Schedule, Letter from Laura
Lodging, Getting there
Lodging, Getting there
Lodging, Getting there



October 15th – 18th, 2020


YMCA of the Rockies Conference Center and Resort
Estes Park, Colorado




October 15, 2020

3:00-10:00 pm YMCA Resort Check-in: Administration Building
3:00-8:00 pm Conference Registration: Longs Peak Lodge
5:00-7:00 pm DINNER buffet (3 night lodging package): Aspen Dining Room
7:00-9:00 pm WELCOME RECEPTION: Longs Peak Lodge (hosted by Colorado Montessori Association (CMA)

October 16, 2020

7:00-7:30 am Early Morning Yoga: Assembly Hall Lobby
7:00-9:00 am BREAKFAST buffet (3 night package): Aspen Dining Room
8:00-5:00 pm YMCA check-in: Administration Building
8:00-5:00 pm Conference Registration: Longs Peak Lodge
8:30-6:00 pm SCHOOLS SHOWCASE: Longs Peak Lodge
8:45- 4:15 pm Workshop All-Day session A-D
8:45-11:15 am Workshop Session AB
8:45-10:00 am Workshop Session A
10:30-11:45 am Workshop Session B
11:30-1:30 pm LUNCH buffet (3 night package): Aspen Dining Room
1:45-4:15 pm Workshop Session CD
1:45-3:00 pm Workshop Session C
3:30-4:45 pm Workshop Session D
4:00-6:00 pm EXHIBITS: Assembly Hall Lobby
6:00-8:00 pm GALA DINNER (Full conference registrants) – Family-style with GF and vegan options, salad and fruit
8:00-9:00 pm International Folk Dancing with Tom Masterson

October 17, 2020

7:00-7:30 am Early Morning Yoga: Assembly Hall Lobby
7:00-9:00 am BREAKFAST buffet: Aspen Dining Room
8:00-9:00 am Saturday Only Conference registration: Longs Peak Lodge
8:30-6:00 pm SCHOOLS SHOWCASE: Longs Peak Lodge
8:45- 4:15 pm Workshop All-Day session E-H
8:45-11:15 am Workshop Session EF
8:45-10:00 am Workshop Session E
10:30-11:45 am Workshop Session F
11:30-1:30 pm LUNCH buffet: Aspen Dining Room
1:45-4:15 pm Workshop Session GH
1:45-3:00 pm Workshop Session G
3:30-4:45 pm Workshop Session H
4:00-6:00 pm EXHIBITS: Assembly Hall Lobby
6:00-8:00 pm PIZZA PARTY and DOOR PRIZES (Full conference registrants) – GF pizza option and full salad bar including protein
8:00-9:00 pm PANEL DISCUSSION: Global Montessori

October 18, 2020

Room check-out by 10 a.m. Baggage may be brought to meeting rooms.
You may also settle your YMCA bill on Saturday evening 7-10 p.m.
7:00-9:00 am BREAKFAST buffet: Aspen Dining Room
8:00-9:00 am Sunday Only Conference registration: Longs Peak Lodge
8:45-10:00 am Workshop Session J
10:30-11:45 am Workshop Session K
11:30-1:30 pm LUNCH buffet: Aspen Dining Room

to read a letter from Laura Alexander, Executive Director of MECR.

(BY JUNE 30)
(JULY 1 – SEPT 15)

12.5 contact hrs

Includes Friday Dinner Event & Saturday Pizza Party

Includes Friday Dinner Event & Saturday Pizza Party


5 contact hrs


excludes Dinner


excludes Dinner


5 contact hrs


excludes Pizza Party


excludes Pizza Party


2.5 contact hrs


excludes Pizza Party


excludes Pizza Party



A-D. Joyful and Productive Work Environments All Day (5 hrs) EL/SEC
This workshop will give attendees time for reflection, in-depth discussion, and collaboration. We will examine how the classroom environment and the classroom culture can reinforce or inhibit appropriate choices by students. New ideas will help teachers know when & how to intervene so that redirections “stick”. Students become intrinsically motivated to make appropriate choices in actions and activities.
Betsy Lockhart is a MECR EL instructor. She develops elementary materials and provides consultations and presentations around the country.

AB1. Montessori Intergenerational Learning Communities 2.5 hrs All
There is growing interest in program models that combine a Montessori school experience for children with Montessori-inspired care for aging adults, including those with dementia. Both populations benefit from shared meaningful work and purposeful social engagement. Our workshop will be a safe space to share stories, shed tears and plan new opportunities.
Lisa Armao is founder of Montessori Intergenerational Learning Communities and is a consultant to assisted living and home health providers and to schools. She has extensive experience in school administration.
Stephanie Van Fleet, MA, is an AMS Emerging Leader fellow, MECR EII instructor, and program director at Adventure Montessori Learning in Lafayette, CO.

AB2. Media vs. Mud: Talking with Parents about Chosen Time Spent 2.5 hrs IT/EC
Many young children spend less time in free play and more time in organized sports and activities, not to mention screen time. We review the effects of media use vs. time in nature & suggest ways to bring up this topic with parents.
P. Donohue Shortridge, M.Hum, is a Montessori consultant based in Littleton, CO. She is a popular speaker and writer about children and their families in American culture.

