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Our thoughts on Montessori and education

CGMS Back to School Webinars

It’s a busy time of year as we prepare for the opening of school and welcoming new children to our community. It’s also a great time of year to renew and review. Once your environment is ready and the new children begin to settle in, take some time for your own professional growth with one of the CGMS Back to School Webinars. Each webinar will have two 90-minute sessions and will be led by CGMS instructors and some guest presenters. There is something for everyone!

Webinar Fees are reasonable with discounts for current CGMS certification students and graduates.

Two Day Webinar Fee: $85 for general public/ $65 for CGMS students and graduates

$5 discount for each participant when enrolling two or more from the same school

$5 discount for enrolling in more than one Webinar!

Registration Information Registration Forms will be available through our admissions office. Email info@cgms.edu to register. Or, you may register online via the following links.

If you are a CGMS Student or Graduate, please register here: Back to School Webinar 2019 (CGMS Student) Registration All other registrants, please register here: Back to School Webinar 2019 (Non-CGMS) Registration

“Practical Life: It’s Elementary My Dear!” For Elementary I and II Teachers

Tuesdays: September 3 and 10, 2019 6:30 pm EDT Webinar Facilitator: Tammy Oesting

A hallmark of Montessori 3-6 classrooms is the extensive exercises for daily living, the practical part of the curriculum that prepares children to care for themselves and their environment. But did you know how important Practical Life is for your 6-12 year old students? Montessori teacher educator Tammy Oesting delivers an engaging two-part webinar that reveals the purpose behind elementary Practical Life exercises providing innovative ideas for engaging your students with hand work, service projects, and a unique aspect of a Montessori elementary program: Going Out. With a foundation on the developmental needs and interests of your students, you will learn how to plan for and implement a rich Practical Life culture in your 6-12 learning environment. Tammy Oesting, cofounder of Montessori professional development company ClassrooMechanics has been educating adults in Montessori for 20 years. Her passions include issues of social justice, training support staff, art education, neuroscience and education, and life sciences (AMS credential Early Childhood, Elementary I-II)

Cosmic Education: A Blueprint for Management For Elementary and Secondary Teachers

Saturdays: September 14 and 21, 2019 11:00 am EDT Webinar Facilitator: Claudia Mann

Are you challenged to maintain the Cosmic Curriculum while making sure your students are progressing well in reading, writing and math? As a secondary guide, do you wonder how to continue Cosmic Ed into studies with your students? Do you feel like there is never enough time in the day to connect the cultural lessons to skills to the Big Picture? I did, too! In this conversation, I’ll share ways I addressed this in my classrooms, both elementary and secondary, and give you some tips, guidance, and a blueprint for designing classroom work that will inspire you AND your students. There’ll be time for Q&A and discussion, too. Claudia Mann serves CGMS as an Online Instructor, a Field Consultant, and a Practicum Advisor. Claudia received her credential in Elementary I and a Master’s degree from Xavier University, her Elementary II credential from CMTE/NY, and her Secondary I credential from the Houston Montessori Center. She has taught Montessori Elementary and Secondary and has served as a school administrator.


Compassion, Empathy, and Education For All Levels Saturdays: October 12 and19, 2019, at 11:00 am EDT Webinar Facilitator(s): Rita Cassiano and Gingi Lahera

Compassion and non-violent communication help us develop a better understanding of ourselves and those around us. They both promote social bonding. A proactive mindset enhances essential life skills such as: creativity, collaboration, active listening, innovation, self-awareness, and flexible thinking. This webinar will explore these topics, research supporting them, and how it relates to our work in the classroom. There will be plenty of opportunities to reflect and share as we consider how to build stronger relationships through a compassionate heart. Rita Cassiano and Gingi Lahera are co-founders of A.L.M.A. – Arts Language Music, Alliance, as well as Montessori Educators. Rita and Gingi believe that every person has the ability to create, and to share our gifts is a human need. They guide others in discovering paths of self-expression, cultural consciousness and connection.


Imagine That! For Early Childhood and Lower EL Teachers Tuesday October 15 and 22, 2019, 7:00 pm EDT Webinar Facilitator: Jana Morgan Herman

Unleash creativity in your classroom, the Montessori Way! In this two-session webinar we will review Montessori’s writings on art and imagination and learn how to bring it into and our classrooms in a purposeful way. We will explore the seven elements of art and how they are built into the Montessori materials you already have. Plus, there will be many examples of art lessons with instructions on how you can set up your environment in ways that will promote true artistic expression as well as creative storytelling. In between the two session, you will work on your own fun creative project to help you implement what you have learned. Jana serves CGMS as an Online Instructor, Residential Session Instructor, Field Consultant and Practicum Advisor. She holds a Master’s degree in Montessori Education from St. Catherine University, and received her Early Childhood Montessori Credential (MACTE/AMS, MTEC San Francisco) in 1997.Jana is a Teacher Educator in US and Asia. She has taught at the Early Childhood and Elementary level and is currently the Head of a small Montessori school in Kentucky.


