2018 Conference Theme - FINAL

Montessori Florida Coalition Teacher and Parent Education Days 2020   

“150 Years and Still Ahead of Its Time”

Dr. Montessori was born 150 years ago and brought into the world a revolutionary way to educate children. She was a visionary and well ahead of her time. Today, she is still not only recognized as being ahead of her time, but of creating one of the only well-rounded educational methods  that actually prepare students for the 21st Century. Her method, which includes collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication and community along with high academic standards, stands alone     as one that gives students all the skills necessary for success in this new and ever changing century.


Dates: Friday, February 28th, 2020 through Saturday, February 29th, 2020

Location: Barry University Miami Shores, Florida

Saturday Conference Topics:

“Building Physical Education Literacy in Montessori”

Presenter: Ms. Barbara Murphy and Mr. Martin Yaconis (Session 1)

Target Audience: ALL

It is well agreed and profusely clear that children need to be more physically active in order to counteract the sedentary lifestyle that is adding to the current worldwide trend towards increased childhood obesity.
In Montessori, movement is not only a cornerstone of learning, but the child’s mastering of gross motor skills also contributes to a more harmonious classroom dynamic, with students moving around the prepared environment in a controlled and careful manner, without bumping into furniture or materials and safely interacting with others. Physical activity has also been argued to be particularly beneficial for more energetic children, who have a strong need to move, or kinetic learners who learn as they move.
In this presentation, we will examine the concept of “physical literacy,” further delving into different fundamental physical skills – useful for the performance of daily activities and the foundation of a sustainable active lifestyle. Such theoretical exploration will be accompanied by concrete examples of how guided practice aimed at building physical literacy can be further integrated into the learning experience in a truly Montessori manner.

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“The Spiral Preparation of the Teacher: Kundalini Yoga as a Path for Personal Transformation”

Presenter: Ms. Lorena Tasker (Session 1)

Target Audience: All

In her book The Secret of Childhood, Maria Montessori insists on the fact that the teachers must prepare themselves interiorly by systematically studying themselves. Teachers must know and understand their deepest defects and limitations, not with the purpose of changing to reach perfection, but to identify what prevents them from understanding a child. Pride, fear, anger, unconscious resentments, and past traumas are all deeply rooted in our subconscious and may surface to block us for perceiving the true essence of the child. Montessori stats, “We hide of our defects under the guise of noble and impelling duties, just as in time of war offensive weapons are described as means for protecting peace. And the weaker the resistance to our defects, the easier it is for us to learn and receive guidance.
I invite you to expand your mind and try something different outside of your comfort zone. Kundalini yoga is an ancient yoga technology that works with the energy systems of the body for emotional balance, straightening the nervous system, stress relief, and personal transformation. It uses mantras, breathing exercises, and yoga postures. The word Kundalini means awareness, and the hidden of that awareness; the greatness of which you are capable. Just wear comfortable clothing that you can move and breath in easily and bring a shawl to sit on a carpet floor. It is excellent for students of all levels.
We will work on healing at a deep level and opening the heart energy center. The purpose will be to remove unnecessary thoughts and feelings while increasing compassion and sensitivity to other, so you can be more present and experience your feelings more clearly. Ultimately, if you choose to commit to work on yourself, it will b just the beginning. You may find it easier to connect with any venue your soul resonates with to continue your spiritual preparation.

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“Vamos a Hacer Ciencias!”

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

Target Audience: Early Childhood

Este taller le dará una introducción a los conceptos de botánica, zoología, ciencias físicas y química básica.Venga y obtenga muchas ideas para actualizar sus presentaciones de ciencias en su salón de clases.
This workshop will give you an introduction to concepts of Botany, Zoology, Physical Science and basic Chemistry. Come and get lots of ideas to refresh your science presentations in your classroom.

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“Montessori Mommy and Toddler Prep Program”

Presenter: Ms. Lori Vega (Session 1)

Target Audience: Toddler

Montessori Mommy and Toddler Prep Program – Designed to provide an overview of instructional strategies and the didactic apparatus used in the early childhood (specifically infant and toddler) prepared environment. Special attention is given to how a young child learns through observation, through the use of concrete objects, and through movement.
The Montessori Mommy and Toddler Prep Program is a program where parents are also given the tools to create a Montessori environment at home, introducing Montessori before attending school. Working on developing the child’s fine and gross motor, and cognitive skills. The toddler program involves sensorimotor skills, practical life, language.

