It’s finally time to say goodbye to 2020.
What a seismic year to live through. I have been so inspired and moved by the courage and determination I have seen in the Montessori community this year. You have rolled with the challenges of overhauling how you work with and educate children, closing schools and losing jobs, coming to grips with your role in race relations, and so much more. Your efforts to make this world a better place for all children in the face of the unique difficulties this year threw your way are truly remarkable. You are the best community I could hope to be a part of.
As we close the year, I’d like to share some of the main projects I worked on in 2020. I am hoping for a much slower and much more boring life in the coming year!
Wishing you all a safe, happy, restful, and relatively uneventful 2021!
2020: Year in Review
Principles to Practice Subscription (P2P)
Tammy Oesting (Classroomechanics.com), Virginia Lozuke (Montessori Farm School) and I launched the p2p monthly membership in January. I expected this project to be my main focus for 2020 but the Universe had other plans! Regardless, I am thrilled that we have been able to serve almost a thousand members with practical classroom management advice in the form of monthly videos for a whole year now! We’ve been honored to bring in a range of guest speakers including Claire Paglia, Mary Stratton, Diana Smith Butler and Jana Morgan Herman. In August, we launched the Elementary version of p2p with Letty Rising, We will be opening up the program for a new round of members in January 2021. If you’d like to learn more and join the waiting list, you may do so here: Primary or Elementary
Hands-On Kids Activities Club
We welcomed lots of new members to the HOKA club in 2020, including plenty of courageous parents who ventured into the world of homeschooling! HOKA is a collaboration between Yuliya Fruman (Welcome to Mommyhood), Katherine Kabral (I Believe in Montessori) and myself. It offers monthly themed printables and activity suggestions for the preschool-K classroom. We are planning some changes to the club in 2021 and will be opening again to new members in late Feb/early March. If you’d like to be notified when we open again, please click here.
The Montessori Parent Coronavirus Survival Guide
The national lockdowns in the US began the week of the annual AMS Montessori conference (the Montessori Event). I was in Dallas with a group of friends and we ended up using that weekend for a work retreat. When we made our way back to our respective homes, we decided to channel our energies into writing a book for parents who suddenly found themselves with children at home. Over the span of 7 days, a group of ten people wrote, edited, and published an ebook on Amazon. For a few days the book made it to #1 on the Amazon (free) bestseller lists in a few different categories. You can see a list of the wonderful contributors and learn more about this great book here.
Webinars and More Webinars!
Some amazing Montessorians stepped up to offer free webinars to the community. Kristen Richter and Spramani Elaun presented a webinar on helping children combat stress with art. Andy and Regina Lulka presented on how to talk to parents about discipline at home, specially during the pandemic. Allison Jones, Elizabeth Slade, and Michelle Boyle from Public Montessori in Action offered a fantastic presentation on how to reopen schools. Before the pandemic began, we were also lucky enough to get free presentations from Shawn Edwards on setting the tone and culture of your school, and from Claudia Mann on the keys to cosmic education.
The P2P Summit
Tammy and I had been planning the P2P Summit since late 2019 and little did we expect that the lockdowns would turn it into such a big event. We were honored to bring over 25 incredible speakers to thousands of Montessorians around the world for a nominal cost. We have already begun working on the 2021 Summit and are very excited about how it is shaping up! We’ll have more details for you this spring!
Montessori Homeschool by Design
As the reality of extended school closures set in, it became apparent that a large number of parents would need to shift to a homeschooling model for the rest of the school year. The incredibly talented Letty Rising and Jana Morgan Herman put their heads down and cranked out two fantastic online courses for parents who wanted to begin homeschooling using the Montessori approach. The MHBD courses provide the foundational understanding parents need to have in order to make sense of all the “curriculum” resources that are out there and begin homeschooling in an authentically Montessori way. You can learn more about the courses here: Ages 3-6Ages 6-12
Introduction to Anti-Bias Education
I was so honored that Britt Hawthorne allowed me to host this fantastic online course on Trillium. We can no longer put off having the difficult discussions about how our unexamined biases play a role in the kinds of learning communities we create in our schools. This course is a must-watch for all educators and indeed anyone who spends any time around children. You can learn more here.
Ah, what a treat to have played a small role in bringing this heartwarming event to the world. Special thanks go to Simone Davies of the Montessori Notebook for birthing the idea and the rest of the Montessori Everywhere team for magically manifesting 12 hours of captivating content to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Dr. Montessori’s birth and raising $20K+ for the Black Montessori Education Fund. if you missed the event, you can watch all of the recorded sessions here: https://montessorieverywhere.org/
Teaching Students with Special Needs
One of the most anticipated and needed courses I’ve ever hosted! I’m so happy to finally have a course by Christine Lowry about this topic on Trillium. If you missed the announcement, you can learn more and sign up any time here.
Mixed in with these large projects was a broad mix of smaller projects including:
- regular resource emails during the initial months of the lockdowns,
- loads of new printables created
- running the classroom setup bootcamps this summer primary elementary
- the Montessori Homeschool Summit
- …and I bought a new house! 🏡🎊
Next up… a long nap 😴