AB3. Developing Executive Functioning Skills in our Kids 2.5 hrs EC+
What is executive functioning, what does it look like to have executive functioning skill deficits? How do we help our students develop these skills and how do we support parents in understanding the importance of executive function and working on these skills at home? This workshop will answer these questions and offer information and insight to help equip you to meet the needs of your students.
Maria Eva Chaffin, MSEd, is a consultant and developer of Montessori teacher education curriculum, based in Florida. She has an extensive background in special education.

AB4. Composting through the Ages 2.5 hrs All
Nature has been making compost since life began, yet it is often the most misunderstood component in recycling. Habits of reusing organic materials reduce landfill garbage, provide vital nutrients to plants, and build soil structure. Children at every age level have opportunities to participate in nature’s own recycling system.
Wesley Gunselman is an EC teacher at Montessori Academy of Arlington in Fort Worth, TX and is also a life integration and eco-literacy coach at Well House Coaching.

A1. Compassionate Communication for School Teams 1.25 hrs All
If everything is going well, communication flows. If not, any topic can lead to conflicts that are difficult to resolve. Techniques developed by Marshall Rosenberg help us recognize ways to communicate by acknowledging the feelings and needs of others. We will practice skills and language that help make amends and restore trust.
Lynne Aiken is a Montessori teacher educator and IT level coordinator. She participates in a Non-Violent Communication practice group in Houston, TX.

A2. Toileting with Toddlers 1.25 hrs IT
Care of self is an important aspect of the toddler’s journey to independence, and that includes toileting. Are you unsure of when to initiate toileting? Confused over how to handle stressful situations and power struggles? Uneasy about what language to use? We will review what works, in school and at home, and troubleshoot challenging scenarios.
Rachel Regan is a toddler teacher at Children’s Garden MS, Denver, and an instructor for the MECR IT course.

A3. A Positive Classroom Culture from the Start 1.25 hrs EC +
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the negative behaviors of your students, or felt like your classroom is unable to normalize? This workshop will focus on grace and courtesy lessons and peace lessons that are presented in the first six weeks of your school year, in order to create a happy, peaceful, and well-functioning classroom.
Jessica Newell Hollensbe teaches at Salida Montessori Charter School, CO. She has 18 years of experience in Montessori classrooms.

A4. Realizing Cosmic Education through the Experience of Nature 1.25 hrs EC
We will discuss the experience of nature for the child and the teacher, and how that relates to Montessori philosophy, the classroom environment and our community. Plan to share your personal observations and actual practices, and ideas for Montessori classrooms without access to a natural outdoor environment
Janne Bang-Guerin, MFA, is an EC teacher at Hope Montessori Academy in Creve Coeur, MO. She has a background in art and sculpture.
Amanda Salley, MA, is an EC teacher and has a background in art and art history.

B1. Discipline is Not a Bad Word 1.25 hrs All
There are basically two schools of thought about discipline. One is a direct approach where the child is confronted for his misbehavior and given consequences. The second approach is indirect where the child is re-directed and consequences are avoided. Maria Montessori advocated strong, direct correction from the adult until the child achieves self-control. This talk explains Montessori’s view on discipline, why it is the right view, how discipline works and why discipline is not a bad word.
Charlotte Cushman is the author of Montessori: Why It Matters for Your Child’s Success and Happiness (2014) and a children’s book, Your Life Belongs to You (2017). She is currently working on a book on discipline.

B2. Struggle is Essential – Hardships in the Toddler Environment 1.25 hr IT
Is it best if we shield children from all stress, frustration, hardships and boundaries? Over-protection will make life more difficult in the long run, so our role is to prepare children for life by enabling them to develop confidence (I can), desire (I will), and the ability to ask for help (We can). We will also address the struggles and needs of the teacher/guide.
Nichole Holtvluwer, MA, inaugurated one of the toddler programs at MS Evergreen, CO in 2018. She is also an educational consultant at Radicle Beginnings.

B3. Mindfulness and Non-Linear Development 1.25 hrs EC+
Reassess your linear understanding of the planes of development, especially development in the 4th plane. You will be guided in meditation and come away with skills to nurture a mindfulness practice in yourself and in your classroom community.
Brittany Feinauer, M.Ed, is an EC teacher and an adjunct professor for Westminster College’s Institute for Montessori Innovation in Salt Lake City. Her experiences in the Lower Lights sangha community have strengthened her resolve to incorporate peace education into every aspect of her teaching.

B4. Interactive Genetics 1.25 hrs EL/SEC
The field of biology has undergone a paradigm shift from Linnaean classification to phylogenetic relationships. In a series of lessons with interactive materials, you will learn about alleles, genotypes, phenotypes, and population genetics. Essential principles of genetics are revealed, including the benefits of diversity.
Kate Goss is an EII teacher and the EII curriculum developer and science guide at St. Vrain Community Montessori School in Longmont, CO.

CD1. The Courage to Teach: Exploring Gender, Diversity & Inclusion 2.5 hrs All
Gender is a hot topic, with new and confusing terms, and new ideas about how we classify ourselves and our roles. As educators and peacekeepers, it is our job to offer a safe and comfortable space for all genders, orientations, and races. As a rare male educator in a younger age classroom, I hope to examine our cultural gender bias and put forth a praxis to welcome a more diverse and open educational environment.
Tatenda Blessing Muchiriri has taught IT and EC in the Denver area and in Beijing. He was a 2018 AMS Emerging Leader fellow.

