Peace in Education:
Diversity, Empathy, Communication


November 1, 2019 
at Fraser Woods Montessori School
8:00 - 9:00 am Registration & Breakfast
9:00 am - 2:30 pm Keynote and Workshop Sessions


Register Now:

Member Schools

Register Here

Non-member Schools & Individuals

Register Here


 

Morning Keynote Speaker: 

Keynote Speaker Victoria Christgau

In Pursuit Of Peace

Developing lasting peace requires vision and firm commitment towards shared power as a way of life. Growing peace across lines of difference and building a just community, is the third way… not exclusively mine, nor yours, but ours in earnest collaboration. Victoria will elaborate on the work she has done in schools, colleges, urban and suburban communities and with law enforcement, for over thirty years.

Victoria Christgau, a lifelong peace/arts and nonviolence educator, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence (CTCN). She has been a Teaching Artist with the CT Office of the Arts for over twenty years and has founded and produced the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Commemoration of Litchfield County. In 2007, at the request of her mentor, legendary civil rights leader, educator and activist, Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr., Victoria founded the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence. As a Level III certified Kingian Nonviolence TrainerVictoria has presented hundreds of nonviolence workshops, trainings and residencies at schools, colleges and numerous venues, implementing the philosophy and strategies of Kingian Nonviolence across racial, social, economic and generational divides.  


Breakout Sessions: 

Seats in each of the workshops will be on a first come, first served basis. Please have each of your staff members choose one workshop from the morning session and one from the afternoon session and include the total number of staff interested in each workshop on your registration form. This will help ensure we have adequate space for each workshop according to demand. 


Morning Workshops 

In Pursuit of Peace in the Classroom

Drawing on Dr. Martin Luther King’s Six Principles of Nonviolence, this participatory workshop will offer teachers a strategic framework for creating collaboration, building an inclusive community and resolving differences in the classroom.

Audience: 
All Levels 

Presenters:  
Victoria Christgau, Founder/Executive Director of CT Center for Nonviolence 
Debby DeGuire, Lower Elementary Directress at Washington Montessori School 

 

The Montessori Approach to Transitions

Navigating transitions is an important life-long skill. In schools, times of transition can create stress and anxiety for the child, their family, and the teacher(s). Preparation for necessary change allows the process to become clear, manageable, and many times even enjoyable. This workshop will explore the many transitions the child, and consequently their family, experience over the course of their childhood and how we manage these transitions through preparation of the environment and ourselves (as teachers and administrators). 

Audience: 
A/I and Primary 

Presenters:  
Toko Odorczuk currently the Director of Development & Community Relations at The Montessori School of Greater Hartford, holds a BA in English Literature and a BA in Music theory/composition. She received her Association Montessori International diploma in Assistants to Infancy (0-3) from The Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado. Additionally, she is a certified Instructor of Infant Massage through the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM).  Toko has guided Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Toddler Communities for fifteen years and is a featured guest lecturer at area colleges and universities presenting on Montessori education and its pedagogical approach to childhood. An expert in child development for birth-three, she has provided numerous parenting programs throughout New England including the Greater Hartford underserved communities.

 

Empathy and Civil Discourse: The Practical Application of Teacher Research in Improving Communication

In this hands-on research workshop and interactive session, participants will engage in teacher research exercises as a means of improving future discourse during difficult conversations. Teacher research is needed and is a systematic process in which an individual or group of educators collects information about their own practice and students in an effort to improve instruction or understanding between people. We will start with the impact of observation in Montessori education and move towards collaborating with peers and parents in dealing with professional dilemmas. Finally, participants will leave with questions that they may have about his/her specific teaching context in order to sustain their teacher inquiry beyond this workshop. Based on our experience as well as research literature, these processes can help us all develop greater teacher empathy as we learn more about our students, students’ families, and contextual realities in which we work and play.

Audience: 
All Levels

Presenters: 
Joshua A. Russell is the Director of Research for the Center for Montessori Studies at the University of Hartford, a Ph.D. Educational Researcher
Paige M. Bray, PhD, Director of Montessori Studies atUniversity of Hartford
Tim Nee, Managing Director of the Montessori Training Center Northeast
Courtney Reim, AMI trained primary guide and Coordinator of Data and Programmatic Information at the Montessori Training Center Northeast

 

Equity and Diversity in Middle School Curriculum

This is an opportunity for Middle School teachers to gain and share ideas for ways to promote equity, diversity, and social justice in the classroom. Participants will partake as MS students in short versions of lessons for the MS classroom which will be followed by a round-table discussion. 