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“Nature the Best Medicine for Students”

Presenter: Mr. Geoffrey Bishop (Session 1)

Target Audience: All

In this fun, lively ,and energetic presentation we will discover how immersion in the natural world, through play, gardening, art and stories, help children develop strong executive functions, critical thinking, problem solving, imagination, and motor skills, as well as the ability to navigate human interactions and spend a comfortable and enjoyable time in the outdoors. We will delve into the anthropology child and see how Nature, Child development and behavior help us understand the innate child.

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“Supporting Caregivers First: The Key to Empowering Youth to Face Their Fears”

Presenter: Dr. Elizabeth Penela and Dr. Amrita Singh (Session 1)

Target Audience: ALL

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues among children and adolescents, and rates of anxiety disorders in youth are on the rise. Research has made great strides in identifying effective treatment for anxious youth, but a common obstacle is that many children feel overwhelmed with school, extracurricular activities, etc., and therefore going to therapy appointments regularly can prove quite challenging nowadays. Thankfully, a new evidence-based treatment developed at Yale University by Dr. Eli Lebowitz provides specific strategies for caregivers (rather than children), and has demonstrated significant improvement in children’s anxiety.

The idea that key adults in children’s lives can make a real difference in their ability to regulate emotions is one that makes intuitive sense, and this treatment is ahead of its time in its exclusive focus on caregivers as the agent that will help to elicit change in children’s behavior. During this presentation, we will discuss cutting edge, research-based strategies from the SPACE (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions) Treatment program that parents and teachers can utilize to help students learn to better manage their anxiety.

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“Lucheon Session – TBA”

Presenter: Ms. Christina Llado (Lucheon Session)

Target Audience: Head of Schools, Administrators

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“No Two Brains are the Same: Uncovering the Biological Reasons Behind Learning Style Differences”

Presenters: Dr. Michael Rizzo (Session 2)

Target Audience: ALL

Executive function skills, attention, emotional regulation, processing speed, and academic skill development are analogous to the “software” trying to run on an operating system (the “hardware”). However the hardware is not the same in all individuals. We all have unique hardware designs; some are more suited for how schools have evolved to teach children (traditional learning environments) than others. The operating system that underlies what one can manage and how they responded to their environment can be compartmentalized into three global areas: emotional regulation (areas of the prefrontal cortex and limbic system), behavioral regulations (frontal lobe) and cognitive processing styles (brain stem, midbrain, and remaining cortical structures). Prior to Prior to setting lofty goals, assuming noncompliance, and/or assuming a lack of response to treatments, it is imperative that all entrusted to assist children in grooming their executive function skills and academic standing be cognizant of the hardware design of the individual.
In this presentation, participants will be apprised of the most salient aspects of the three components of the operating system (emotional regulation, behavioral regulation, and cognitive processing) that are the bedrock upon which all observed successes or changes are predicted. The goal’s of today’s presentation include:
-Provide those that work with children in schools a basic understanding of the learning process and the neuropsychological contracts underlying learning.
-Understand the link (interactional effect) between the struggling learner, poor executive function skills, and poor emotional regulation skills.
-Understand the relationship between well-established neuropsychological constructs underlying learning and curriculum delivery/assessment techniques.
-Understands how to develop reasonable classroom modifications to maximize the potential of individual students based on their learning style, without compromising the integrity of the learning of other students.

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“The How and Why of Montessori Parent-Infant Programs”

Presenters: Ms. Susan Tracy McDaniel (Session 2)

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

Learn how to reach families earlier and build community in just a few hours per week. In a school setting, ease separation, build commitment, trust, and retention. In your community, a Montessori Parent-Infant program can support at-risk families to improve school readiness, improve nutrition and attachment, decrease abuse and depression. Many Montessorians have a heart to make Montessori available to all families; Susan offers a plan to do it. How can we not?

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“Constructing a Journalism Program for Upper Elementary”

Presenter: Ms. Mireya Medina (Session 2)

Target Audience: Elementary 6-12

In its third year at St. Christopher’s By-the-Sea Montessori, the St. Chris Student News has already produced terrific work. Upper Elementary students grades 4 through 6 write, film, and produce monthly student event reminders and host a signature YouTube series titled, “Interviews with the Community.” Students from St. Christopher’s UE class have interviewed two local mayors, the Chief of Police and Miami Waterkeeper. Through this Journalism class students execute and reinforce the lessons learned through the Montessori philosophy. All subject matter is explored through news stories with an emphasis on critical thinking and journalistic ethic and integrity. Now Ms. Mireya would like to share her program and give teachers some steps for creating their own student news.

