Montessori sessions attract hundreds at national conference
Faculty, staff and students from St. Catherine University attended the 2011 Annual Conference of the American Montessori Society in Chicago, Ill., from March 24-27.
The annual event was organized around the theme, “A Timeless Promise for Our Changing World.” More than 2,000 Montessori educators and other child advocates from across the globe attended the conference, joining in on four days of discussion led by forward-thinking educators and researchers.
Sylvia Alexander-Sedey, MAOL '09, assistant director of admission, and Maha ElWailli, communications coordinator for St. Catherine University, were also on hand to draw attention to Montessori education opportunities offered at St. Kate’s. In addition to distributing information about programs offered at the University, they networked with alumnae and experts in the Montessori field.
National leader in Montessori
Among those Montessori professionals was Michael Dorer, Ed.D., an associate professor of education at St. Catherine University and the executive director of the Center for Contemporary Montessori Programs.
Dorer, who is recognized nationally as an expert in Montessori education, led a session called “You Can Teach It All!” The session explored the possibility of teaching the entire Montessori curriculum for a certain level of students in the elementary classroom.
During the presentation, Dorer offered the keys to successful teaching: identifying important lessons, organizing a complete curriculum and balancing carefully planned lessons with guided discovery. His session offered both new and experienced elementary teachers the confidence and strategy to navigate the expansive Montessori curriculum.
Faculty and student presentations
Others from St. Catherine University who presented at the conference included Christine Sacerdote, M.Ed., Rose Dorer, Ph.D., an adjunct faculty member, and Jana Herman, who is a student in the master’s program.
Sacerdote’s session on “Classroom Materials: Where’s the Line Between Exploration and Misuse?” garnered more than 300 participants. During the session, the participants responded to poll questions using instant information technology and relaying their responses to a screen in the front of the room. Using this method, Sacerdote gathered data for her dissertation on the exploration and misuse of Montessori materials.
By engaging in a discussion between Sacerdote and other participants, those who attended the session left with a deeper understanding of how children approach classroom materials and how they can use these materials appropriately.
Also in attendance at the national conference were Catherine Ibes, assistant professor in the Center for Contemporary Montessori Programs, and St. Kate's professors Syneva Barrett and Anne Estes.
More about the American Montessori Society
Headquartered in New York City, the American Montessori Society promotes high standards through accreditation of Montessori schools, through affiliation with teacher education programs and through creation of professional development resources. Founded in 1960 by educator Nancy McCormick Rambusch, Ph.D., with the backing of key parents from Whitby School (Connecticut), AMS works to ensure the Montessori approach is a positive and growing force in education throughout the world.