CD2. Intentional Connections: A Guide to Parent Engagement 2.5 hrs All
Parent-Teacher partnerships aren’t automatic. The National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education emphasizes the importance of the conscious development of parent-teacher relationships, with deliberate action on the part of the teacher. Many practical and effective strategies will be presented that have successfully enhanced the relationship between schools and parents.
Dorothy Harman, MEd, is an instructor for Mid-America Montessori TTI and an adjunct lecturer at the University of Nebraska. She is the author of “Intentional Connections” published by Parent-Child Press.

CD3. Poems to Deepen Spiritual Preparation 2.5 hrs All
The deeper you dive into powerful poems, the more they can help with your spiritual preparation for teaching. You will learn and practice a simple technique for reading poems that will help you to dive deep into yourself, as well as into the experience of others, easily and naturally. I provide a mini-anthology of powerful poems.
Silvine Farnell, PhD, retired professor of World Lit, lives in Boulder and leads workshops on performing poetry at conferences and schools.

CD4. Scaffold for Success: The Art and Science of Individualization 2.5 hrs EL
Our goal is not only to facilitate a child’s acquisition of skills, but also to create a positive lifelong relationship with learning. Intentional and knowledgeable scaffolding leads to greater progress and retention. We will discuss ways to modify lessons, follow-up, and feedback, as well as observational skills and specific supports. We can use benchmarks while maintaining an individualized experience.
Jessica Davis is Director of Montessori Programs at Bloomington MS and a board member of United Montessori Schools of Indiana.

CD5. Exploring Sacred Geometry 2.5 hrs EL/SEC
Based on Psychogeometry by Maria Montessori and A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe: The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science by Michael S. Schneider, we will delve into the use of the geometer’s tools. We will also explore geometrical concepts in the study of prefixes, biology and art. Bring your own straight edge and compass. (We may have a few.)
Eve Loftman Cusack, M.Ed, is an EI teacher at Bloomington MS, Indiana. She has a background in special education.

C1. Trauma-Informed Care in Montessori Classrooms 1.25 hrs All
Supportive environments with reliable, consistent adults who understand how to appropriately interact through a trauma-informed framework can significantly decrease behavioral disruptions, encourage appropriate coping skills, and foster healthy brain development. Receive information on current research plus resources and techniques to ensure you understand how to be these reliable, consistent adults.
Colleen Wilkinson is a teacher, teacher educator, consultant, and director at Montessori Country Day School in Houston, TX. She is passionate about trauma informed care, ABAR work, adoption and foster care, and disability rights, and serves on the AMS Peace and Social Justice Committee.

C2. A Fresh look at Practical Life in the EC classroom 1.25 hrs EC
We will revisit the Practical Life area with a goal of finding the best balance between activities designed to develop basic skills, and activities that apply those skills in the classroom and home. There will be time for discussion of obstacles that limit the range of activities, and practical ideas for care of self and care of the environment.
Patty West has many years of teaching and administrative experience at Boulder MS and is a former instructor at MECR. She lives in California.
Richelle Smith is an EC teacher at Boulder MS.

C3. Extending the EC Classroom Outdoors 1.25 hrs EC
This interactive workshop will explore opportunities for children to extend their knowledge to the outdoor environment. We will discuss the design of outdoor work areas and specific activities for all areas of the curriculum. You will be inspired to develop new ideas and also learn to identify those spontaneous teachable moments.
Sandra Karnstadt, M.Ed, is head of school at Lake Hills MS in Austin, TX, where
she oversees three campuses.
Barbara Springer is co-presenter.

C4. Rejuvenating Practical Life in the Elementary Classroom 1.25 hrs EL
Do content standards push out the time to develop practical life skills in your classroom? Seven essential elements will help teachers to select a few key lessons that prepare students to create a working community in the classroom and beyond. Teachers will gain new ideas from colleagues and create a hands-on project to use with their students.
Janel Wade is the special education learning specialist at Alice Terry Elementary School in Englewood, CO, and is the EL Practical Life instructor at MECR.

D1. Sometimes Toddlers Bite – What’s a Caregiver to Do? 1.25 hrs IT
Together we will explore underlying reasons for biting, what to look for when observing, and how to intervene. We will consider safety, the visceral reactions of adults as well as the best approaches to support parents and caregivers in finding peaceful and kind solutions for all the children involved.
Tiffany James is toddler program coordinator and associate head of school at School in the Hills, Austin, TX, and also a TEP field consultant.
Tracey Hall is co-presenter

D2. A Sewing Curriculum 1.25 hrs EC+
Have you only scratched the surface of possibilities for sewing with children? I will share my experiences, resources and project ideas and show how to collect sewing materials, set up activities, and create extensions. Learn how to safely and confidently incorporate a sewing curriculum that encourages the development of practical skills, fine-motor development and executive function.
Natalie Flores is an EC teacher at Hawthorne MS in Austin, TX. She previously worked as a sewing contractor for the film industry.