Audience: 
Middle School

Presenter:
Michelle Lamb is the Humanities 6-8 Teacher at Fraser Woods Montessori School. She has been a diversity practitioner and teaching with a social justice lens for years. Supporting her work and intention she has attended several workshops and conferences, including the NAIS POCC conference. Michelle has also accompanied the Middle School students to the CAIS Student Diversity & Leadership Conference.

 

Historical Connections: Montessori, the Montessori Method, and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

There are many connections between Maria Montessori's exploration into the nature of early childhood faith in Barcelona, using her own Catholic Christian tradition, and the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS), a means for Christian religious formation for children (3-12). Montessori wrote about her findings in the religious area in "The Child in the Church" (1930) in which she describes the need for ‘a particular kind of religious education for children--one that respects their individual religious experience and helps them experience the Liturgy in a concrete way.’ 

The influence of the Montessori methodology on the work of Hebrew scholar Sofia Cavalletti and Montessorian Gianna Gobbi in further uncovering the religious capacity of children in Italy and in developing and implementing (CGS) will be highlighted. Materials with roots from Montessori's time in Barcelona will be shown. 

Audience: 
All Levels

Presenters: 
Susan Piescik, Catechist & Consultant for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Levels 1-3 (ages 3-6, 6-9, 9-12), affiliated with St Patrick St Anthony, Hartford, CT. Adult Formation Leader for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd since 1995. Susan is a graduate of the AMI Primary Assistants course at the Montessori Training Center of New England.
Sarah Christopher, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Catechist (Level 1, 2, 3), Enfield Montessori School & St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church, Hartford, CT 
Deb Pelletier, Coordinator of Religious Education, St Patrick St Anthony Church, Hartford, CT; Adult Formation Leader for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (Levels 1, 2, 3).

 

Working Effectively with Difficult Parents

This interactive presentation will offer participants an opportunity to learn strategies for dealing with parents who can be "difficult".  Participants will also have an opportunity to share experiences and work through case studies that focus on solving challenging parent situations.

Audience: 
All Levels 

Presenters:
Chris Robertson, Head of School at Fraser Woods Montessori, has been an administrator for twelve years and a teacher for fourteen years.  Through the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington, Chris developed and facilitated a twelve week leadership program for independent school teachers seeking leadership positions.  
Gina Tryforos has been an educator and administrator at FWM for 23 years.  She is currently the Student Support Coordinator and Dean of Faculty & Program

 

Capture Interest from more Prospective Parents through an Educated Marketing Strategy

“Hi, I'd like to visit your school"  takes seconds for a prospective parent to say but is the result of a comprehensive journey. Meet more prospective families with marketing that leads and educates.

Audience: 
Administration – Heads of School, Business Managers, Admissions, Development, Marketing & Communications Faculty 

Presenter: Stan Kang, Chief Executive Officer, The Montessori Agency who supports enrollment campaigns for Montessori schools across the United States and Canada. In his role he analyzes the marketing journeys of hundreds of thousands of prospective Montessori families. Stan uses this information to shape strategies that are used to drive new enrollment for Montessori schools of all sizes. 


Afternoon Workshops 

The following workshops will be running concurrently during the afternoon session. Seats in each of the workshops will be on a first come, first served basis. Please have each of your staff members choose one workshop and include the total number of staff interested in each workshop on your registration form. This is to help ensure we have adequate space for each workshop according to demand. 

Technology, Social Media, Parenting and Educating

This presentation is a detailed overview of how technology is changing the lives of developing children. As educators we need to first understand how and why the technology is being used. We must understand how it has impacted and changed the needs and challenges of children and young adults. The scientific research will be looked at closely. Participants will take away information that will support their continued work with educators, parents and students in their own school communities.

Audience: 
All Levels

Presenter: 
Susan Angelides, Head of School at Cobb School ~ Montessori, holds a BA in Child Development from the University of Rochester. Through her work over the previous eight years as Head of School at Oak Grove Montessori School, her past experience as the Executive Director of a Residential Adolescents Program aged 12-18, and her personal experience as a parent to eight children, Susan is looking forward to sharing her findings and insights as well as provide participants support through teacher awareness in order to provide parent education.

