Lead Montessori 2019

Complete Program

Second International Conference for Montessori School Owners and Directors and Administrators

9:00 - 12:30

Montessori Schools Prepared for Inclusion:  An Overview for Montessori Administrators

By Catherine N. Massie

A brief history of Montessori special education, what it means to prepare for inclusion - adults, environment and materials, school policies to support inclusion, safety considerations, Montessori inclusion action plan for your school and questions and answers.

14:00 - 17:30

An Overview of Montessori Especially for the Untrained Leader

By Peter Davidson

A brief history of Montessori, and what are the basic precepts.  An overview of the planes of development with an emphasis on ways that the environment (including some materials) at each plane respond to the child's needs and characteristics. 

Held at the Montessori Institute Prague AMI training centre. A walk through 3-6 and 6-12 prepared environments will be part of the seminar.

Thursday

9:00 - 11:00

Montessori schools Andilek visit

This activity is only for conference participants who registered for it during their conference registration. If you did not register for the school visit and you are interested to join, email madara@leadmontessori.com. Hanka Chramostová, the School Principal, is looking forward to showing you around our school. 

The address of the school is: Pod radnicí 3, Praha 5. www.montessoriandilek.cz

Tour of the first group starts at 9:00am. Tour of the second group starts at 10:00am. Please, arrive 10 minutes before the tour starts. When you come, walk through the main door. On the stairs inside there will be school staff waiting for you.

11:30 - 12:30

Registrations and portrait photo taking

Upon your arrival to Hotel Duo you, register at the “Registrations Desk”. You will receive conference materials there and we will take your portrait photo for our “Meet Each Other Wall.”

12:30 - 13:30

Keynote Speech - "Conference Opening"

By Miroslava Vlckova, Kathy Minardi, Sue Pritzker and Peter Davidson

Lead Montessori is "a non-denominational" international community of Montessori School Founders, Owners, Managers, Principals, Administrators and other school leaders. Everyone and anyone is invited to come.

Lead Montessori community first met in Prague in 2018.

Very quickly we became an ecosystem of people who want to learn, grow, connect, share and network together. We understand that our collective intelligence and experience enriches not just us, but also our schools, our staff, parents and our children, it makes us stronger and helps us to amplify our impact. It also helps us remember that it is our personal leadership what makes our schools successful and sustainable and therefore, we must not forget to care for ourselves. 

The 2019 Conference Opening will be a reunion of people who attended the Lead Montessori 2018 and a warm welcome to new participants. The Opening will be organised as a community building activity meant to bring us together, catch up on the time which has passed since the last time we saw each other, become acquainted with one another and begin our time together over the coming days.

13:30 - 14:30

Reuniting and Welcoming Coffee Break

We are so happy you are coming! This coffee break is time for welcome hugs and talks, catching up, landing to the fact we are together again.

14:30-16:00

Keynote Speech - “The Child Environment and Beyond: Weaving Authentic Montessori into the Fabric of the Whole School”

By Sue Pritzker

Maria Montessori’s work is deep and lasting. When we choose to call our school Montessori we are committed to live and work by the inspiration and guidance of Montessori’s discoveries. That work starts in each classroom because the prepared environment for the children is created on those principles by teachers who have studied and practiced them.

When those same principles are infused into the many mundane functions of the school community, they become tangible in the environment.  They are experienced when a visitor walks through the door. They create an aura around interactions and activity. Being in the environment feels healthy and nurturing, filled with happiness and possibilities.  

How does this happen? This presentation explores specific undertakings that incorporate Montessori principles and guarantee they are understood and practiced in the community: In the work of a board of trustees, in the daily communication and decision-making process, in the implementation of the school’s mission, in the school’s marketing, in the growth of parents as Montessori scholars and ambassadors, in the engagement of volunteers, in the support of teachers toward authentic practice in their “environments”.  

The creation of an authentic Montessori environment assures a sustainable organization; one that will be available for generations to come, serving the children and grandchildren of our community.

16:00 - 16:30

Break

16:30-18:30

Workshop - "Sustaining the Montessori School through Community Building"

By Kathy Minardi

The science of community building requires that we implement methods that intentionally create a “sense of belonging” and also a “sense of influence.” Those two ingredients define the essence of community but they are not easy to achieve and sometimes are even unwelcomed by the school.  We will learn about the theory or science of community building and then share examples of what that really can look like in practice among our school families and our staff in an effort to create schools that are inclusive and sustainable. The workshop will be a combination of teaching, discussion and practical activities.

Workshop - "Community Engagement Through Carefully Designed Planning"

By Sue Pritzker

As with all aspects of school activities, having a clear plan to fully engage your parents and broader community offers greater assurance of long-term impact. Join this discussion about creating a “communication plan”,  including use of website, social media, parent handbooks, and weekly communication. When it comes to communication, one size does not fit all!

Workshop - "My favorite Parent Education Event"

By Peter Davidson

Take some new ideas home with you and win your parents over with fun and engaging activities and "aha" moments gleaned from over forty years!  Also, bring along some of those difficult questions that parents love to ask, and we’ll brainstorm effective answers!