D3. Language Extensions for the EC Classroom 1.25 hrs EC
I will share some of my most successful activities for helping children to develop strong foundational language skills, developed through 40 years in the classroom. These engaging, child-tested lessons augment and enrich all steps of the basic EC language curriculum by further isolating difficulties, offering control of error, and providing additional practice.
Jean Offutt is an EC teacher at Jarrow MS in Boulder and serves on its board. She is an experienced teacher educator and field consultant.

D4. Botany Alive-Alive-Oh!! 1.25 hrs EL
Let’s look at exciting botany activities incorporating poems, songs, and writing. Many brilliant, intuitive people knew so deeply that helping children keep alive their inborn sense of wonder not only gives them strength and gratitude for their own spiritual nourishment, but also motivates them to care for their mother earth.
Judi Bauerlein, M.Ed, is chair of the AMS Peace and Social Justice Committee and a recipient of the AMS Living Legacy award. She is a highly experienced teacher, teacher educator and consultant in California and around the world.


E-H. Cosmic Education Meets Big History All Day (5 hrs) All
If we examine the ideas of Big History (as designed by David Christian and others) with the cosmic perspective of Maria Montessori, we discover a system for seamlessly integrating the subjects of math, physics, chemistry, geology, paleontology, ecology, anthropology, history, humanities and biology into a curriculum plan that spans preschool through high school. This gives us a blue-print for curriculum and materials development.
Lucy Laffitte, PhD, designs and develops science education programs for television and online learning sites. She is an independent scholar at North Carolina State University, School for Science and Math.
Claudia Mann, MEd, is a Montessori consultant and speaker, based in Calif. She was founding head of Chaffee County MS, Salida, CO

E-H. Cosmic Education Meets Big History All Day (5 hrs) All
If we examine the ideas of Big History (as designed by David Christian and others) with the cosmic perspective of Maria Montessori, we discover a system for seamlessly integrating the subjects of math, physics, chemistry, geology, paleontology, ecology, anthropology, history, humanities and biology into a curriculum plan that spans preschool through high school. This gives us a blue-print for curriculum and materials development.
Lucy Laffitte, PhD, designs and develops science education programs for television and online learning sites. She is an independent scholar at North Carolina State University, School for Science and Math.
Claudia Mann, MEd, is a Montessori consultant and speaker, based in Calif. She was founding head of Chaffee County MS, Salida, CO

EF1. The Montessori Spiral Curriculum: EC to Adolescence 2.5 hrs All
An important aspect of the Montessori materials is that they are designed to be revisited with more complexity and abstraction as the child develops. Following an overview of the spiral curriculum we will focus on one example: how the Pink Tower (EC), leads to cubing binomials (EL), and then to abstract proofs (Adolescence). Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of the genius of the Montessori materials and the reasons why scope and sequence are important, together with a big dose of inspiration.
Mandi Franz, M.Ed, is the teaching coach at Ross MCS in Carbondale, CO and a MECR Elementary course instructor.

EF2. The Art of Transition 2.5 hrs Admin +
Montessori administrators are constantly addressing change. Transitions involve students, families, faculty and staff. Stakeholders can even require administrators to initiate change. How can we approach change with grace, courtesy and foresight? Learn how successful transitions can occur with a school-wide transition plan.
Nancy Lindeman, MA, has been a consultant or advisor on a wide variety of initiatives in both the private and public sectors, and recently retired as director of the Institute for Montessori Innovation at Westminster College, Utah.

EF3. Art in the Elementary Classroom 2.5 hrs EL
Learn how to set up your Montessori elementary classroom to allow children the freedom to explore their creativity. Attendees will participate in lessons on drawing and painting that show children how to use materials and techniques.
Joni Perry, MA, is an EI teacher at Mountain Shadows MS in Boulder. She came to Colorado after teaching at EI and EII levels in California and Hawaii and has given presentations at training centers in the US and Europe.

EF4. MACTE Onsite Team Verifier Training 2.5 hrs All program levels
This workshop will be of interest to teacher educators, including supervising teachers, field consultants and instructors. The onsite verification visit is a key component of the accreditation process for Montessori teacher education programs. You will learn about the process and the responsibilities of volunteer verifiers, including team preparation, formulating questions for interviews and handling unexpected challenges.
Dr. Carolyn Pinkerton is MACTE Director of Communications & State Relations
Dr. Rebecca Pelton is MACTE President
Elisabeth Chidester is MACTE Accreditation Associate

EF5. The Child’s Adaptation to Culture 2.5 hrs IT+
Witness the power of the absorbent mind! This is a rare opportunity to view a wonderful video of infants and toddlers as they strive to achieve mastery of new skills in a Montessori environment. Their freedom to control their own lives and to lovingly help each other brings peacefulness and satisfaction. Our observations will lead us to examine the role of imitation in cultural continuity and to a renewed awareness of how the source of our pedagogy lies in following the child.
David Shelton-Dodge designed and developed the Hope Montessori Infant-Toddler Community (HMI-TC) in Creve Coeur, MO, and serves on the faculty of Hope Montessori Educational Institute (HMEI).
Candace Jackson, co-presenter, is an IT teacher at HMI-TC and a field consultant for HMEI.