 

Normalization in the Primary Classroom

Normalization is a key component in the primary classroom. How can it be achieved? 

Participants will deepen their understanding of the constructive areas and practices beneficial for normalization to occur. Exchange of ideas, questions and discussions will enhance the participant’s workshop experience as well as provide awareness for observation and preparation of the environment. 

Audience:
Primary  

Presenter: 
Marifrances Cooney  is currently a Primary Teacher at Elm City Charter Montessori School, has 23 years of experience in Montessori primary programs. She is also a presenter in the Early Childhood teacher training program for the Center for Montessori Education in New York. 

 

Empowering Middle-School Students Doing Citizen Science

Middle-school students are at a key point in their lives for getting involved in the world outside of their families and the school. Engaging in Citizen Science initiatives can help them connect their work at school with issues in the larger world, and give them a sense of stewardship, empowerment, and agency. 

Tom Fahsbender and Nora Hulton will provide participants with the various components and sequence of a Study of Water. Utilizing the local waterways for specific studies and research as well as how and what local community and State agencies can be engaged in partnerships to implement meaningful scientific research in evaluating the health of our local rivers and streams. Further studies involve research of water quality around the world, exploring current water filtration devices and experimenting with constructing filtration systems.  

Audience: 
Middle School

Presenters: 
Tom Fahsbender is the Director of Middle School Curriculum, a Middle School Science Teacher at Washington Montessori School, and a DEEP RBV trainer. 
Nora Hulton is the Director of Stewardship and Sustainability at Washington Montessori School. 

 

The Montessori Approach to Transitions

Navigating transitions is an important life- long skill. In schools, time of transition can create stress and anxiety for the child, their family, and the teacher(s). Preparation for necessary change allows the process to become clear, manageable, and many times even enjoyable. This workshop will explore the many transitions the child, and consequently their family, experience over the course of their childhood and how we manage these transitions through preparation of the environment and ourselves (as teachers and administrators). 

Audience: 
A/I and Primary

Presenter: 
Toko Odorczuk currently the Director of Development & Community Relations at The Montessori School of Greater Hartford, holds a BA in English Literature and a BA in Music theory/composition. She received her Association Montessori International diploma in Assistants to Infancy (0-3) from The Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado. Additionally, she is a certified Instructor of Infant Massage through the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM).  Toko has guided (AMI) Toddler Communities for fifteen years and is a featured guest lecturer at area colleges and universities presenting on Montessori education and its pedagogical approach to childhood. An expert in child development for birth-three, she has provided numerous parenting programs throughout New England including the Greater Hartford’s underserved communities.

 

‘Do I really sound like that?' Getting Back on Track When Communication Breaks Down

Just about every parent and teacher has experienced a sense of Déjà vu when correcting a child. Haven’t we had this battle already? Why have I been unsuccessful in redirecting this behavior? The answer to this question may lie in the way that your reaction to the behavior is being perceived by the child! 

This interactive workshop includes a short introduction to the Communications & Influence Model. This model has proven to be one of the most valuable tools to help adults see the patterns of communication that come naturally to them, and at the same time, see why those same patterns may not be the most effective means of communicating with other people, at certain times. The model and the facilitator will help you identify simple and proven alternatives to choose in those difficult moments. 

Audience: 
All Levels

Presenter: 
Ed Thorney is an Outdoor Education Coordinator and School Counselor at Litchfield Montessori School.  Ed holds a master’s degree in Organization Development, is a certified Gestalt Psychotherapist whose specialty is Wilderness Therapy and is a professional back-country guide. He works with several schools and children of all ages and also supports parents to ensure a systemic approach to positive change. Ed has used the Communication/Influence Model for the benefit of his clients, thousands of educators and corporate managers. He has provided many workshops receiving affirmative feedback that the Communication/Influence Model is kept on refrigerators, framed on office walls and has improved familial as well as professional relationships.