Friday

9:00 - 10:00

Assigned Reflection Groups

Reflection Groups present the last step of the Montessori Three Period Lesson. We will remember what we learned during the first day of the conference. We will name it, reflect upon it, share our "AHA moments" and identify what concrete steps we can take when we go back to our schools. Work in Reflection Groups will be moderated by Kathy, Sue and Peter and their helpers. Participants will be assigned to groups by the conference organiser.

10:00 - 10:30

Break

10:30 - 12:00

Keynote Speech - “Creating a thriving staff culture for sustainability”

By Kathy Minardi

Recruiting and hiring Montessori staff is challenging enough, but then comes the challenge of creating a culture where everyone working at the school is thriving. A thriving staff community is one of the conditions of  a sustainable school.

Thriving means being healthy, happy, effective and productive in all the ways we need to be individually and together in our work.

Teachers and staff are likely to want to stay in a school if they are working within a staff culture that is deliberately focused on the personal and professional growth of each staff member. This creates a rewarding and powerful motivation to do our best. It also directly impacts the success of the school’s optimal work in aiding children. We enable a love of learning among the children we serve in Montessori.

As school leaders, we can foster this same growth mindset and culture within the staff community.  It is called a “deliberately developmental” workplace.

This presentation explores what it means for adults to continue to grow and develop and the impact that it can have on school life. Learn about ways that a Montessori school leader can promote a healthy and thriving learning community for the staff as a way to foster sustainability.   

12:00 - 13:30

Lunch and Self Care with Sue Pritzker

Following lunch on Friday and Saturday we added a Self Care Session. We made this decision based on your feedback from last year. We feel strongly that self care is a major issue for each school leader and we want to provide space for you to practice it, not just hear about it. Self Care Sessions will be lead by Sue. On Friday we will do a Mindfulness Meditation Session and on Saturday you will learn how to "Walk and Talk". If you plan to attend Self Care Sessions, be ready at room xy at 12:55. We are closing doors at 13:00. Late entries will not be possible for obvious reasons.

13:30-15:30 

Workshop - "Staff Professional Growth and Learning Models and Tools"

By Kathy Minardi

We will look at the “how” of empowering our staff community to keep on growing and learning in their work in an environment of safety and trust with the understanding that people will contribute optimally in a workplace where their own growth in nurtured and supported. The workshop will be a combination of teaching, discussion and practical activities.     

Workshop - "Teachers As Supervisors"

By Sue Prizker

Assure your teachers are not only “great with children”, but also “great with adults”. Implement a clear and detailed system of training and support for teachers in their work with assistants and co-workers and you will have the foundation of a healthy and lasting work culture.

Workshop - "Support your teachers and students through objective observation"

By Peter Davidson

Sharpen and practice your observation skills and learn how to collect useful data and present it to a teacher or parent!

15:30 - 16:00

Break

16:00 - 17:30

Assigned Reflection Groups

Reflection Groups present the last step of the Montessori Three Period Lesson. We will remember what we learned during the first day of the conference. We will name it, reflect upon it, share our "AHA moments" and identify what concrete steps we can take when we go back to our schools. Work in Reflection Groups will be moderated by Kathy, Sue and Peter and their helpers. Participants will be assigned to groups by the conference organiser.

18:30 - 20:00

Drinks and Finger-Food at the Training Center and Viewing of the French film

Have you seen “Let the Child Be the Guide” yet? The most beautiful and touching film made by Alexandre Mourot, a father of a little girl attending a Montessori school? If not, join us for a viewing of it on Friday evening at 18:30 at the Montessori Institute Prague training Center. The film is in French, with subtitles in Czech, but you do not need to understand the language to love it. It speaks to every Montessorian. Space is limited. Drinks and finger-food and a visit of the training center's prepared environments will also take place. We look forward to welcome you and show you around. 

Saturday

9:00 - 10:00

Flash Presentations Session

The Flash Presentations Session is a new format we are bringing into the program. 

The first Lead Montessori conference was very inspiring and it helped to give birth to several international projects which now have a life of their own. And because Lead Montessori community is a space for sharing and exchange, you can actively use it if you have something you want to share with others. During this time slot you can “flash (this means quickly) share” with others what you are doing and invite them to participate. Events and projects presented at this session will be placed on the Lead Montessori website in the Montessori Events Calendar section and shared with others on LM FB and IG. 

This year, Ožbe Šteblaj will share about his Global Adolescent Classroom project, Kathy Minardi will share about the Whole School Leadership Initiative, Inga Sieminski will share about her Montessori-Orff Music Workshop, Marikay MacCabe will share about her work in the area of Bilingual Education in Montessori Schools, and there may be others sharing more. This way, the Flash Presentations will serve as “a 5 minute flash breakout news session” during which you will quickly learn about interesting things happening and coming up in the Montessori world and see if you want to participate. If you have something to share with others which you would like to bring up during this session, please, email miroslava.vlckova@amiprague.cz, we will see if we have time to include you.

