclined, this workshop will give you the confidence to make the bells a vibrant part of your classroom.

Return to top of page.

“Lucheon Session – Educator Burnout and Compassion Fatigue: Prevention and Self-Care”

Presenter: Dr. Samantha Carella, PhD (Lucheon Session)

Target Audience: Head of Schools, Administrators

Educators have many roles and responsibilities. Over time, burnout and compassion fatigue can occur. This workshop will discuss improving teacher well-being, learn self-care strategies and finding the right balance.

Return to top of page.

“Infant/Toddler Teacher Assistant Training”

Presenters: Ms. Joan Rodriguez-Malone (All Afternoon Session)

Target Audience: Infant/Toddler

It is often the case in the teaching profession that assistants are hired with little time for training before they have to jump head first into working in a classroom, without having background information on Maria Montessori, what the infant toddler community is all about, what the expectations of the job are and the ever important details of the ins and outs of the classroom. There is so much to cover in so little time and we usually wind up starting the year before covering it all.

Join Joan, AMS certified Infant Toddler Teacher, who has experienced different roles in a Montessori classroom and has come to conclusion that strongly any team can go from being strangers at the start to cohesive coworkers and great friends as long as certain fundamentals are in place to build a strong relationship between the teacher and assistant.

Join Joan as she cover a brief history of Montessori education, discuss the goals of a infant toddler classroom, outline the expectations of a classroom assistant, and how to develop and cultivate a bond within the team to ensure a happy, healthy, and successful environment.

Return to top of page.
“Celebrar y Valorar la Diversidad en el Aula Montessori-Promoviendo una Cultura de Paz”

Presenters: Ms. Renée Ibáñez (Session 2)

Target Audience: Early Childhood (3-6), Elementary I (6-9), Bilingual Programs

In a global society, it is essential that parents, teachers, and students have an understanding and appreciation for different races, cultures, abilities, behaviors, beliefs, and lifestyles. As our schools and communities grow to be more diverse, it is critical that we acknowledge the different backgrounds of each other to be able to practice inclusion: Identifying and thinking through notions of unfamiliar grounds and how they affect our schools and society in general allow both students and teachers to see the classroom as an inclusive place.
The goal of this presentation is to highlight a few of the key challenges and concerns that arise when teaching diversity, specially when the children are very young and also to provide tools and illustrate ways to incorporate an understanding of diversity in the classroom and beyond.

En una sociedad global, es esencial que los padres, maestros y estudiantes comprendan y aprecien distintas razas, culturas, capacidades, comportamientos, creencias y estilos de vida. A medida que nuestras escuelas y comunidades se vuelven más diversas, es fundamental que reconozcamos los diferentes orígenes de cada uno para poder practicar la integración: El poder identificar y pensar a través de nociones desconocidas y cómo éstas afectan nuestras escuelas y a la sociedad en general permite a los estudiantes y profesores para ver el aula como un lugar incluyente.
El objetivo de esta presentación es resaltar algunos de los retos e inquietudes que surgen cuando se instruye el concepto de diversidad, especialmente cuando los niños son muy pequeños, así como proporcionar herramientas y formas de incorporar un entendimiento de la diversidad en el aula y fuera de ella.

Return to top of page.

“The First Three Minutes: The Dance of the Elementary Particles”

Presenter: Mr. Harvey Hallenberg (Session 2)

Target Audience: Elementary 6-12

Return to top of page.

“Psychoeducational Evaluations: A Window into Students’ Minds”

Presenters: Dr. Judith Migoya and Dr. Jessica Garcia (Session 2)

Target Audience: All

Psychoeducational evaluations provide valuable information regarding developmental
and neurocognitive skills required for students to achieve success in the academic arena,
as well as in their intrapersonal and interpersonal lives. This presentation will provide
attendees the opportunity to:
• Learn about the various domains assessed through the process of a
psychoeducational evaluation, and the interaction between domains (minds, hands
and hearts)
• Gain knowledge of assessment tools and use of assessment results to identify
students’ talents and lagging skills.
• Develop a working knowledge of strategies for supporting students’ academic

Return to top of page.