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“The Courage to Teach”

Presenters: Mrs. Kim Barreto Loaiza (Session 2)

Target Audience: All

Teaching is not for the faint of heart! Dr. Montessori dedicated much of her teaching to the spiritual preparation of the teacher. Join fellow Montessorians in an interactive workshop, where we will use the work of Parker J. Palmer and his book, The Courage to Teach, to rediscover your “whys” and plan how to sustain ourselves through our very important work.

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“Curriculum Themes and the Toddler Environment”

Presenters: Ms. Aschlei Baker and Ms. Veronica Vergara (Session 2)

Target Audience: Toddler (18 months – 3 years)

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“Implementing the Arts in the Early childhood Classroom”

Presenters: Ms. Julia Harrison and Ms. Heather Webb (Session 2)

Target Audience: Early Childhood

A presentation and workshop investigating the importance of an open ended child led creative area within the 3- 6 classroom and How to invite the arts into a 3-6 classroom by incorporating art history, music history, dance and photography.

We will look at the development of an art area in the classroom. How to implement, present and maintain such an area. There will be an opportunity for hands on experience with a range of materials.

We will look at why Maria Montessori placed such emphasis on the importance of art appreciation at an early age. How art aids child development and why two different approaches are necessary for art history and an art area within a Montessori setting. We will explore ways to incorporate music history into a setting and share ideas on lessons and themes.

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“Move Your Dancing Feet! A celebration of life through multi- cultural songs and dances”

Presenter: Mr. Frank Leto and Mrs. Pilar Leto (Session 3)

Target Audience: Ages 3 – 10

Calypso! Samba! Even a little Salsa! Have a fun musical venture learning new
Songs and dances that introduce children to other cultures. You’ll be inspired and
enthused to return to your classroom and start up the music!
The presentation consists of a short lecture on the need for music and dance in our culture: The importance of recognizing the parallel between music and language;
The workshop then actively involves participants.

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“Playground Play: fun and Creative Learning on a Budget”

Presenter: Dr. Laura Monsalvatge (Session 3)

Target Audience: Early Childhood (3-6)

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“The Importance of Nutrition in the Early Childhood Classroom”

Presenter: Ms. Nicole Vitale (Session 3)

Target Audience: Early Childhood

The presentation will discuss the importance of nutrition education in early childhood and explain why the classroom is a major contributing factor in the development of children’s nutrition knowledge and food preferences. I will also discuss the findings from my nutrition education research study (conducted during my master’s thesis) to highlight the benefits of such a program in early childhood classrooms.

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“Preparing Students for the 21st Century”

Presenters: Ms. Judy Dempsey (Session 3)

Target Audience: All

Dr. Montessori was light years ahead of her time in so many ways. Today, we are immersed in a rapidly changing world; changes are occurring at a speed never experienced in human society. The 21st Century will demand very different types of skills from our young people as they merge into this new world. Join Judy Dempsey in discussions as to what these changes will be, and how, yet again, Dr. Montessori created a system that is relevant to helping young people be prepared to enter this new century.

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“Inquiry Through Physical Science”

Presenter: Ms. Rosemary Rodman and Ms. Valariana Jedrzejczyk (Session 3)

Target Audience: Elementary I-II (6-12)

This class will allow Elementary I and II Montessori teachers to incorporate physical science. Teachers will learn to set up their classrooms with independent inquiry science experiments through hands on science modules.

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“El Desarrollo del arte: expandiendo el cresimiento creativo y mental en el entorno Montessori”

Presenters: Ms. Mariel Gutierrez and Ms. Gaby Vilchez (Session 3)

Target Audience: Bilingual

El arte es esencial en el entorno del niño desde su nacimiento. Es una forma de acercarse a la vida, de moverse y hablar. No se puede separar de otros elementos de la vida. El desarrollo del arte está muy relacionado con los objetivos típicos de Montessori: ayudar a un niño a aumentar la destreza, la concentración, las habilidades motoras finas, la fuerza de las manos y los dedos y la coordinación. Estudiaremos las seis etapas del desarrollo artístico. Mediante el uso de lecciones y actividades prácticas, experimentaremos diferentes tipos de lecciones de arte y discutiremos experiencias y recursos que lo ayudarán a implementar un plan de estudios de arte práctico y profundo en su propio salón de clases.

Le proporcionaremos una serie de lecciones y materiales, enriquecedores y atractivos, donde tendrá la oportunidad de experimentar diferentes técnicas para crear su propio ejemplo y también proporcionar tanta diversión para usted como para los niños.

Resumen del taller
Definición de desarrollo artístico
Las etapas del desarrollo artístico.
La importancia del arte en el desarrollo infantil.
Crecimiento mental y creativo.
Lecciones de arte: técnicas y materiales.

