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2017 NJMAC Annual Conference

Commun ication

United by Words

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Pines Manor, Edison, NJ

Chil Early

dhood Teacher Education Program

Designed to offer exceptional Montessori teacher training, we are dedicated to excellence. Programs commence with a summer intensive session, followed by seminars throughout the academic year, and culminate with the capstone practicum experience.

. MCTD respects the needs of Adult Learners and the traditions of Montessori.

. MCTD provides meaningful learning

experiences and opportunities for exploration and active participation.

. MCTD prepares and empowers Adult Learners to become effective Montessori educators.

. MCTD holds full affiliate status by the

American Montessori Society and accredited status from the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education for its Early Childhood Teacher Education Program through the year 2021.

Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education Accredited Teacher Education Program Morristown . NJ . 973.539.0196

C o n f e re n c e Sc h e du l e 8:00-9:15: Registration /coffee 9:30-10:45: Breakout A 10:45-11:00: Break 11:00-12:30: Keynote 12:30-2:00: Lunch / Exhibitors 2:15-3:30: Breakout B Exhibitor Tables Open 8:00-2:15


E x h i b i tors Exhibitor Tables Open 8:00-2:15 Aflac Alison’s Montessori Amara Scentsations Arbonne – Karen Nissim Center for Guided Montessori Studies Center for Montessori Education Community Playthings Discount School Supply Hughes-Plumer & Associates Kompan Playground Solutions The Materials Co of Boston Magnolia Montessori Materials The Montessori Agency Montessori Center for Teacher Development Montessori Foundation Montessori Institute for Teacher Education Music Together Pendleton Designs Princeton Center Teacher Education Reiner Insurance SchoolCues Transparent Classroom Usborne Books – Cathie Mackenzie Carey West Side Montessori School 2

P re s i d e n t s M e s s ag e Message from the President of NJMAC, Beverly Smith Welcome to the 2017 NJMAC Conference, Communication: United By Words. I think you will all agree that there is nothing as important as healthy communication to build strong relationships. Now, more than ever, we are challenged with ways to articulate our thoughts and beliefs in all aspects of our lives. What better place to start than in our schools. As Montessorians, we are always focused on helping children with the language they need to express themselves in a thoughtful and gracious way. We do this with great love of the philosophy we try to instill in them. The challenge comes when we need to communicate difficult issues with parents, colleagues and administrators. As educators and strong believers of the peace curriculum, it goes against our fiber to engage in conflict, yet engaging in conflict is how we change the world. We are excited to have Rob Evans coming to talk with us about this very topic. He is a master at helping educators see how the value of strong communication outweighs any discomfort. He will offer strategies and language in which to take on this important challenge. A huge thank you goes out to Andrea O’Brian, NJMAC Vice President and Conference Chair, for planning this amazing conference. Thank you too to the entire NJMAC Board for all their support throughout the planning stage, as well as the conference day: vendors, registration, raffles, check-in. The NJMAC Conference 2017, Communication: United By Words will be a wonderful learning and networking experience with the interesting variety of workshops being offered. Enjoy the Day!


P i n e s Ma n or F lo or p la n Ground Floor Salon A


Lower Level

Salon 1

Grand Ballroom


Salon 2

Gold Room


Salon 3

AG E N DA Ove rv i e w 8:00 am - 9:15 am: Registration /coffee 8:00 am - 2:15 pm: Exhibitor Tables Open 9:30 am - 10:45 am: Session A - Morning Workshops Communicating Montessori to Early Childhood Parents VIP A • Missy Bowman-Leonard and Amy Gerstacker How Teachers Can Develop a Student’s Critical Thinking and Moral Compass through Debate and Discussion Gold Room • Ralph Cohen Enhancing a Child’s Empathy through introduction to Art and Artists Salon 2 • Nandita Mahagaokar Empowering Evolution: Spiritual Preparation of Teachers Salon 3 • Jennifer Morgan Strategies and Language on The Top Three Issues for Toddlers VIP B • Sue Saad and Alona Procaccini Teaching Writing the Montessori Way Salon A • S. Gregg Todd and Sarah Todd Computer Science in a Montessori Classroom Salon 1 • Michelle Velho and Grace Sanvictores

10:45 am - 11:00 am: Break 11:00 am -12:30 pm: Keynote

Coping with Today’s Parents: Restructuring the Partnership Grand Ballroom • Robert Evans, Ed.D.