Registration Information If you are a CGMS Student or Graduate, please register here: Back to School Webinar 2019 (CGMS Student) Registration All other registrants, please register here: Back to School Webinar 2019 (Non-CGMS) Registration

La Dottoressa, a New Montessori Musical

Matty Selman, creator of the new musical La Dottoressa, spoke with The Montessori Post about the background and future of the project.

The Montessori Post (MP): What has been your role in producing the musical?  

Selman: As an Emmy Award winning composer, I knew that it would not be enough to simply write “La Dottoressa” — I would have to find a way to share it with, first, those in the Montessori circles, who would immediately understand the thrust and importance of this project.  In so doing, I started wearing many hats: writer, composer, producer, social networker, fundraiser, etc. As the project has evolved over the past few years, others have joined me in my journey to bring this work to the global stage. That being said, my main job these days in fundraising – assuring that we have what is needed to honor this story.  

MP: Where are you based?  

Selman: I am based in New York City and live in the Broadway  theatre district.

MP: Dr. Montessori was a pioneer in many different ways.  What was your inspiration to name the show ‘La Dottoressa?’  

Selman: The title, which I have always loved, “La Dottoressa” means female doctor in Italian.  In a way, the title indicates her always looking after and taking care of those she loved.  

MP: In what ways were you inspired by Dr. Ruth Selman in creating this work?  

Selman: In 1978, my late mother, Dr. Ruth Selman, an AMS Living Legacy Honoree, started work on a teleplay called “La Dottoressa” about Maria Montessori trying to get into the all-male bastion of the Rome Medical College. She was among the only women ever to pursue such a career at that time  – women were not allowed to work if they were married and there was no infrastructure for the hiring of women doctors. While I thought the teleplay was an amazing window into Dr. Montessori’s life, I, as a composer, felt that music would also convey some of the spirituality in Montessori’s philosophy – the light within.  When my mother passed away in 2014, I wanted to write something in her honor. “La Dottoressa” carries her dream of sharing Dr. Montessori’s life story and is also in honor of all those in history and today who champion the child.

MP: How did you find your creative team?  

Selman: The first member of the team was Caryl Fantel, my music director.  I had written a musical with HAIR composer, Galt MacDermot, based on the classic Greek comedy “Lysistrata” – we did a workshop of the show in Florida, at which point I met Caryl and discussed “La Dottoressa” with her.  Subsequently, I met our director, Arianna Bardesono, who is Canadian and speaks fluent Italian. She then put me in touch with our designer, Diana Uribe. My literary agent suggested Linda Cho for our period costumes. Linda  won a Tony Award and was instantly drawn to “La Dottoressa” since her two young boys attend a Montessori school!

MP: Your timeline states that the first production of the musical will be early 2020.  Can you tell us about more locations and dates?  

Selman: Dr. Montessori, of course, was a global citizen.  Actually, in her will, she specified that wherever she was when she passed – that is where she wished to be buried. Thus, the little village cemetery in Noorjdvik on zee in Amsterdam is her resting place.  The reason for bringing this up is that we may be having our first production in Beijing! China is the unquestionable new frontier for Montessori. Schools in Beijing and Shanghai are spreading at a rapid rate to accommodate the growing population.   We are also currently looking at the possibility of performing in Chiaravalle, Italy – Montessori’s birth town, as well as a number of US venues, including those in Florida and Texas to do pre-production workshops. The Beijing production will be held in November 2020 at the famous Poly Theatre. 

MP: What are your plans to film the production?  

Selman: The musical is intended to be filmed after it has toured Europe, Asia and the US.  Ideally, this inspiring story should be shared with those who don’t have the ability to see a show live.

MP: Who do you hope sees the live or filmed musical? 

Selman: “La Dottoressa” is a family musical about an amazing woman who challenged the social chains of her day to realize her destiny.  I envision a global audience for this work – which is not based on any movie or TV show. It is an original work about a very original woman.

MP: In what ways do you hope the show inspires the non-Montessori world?  Existing students and teachers? 

Selman: Dr. Montessori faced unbelievable and nearly insurmountable challenges in her life.  She was persecuted for much of her adult life, running from country to country, defending her ideas, sharing her philosophy and yet, at the same time, not wanting to take credit for what she felt was the world’s all along.  She was a profound person, a role model, a leader. As the keynote for the first feminist congress in Berlin, she rallied the cause of equal pay for women. In addition to her methodology, she was a great advocate for world peace and asked us to take the children of war into our hearts and minds and protect them at all costs.  Her philosophy of cosmic education evolved during her fruitful years in India. She was a leader, an inspiration and for always, the Champion of the Child. 