E1. Heart-Centered Social-Emotional Learning 1.25 hrs EC
We will literally breathe life into Maria Montessori’s original observations by coupling them with the latest research on the role of the heart in emotional selfregulation. Participants will practice heart-centered breathing and reflection. The labyrinth will be introduced as a kinesthetic tool for integrating social-emotional concepts, and we will give an overview of stories and activities for children, designed to help children communicate feelings, regulate emotions and behavior, employ mindful awareness, and more.
Melinda Cropsey is a certified Labyrinth Facilitator, author of two children’s books, and founder of Breadcrumbs Curriculum and Breadcrumbs Basics socialemotional curriculum for children ages 3 to 7.

E2. Volcanoes and Other Hot Spots 1.25 hrs EC+
After core lessons on land forms and layers of the earth, we can move on to the excitement of volcanoes – their different shapes, lava, hot spots, the ring of fire, geysers, and more. This hands-on, interactive workshop provides great ideas for extension materials for all areas of your classroom that can be made easily and inexpensively.
Gisela Tilch is the owner/director and an EC classroom teacher at Giving Tree MS in Colorado Springs. She has published two teaching manuals, one on Geography and one on Sensorial Materials.

E3. I Believe in U-kulele! 1.25 hrs EC+
Expand your musical activities! You will learn the basics of playing the ukulele as well as several songs you can play and sing, with such messages as “I Believe in You” and “You Can Do Hard Things.” You walk away with practical tools to enrich your Grace and Courtesy repertoire, and you’re bound to have a lot of fun! No instrument or experience necessary.
Jen Matias, MA, teaches at the Casady School in Oklahoma and is an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University Montessori TEP, specializing in EC Math.

E4. Going Outs: A Practical Guide to Breaking Out of the Classroom 1.25 hrs EL
“Going Out” is a foundational principle of cosmic education, and can be one of the hardest elements to bring to fruition. We will dive deep into how to establish or enrich a “Going Out” program for your class, covering topics from chaperones and transportation to planning and implementation, all of which the children enthusiastically coordinate. You will leave with a wealth of resources and a revitalized passion for making the outside community an essential element of your elementary program.
Shawn Bona, MEd, is an EI teacher at Montessori Academy of Colorado and has lived in Denver since 2014. He has a background in animal physiology.

F1. The Gift of Dyslexia 1.25 hrs EC+
Dyslexia affects an estimated 10-20% of students, and the brain wiring that makes reading a challenge also brings significant strengths: creativity, problem solving, pattern recognition, and spatial knowledge. With appropriate support, children with dyslexia can learn to read fluently and also develop the confidence to explore their many talents.
Tori Virlee is an EC teacher and literacy specialist at MS Denver and a MECR instructor. She is also trained as an Orton Gillingham International therapist.

F2. Group Lessons in the EC classroom 1.25 hrs EC
Effective lessons for small and large groups are important tools for busy classrooms. Group lessons led by teachers or assistants support classroom management, grace and courtesy, community building, and improving academic skills. See how to adapt lessons for groups, including variations and extensions using Montessori materials.
Mercedes Dugan is Assistant Principal of Jarrow MS in Boulder, CO, where she has 30 years of experience as an EC teacher.

F3. Common Core Math Standards and Montessori Materials 1.25 hrs EII
We can stay aligned with CCSS standards while creatively using Montessori methods to engage the student’s mind and hand, introducing topics concretely before abstraction, and allowing the student to explore the limits of the material. Hands-on lessons will be demonstrated, including: powers of 10, algebra expressions and equations, advanced decimal operations, and ratios and proportions.
Dakota Prosch, M.Ed, is an EII teacher at Academia Ana Marie Sandoval in Denver. She has more than 20 years of experience teaching 4th-8th graders, including 10 years in public and private Montessori schools.

GH1. Am I Black Enough? Finding the Universal in the Personal 2.5 hr All
Participate in a refreshing and engaging discussion about race and identity that aims at recognizing, addressing, and dispelling layers of bias. Grounding in individual identity, we move to break down the barriers to understanding the role identity plays in freeing or restricting us. Valuing diversity and difference in society, our goal is to promote and move the anti-bias movement forward to the benefit of the global majority.
Iana Phillips, MAT, is an EL teacher at the Latin American Montessori Bilingual PCS in Washington DC and serves on the school’s steering committee on Race, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity. She is a board member of the Montessori Public Policy Initiative (MPPI), and a founding member of Montessorians of Global Majority for DC, Maryland and Virginia.

GH2. Unity and Vision in a Montessori Community 2.5 hrs All
Every staff member has a role to play, and when everyone works together, creating a high fidelity Montessori program becomes possible. Participants will engage in activities that encourage personal and professional growth through understanding the shared purpose of all members of the school community – the staff, the families and most importantly, the children. You will feel supported, encouraged, re-energized and inspired.
Susie Shelton-Dodge, MAT, has many years of experience as a head of school, and as director of Hope Montessori Educational Institute. She is a former AMS Board President and serves on several AMS committees.