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm: Lunch / Exhibitors 2:15 pm - 3:30 pm: Session B - Afternoon Workshops Feel that rhythm! How music activities can support emerging math skills Salon 1 • Ellen Acuna Leading Montessori Programs in Changing, Challenging Times VIP A • Robert Evans Montessori and Executive Function - Perfect Together! VIP B • Mary Pat Kochenash From a Lovely Luncheon of Language... Create a Sumptuous Smorgasbord of Luscious Literacy! Salon 2 • Ruth Pace Mindfulness in the Montessori classroom Salon A • Tina Rasin and Susanne Biancamano Going Out: Small Group Field Trips for Real Experiences Gold Room • Melanie Thiesse Science Rocks! Salon 3 • Michelle White


ETC Ad To come


KEYNOTE SPEAKER Coping with Today’s Parents: Restructuring the Partnership Presented by Robert Evans, Ed.D. Schools everywhere report growing challenges with parents: more anxiety that students suffer no disappointment; higher expectations for student success; greater willingness to demand, second-guess, and criticize. Rob Evans will outline key dilemmas facing schools and outline ways to both renew the school’s partnership with parents and cope with the most challenging situations. • • • •

Robert Evans is a clinical and organizational psychologist and the Executive Director of The Human Relations Service in Wellesley, Mass, A former high school and pre-school teacher, and a former child and family therapist, he has worked with schools and families for forty years. He has consulted to more than 1,700 schools and districts around the country, including dozens of Montessori schools. His presentations are known for their lively wit and plain talk, He is the author of many articles and three books: The Human Side of School Change, and Seven Secrets of The Savvy School Leader, and Family Matters: How Schools Can Cope with The Crisis in Childrearing.

On behalf of the 2017 NJ Montessori Administrators Corporation (NJMAC), thank you for attending the Conference. President - Beverly Smith Vice President - Andrea O’Brian Secretary - Collette Cross Treasurer - Kathryn Imbrogno Member at Large - Ruth Dyke

Your Membership Counts!


AMS Administrator Course

Apply by May 2017 for cohort beginning October 2017!

Teacher Training, June 2017 • Infant/Toddler • Early Childhood • Elementary I • Elementary I-II PCTE offers unparalleled teacher training for adults who wish to become AMS credentialed Montessori teachers and administrators.

Learn more at: OPEN HOUSE - Sunday, May 7 at 2:00 PM Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education PCTE is accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) and is affiliated by the American Montessori Society (AMS) and is an approved AMS teacher education program (TEP).


A M Wor ks h op s Session A (AM) 9:30 - 10:45 • Room: VIP A

Communicating Montessori to Early Childhood Parents Target Audience: Early Childhood (Primary) Teachers Presented by Missy Bowman-Leonard and Amy Gerstacker Teaching children effectively requires close collaboration between parents and teachers, especially in the areas of building independence and selfmotivation. Come to this workshop and learn more about the key issues, drives, and sensitivities for the three to six year old child, and how to communicate the best practices in supporting them. Participants will learn how to effectively communicate key Montessori philosophies and strategies to the parents they work with. Using resources from Montessori’s own writings, positive discipline resources and best practices in raising young children in the 21st Century, two experienced Early Childhood teachers will share how and what they share with parents through parent education workshops, as well as during general conferences and meetings with parents when issues arise. Many common concerns of the Early Childhood parent will be addressed, as well as an overview of philosophical principles and examples for bringing Montessori language and behavioral redirections into the home. • • • •

Missy Bowman-Leonard has been an Early Childhood Teacher for close to 20 years, and has two grown Montessori children of her own. Missy loves the Primary children’s enthusiasm for learning and is constantly inspired by the way the children’s eyes light up when they learn to read. She enjoys watching children learn something new every day and, in turn, learning from them. Missy received a BA in Health Education and Athletic Training from Marshall University, WV and holds an American Montessori Society Early Childhood credential through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE). She is also an instructor and field consultant for PCTE. Amy Gerstacker has been an Early Childhood Teacher for over 10 years and is currently a Primary conference teacher at Princeton Montessori School. Amy loves working in the primary program because she enjoys closely observing and guiding children as they explore and discover in the classroom. She also brings her interest and knowledge of American Sign Language into finger plays and songs during circle time. She has completed the Level 1 MACAR (Montessori Applied to Children at Risk) training. Amy received a BA in Psychology from Rutgers University, NJ and a Master of Arts in Teaching through The College of New Jersey, and holds an American Montessori Early Childhood credential through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ. She is also an instructor and field consultant for PCTE.