MP: What else can you tell us?  

Selman: Those who wish to be a sponsor of “La Dottoressa” may do so through tax deductible gifts at our donation site : bit.ly/LaDottoressa

M.Ed. Program now enrolling

The Institute for Educational Studies, in affiliation with Van Loan School at Endicott College, is now accepting applications for Fall 2019 cohorts.



Help! Can you offer record keeping tips?

Dear Ask a Montessorian, I’m feeling overwhelmed.  I know that observation and record keeping are very important, but there is so much to do at the beginning of the school year.  I want to start off with good habits.  What do you recommend?

My first year in a primary classroom was like my first day at ballet school: stand up tall, point your toes, look up, smile! So much to remember!

Except it was more like: speak clearly, lay out the materials just so, handle every situation with grace and courtesy, track each student’s progress, interpret every child’s unique needs, organize your records, communicate with parents, present at parent education nights, conferences… and follow, follow, follow the child!

Plié and repeat.

It was exhausting keeping in step with a new routine. I began seeking help from other Montessorians and outside resources. What I found most helpful was the power of observation—visiting other classrooms and seeing the examples I wished to be. Much like we remind the children to stop and breathe deeply, as teachers should also take time to sit still and simply notice. The classroom is naturally a busy place, so observation is key. It was difficult to do my number one job of ‘following the child,’ without making the time to watch the development unfolding. 

Montessori Guidance:  An experienced Montessori guide gave me a great tip: You spend your day tracking student progress, making important notes, and dealing with difficult situations. So, take the time each day, maybe during lunch, or at a quiet point in the afternoon to write down three things that went well for you. It could be something like: “Circle time went smoothly and we arrived on the playground on time today.” Or it could be heartwarming: ”After a challenging morning, Tommy created an apology note and flower arrangement for his friend.” These notes of gratitude kept my spirits up and motivated me to keep conducting observation notes. I soon was able to make the day to day clerical work more routine and easier to manage. The more student record keeping I did throughout the day, the less stress I felt during conference season and parent communications. 

Outside Resources:  It was in fact, trial and error before I found a record keeping method that worked best for me. What was most helpful was an online system. It allowed me to quickly input student information without taking my attention from the classroom. I could do everything in one place: take attendance, track student lessons, analyze student progress, automatically plan lessons, schedule on a calendar, upload pictures and videos, communicate with parents, generate reports, and file important records. My iPad, smaller than a clip-board, was surprisingly discreet and convenient to use in the classroom. I also took advantage of the resource library which includes hundreds of lesson demonstrations, assistant training and parent education videos. I also used Montessori community-based sites like wikisori.org for lesson extension ideas or to print three-part cards for new lesson ideas as well.

While it may sometimes feel like you are doing a solo performance in the classroom, it is important to slow down and follow the beat of the child. Reminding yourself there are support systems all around you. Most importantly, find gratitude each day for a job well done.

Anna Cook holds her Masters in Early Childhood and Primary Childhood Montessori certificate. She has worked as a Montessori guide in Pittsburgh, PA and Charlottesville, VA. She currently has established a Montessori, home based Toddler program within her community.

Conference Opportunities

For the Montessori conferences are below, CGMS Instructors are encouraged to submit proposals for workshops.  CGMS Adult Learners (former and current) who would like to attend a conference and live within 1-2 hours of event may also contact us to staff an exhibitor table.  Participation expenses are reimbursed.


Montessori Alliance of Tennessee annual conference, September 27-28.  Nashville, TN.

South Carolina Montessori Alliance annual conference, October 11-12.  Columbia, SC.  Vendor table representative needed.

Montessori Association of North Carolina annual conference, October 19.  Charlotte, NC. Proposals currently accepted

Wisconsin Montessori Association annual conference, November 2, Madison, WI.

Montessori Foundation annual conference, November 8-11, 2019.  Sarasota, FL.

Montessori Schools of Massachusetts, January 11, 2020.  Franklin, MA.



University of Wisconsin Conference, Jan, 2020.  

Utah Montessori Council annual conference, Feb 7-8, 2020, Salt Lake City.  

Association of Illinois Montessori Schools, Feb, 2020.

Montessori Educational Programs International, Feb 28-March 1, 2020, Kiawah Island Resort.

New Jersey Montessori Association Council, March, 2020, Edison, NJ.

Cincinnati Montessori Society, March 21, 2020.

Children Change the World Montessori Conference, Look for an April, 2020 date soon, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Southeast Montessori Collective annual conference, April 24-25, 2020, Greater Atlanta, Georgia.

Montessori Association of Colorado, Look for a May, 2020 date soon, Denver, Colorado.

Montessori for Social Justice, date and location to be announced.


For help finding proposal information or if a deadline has passed, please contact RKincaid@GuidedStudies.com