GH3. Beautiful Handwriting – Methods and Materials 2.5 hrs EC/EL
Students love to write and they benefit from sequenced writing activities that they can choose, as well as daily practice time to perfect skills in both print and cursive forms. Topics include: readiness, dominance, grip, how to redirect, and how to validate student work. Participants will practice lessons with materials that have been developed and tested over many years in the classroom.
Susan Scheibenzuber is owner of Laughing Star Montessori, based in Ohio. She is an administrator, teacher, materials designer, speaker and writer.

GH4. Technology in a Montessori Classroom 2.5 hrs EL
You can use technology to support learning without affecting the integrity of a traditional Montessori education. We will have a conversation about technology inclusion and share ways to organize learning, share work, and check for understanding with your students during their work period.
Kirsten Martin, MA, teaches at Buena Vista MS in Colorado Springs.
Marni Zabel, MA, is the library technology educator at Buena Vista MS.

G1. Toilet Talk with Parents 1.25 hrs IT/EC
With sensitivity, you can help parents navigate their child’s journey from diapers to independent toileting. We will help you explain toileting to parents by unleashing the taboos on toileting, dressing, and personal hygiene. We’ll tackle everything from diapers to total independence in underwear: standup diapering, night-time, public toilets, frequent accidents and more. Let’s talk about Poop!
Katerina Morrow is the IT coordinator at Hawthorne MS in Austin, TX, where her responsibilities include parent-school relationships.
Natalie Flores is also presenting the session on “A Sewing Curriculum”.

G2. Everyday Physics 1.25 hrs EC
Even at the primary age level, physical science concepts can be introduced in ways that are accessible and memorable. Over the last 15 years in my classrooms, our children pursued these activities, and would apply the concepts during their other activities. Learn how to incorporate physics in your classroom with experiments that are inviting and lasting.
Shelley Reynolds, a long-time Montessori guide, is a parent coach and tutor in Colorado and North Carolina.

G3. Circle Time Songs Around the World 1.25 hrs EC/EL
Enjoy participating in songs and dances from 5 continents and be ready to introduce them to your classroom. We will include a Rocky Mountain song/dance and songs in Spanish, Japanese and German, as well as movement songs from Australia and Morocco. Handouts can be downloaded, as well as web-links for recordings.
Lynette Goss has 15 years of teaching experience at Walnut Farm MS, Bentonville, AR. She is trained in the Orff method of teaching music.

G4. Reviewing Student Work: Feed-Forward, not Feed-Back 1.25 hrs EL/SEC
When we review student work, how can we use the feedback cycle to spur intrinsic motivation? By focusing on a ‘Feed-Forward’ process, we can build relationships, address individual needs, and engage the students in their educational growth and journey. This strategy can be applied in all areas of the curriculum.
Sarah Hassebroek, EdS, is an assistant professor at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN, where her research focus is on equity and literacy. She is bilingual and has taught and trained elementary teachers in Costa Rica and in the US.

G5. How Clean Is Your Water? – Field Biology 1.25 hrs EL/SEC
Introducing students to scientific research techniques on field trips encourages a scientific approach to the exploration of climate change. Lessons introduced include collecting macro-invertebrates from streams and analyzing stream water to determine quality. Learn to develop inquiry-based science topics in the classroom.
Jackie Grundberg, M.Ed, has many years of experience as a Montessori EL teacher. Based on experiences as a wildlife biologist she has created a program for elementary educators to implement science lessons.

H1. Rhythm Games that Cultivate Community 1.25 hrs All
Humans are born with an innate sense of rhythm which supports the development of literacy and the mathematical mind, provides a centering device for our emotions and brings community members together. Join this fun, interactive workshop to explore the world of body and voice rhythms!
Tammy Oesting is a Montessori teacher educator, consultant and speaker. She has extensive teaching experience at the EC and EII age levels in the Seattle area and is co-founder of the company, CLASSROOMECHANICS.

H2. Sowing the Seeds – Cultivating a Montessori Garden Program 1.25 hrs EC+
Nurture and enhance your children’s love and respect for our earth through the life cycle of a garden! Tips and techniques for a fun and successful year-round program will be provided – from planning and designing your garden space to integrating curriculum lessons, both in the outdoor environment and in the classroom.
Karen Fortier brings her experience as Director of the Salida Farm to School Initiative to the EC classroom at Salida MCS. She has a background in wildlife management and managed the Denali sled dog kennel in Alaska for 9 years!

H3. When Help is Helpful 1.25 hrs EC/EL
What does helping a child really look like? When do our actions or behaviors actually hinder the child’s ability to make decisions and to act independently? We will discuss this and provide examples of how to guide our classroom in a way that truly encourages independence and not dependence.
Monica Sorensen is owner and administrator of Black Hills MS in Rapid City, SD, where she leads a program for 3 to 9 year old children.

H4. Nature Journaling in the Elementary Classroom 1.25 hrs EL
Elementary children enjoy sensory experiences in nature and the school garden, but often seem to have lost the ability to “walk with their eyes as well as their legs.” Journaling and art activities stimulate them to explore the relationship between the written word and the earth that surrounds them. Practical considerations and resources will be discussed.
Ruby Cossairt, MEd, opened an EII classroom at the Montessori School of Ojai, CA in 2008 and it has grown from 6 to 19 students.
Liz Cossairt is co-presenter.


