Saturday, September 25, 2021

MORNING 9 am – 12 pm

Intuitive and Practical Self-Care for Montessori Educators ~ Maria Arias

Self-care is a process as unique to you as your life experiences, values, and challenges. There is no fixed way to respond to stressful times. In this workshop strengthen your intuitive capacity and gain proven practical skills to manage the stressors of life in and out of the classroom. This workshop includes lecture, discussion groups and time for self-reflection.
Ideal for all educators and family helpers.


Emerging Independence of the Toddler ~ Rachel Regan/Mary Broeckling

This workshop will dive into ways to foster independence in the young child, and ways to build consistency between the home and the classroom environment. We will look at environmental design, role of the adult, and common language used within the Montessori Toddler environment. Target audience: Toddler guides and caretakers.


Normalization in Abnormal Times: Using Direction and Redirection to Build a Working Community

At the beginning of every year, Montessori teachers eagerly anticipate the day when they can say that their class is normalized. “Normalization 2021” will undoubtedly be affected by the events of the past 18 months; however, we needn’t just buckle in for a wild ride! We can mindfully and proactively initiate processes that foster normalization in our classrooms. This workshop develops an understanding of what constitutes authentic normalization and what affects its development. It models a collaborative process of defining and designing a working environment to facilitate the normalization process. And it addresses how to redirect children who have made unexpected choices in a way that better ensures the child’s present and future success. Attendees will leave with new strategies that can be implemented in their classrooms starting on Monday.

Target audience: Elementary & Secondary Guides
Please note: this workshop contains elements from Classroom Leadership sessions at MECR, from various workshops that Betsy has given in schools/conferences, and from more recent research. If you have attended Betsy’s talks in the past and wonder how much of this content will be new to you, please write to her at


You Can’t Come to My Birthday Party! ~ Maria Arias

Play is powerful! But what is play, exactly? In this workshop explore the sensory and emotional development that is happening when play is flowing or when play is stuck or overly disruptive. Learn how to facilitate play and social bonds with “Play Entry Skills”. Also, learn ways to provide concrete steps to repair the inevitable ruptures of play.
This information is ideal for Montessori settings and children ages 3 – 12.


Montessori Infant Environment ~ Lisa Russell

Come explore the Montessori infant environment! It is so much more than the physical space and materials. Learn about infant care, sleep, food, and activity (including the outdoors!). The guide is also part of the environment and must observe and understand what the surroundings are expressing to infants and their families. In addition to design, we will cover how the Montessori environment meets the Colorado State Rules and Regulations and the Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS) standards. This workshop is for teachers, administration, parents, and caretakers ~ anyone interested in infant environments!


Making Math Facts Memorable ~ Betsy Lockhart

Do you feel that mastering math facts is harder for children now than it once was? You are not alone! The GOOD NEWS is that we can use current thinking on brain-based learning to better support children without significant increase to teachers’ record-keeping or instructional time! We can mindfully use Montessori materials to greater advantage while fostering independence and interdependence among the children and get better results in the process. This method is field-tested and kid-approved!  Recommended for Elementary Guides (EI-II).


Teaching Kindness to Adolescents ~ CANCELED

Kindness in the adolescent classroom- can it be taught? Is it natural? One rough day in class might make you wonder. As you know, though, kindness is an integral part of a Montessori environment and necessary for creating positive identity. And the good news is that we can teach it! Learn about the roots of kindness and explore activities and lessons that perpetuate care and warmth in the classroom. Recommended for Secondary Guides.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

ALL DAY 9 am – 3 pm (lunch 12 -1)

Understanding and Responding to Developmental Trauma ~ Tori Virlee

In this day-long intensive, we will build an understanding of how trauma impacts the developing brain and how it heals. We will discuss in depth the role of educators as therapeutic agents of change and healing for children. You will learn how to look at your classroom and routines through a trauma-informed lens and leave with strategies to support your students on Monday! This workshop is appropriate for teachers of all ages as well as administrators and support staff.


Celebrating Diversity: From Peace to Equity ~ Sarah Stephens

Maria Montessori has countless quotes and extensive work to reflect her desire for peace. She constantly reminded and taught adults that the key to its success lies in the child. Today, more than ever, we see that our cities, nation, and world are in disarray. Dr. Montessori left invaluable lessons and materials to help lead children towards peace, but while we see moments of peace in our nation in the present, the need for social equity has risen. How can we, as Montessorians, take the next steps in creating environments that are safe, enriching and nourishing for all, adding to Dr. Montessori’s work with peace by exploring equity? Using her words and work as the foundation, attendees explore social injustice through a Montessori lens, learning more inclusive ways to celebrate and work with ALL children and families.

Recommended for all Montessori Guides and Administrators

Be a Dynamic Montessori Early Childhood Assistant ~ Change of Presenter ~ RuthAnn Christensen (Betsy is off to Tanzania!)

Do you want to learn how to do your job better? Are you eager to find new ways to interact with children? Assistants play a crucial role in maintaining a Montessori setting that brings out the best in children. Whether they give lessons, assist children who need help or redirection, care for the environment, or serve as an ideal role model, it is necessary to understand how the Montessori approach meets the needs of children. Participants will learn key strategies, including interacting with children, supporting the teacher, guiding with positive discipline techniques, making helpful observations, and avoiding typical mistakes. This year the workshop offers an overview of Montessori philosophy and practical information on being effective. Assistants will leave MECR empowered with new tools and knowledge of how to be a dynamic assistant.

