Registration & Schedule

***NOTE: Some people have been having difficulty with the registration process when using Internet Explorer. Please open in a new tab or window, turn off your pop-up blockers, or use Chrome or Firefox.***

Saturday, March 5, 2022, 8 AM – 4 PM

The Northern Kentucky Convention Center, 1 West River Center Blvd., Covington, KY 41011

Registration Rates & Dates

  • Early Bird Rate, $95, January 10th through Monday, January 31, 2022
  • Regular Rate, $100, February 1st through February 26, 2022
  • Virtual Option, $75*

*This includes three live streaming sessions: The keynote and two undetermined presentations

Professional Development Information

  • All sessions are approved for .5 CEU’s through Xavier University.
  • American Montessori Society, Ohio*, and Kentucky hours are pending approval.
  • We will update the status when official approval is received.

*You must enter your OPIN number when you register AND bring it with you the day of the conference. If you don’t have an account with the Ohio Professional Registry, click here to create one. Please check with your administrator if this is required for you/your school. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT CMS TO SEE IF YOU NEED ONE.

Conference Schedule

8-9 am – Conference Registration & Exhibitors Open

9-10:30 am – Featured Speaker

10:45-12:30 – Session B Workshops

12:30 – 1:45 – Lunch & Shopping

1:45-3:30 – Session C Workshops

PDF of Conference Schedule and Presenter Information

Courage, Brains, and Heart: Unlocking the Power of Montessori Education

Crystal Dahlmeier, M.Ed

Dr. Montessori wrote extensively about the preparation of the Montessori teacher and, in The Discovery of the Child, stated, “She must acquire moral alertness which has not hitherto been demanded by any other system, and this is revealed in her tranquillity, patience, charity, and humility.  Not words, but virtues, are her main qualifications.” (Clio Press, 151)

Montessori teachers begin this process when they are in training, first learning the basics of Montessori philosophy and then reflecting upon and applying this new knowledge. Professional development opportunities, workshops, mentoring, observation and self-reflection assist teachers in continuing their growth throughout their careers.

However, transformative growth often requires more than casual reflection and observation. Transformation demands a willingness to question, to reexamine and to push towards a deeper connection with the self, with others and with Montessori philosophy. Through in-depth and ongoing examination, we can identify patterns of behavior that may be inconsistent with either our beliefs or Montessori philosophy.  Such practices impact children and our abilities to meet their needs.

Through illustration and story, Crystal will share the stages of professional development, examine strategies that promote transformative growth and identify professional challenges we face as we become ‘The New Teacher’ that Montessori describes in her 1946 Lectures.

Crystal Dahlmeier received a BS in Biology from Marietta College and a M.Ed. in Montessori Education at Xavier University. She was lead teacher/principal at Xavier University Montessori Lab School for 13 years, where she also taught both graduate and undergraduate classes in Montessori and Early Childhood Education. Crystal received National Board Certification and is a PITC Certified Infant/Toddler Trainer. She has served as the Teacher Section Chair for the American Montessori Society and has taught in Montessori Programs in Perth, Western Australia, England, Seoul, S. Korea and China. She is Program Director Emerita at the Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education Teacher Education Program in Northern Kentucky.  She continues to teach in that program and acts as a field consultant.  Ms. Dahlmeier presents workshops nationally and internationally and has been a keynote speaker at Montessori conferences in New Zealand, Australia and England.  Her articles have been published in Montessori journals and Young Children. Click here to listen to her podcast on The Prepared Environment.

Session B Workshops: 10:45 am-12:30 pm

1. Montessori Classrooms Build Executive Functions with Jamie Sellhorn: I/T, 3-6, 6-9

Executive functions are mental skills that help us to accomplish our goals and be successful in life. In a recent Duke University study, the ability to utilize executive functions was more predictive of adult outcomes than either IQ scores or socioeconomic status (Lehrer, 2011). For over a century, Montessori classrooms have been helping children develop these important executive function skills. This workshop will investigate the three areas of executive functions and look at how each is supported in the Montessori classroom. We will also look at how executive function deficits impact children and how we can support children who struggle with executive functions.

2. Make Teaching a Breeze: A Love and Logic Approach to Building the Important Stuff with Chris Peterson: I/T, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12

Who should be tired at the end of the day? The kids! Is that usually the case? A large percentage of our time is not spent in instruction. Using a discipline model that allows the student to be accountable is critical. Love and Logic is a philosophy of teaching children which allows adults to be happier, empowered, and more skilled in the interactions with children. Love allows children to grow through their mistakes. Logic allows children to live with the consequences of their choices. Love and Logic is a way of working with children that allows teachers to guide, teaches children to be responsible, and prepares young people to live in the real world, with its many choices and consequences.