“Blast Off!! Discovering Space in the 3-6 classroom”

Presenters: Ms. Viviana Victoriano and Ms. Barbara Roatta (Session 2)

Target Audience: Early Childhood (3-6)

Come join us for hands on ideas on how to introduce a unit of study about space for the children in the 3-6 classroom that have a natural inclination to learn more about this topic. “What is out there?” and “How am I connected to it?” are questions that frequently arise in their inquisitive minds. This presentation will touch briefly the following topics: the Universe, Galaxies, Stars and the Solar System. It will continue with a more detailed overview of the Earth, the Sun and the Moon: how they relate to each other and what is our connection to them. We will provide the audience with ideas and materials they can use in their classrooms that can be incorporated in the areas of Language, Math, Sensorial, Art and Line Time. Children will have a blast while blasting off into space!

Return to top of page.

“A Toddler Circle Time Checklist”

Presenters: Ms. Elizabeth Campbell and Ms. Melanie Binder (Session 2)

Target Audience: Infant/Toddler

What do sit-upons, a battery operated candle, and a dance party have in common? Toddler circle time of course! Join Melanie and Liz as they guide you through an actual circle time while offering suggestions, tips, and song options, including lessons in grace and courtesy, mindfulness, and peace. Leave the seminar with guidelines for your own circle time and perhaps a new perspective on what to include and how to build the foundation of a circle time experience based on the Montessori principles of routine, repetition, and community.

Return to top of page.

“Music Circle Time for your Montessori Classroom (ages 3 – 5)”

Presenter:Ms. Jane Spinney (Session 3)

Target Audience: Early Childhood (3-6)

Music prepares the ear, body and mind for all future learning. SING, MOVE, LISTEN, PLAY: These are the core elements of music. By incorporating all these elements into your lesson planning, teachers lay the foundation upon which children can become musical beings and carry the love of music throughout their childhood journey and beyond.
In this session we will discuss:
• The importance of music and movement and how children learn music – through active music-making
• Sample songs, finger plays, movement and focused listening activities; all developmentally appropriate
• How to become a better and more tuneful singer and sing in the vocal range of the young child
• A proven successful sequence of activities for the perfect 30-minute music class for ages 3 – 6
• Equipping your classroom with appropriate instruments and props

Return to top of page.
“Print and Cursive Writing in the Montessori Classroom: Guiding Students with Handwriting Work”

Presenter: Ms. Susan Scheibenzuber (Session 3)

Target Audience: Early Childhood (3-6), Elementary (6-12)

Explore practical techniques for guiding primary and elementary students to write in cursive and print.
Look at ways to set up purposeful, self-directed work which is ever-present and sequenced. Presentation will includes samples of students work and hands on writing for participants.

Return to top of page.

“El arte de la comunicacion”

Presenter: Ms. Carolina Chacon (Session 3)

Target Audience: All

Return to top of page.

“Montessori on the Move: Movement as an Integral Component of Montessori Education”

Presenters: Ms. Barbara Murphy and Mr. Martin Yaconis (Session 3)

Target Audience: All

In her book The Secret of Childhood, Dr. Montessori wrote that “Movement is an essential factor in intellectual growth.” In The Montessori Method, she dedicated a whole chapter to what she called “muscular education.” Today, neuroscience recognizes that movement and cognition are closely intertwined. In essence, movement matters for children’s holistic development.
In this presentation, we will revisit the concept of movement as an integral component of the Montessori method, further delving into how it can be expanded to meet the current need for increased physical activity against the backdrop of a progressively sedentary world. In this line, we will explore how to integrate needed physical activity into the classroom and independent work cycle through the “movement corner.” We will also uncover and experience, hands-on, what a physical education class following Montessori principles looks like, working on physical literacy and fundamental athletic skills within a prepared environment that prioritizes natural materials, and supported by a program that emphasizes independence, active learning, purposeful action around sensitive periods, as well as cooperation and peer-learning.

Return to top of page.
“Let’s Explore! Helping Students To Discover and Learn Independently using Investigation Areas”

Presenter: Ms. Julia Harrison and Ms. Kathleen Geiger (Session 3)

Target Audience: Early Childhood (3-6) and Elementary I (6-9)

Come join us for a comprehensive introduction to the concept of Investigation Areas within a Montessori environment. This presentation will cover the following topics: What in an Investigation Area? Where did the concept evolve from? Why it works in a Montessori environment, how to incorporate the concept into your classroom, and much more, including themes and ideas to help you introduce the idea to your students. We will provide the audience with examples of successful investigation areas and show the benefits of having students engage in a multi-sensory, hands on experience.