 

Creating Community, Connection and Joy through Singing Games and Dances

Sing, move, dance and play! You won’t want to sit down for this workshop because you’ll be on your feet dancing and clapping. Matilda will share the best of her collection of children's singing games from the African American, Anglo American, and Ghanaian traditions, great American contra dances, international folk dances and rounds. Share a dance, a laugh and spark human connection, realizing that you need other people to make this experience happen. When children are happy and physically engaged they are better students. When people dance with each other they build social connections and create community through music and movement. Dancing and playing singing games enable joyful human connection and has a powerful effect on children and on everyone. This presentation is based on Matilda’s work at The Washington Montessori School where she has been teaching music and dance for 38 years. This workshop will offer time honored and traditional ways to renew and revitalize genuine human connection. Come join us!

Audience:
All Levels  

Presenter: 
Matilda Giampietro, PhD, teaches Montessori Music and Movement and serves as music director and coordinator of specialists at Washington Montessori School in New Preston, CT where she has been teaching since 1981.  In addition to teaching at WMS Matilda provides Montessori music and movement teacher training courses at the Center For Montessori Teacher Education in New York, has presented workshops at National Orff-Schulwerk and Montessori Conferences nationally and internationally the United as well as Montessori Music and Movement courses for teacher training programs in the United States, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing in China and in Hanoi, and Vietnam. In 2009 Matilda completed a PhD in Sacred Music. Matilda has been delighted to share and learn music and dance traditions in Burundi and Kenya, Africa since 2013. In June of 2016 she traveled to Jordan with The Syria Fund and S’Cool Sounds to work with Syrian refugee children and set up a music program and also trained teachers. She taught World Music in the Classroom as an adjunct faculty member at Western Connecticut State University for 10 years. Matilda performs Spanish Renaissance and Sephardic music with The Wykeham Consort. Singing, dancing and teaching music and dance is the most enjoyable and fulfilling life Matilda can imagine. 

 

Montessori Model United Nations: Building a more Peaceful World through Education

Montessori Model U.N. has been educating children, teachers, and parents about the work of the United Nations since 2006. The (MMUN) organization has involved over 30,000 people in the past 13 years in our conferences. 

We invite Upper Elementary and Middle School age students into an involved role play; students study world issues, research and create position paper(s) based on pertinent issues as they represent a country in a U.N. committee as a delegate to our model United Nations. Students learn and participate in the efforts to solve pressing problems and issues by reaching consensus, creating new solutions, and making friends from every continent (except Antarctica). This invaluable program captures the mind and hearts of the student-delegates as they dive deeply into proposing solutions to global issues and conflicts with their peers. Come and find out more about it!

Audience: 
Elementary

Presenter: 
Peter Megginson is a Montessori Model United Nations MMUN Bureau Liaison. He holds Montessori Elementary certification from AIMS Training Center in Silver Spring Maryland, and has worked at Oneness Family School since 2001. For the past 11 years, he has also worked with the Montessori Model U.N. organization as a volunteer running committees (as a Chair or Secretariat) of 50 to 100 student delegates ranging in age from 9 to 15. Currently Peter works for MMUN as an administrator, trainer, and Bureau Liaison supporting MMUN to provide five conferences nationally and internationally for over 5,500 participants throughout the past year.

 

Expanding the Circle: Conversations about Animals in the Montessori Peace Curriculum 

This workshop invites participants to engage in collegial conversations about ideals our peace curricula share with a philosophy of empathy and compassion toward animals, and how exploring this compassion might enrich our curricula and our lives. 

The goal is simply to inspire some mindful reflection of topics such as considering how the ways we use animals impact the environment, the lives of the animals, and our capacity for empathy? What are the impact issues of global hunger and vulnerable human populations? What role might transitioning to a more plant-based diet play? How can we consume more mindfully in general? What simple steps can we take to make a change? How do we infuse these conversations and ideas into our peace curricula for various ages? How can we begin to have these conversations amongst ourselves in the most positive ways possible? Visual materials will be provided to inform and enliven conversations. Participants will be inspired to engage in ongoing thought, conversation with colleagues in their schools and create simple steps to make that difference. 

Audience: 
All Levels

Presenter: 
Martha Readyoff is currently the Director of Learning Support Services at Washington Montessori School, holds an AMS (6-9) Elementary Certification and has experience as a Head teacher for 16 years.  She possesses a deep love and respect for animals, is a mentor for Woodstock Animal Sanctuary whose program emphasizes positive, supportive communication in helping people meet their goals in transitioning to a more plant-based life-style.