Recommended for Early Childhood Assistants.


MORNING 9 am – 12 pm

Neuroception of Safety: The Secret Language of the Brain ~ Maria Arias

Mindful educators today focus wholeheartedly on creating safety and connection in their classrooms. We understand the value of social and emotional skills. We dedicate our time and energy to these values. However, sometimes the message gets lost in translation. Sometimes we can’t reach a child who is neurodivergent or who is experiencing meltdowns or anxiety regularly. Some students come to us with the odds stacked against them from the beginning. Come to this workshop to learn how to speak the brain’ s language: Neuroception. Learn the 3 key elements that create the Neuroception of safety. This workshop includes discussion time, small group activities and time for reflection.

Ideal for educators of children ages birth to teens and family helpers.


Creating Parent Buy-in & Staff Cohesion Through the Montessori Journey ~ Stephanie Van Fleet

A presentation sharing and promoting the experiences and benefits of planning, preparation, and execution of a “Montessori Journey.” This experience, created by long-time Montessorian, Barbara Gordon, is a parent education event that has lasting results that benefits teachers, the families, and ultimately the entire school. Learn about the ways you too can host this remarkable event and have a lasting impact on your school. This workshop is for administrators and teachers of all levels.



Maria Arias is a licensed mental health provider and Certified Montessori educator and school consultant. She has 25 years of experience in Montessori and large public-school settings as a teacher’s aide, lead teacher, and school counselor. She is a play therapist in private practice working with children ages birth to 16 and their families and communities. It is her mission to present practical applications of the latest research in neuroscience, attachment and embodied nervous system awareness to teachers, staff, and parents. She maintains a multi-cultural approach as a Latina immigrant to the US.


Mary Broeckling is a Montessori Toddler Guide at Montessori School of Denver and the Child, Family, Community instructor at MECR. Mary has worked with toddlers for 17 years and loves everything about toddlers! Mary lives in Denver and enjoys running and reading.


RuthAnn Christensen, MECR Early Childhood Sensorial instructor and longtime Montessorian will be sharing Betsy Hoke’s work on how working with assistants is an impactful way to nurture their confidence and enhance the high quality of Montessori schools.


Kristine Hablemann loves Montessori and Middle School! She has 10 years teaching experience, Lower and Upper Elementary Montessori Credentials (MECR), Secondary Credentials (CMStep), and a master’s degree in Education.


Betsy Lockhart teaches Elementary Classroom Leadership and E-II Math and Geometry for the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies; she has also taught E-II Language and Science, as well as Elementary Curriculum Design and Material Making. She consults in schools on a wide variety of curricular and classroom leadership subjects throughout the US and Canada and has authored dozens of Montessori albums and monographs that are in use in classrooms on all 6 inhabited continents. She is a regular presenter at international and regional conferences. She also writes a (semi) weekly blog on topics relevant to Montessori teachers. She has 2 adult children who attended Montessori through 8th grade, who have taught her many unexpected things about what a Montessori education really gives children. A current obsession is the ways in which modern research in the neuroscience of learning reiterates principles defined by Dr. Montessori over 100 years ago.


Rachel Regan is a Montessori Toddler Guide at Children’s Garden Montessori School, a Level Coordinator at MECR, and field consultant. In addition to her Infant & Toddler certification, Rachel recently completed the Administrator certification. Rachel has been in the classroom for 6 years and loves to talk about Toddler Independence. Rachel lives in Colorado with her cat and partner and enjoys biking, embroidery, reading, and cooking.


Lisa Russel has taught and directed various schools in Early Childhood Education since 1986. She raised a couple of boys and received her ECE degree from Colorado Metro State College in 2010. She discovered Montessori in 2006 helping a friend out in her infant program. She never left Montessori and the infant programs after that! She earned her 0-3 Montessori certification in 2013 from MECR. She has been a field consultant and instructor at MECR since 2018. She currently teaches the Observation course and Infant Pedagogy and Environment. Lisa is currently nannying for a family that has twin infants and a 3-year-old. She never stops learning and loves to read anything about Montessori and infants!


Sarah Stephens quest for education equity started long before she was born, having a family of multiple professors and educators. After completing her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature and Masters in Elementary Education, she met her true passion of Montessori in 2008, and the rest was history! She received her Pan American Montessori Society (MACTE) Early Childhood credential in 2013 and her PAMS Trainer certificate in 2017. After more than a decade of teaching and school administration, she continues to pursue her passion of Montessori education by means of the whole child. Of course, however, her greatest treasures are her faith, husband, and three beautiful children.


Stephanie Van Fleet, M.A.Ed. is the Educational Director at Adventure Montessori in Lafayette, Colorado. Stephanie also serves the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies as an Upper Elementary biology instructor and field consultant. AMS credentialed EI-II and AMS Emerging Leader Fellow (2018).


Tori Virlee, M.A. PsyD Candidate, is the school psychologist at the Montessori School of Denver (toddler through 8th grade). She is a credentialed early childhood teacher and the early childhood language instructor at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies. After a decade in the classroom, Tori now focuses on student support, primarily in mental health.