Art is essential in the environment of the child from birth onwards. It is a way of approaching life, of moving and speaking. It cannot be separated from other elements of life. Art development is very much tied with the typical Montessori goals: to help a child increase dexterity, concentration, fine motor skills, hand and finger strength, and coordination. We will be looking into the six stages of artistic development. Through the use of hands-on lessons and activities, we will experiment different types of Art lessons and discussing experiences and resources that will support you in implementing an in-depth, hands-on art curriculum in your own classroom.

We will provide a series of lessons and materials, enriching and engaging, where you will have the opportunity to experience different techniques creating your own example and also provide as much fun for you as for do for the children.

Workshop Summary
–Artistic Development Definition
-The stages of artistic development
-The importance of art in child development
-Creative and mental growth
-Art lessons: Techniques and Materials.
– Introducing differents techniques according to the stages of the child

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“Unit Studies in the Early Childhood Classroom”

Presenters: Ms. Yuni Sakarada (Session 4)

Target Audience: Early Childhood (3-6)

In the vast world of the Montessori Method, Unit Studies are a way to take a deep dive into specific topics and expand the curriculum. With the ability to integrate into all areas of the classroom and the flexibility to address the child’s particular interests, the possibilities are endless. This workshop/lecture will cover: how to pick a Unit Study topic, how to integrate the topic into other curriculum areas (specifically the “Big 4”; Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, and Language), and how to make didactic materials suited to the Early Childhood classroom. A full unit on Japan will be on display throughout the presentation.

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“A caffeine-free lifestyle to keep up with your kids”

Presenter: Ms. Sabrina Ruz (Session 4)

Target Audience: All

Being a parent and/or an educator requires a lot of time, love, and energy. Join me in learning
practical everyday yogic tips to be healthier, sleep better, and have as much energy as your

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“Research on teaching and Learning (10 Years Later): What WE know Now”

Presenters: Dr. Javier Gonzalez (Session 4)

Target Audience: ALL

Join us for an engaging, in-depth, and at times, provocative (neuro-myths) journey regarding how the current and emerging research on teaching and learning has evolved within the past 10 years. What do we know now regarding the Intersection of Neuro-science and Education? Learning styles? Multiple intelligences? Early brain development and toxic stress? Interaction of culture, biology, and context? Executive function? Knowledge and reasoning? Motivation and mind-set? Learning how to learn? Life-long learning? Mindfulness? Digital Technology? These and other topics of interest will be presented in this hands-on/minds-on presentation.
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“Joyful Journey: Spiritual Formation from Montessori to Cathechesis of the Good Shepher”

Presenter: Ms. Ms. Teri Heemstra-Hernandez and Ms. Linda Gemmer (Session 4)

Target Audience: ALL

Maria Montessori’s “The Child in the Church” sparked new questions about faith formation.
Her religious materials, principles, and method were brought by Montessori educator Gianna Gobbi to collaborate with Biblical scholar Dr. Sofia Cavalletti, in Rome, Italy. They began a joyful journey with children, discovering their deep engagement and joy in the greatest mysteries of faith through materials, the Bible, and liturgy in a shared experience of listening to God together. This living work developed into an international association. Local catechists from the US Association of The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd introduce and share this beautiful work that respects and assists each child’s unique relationship with God.

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“Sharing Good News – Strategies for Developing Grace and Courtesy in the Classroom”

Presenter: Ms. Lois Weber (Session 4)

Target Audience: All

In this presentation we will learn of different ways to incorporate some
of the lessons from the Grace and Courtesy curriculum into your
classroom. These exercises help children learn to express their thoughts
for each other in an honest thoughtful manner and nurture the child’s ability
to speak confidently in a group setting or with each other. The lessons may
be done as group activities or with two or three children practicing sharing
good news about each other.

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“El secreto de crear la vida que deseas”

Presenter: Ms. Carolina Chacon (Session 4)

Target Audience: ALL, Bilingual

Tienes tiempo para todos, excepto para ti?
Estas tan ocupado/a planeando las actividades de tus hijos/familia, que No te queda tiempo para planificar las tuyas?
Escribes tus metas al inicio/final del año, y al pasar los meses pierdes la motivación para cumplirlas, o simplemente te olvidaste de cuales eran esas metas?
Quisieras lograr cosas para ti pero no sabes por dónde comenzar?

Este espacio es para ti!
Esta presentación esta disenada para conectar contigo, con tus sueños… con esos grandes planes que tienes para ti, pero aún no tienes claro por dónde empezar. AL final de esta presentación podrás elaborar un plan para ALCANZAR tus metas y saber cuales son las claves para mantenerte motivado y sobretodo… el estado mental adecuado para lograr la vida que deseas.