J1. Being From Our Heart of Love 1.25 hrs All
It is up to each of us to recognize our own Heart of Love and walk in that reality as much as possible. The more we recognize our own authenticity, the more naturally we touch the hearts of the children and others. We will offer suggestions on how you can take care of yourself and build relationships with others in this busy world.
Betsy Coe, PhD, is executive director of Houston Montessori Center, a past AMS Board president, and founder of the secondary program at School of the Woods. She is an international presenter and consultant, a recipient of MACTE Wisdom of the Elders award, and was honored as the 2008 AMS Living Legacy.
Sonnie McFarland was honored as the 2011 AMS Living Legacy. She served on the AMS Board and as chair of the AMS Peace Committee. Sonnie is an international presenter and author of three books: Honoring the Light of the Light of the Child, Montessori Parenting, and Shining Through – A Teacher’s Handbook on Transformation.

J2. Montessori Applied to Aging: Addressing a Global Need 1.25 hrs All
There is a growing awareness of the benefit of using Montessori principles to enhance the lives of older adults. This workshop will discuss ways to create prepared environments for older adults that promote success, support memory, and enhance lives by engagement in community and in activity that is meaningful and purposeful.
Kathleen Farfsing, M.Ed, is Director of the Montessori Dementia Program at Xavier University and a faculty member at Xavier University Montessori Institute. She has trained and spoken internationally (South Korea, Prague, Shanghai) on the topic of using Montessori methods to adapt environments for older adults, and collaborates with Dr. Jennifer Kinney of Miami University Scripps Gerontology Center, researching its impact on the quality of life for people with dementia.

J3. Colorado Validation Project 1.25 hrs Admin+
There are many potential benefits to Montessori early childhood programs that choose to participate in Validation. We will review the history of advocacy in the State of Colorado and the development of the Validation Project by the Colorado Montessori Association (CMA). Then we will walk through the step-by-step process to become a Validated School.
Martha Teien, MA, is president of the CMA board and president of the board of Montessori Educational Programs International (MEPI). She is the founder and director of Mountain Montessori MS in Avon.

J4. Instilling a Love of Nature 1.25 hrs IT
In “Nature Deficit Disorder”, Richard Louv draws attention to the importance of making outside time a priority. Workshop participants will experience nature play activities themselves, thinking and feeling like the children. Our goal is to create an environment where children’s connection to nature is valued and fostered.
Mirae Hassler, MEd, directs the Infant/Toddler program at Montessori Academy of Colorado in Denver.

J5. Education for Peace in the EC Classroom 1.25 hrs EC
We will “unpack” Montessori’s ideas on peace education with an in-depth analysis of her writings to gain a better understanding of our mission and responsibilities as guides and advocates for children. Topics include: spirituality, supplemental materials, the relevancy for today’s children, and how to maximize opportunities to support education for peace.
Ruth Ann Christensen, MEd, is a MECR EC instructor and field consultant. She was an EC teacher for 25 years.

J6. Executive Functioning in the EL Classroom 1.25 hrs EL
Children are entering our classrooms without the organizational skills needed to navigate the work cycle and transitions throughout the day. We will focus on tailoring tools to meet the needs of individual children and to prepare the classroom environment. You will leave with ideas and resources that can be immediately implemented in the classroom.
Isabel Stone, MEd, is an EII teacher at Montessori Academy of Colorado and has 14 years of elementary teaching experience.
Elizabeth Kanepps is a speech-language pathologist and certified behavior analyst.

K1. Love and Logic Meets Montessori 1.25 hrs All
Our teachers are using the “Love and Logic” approach developed by Jim Fay in their classrooms and on the playground. Empathy and respect are the starting point for all interactions, and children are encouraged to own their actions and the consequences. When supported by the adults in their lives, children often feel secure enough to make independent, caring choices. The point is to raise healthy, secure adults.
Sonya Hemmen, MA, is Head of Ross MS in Carbondale, CO. She also consults with school leaders on topics including budgeting, human resource management, and public school district compliance.
Tracie Wright is an EI teacher at Ross MS.

K2. Montessori and STEM – The Power is in Montessori 1.25 hr All
STEM education has been embraced as the silver bullet for student engagement and understanding in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Yet research reveals that the strongest outcomes actually align with Montessori pedagogy. Explore how Montessori science embodies STEM curriculum and the ambitious teaching practices that traditional models aspire to reach. Discover how to create genuine engagement through GLOBE (Global Learning & Observations to Benefit the Environment) and Citizen Science.
Katie Torres has been head of St. Vrain Community MS since its inception in 2009. She has a background in economics and sociology.
Kate Goss is the Science Guide at SVMCS.

K3. Fundamental Needs for Student Retention 1.25 hrs Admin+
Strong admissions and retention require a whole school approach. We will examine six fundamental needs: Admissions, Marketing, Data, Values Proposition, Parent Education and Community. Using our school as a case study, participants can identify needs for their school in order to increase retention at key transition points.
Gavin Green, MA, is Director of Admissions at Jarrow MS in Boulder, where she manages all aspects of the recruitment and admissions process.

