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Our thoughts on Montessori and education

CGMS Offers Free Webinars on Distance Learning

CGMS Free Webinars

How can we make distance learning work for our Montessori schools? What are the best practices?

CGMS is offering free webinars to assist teachers as they prepare for the possibility of returning to distance learning whether on a consistent or intermittent basis.

The first Webinar will be for all levels as an introduction. Level specific Webinars will follow.

Date Level Name
July 13 all Best Practices for Teaching and Reaching with Remote Learning
July 14 elementary Fall Scenarios/Approaches to Distance Learning in Montessori
July 14 elementary Shelves and Screens:  The Website as Prepared Environment
July 15 elementary Using Zoom and Creating Collaboration with Elementary Learners
July 16 elementary Using Zoom and Google Classroom for E-Learning and Building Community
July 22 toddlers Infants and Toddlers in the Time of COVID
July 27 primary Creating Weekly Activity Plans with Natalie Carver
July 28 primary Creating Montessori Material Kits for Distance Learning
July 29 primary Get Connected!
July 30 primary Using and Developing Your Google Classroom

July 13, 2020  4 PM All Levels Best Practices for Teaching and Reaching with Remote Learning- Presented by Christine Lowry, M. Ed.

We’re likely getting excited about a return to our classrooms this fall, but just in case, we should have a Plan B. As we plan for the possibility of returning to remote learning, in combination with in-person teaching, or replacing it for a period of time, it will be important to have some tools for offering the best we can for our students. Join us for a discussion of what best practices in remote learning can be, the many ways we can engage our students, and parents, too, in their learning. We’ll also look at ways to build a strong, supportive community of relationships for your students, with you and your students, and you and your families. Share your ideas, your questions, and your solutions.

Please register for this session here:



July 14, 1 PM Elementary Level Fall Scenarios/Approaches to Distance Learning in Montessori with Jorge Haro

During this seminar, we will analyze the characteristics of distance learning since March including successful approaches and strategies. We will also analyze possible scenarios for the Fall. The seminar will be guided by Jorge Haro one of the administrators of the Montessori Foundation (6-12) Guides Collaborative Conversation page on Facebook.


Please register for this session here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIvfuyqrjooGNIc4HamkMwNlou6iQX_i-eJ


July 14, 7 PM Elementary Level Shelves and Screens:  The Website as Prepared Environment with Bill Alsdurf Jr., M. Ed.

Turning your remote learning website into a direct extension of your prepared Montessori environment

This webinar will provide the participant with an opportunity to examine ways they can create an easy to manage classroom website (using Google Sites) that best represents their prepared classroom environment, their unique personality, and the warmth and heart that is the Montessori classroom.  You’ll leave the webinar with a classroom website template to get you started, an idea list of what to include in your website, and PDF resource files of commonly used Montessori classroom materials.

Please register for this session here:



July 15, 4 PM Elementary Level Using Zoom and Creating Collaboration with Elementary Learners with Alison Plihal


In this Webinar, Alison will demonstrate how she incorporated Zoom and Google Classroom into E-learning. She will relate how the natural human tendencies of the elementary child can be integrated into Zoom learning environments. Alison will discuss the progress of the children at her school in Guatemala as they participated in learning extensions in the Cosmic area and continued the collaboration so natural for children in an elementary environment.

Please register for this session here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUtf-GorzkuHdBv1BQykq5_L0VVfV-rLELT


July 16, 7:30 PM Elementary Level Using Zoom and Google Classroom for E-Learning and Building Community with Greg Hicks


Community is the ground from which the Montessori learning environment blossoms.  In this webinar,  we will explore how to utilize Google Classroom and Zoom to build community and effectively bring the Montessori classroom to life in an e-learning platform. Greg will demonstrate the Google Classroom he developed and share techniques and ideas for continuing to grow and nurture an established classroom community.

Please register for this session here:



July 22, 7:00 PM Toddler Infants and Toddlers in the Time of COVID


Many are wondering how we can put our Montessori principles into practice when caring for infants and toddlers during a pandemic?  Some Montessorians will be preparing classrooms to welcome children and families for the upcoming school year (abiding by CDC guidelines). Some will be using Zoom and/or creating weekly packets to stay connected.  Yet others are trying creative solutions like scheduling school classrooms for private sessions (so whole families or regular playgroups will have a safe place to go); consulting with parents to bring Montessori into the home; curating a “Montessori Library” of items that can be “checked out”;  or providing “nanny” care or other in-home services (just to name a few).  Regardless of where our work takes place, we all want to stay true to Montessori “non-negotiables” to the best of our abilities. Please join us as we explore how this might look in a variety of settings.