3. Culturally Responsive Montessori: Cultivating Safe and Inclusive Spaces for All Children and Families with Razan Abdin-Adnani: 3-6

During this interactive workshop, we will imagine what truly inclusive, culturally responsive Montessori environments look like. As a group, we will brainstorm what it takes to design a robust cultural curriculum that moves beyond merely costumes and celebrations. We will consider the ways in which Eurocentrism might seep into our curricula (by way of grace and courtesy lessons, the way we teach history, geography, etc.) and discuss ways we can assure that our curricula is culturally sensitive, accurate, and representative of our increasingly diverse school populations. We will explore how to address differences in a respectful and celebratory manner, provide actionable tools for working respectfully alongside children and families from diverse backgrounds, and discuss ways to run our classrooms so that both students and families are accepted and supported. It is our duty as Montessorians to ensure that all children and families – especially those from groups with the least institutional power – feel safe, heard, and honored in our schools.

4. Making Transformative Connections through Literature with Dr. Gay Ward & Dr. Margaret Phinnney: 3-6, 6-9, 9-12

Participants in this workshop will explore key literacy strategies in the context of rich literature related to the universal theme of interconnectedness. Hands-on activities will model differentiating instruction while supporting readers in engagement, comprehension and language-to-print. The activities are designed to support Montessori students in making connections as they draw on all subject areas to gain an in-depth understanding of interconnectedness and interdependence while simultaneously focusing on how language works. Participants will leave with an understanding of using a developmental continuum to plan differentiated language instruction as well as strategy ideas for supporting language development in the Montessori classroom.

5. Inspiring Lives of Courage: Montessori Meets Shakespeare with Jeff Groh: 6-9. 9-12, MS, Administrators

Dr. Maria Montessori and William Shakespeare have almost nothing in common.  They were born in different countries with three centuries between them and led dramatically different lives. Yet, through my life’s work as a Montessori teacher, leader, Shakespearean actor, and founder of the country’s first Shakespearean touring troupe made up entirely of child actor’s, I have discovered both of these consequential figures in history provide deep wells of wisdom that can inspire lives of courage in our students and ourselves. This workshop weaves stories, activities, videos, and live performances to demonstrate the impact these two historic figures have on students and adults and how when put together they are both greater than the sum of their parts. It will cover how-to elements of creating a Shakespeare program specifically with (9-12) students, how teacher facilitation and a prepared environment play key roles, and how our students and ourselves can look to Montessori and Shakespeare as inspiration to lead Inspiring Lives of Courage.

6. Impact of Policy on the Montessori Pedagogy with Heather Gerker & Mary Beth McCormack: All

Since March of 2021, we have convened Montessori Educators from around the state of Ohio to talk about the challenges they face with policy. We facilitated three meetings, gathering over 45 Montessori Educators to get a lay of the land, identify next steps, and build on existing energy. Common themes we heard from those in attendance include: 1) the impact of teacher licensure grade bands on Montessori age groupings, 2) lack of understanding Montessori Education by legislators and district leadership, and 3) preschool funding challenges. At the same time, we are in the process of completing a small qualitative study to better understand how public school Montessori teachers experience policy that impacts their pedagogy in the classroom. In this workshop, we will engage Montessorians in the discussion of how policy impacts their work, how they might respond, and encourage next steps in their advocacy work.

7. Preserving History: Classroom Archives as a Cosmic Task with Julie Kugler-Ackley & Anne Ryckbost: All

Montessori’s beliefs in the power of cosmic education calls us to consider and provide opportunities to demonstrate the interconnectedness of all living things and to encourage the power of reflection. Within that construct, so too is the idea that all things, past and present are connected.  An archive is defined as a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people. This can also be a verb: to archive something is to create such a collection, preserving such items, stories, or experiences.  Children within the second plane are passionate about the construct of cosmic education and seek ways to clarify their place in the present, but also preserve the importance of the past. This interactive presentation will establish how creating a classroom or school archive will illuminate the constructs and power of cosmic education in dynamic and significant ways. Participants will gain an understanding of what an archive is, what an archivist does, and explore classroom or school activities that result in the creation of an archive.