 

The Emotionally Intelligent Classroom

This workshop brings together principles of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Positive Discipline, and experiential activities to improve the classroom's social and emotional climate. Participants will learn successful strategies for handling social, emotional, and behavioral challenges and activities to develop students' cooperation, self-direction, responsibility, kindness, resilience, and emotional intelligence skills. This interactive session encourages attendees to participate while providing dynamic opportunities to experience first-hand how to practice new skills. 

​Participants will learn how to: facilitate problem-solving sessions and adopt a peaceful communication plan {no yelling, blaming, or threatening}, understand the core reasons behind negative behaviors and learn the beliefs and driving forces behind students' daily actions and choices. Become kind and firm at the same time- every time! Put an end to permissive and punitive {punishments and rewards} practices. Put an end to jealousy, competition, bully, and victim roles and help children navigate the ins and outs of relationships. There is a Q&A at the end of the session.

Audience: 
All Levels

Presenter: 
Lorena Seidel M.Ed., author of The Purposeful Child: A Quick and Practical Parenting Guide to Creating the Optimal Home Environment for Young Children, is a Social Emotional Learning {SEL} Consultant, a certified Montessori teacher, a trained Positive Discipline Educator, a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher, and a mother of three. She helps adults create a more positive relationship with young children and a more peaceful home and classroom environments. Lorena has provided guidance to parents and teachers to support the development of their children’s and students’ social, emotional, and life skills. She has presented keynote addresses and lectures at local, national and international conferences (American Montessori Association and British Columbia Montessori Association), libraries, organizations, mom groups such as MOPS and Holistic Moms Network, Montessori and independent schools and universities. She has been interviewed for online summits, including being featured alongside Simon Sinek for the Early Childhood Leadership Conference. Lorena, has had her articles featured in NYMetroParents, Motherly, Welcome Parenthood, and more. 


Conference Details

Register online early and save! (Live link coming soon)

Registration & Fees: 

A lite breakfast and lunch (vegan/gluten free option available upon request) are included in fee. 

  • MSC member schools: Early Bird Registration $65 pp until 10/11/19
  • MSC member schools: Registration after 10/11/19 $75 pp 
  • Non-member schools and individuals: $100 pp or groups of 5 or more: $75 pp

 

Conference Registration Return Policy: 

Refunds are available upon request only. Fees will be refunded in full if canceling prior to 10/11/19. If canceling after 10/11/19 and up to 10/18/19, the school or registrant will be refunded 50% of registration fee.  After 10/18/19 the school or registrant is fully responsible for payment and no refunds will be issued. 

 

Important Information for Schools Using Title II Funds:

Title II funds are now disbursed directly to MSC after the conference has taken place. In order to qualify for early bird pricing, schools will need to pay in full for the conference prior to the early bird deadline of 10/11/19, and then apply for their Title II Funds. Once MSC receives the Title II distribution from the town, the school will be reimbursed. Thank you!  

 

Payments:  

Checks should be made to:  Montessori Schools of CT

Mail to:   
Mark Meyer, Treasurer, MSC
44A Shelter Rock Road
Danbury, CT   06810 
ATTN: MSC Conference

Conference Directions & Parking: 

The Fraser Woods Montessori School is located at: 
173 South Main St. 
Newtown, CT 06470

Click here to view or navigate via Google Maps 

Fraser Woods Montessori School has limited on-site parking. Parking at the school will be reserved for Speakers, Workshop Presenters and conference volunteers.

All other will be directed to park at off-site parking and shuttle buses will be running to bring participants to the school. Off-site parking will be clearly marked.

Please park at Sand Hill Plaza
Sand Hill Plaza is located on Main Street (Route 25), one quarter of a mile south of Fraser Woods Montessori School. 

Address:
Sand Hill Plaza
228 S Main St. 
Newtown, CT 06470

 

Member Schools

Register Here

Non-member Schools & Individuals

Register Here

"The adult’s idea that freedom consists in minimizing duties and obligations must be rejected…The freedom that is given to the child is not liberation from parents and teachers; it is not freedom from the laws of Nature or of the state or of society; but the utmost freedom for self-development and self-realization compatible with service to society."

 

– Maria Montessori –