10:00 - 10:30

Break

10:30 - 12:00

Keynote Speech - “Sustaining the Leader to Sustain the School”

By Peter Davidson

There are so many demands upon us as leaders. 

We inspire, we support, we encourage. We protect the children, and the staff, and the authenticity of Montessori. We are called upon to handle difficult situations, make difficult decisions, and have difficult conversations. 

So often, though, we are so preoccupied with the needs of the institution and its constituents that our own needs are relegated to the end of the line, if at all. 

Is it any wonder that too often school leaders simply "burn out" before their time? If they do so, however, they fail to live up to the fullness of their responsibilities as a leader. In order for schools to be sustainable, leaders must consider the question: "How do I sustain myself?" Learn about effective ways that we Montessori leaders can truly sustain ourselves to be our best in this important work.

12:00 - 13:30

Lunch and Self Care with Sue Pritzker

Following lunch on Friday and Saturday we added a Self Care Session. We made this decision based on your feedback from last year. We feel strongly that self care is a major issue for each school leader and we want to provide space for you to practice it, not just hear about it. Self Care Sessions will be lead by Sue. On Friday we will do a Mindfulness Meditation Session and on Saturday you will learn how to "Walk and Talk". If you plan to attend Self Care Sessions, be ready at room xy at 12:55. We are closing doors at 13:00. Late entries will not be possible for obvious reasons.

13:30-15:30 

Workshop - "Practicing Leadership Authenticity and Presence"

By Kathy Minardi

We each have our own fears that sometimes prevent us from being fully authentic - fully ourselves in our truth - in our leadership practices in our school. Finding a way to take a stand in an emotional situation, rising to intervene when it is helpful, holding the space for things to unfold, allowing a healthy process that enlightens understanding – these are examples of authenticity in action in our work as school leaders. This workshop explores transforming our work into a kind of freedom that supports self-care for ourselves and others. The workshop will be a combination of teaching, discussion and practical activities.

Workshop - "Your Own Self Care:  If you don’t do it, Who Will?"

By Sue Pritzker

During this workshop you will develop a written plan that includes key steps to maintain your passion and sanity; when and how you provide the balance and inspiration we all need as leaders, will determine if your plan will be lasting and positively impact your community. Your plan will be like no other! 

Workshop - "Don’t work longer – work smarter and more effectively through planning and prioritizing"

By Peter Davidson

Look at a week in the life of a Head of School and reflect on your own use of time.  Are you spending most of it on the truly important tasks? Or, merely the most urgent? Then take what you've learned and plan your next week more effectively.

15:30 - 16:00

Break

16:00 - 17:30

Assigned Reflection Groups

Reflection Groups present the last step of the Montessori Three Period Lesson. We will remember what we learned during the first day of the conference. We will name it, reflect upon it, share our "AHA moments" and identify what concrete steps we can take when we go back to our schools. Work in Reflection Groups will be moderated by Kathy, Sue and Peter and their helpers. Participants will be assigned to groups by the conference organiser.

18:30 - 20:00

Bowling and Drinks

Surely we do not want to just work all the time, right? That is why you are invited to a relaxed bowling game and drinks on the last evening of the conference. Sign up during your conference registration process. Space is limited to 60.

Sunday

9:00 - 10:00

Lead Montessori 2018 Open Space Follow Up Session - “Bilingual Education in Montessori Schools - options, advantages and obstacles.”

By Marikay McCabe

We want to make the most of our time together, right? Remember last year at the Open Space Session one of the most crucial themes discussed was bilingual education in Montessori Schools? This year, as a follow up to this, we are bringing a specialist, Marikay MacCabe, who will share with you the basics of how to build bilingual Montessori schools. Open Space Follow Up Session is also a new format and we will incorporate it every year to continue the  work you start.

10:00 - 11:00

Open Space and Reports to the Forum

For those of you who are new to Lead Montessori, Open Space is a group gathering and a theme processing activity. We will all meet in the large conference hall. Those of you who have a crucial topic you wish to talk about with others can raise your hand and write your topic on a sheet of paper. Conference participants who have the same need and want to talk about your theme with you will join you in a group. Under the guidance of a trained facilitator you will process the issue - name it, describe it, identify the most burning needs, share what is your good practice, and brainstorm on possible solutions. All of this will be recorded and shared with the whole forum at the end of the session. Next year we will choose the most burning issue you identified and bring a specialist for an Open Space Follow Up. Makes sense to you?

11:00 - 11:30

Break

11:30 - 13:30

Closing Speech

By Miroslava Vlčková, Kathy Minardi, Sue Pritzker, Peter Davidson and you, conference participants. 

And here the learning journey of the conference ends. Were you able to get it? Did you learn new things? Did you learn new skills? Are you leaving with useful materials? Did you have many “aha moments”? Were you able to share what was on your heart? Did you make new friends? Did you feel supported, are you looking into the future with new hope and are you now thinking: “how in the world does it all connect?” If you have not uncovered the mystery of how to ensure your school will last, at the Closing Session you will learn the secret for sure, we promise. Do not miss the Closing Speech! It all ends here. And it all begins here too….