Please register here for this session:



July 27th at 7 PM EST Early Childhood Level Creating Weekly Activity Plans with Natalie Carver


This pandemic is posing significant challenges for all of us as educators. As a result several of us have had to create unique solutions to help our families and students work through this difficult situation and maintain some form of curriculum via distance learning. In an attempt to do this for my community, I created weekly activity plans that were simple and also true to our Montessori philosophy. The works were easily achievable at home with materials found around the house along with a set of printed packets sent to each family. During the webinar, I will present several of the plans I made and walk you through creating a new weekly work plan. I will provide links to resources I utilized throughout this process and answer any questions you may have. I look forward to working with you and helping us all get through these uncertain times. None of us know what to expect for the coming school year, but hopefully, this technique will give you one more way to work through it with your own communities. These plans can be incorporated into both public and private school programs.

Please register here for this session:



July 28th at 7 PM EST Early Childhood Level Creating Montessori Material Kits for Distance Learning with Alison Plihal

In this Webinar, Alison Plihal will show how her team developed different Montessori kits for each child at her school. These Montessori kits contained a series of concrete Montessori materials from the areas of Language, Math, Sensorial, Practical Life and Geography. Each child had a small version of a Montessori Classroom at home, and progressed in each of these areas, thanks to the distance learning program that was developed at Antigua Montessori School.

Please register here for this session:



July 29th at 7 PM EST Early Childhood Level Get Connected! With Shelby Hiken

Join us to discover virtual systems, schedules, and activities to encourage your school community to stay connected through the distance learning experience. At this event, Shelby Hiken will guide you in creating a variety of virtual connecting opportunities. From individual child-teacher sessions to small group lessons, book readings, class community gatherings, and partnering with parents and staff, this workshop will cover a plethora of options that will allow you to address the needs of your particular school community. 


  • ways to create virtual lessons that reflect the purpose of Montessori materials
  • rich learning experiences families can create and integrate into daily home routines
  • ideas for weekly adventures that take the interest and learning level of each child into consideration, while engaging the whole family
  • how to use Shared Google Folders and Google Classroom to remain connected with your whole school community

Please register here for this session:



July 30th 7 PM EST Early Childhood Level Using and Developing Your Google Classroom with Kim Delaney


Kim will share her Google classroom with you as she describes how to develop and use this e-learning tool with young children. See how to upload video lessons and teacher read books for children to access. Kim will demonstrate how she integrated the traditional Montessori lessons into her google classroom. She will show videos and photos of children at home completing work of all kinds as well as video of Zoom circle times and presentation of live lessons.

Please register here for this session:


Frank Leto Offers Free Making Music in the Home Program

Frank Leto, a multidimensional artist and certified Montessori Guide, has long been loved by parents and schools for his children’s music. A talented instrumentalist who plays Brazilian percussion, Afro-Cuban percussion and Trinidadian Steel Drum, in 2007 he contributed the music curriculum to The Center for Guided Montessori Studies’ Early Childhood certification program. 

Mr. Leto has announced that as of April 1st, his Kids Will Be Kids is a 3-part DVD series of original music will all be available to stream on you tube for free.

“My hope is that this will encourage kids, who are staying safe indoors, to stay active and bring music into their daily routine at home,” he says.

The materials include:

  • Singin’ & Learnin’ – includes 9 circle time songs/videos and musical activities (ages 2-6)
  • Movin’ & Groovin’ – includes 9 exercise and gross motor movement videos set to the energetic and exotic rhythms of Frank’s Steel Band (all ages)
  • Move Your Dancing Feet – includes 7 songs/videos featuring multicultural dances from around the world (ages 4-10)

Below is more information about each video series as well as the link to stream each series of videos. He hopes that people will share this and that teachers will add this to their classroom’s virtual programs.


Kids Will Be Kids: Singin’ & Learnin’ by Frank Leto

Frank Leto’s Singin’ & Learnin’ video series is perfect for toddlers and kindergarteners. This collection of songs focuses on interactive finger plays and games. Set in a classroom environment, children sing and learn about colors, body parts, facial expressions and more! It’s like having a music class in your own home! Frank Leto is a music teacher who has composed award-winning songs for young children. He incorporates his 30+ years of classroom experience into a program that inspires children to sing and dance from the very first note. Singing’ & Learnin’ includes the following songs: 1. Come On Everybody 2. Colors 3. What Can We Do Today? 4. Coconut Soap 5. You Can Tell How I Feel 6. Lady Bug 7. Tip Toe 8. Echoes and Rhythm Exercises 9. I Have Two Thumbs Visit www.frankleto.com for more information or to purchase Frank Leto’s educational and multicultural music for kids!