K4. Foundations for the Great Lessons 1.25 hrs EC
How can the early childhood cultural curriculum best provide a strong foundation for the Great Lessons of the elementary years? We will take a journey through the first two Great Lessons about the creation of the world and the creation of life and consider how the EC lessons in geography and biology pave the way to appreciation of the cosmic stories.
Bonnie Whitener and Deb Matyjevich offer educational consultations through Independent Nature, a company concentrated on supporting Montessori in all aspects of a child’s life.

K5. Outdoor Environments for Children 1.25 hrs EC+
Enjoy a slideshow of special places at many different schools, including gardens, patios, playgrounds, animal attracting areas, miniature worlds, creative seating, hideouts, sand and water areas, and weather stations. Many are constructed using natural materials and recycled items.
Gina Abegg is a Montessori professional with a vast experience as EC teacher, school founder, school director and consultant. She presents training workshops on topics from school administration to education for peace.

K6. Language Differentiation in the Elementary Classroom 1.25 hrs EL
Deepen your understanding of the development of language and learn techniques for differentiation in the Montessori elementary environment. Add variations and extensions to your tool box and guide your students to learn to read, learn to write, and learn to love language.
Nina Lindeke, MEd, is an EI teacher and Learning Support specialist at Jarrow MS in Boulder. She is certified in Orton-Gillingham and Lindamood-Bell literacy










The YMCA Conference Center and Resort is adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park. Resort altitude is approximately 8,000 ft. Parking is free. Guest rooms are in the beautiful LEEDS certified Longs Peak Lodge. Guest rooms have 2 queen beds and one futon, accommodating a maximum of 5. Rooms have Wi-Fi access, no TV. Cell phone reception quality may be variable.


Check-in is at the Administration Building after 12 noon.
Departure on October 18: Room checkout is 10 a.m., but lunch is included.
Your roommate list must be confirmed at check-in. Maximum of 5 people per room.
Quiet Hours are from 11:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m.
Alcohol is not sold on the grounds and may not be consumed in public areas.
You may responsibly consume alcohol inside Longs Peak Lodge during the Retreat.
Pets are not allowed in the lodges. Smoking/Vaping is not permitted in any facility.


Montessori2020 package rates include cafeteria meals in the Aspen Dining Room for Thursday dinner, as well as breakfast and lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
(Friday and Saturday dinner events are included in Full Conference registration.) Box lunches may be ordered a day in advance for those who want to explore the area during lunch breaks. Snacks may be purchased at the Café in the Admin Building.


Reserve by July 31, 2020 for these “Montessori Retreat” rates:

# in room
3-nights with meals
(thursday arrival)
2-nights with meals
(FRIDAY arrival)




$321 per person

$234 per person


$247.34 per person

$176 per person


$210.50 per person

$147 per person


$188.40 per person

$129.60 per person


CLICK HERE to go to the YMCA Montessori Retreat page. Enter your dates, number of guests, click “Check Availability”. On next page, scroll down to continue.
For Telephone reservations: Call Central Reservations at (888) 613-9622 State that your lodging request is for the “Montessori Retreat” in Longs Peak Lodge.
A 35% deposit by credit card is required to guarantee the YMCA reservation. If you cancel 30 days or more in advance, you will be refunded 75% of your deposit. If you cancel within 30 days of arrival, you will forfeit 100% of your deposit. If cancellation notice is not received, you will be charged for the full amount of lodging portion of stay.


Take I-25 North past Longmont to HWY 66 (Exit #243, for “Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park”) Take HWY 66 west into the town of Lyons.
From Lyons, take HWY 36 west to Estes Park. HWY 36 takes you down Elkhorn Avenue, the “main drag” through Estes Park. HWY 36 turns left off of Elkhorn Avenue onto Moraine Avenue at the fourth traffic light. Continue west on HWY 36.
About 2 miles out of town, you come to a traffic light at the intersection of HWY 36 and Mary’s Lake Road. Continue straight through that intersection, then get into the left lane immediately past the intersection to take you off HWY 36 and onto HWY/Spur 66.
The YMCA entrance is on the right side of the road after 2.5 miles on Spur 66. Look for the large sign that reads: Estes Park Center, YMCA of the Rockies.
If you need additional help, call our switchboard operator at (970) 586-3341. When you hear the electric attendant answer, immediately press 0 to reach one of our
Check in at the Administration Building – the large brown building with the flagpole in front.

(approximately 1.5 hrs)
Take HWY 36 all the way through Lyons and eventually into downtown Estes Park. About 2 miles out of town, you will come to another traffic light at the intersection of HWY 36 and Mary’s Lake Road. Continue straight through that intersection. Immediately past that intersection, get into the left lane, this will take you off of HWY 36 and onto HWY/spur 66. The YMCA entrance is on the right side of the road after 2.5 miles on Spur 66. Look for the large sign that reads: Estes Park Center, YMCA of the Rockies.
If you need additional help, call our switchboard operator at (970) 586-3341. When you hear the electric attendant answer, immediately press 0 to reach one of our
Check in at the Administration Building – the large brown building with the flagpole in front.

Make prior reservations with Estes Park Shuttle Service: 970-586-5151
The shuttle usually operates hourly.
Check in at the Administration Building – the large brown building with the flagpole in front.



October 15th – 18th, 2020


YMCA of the Rockies Conference Center and Resort
Estes Park, Colorado