A M Wor ks h op s Session A (AM) 9:30 - 10:45 • Room: Gold Room

How Teachers Can Develop Students’ Critical Thinking & Moral Compass through Debate and Discussion Target Audience: Elementary and Middle School Teachers Presentd by Ralph Cohen The workshop will help teachers to understand the relationship between morality and critical thinking. Since morality is a cornerstone of a virtuous society and the bedrock of civilization, I will introduce examples of threats to civic morality and how critical thinking skill development can help neutralize these threats. The presentation will examine the relationship between critical thinking and morality. Is one possible without the other? Are the two inextricably interwoven? Can moral rectitude be achieved through logical inquiry or is morality instinctive? Is there a neurobiological basis for morality? We will also consider the question of whether there is a universal morality. If morality is instinctual/genetic, shouldn’t it be the same for all cultures and religions? if we accept the universality of morality, how does that square with the dramatic differences discerned from cross-cultural analysis? We will further consider how propaganda techniques such as confirmation bias, character assassination and scapegoating pose a challenge to democracy, and the role of critical thinking has in countering such a threat. • • • •

Ralph Cohen is the debate and history teacher at Waterfront Montessori located in Jersey City, NJ. He is also the Founder and Director of the Debate School of New Jersey, LLC, an organization dedicated to fostering the development of critical thinking, argumentation, organizational and listening skills in children in 2nd through 8th grades. Ralph holds a B.S. in Biology from Fairleigh Dickinson University and an M.B.A. from the University of Connecticut.


A M Wor ks h op s Session A (AM) 9:30 - 10:45 • Room: Salon 2

Fostering The Child’s Emotional Development through the Study of Art and Artists Target Audience: Early Childhood (Primary) Teachers Presented by Nandita Mahagaokar Early Childhood educators appreciate that there are multiple methods to enhance a child’s love of learning. One of these methods includes introducing a child to world art and artists. This workshop will offer insights into preparing an art program in an early childhood classroom that introduces art to children in forms other than those derived from nature as traditionally prescribed by Maria Montessori and foster an appreciation for the artist and their work. Based on the Montessori method, this introductory program hones a child’s development of tactile, visual and analytical skills. It also introduces vocabulary, enhances “out of the box” thinking skills, and encourages verbalization of emotions. Additionally you will understand how art facilitates the development of empathy in children. By learning about the artists’ lives, the children identify with the hardships the artists may have had to face in the process of crating their masterpieces. This nurtures the child’s ability to empathize with the artists and their work. The presentation will include pictures of children’s work examples of their learning, as well as teacher’s learning plan and age appropriate introduction to various artists including the Impressionists, the Renaissance Masters and the Surrealists. During this workshop, real world examples will be presented based on observations and analysis from offering these lessons with different groups of children. Participants will learn how they can introduce a deeper appreciation of art in their classrooms and thus enhance the child’s overall development. • • • •

Nandita Mahagaokar has over 15 years of teaching experience at Somerset Hills Montessori School. She has completed her Montessori Training and Certification from Christopher Academy in Westfield, NJ and is both AMS/AMI certified. Prior to finding her true passion in early education, Mrs. Nandita worked in the corporate world after having completed her Bachelors in Arts (with sociology) and Masters in Administrative Management. Mrs. Nandita has twin daughters in college and lives in Basking Ridge, NJ. When not at school, she loves to travel and explore world cultures and museums.