Kids Will Be Kids: Movin’ & Groovin’ by Frank Leto

Movin’ & Groovin’ is a movement program for children of all ages. Pilar Leto leads children through a variety of exercises and fun movement activities. It is a great tool in the fight against childhood obesity and keep kids moving when indoors. Longitudinal research has proven that using songs, rhymes, and games with children can enhance language, early sensorimotor skills, and brain development.

Movin’ & Groovin’ by Frank Leto is set to the exotic sounds and rhythms of a Steel Band. This exercise and gross motor movement video gives children a great workout! The program begins with a warm up (stretches for the whole body), followed by three songs aimed at giving children a cardiovascular workout. Dances, games and a simplified version of the limbo keep the children moving until the focus is on balance and coordination. All this is followed by a cool down to relax the body and mind concludes the activity. Movin’ & Groovin’ includes the following songs: 1. Room to Move 2. Jumping Jack 3. Here to There 4. Jump Jump Jump 5. Doing the Swim 6. Zig Zag 7. It’s Limbo Time 8. Tightrope 9. Cool Down

Kids Will Be Kids: Move Your Dancing Feet by Frank Leto

Frank Leto’s Move Your Dancing Feet is a movement program for children ages 4-10 that explores multicultural dances from around the world. These 7 original songs will provide a fun and educational activity to let you kids move while staying safe indoors! Pilar Leto leads children in movement while Frank Leto plays a variety of instruments from a nearby grass shack! Join in the fun as children learn the Hawaiian hula, Brazilian samba, Jamaican reggae, Trinidadian calypso, Cuban rumba and Puerto Rican salsa. Move Your Dancin’ Feet involves children in exciting, multicultural movement activities. Each song/video provides a unique set of activities that are always engaging and fun for children. Includes the following songs: 1. Move Your Dancing Feet 2. Maria Loves To Dance 3. Reggae Kids 4. Calypso Jump 5. Under The Sun 6. Sambalele 7. This Is A Rumba


Visit www.frankleto.com for additional information and to purchase Frank Leto’s educational music for children. Cd’s are also available for download at cdbaby.com

A Message to Montessori Families

Dear Montessori Parents,

Around the world, Montessori school communities are facing unprecedented challenges. The present crisis threatens the lives and learning of children, the well-being of families, the livelihood of parents and teachers, and the very existence of our schools. As partners in our children’s education, we have an opportunity and responsibility to face these challenges together.

Here are some of the things we can do to ensure that our children’s learning and school community continue to thrive during and beyond these challenging times.


  • Make a commitment to take care of ourselves. Let children see us practicing calmness, positive thinking, and safe health habits.
  • Support our children’s Montessori school community. Maintain our connection and frequent communication with our children’s teachers, using a variety of online technologies and tools.
  • Ask our Montessori teachers for advice on how we can help our children stay calm and constructively engaged at home so that we can balance parenting and family time with our work responsibilities.
  • Most Montessori schools depend upon tuition to pay teachers and operating expenses. If you are experiencing financial challenges, work with your school’s administrators, recognizing that without your support, children’s learning will be impacted, teachers may leave, and the school could close. Montessori schools take years to organize and develop. They are an essential part of the community, offering a precious alternative to the educational status quo.
  • Help our school community search for alternative sources of funding, including private donations, grants, low-interest loans, and endowments.

Montessori is a way of life. Families find a sense of community and support in Montessori schools that their children attend which is all too rare in the world today.

Children excel when they feel safe, empowered, and truly heard. Our schools nurture students’ innate curiosity and creativity, imagination, and sense of engagement. Montessori graduates never lose the joy of lifelong learning. Every day we see our children blossom.

We believe that the gift of a Montessori education will pay outstanding dividends. As adults, our children will build a better world.

Our motto is, “We’re here to help.” Please let us know how we can help your school community move through these uncertain times with compassion, courage, wisdom, and love.


Tim Seldin


The Montessori Foundation


Kathy Leitch

Executive Director The International Montessori Council

Montessori Community Comes Together to Support Schools, Teachers and Families During the COVID- 19 Crisis

The last couple of weeks have certainly felt like March Madness as schools nationwide were closed with very little notice. Immediately a group of Montessori leaders and educators from across the US and internationally began to meet and work together to find resources to help schools, teachers, and families. This sparked the creation of The Montessori Collaborative Response Planning Team with members from the major Montessori organizations, leaders from teacher education programs, school administrators, and teachers. The group began to hold over flowing Zoom Town Hall Meetings to address questions and concerns. Task groups were started to gather and provide resources in several areas of need including, school business and financial concerns, teacher resources for teaching remotely, communication, parent support and self- care. Several ” How to Zoom” training sessions were held for teachers across the different Montessori levels. Facebook groups were started for teachers to share ideas. Video conference meetings have been held to address important issues of concern for schools. Short videos have and are being created to discuss specific topics of need and provide suggestions for calming, centering and staying positive during these stressful times. It is truly amazing to see what can be accomplished when a community comes together!