Return to top of page.
“Stimulating the Adolescent Mind Through Experential Learning”

Presenters: Ms. Tabbetha Tracey and Mr. Austin Guhl (Session 3)

Target Audience: Adolescent (ages 12-18)

“Montessori Learning: Importance of the Adolescent Brain” will explore the Third Plane of Development, which is the period lasting from approximately 12 years of age through 18, which is marked by the adolescents’ natural tendencies to be inquisitive about their place in society, pursue opportunities to contribute to society, and engage in projects where they can make a positive difference in the world. This presentation will provide attendees the opportunity to:

• Gain a rudimentary understanding of the adolescent mind during Third Plane of Development
• Valorization
o What is it?
o How is it achieved?
o What are the recommendations?
o How do we, as educators and parents, facilitate Valorization?
o What does it look like in action?

Return to top of page.
“Fostering Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary Skills in the Montessori Classroom: Web-Based Resources”

Presenters: Dr. Lilia DiBello and Ms. Elizabeth Kpenkaan (Session 4)

Target Audience: Elementary 6-12

The National Reading Panel identifies the five essential components of Reading as: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary and Comprehension. This session will focus on exploring web-based resources which will support the Montessori teacher in establishing a strong foundation for Reading – specifically in the areas of Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension. Research supporting the importance of these areas of reading development will be explored, along with practical strategies for teaching which specifically align with the Montessori philosophy.

Return to top of page.
“Becoming Montessori Ministers of Peace, Kindness and Happiness”

Presenter: Ms. Judy Dempsey (Session 4)

Target Audience: All

This presentation will focus on the key elements necessary to create a living, breathing, Montessori environment conducive to creating a more peaceful, kinder atmosphere, which ultimately results in a happier climate for everyone. The word minister in this presentation is not used in any religious sense, merely as an agent of change for good. Come ready to open your hearts and minds to transforming negative habits into positive habits. This is the true meaning of the Montessori philosophy as it refers to creating lasting peace in our communities.

Return to top of page.
“Gentling the Wild Spirit of the Child”

Presenters: Ms. Stephanie Lipp and Ms Tracey Etelson (Session 4)

Target Audience: Early Childhood (3-6), Elementary 6-12 , Adolescent

Once upon a time we captured wild horses and “broke” them for our purposes; but manipulation, control, and coercion only breeds anger and resistance. Now we use a process called “gentling” to transform the wild mustangs of the plains into gentle, loving spirits. Learn how to “gentle” the wild-spirited children in your classrooms. Become the herd leader with quiet, assertive energy. Reignite your passion to teach. Unlearn your mistaken beliefs about classroom management. Take the hippocratic oath of teaching, and “do not harm”. Learn how to work the edge, provide soaking time, and build resilience through paced-challenge. If you have the courage to allow yourself to be vulnerable to the child’s energy, you can be transformed.

Return to top of page.
“Observing with New Eyes”

Presenter: Ms. Katharine Garner (Session 4)

Target Audience: Infant/Toddler

One of the most vital teaching tools available to Montessori teachers is observation. Scientifically applied observation skills allow the practitioner to assess and respond to situations, children and strategies without judgment. It is the key to FOLLOWING THE CHILD, a key principal in Montessori Philosophy.

Learning to observe can take years to develop and requires mindful and consistent practice. In this workshop you will discover the secrets of becoming a skilled observer. You will transform your teaching and start your journey to what Montessori stated our vision must be.

Return to top of page.
“Get a Grip!Fine Motor Foundations- The Building Blocks to Successful Handwriting “

Presenter: Ms. Nancy Amar OTR/L (Session 4)

Target Audience: All

This course aims at teaching participants the normal stages of hand development and how best to strengthen the muscles of handwriting through fine motor activities that promote an efficient grasp. Participants will also learn what is considered an efficient grasp and learn how to correct grasp patterns that are inefficient through the use of tools and activities. Furthermore, participants will learn the fundamentals of teaching handwriting. What are some tricks of the OT trade to teach successful handwriting skills.

Return to top of page.
“Un area de investigacion: Como desarrollar o ayudar al auto aprendizaje en casa de niños”

Presenter: Ms. Mariel Gutierrez and MS. Gaby Vilchez (Session 4)

Target Audience: Early childhood, Elementary I, Bilingual

Join us to develop an investigation area inside of a Children House classroom. The focus of this area is to direct their own interests and learning through free investigation with stimulating materials in an enriching environment. The children will engage in a multi-sensory, tactile, hands-on experience.

Acompáñanos a desarrollar una area de investigación dentro de casa de niños. El enfoque de esta area es dirigir sus propios intereses y aprender mediante libre exploración, a través de materiales estimulantes en un espacio enriquecedor. Los niños participaran en una experiencia táctil, multi-sensorial.