Lunch & Shopping: 12:30 – 1:45 pm

A box lunch will be served on the Conference Level with plenty of comfortable seating areas to relax, enjoy your meal, and network with Montessori colleagues! A vegetarian option is available, but we are not able to accommodate other dietary needs and allergies. You are welcome to bring your own food into the conference center.

Exhibitors are open during this time and are looking forward to sharing their beautiful resources with you – have fun shopping!

Exhibitors are open during this time and are looking forward to sharing their beautiful resources with you – have fun shopping!

Thanks to our Major Conference Sponsors:

Session C Workshops: 1:45-3:30 pm

1. Supporting Parents Through the Crucial First Three Years with Christine Trimmer & Aubrey Wallen: I/T

This workshop will provide Montessori teachers, parents, and caregivers information about the most important three years of life: birth to age three. Strategies and tools will be provided to use in supporting parents of these very young children in their homes. We will discuss the defining characteristics of the first plane of development and their role in the human lifespan, context and understanding of the classroom teacher’s role in the family system; respecting and loving all families, the essential qualities of the infant and toddler environment at home and how to advise parents on what to include in the child’s environment, and strategies for supporting parents with common topics of the first three years.

2. The Montessori Method and the Science of Learning to Read with Laura Saylor, Susan Zoll PhD, Matasha Feinberg, NBCT, MeD: 3-6, 6-9

A great deal of scientific research has articulated how reading should be taught in our schools, however, there continues to be disconnect between the science and school based practices (Spear-Spereling, 2007; Washburn, Joshi, & Cantrell, 2011). Reading is complex!  Successfully teaching it requires that teachers have deep knowledge and skills in understanding the reading process and development, reading instruction and differentiation, reading disability, and assessment to ensure that instruction is effective (IDA, 2010; Moats, 1999).  Today’s teachers must be able to implement scientifically based instruction and hold a deep understanding of this implementation that enables them to defend their practice and inspire others to change. Given that Dr. Montessori based her Method on scientific research, Montessorians would be wise to base their reading and literacy instruction on research-based strategies in this important area. Come discover the high leverage practices the research supports and how they align with Dr. Montessori’s multi-sensory approach.

3. Tools to Amplify Learning: Research-Based Strategies for the Montessori Guide with Tammy Oesting: All

Scientific observation is at the heart of Montessori practice and a vital tool that teachers utilize daily to engage their students. Current research reveals the inner workings of the brain and supports what Dr. Montessori identified through her keen observations of the child.  Montessori educators who leverage their understanding of the science behind their practices, equipped with research-based teaching strategies, enhance student learning and amplify outcomes. Tapping into each teacher’s mission to become a scientist in the field, Tammy inspires the spirit and optimizes the practice with hands-on, research-based practical strategies loyal to Montessori pedagogy.

4. The Montessori Melting Pot: Easing the Transition of Adolescents from Traditional to Montessori Schools with Becky Konecki & Brian McWhorter: MS, HS

Although Montessorians know that preschool is the ideal time to begin Montessori education, the reality is that many of our students are transitioning to our classrooms from non-Montessori schools for a variety of reasons. This session will provide participants with strategies for assisting adolescent students and their families in transitioning from traditional to Montessori education at the secondary level. Through a large group presentation, small group discussions and problem-solving activities, topics covered will include filling in educational gaps, teaching executive functioning skills to adolescents, acclimating students to a Montessori community, and providing social and emotional support for students who have struggled with bullying or other negative peer interactions in their former schools.

5. What does Science of Reading (SoR) mean in Preschool? With Laura Sanregret: 3-6, 6-9

Participants will develop activities to support their preschool students’ growth of their reading processes in relation to the Science of Reading. There has been so much research done on how children learn to read. Looking at research participants will learn to identify methods used to support their student’s reading and language growth.

6. Storytelling Magic with Emily E. Webb: 3-6, Parents/ Families

In this workshop, teachers will learn how to incorporate the magic of oral storytelling into their circle time routine to encourage authentic, meaningful literacy skills. When we tell stories orally, without the aid of a book, children are drawn to our body language, facial expressions, and how our mouth moves, thus enriching emerging literacy skills and creating social and emotional connections between teachers and students. Teachers will receive a brief summary of Rudolph Steiner and the Waldorf method, but the majority of the workshop will be active participation and practice time. Teachers will leave the workshop with handouts and have opportunities in the workshop to practice bringing stories to life using puppets, songs, and other props.

Schedule PDF

Download the PDF with the breakouts and conference schedule to share with others.