Here’s where you can go to tap into the resources:

The following are the links for the Teacher Resource Facebook Pages:


Help! How do I know how to recognize true Montessori?

“I’m a new parent and have been hearing so much about the Montessori method from friends and online.  All of the information is somewhat conflicting, though, and I want to introduce the true principles in my home.  What would you say are the cornerstones of Montessori, especially for parents wishing to integrate it in the home?”


Dear Interested in Montessori Parent,

Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step on a lifelong journey to uncover how to support your child in being the best they can be! 

We’re not surprised that you’ve heard the buzz about Montessori and are wondering what it’s all about!  Italian-born doctor, Maria Montessori (1870-1952), was a scientist who observed how children learn best. She developed a pedagogy, a method of education, that spread and is applied in educational settings and homes around the world. And yet, there continue to be misconceptions of what it’s all about, how to apply the principles, and how to decipher what is aligned with Montessori methodology and what is not.  

Trained practitioners of the Montessori Method, teachers that are often called “guides”, undergo a rigorous training equivalent to a Master’s degree in education.  This training is unique in that it entails a focus on the underlying principles of optimal learning as well as a vast curriculum developed by both Dr. Montessori as well as her followers. It also involves the holistic transformation of the adult learner to work on their own personal flaws and spark their commitment to lifelong learning. If you’re looking for an authentic Montessori school environment for your child, then we’d highly recommend locating a classroom led by a teacher with a credential from  a MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education) accredited teacher education program. Additionally, when you’re looking for authentic information, look to experts in Montessori with vast practical experience as well as the credentials that indicate a lineage of authenticity. 

Montessori principles and practices are also adopted by families in their homes for many reasons including supporting their child’s independence, their curiosity in learning, and holistic growth.  Montessori home environments cannot duplicate a school setting in that they are not guided by a trained practitioner nor do they have the pool of students in a specific range of ages that the methodology leans on to support the young learner.  What home environments DO have though, is the ability to amplify each child’s potential by leveraging the unprecedented relationships embedded in the family structure. The home environment is also uniquely poised to prepare an authentic environment to support the child’s independence in all arenas.  

Dr. Montessori saw every child holistically. In following her approach, we attend to the child’s social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and spiritual well-being within an environment fully prepared for the child to flourish.  She saw our role as being far more a “guide on the side” rather than “sage on the stage” teacher. She identified commonalities in how we develop and learn, regardless of culture, and she even noted sensitivities to learning certain kinds of things at specific times in our development. 

A cornerstone of Montessori philosophy is to “follow the child” which seems simple, yet the practice relies on a deep understanding of child development to determine what is an appropriate expectation and how to “hook” the child’s interest based on sensitive periods of development, the ability to prepare an environment based on observations of the child with choices ready for this specific time in the child’s life.  

Another cornerstone of Montessori philosophy is the deep respect and trust shown to the child.  This is seen in every interaction the adult has with the child, the preparation of a beautiful environment with real things, and how adults envision and trust the child that has not yet emerged.  

Some practical ideas for families looking to incorporate Montessori into their homes include slowing down your pace of life and allowing your child time to process information, respecting your child by speaking and listening to them as you would an adult, noticing your tone and word choices. Montessori environments also provide hands-on learning for children; families can amplify this by providing concrete experiences for children by allowing them to make discoveries by themselves, including making the mistakes that inevitably provide learning opportunities. 

One of the most important principles that families can amplify at home is to include their child.  Young children like to be involved in everything including food preparation, cleaning, shopping, and more.  Children take their cues for emotional regulation from the adults in their lives who serve them best by validating charged emotions, empathize, and enforce the limits.  

In preparing your home, to promote independence, provide child-sized furniture and tools such as table and chairs, small broom, watering can, etc. Ensure easy accessibility such as low hooks for coat and bag, steps to sink faucets, and low hangers for clothing.  For toy control, think minimalism as it increases the child’s interest and is far more manageable. Reduce the offerings, organize them in baskets or trays arranged on low shelving, and rotate every now and then the toys that are underused. 

Finally, maybe the most important aspect of bringing Montessori methodology into your home, is to work on being your best self.  Children absorb everything around them effortlessly, including who we are as adults. And we teach who we are every moment we’re with children.  

For a great resource on raising children, check out Tim Seldin’s Raising an Amazing Child the Montessori Way

Tammy Oesting spent the last 26 years delivering professional development workshops, consulting schools, and educating new Montessori teachers and has 17 years in Montessori classrooms.Her passions include issues of social justice, educating support staff, life sciences, neuroscience, and exploring the magnificence of the world.  She serves Montessori globally through her company ClassrooMechanics. (AMS 3-12)