A M Wor ks h op s Session A (AM) 9:30 - 10:45 • Room: Salon 3

Empowering Evolution: Spiritual Preparation of Teachers for All Levels Target Audience: All Levels Presented by Jennifer Morgan A number of Montessori trainers are beginning to view Cosmic Education across all levels, seeing every level as part of a learning spiral and life long quest to know the universe and our place within it. This workshop will explore how Cosmic Education itself is evolving and how it is an important part of teacher preparation for all levels, and can be a learning spiral linking all levels. The presentation includes science, philosophy, and shows practices being used by teachers and trainers. Far ahead of her time, Maria Montessori said that education is about evolving the human and the salvation of humanity. Montessori couldn’t have been more prescient -- this imperative is more important now than ever before with the huge crises we face and the need to work together to solve them. Immersion in a deep time perspective can be one of the most powerful forms of spiritual preparation for teachers of all levels, and we have Montessori Cosmic Education to guide us. This curriculum, and the work of others, provides the basis for empowering evolution in our own time to the next level of partnership between humans and with the Earth. Participants will leave the session deeply inspired, with greater understanding of themselves and their work as teachers, and connected to others around the world. • • • •

Jennifer Morgan is an award-winning author, storyteller, educator, keynote speaker, and founder of the Deep Time Journey Network. She frequently gives programs for adults and children centered on her Universe Story Trilogy. Her books -- Born With a Bang, From Lava to Life, and Mammals Who Morph -- are used in Montessori classrooms around the world and have received numerous awards and endorsements from renowned scientists, educators and thinkers. To see endorsements and more information about her programs, visit To learn more about the Deep Time Journey Network, a network of educators, artists, musicians and scientists around the world that offers professional development for teachers, visit


A M Wor ks h op s Session A (AM) 9:30 - 10:45 • Room: VIP B

Strategies and Language on The Top Three Issues for Toddlers Target Audience: Infant/Toddler Teachers Presented by Sue Saad and Alona Procaccini Toddler teachers are often the first lines of communication with parents regarding the major parenting issues of the Toddler-aged child. In this workshop, the top three issues among Toddler parents -- sleeping, eating, and toileting -- will be highlighted as well as a general overview of Montessori philosophy and its application to parenting and classroom practices. Attendees will learn how these three issues are connected to the Sensitive Periods ofdevelopment from ages 0 - 3. Appropriate language, strategies, as well as techniques for sharing this information with parents in a respectful and supportive manner will be shared. For each common issue, indications of readiness will be revealed and common pitfalls will be discussed as well as examples shared of positive techniques, goals and outcomes that teachers can incorporate into parent meetings. Rituals, routines and hands-on examples of the tools and materials needed will also be explained, as well as how to handle possible regressions. The goal to develop more open communication with parents on these issues and build a supportive relationship between school and family! • • • •

Sue Saad has been an Infant and Toddler Teacher since 2008 and is passionate about playing an important role in children’s lives as they explore, grow, and reveal themselves at such a precious and tender age. As a mother of five, she brings her motherly knowledge and compassion to the Montessori community. Sue received a BS in Business Administration from Alexandria University, El-Shatby, Egypt, and holds an American Montessori Society credential in Infant/Toddler through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ. Alona Procaccini has over 25 years of experience as an Infant and Toddler Teacher, and is both an Instructor and Field Consultant for Princeton Center for Teacher Education. Alona loves working with infant and toddler aged-children because of their passion for exploring the world. She brings her cheerful disposition and love of reading, singing, baking, and painting to the classroom environment. Alona holds an American Montessori Society credential in Infant/Toddler through Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ. She is a frequent parent workshop presenter on the topics of Preparing a Montessori Home Environment, among other areas of parenting.


A M Wor ks h op s Session A (AM) 9:30 - 10:45 • Room: Salon A

Teaching Writing the Montessori Way Target Audience: All Levels Preented by S. Gregg Todd and Sarah Todd This presentation focuses on the development of a comprehensive writing program that is tailored for the Montessori classroom. Through the integration of the standard Montessori Language Arts materials, the program teaches the use of the language elements as the tools for a constructing an exceptional writing project. Through the introduction of a new writing process model and examples of how to implement the model into various writing purposes, participants will gain a better understanding of the writing process through the eyes of a child and how to use that knowledge in the development of an organic writing program. The model is constructed on the ARA learning philosophy. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of the writing process and how to implement it in the classroom. A writing process model will be shared as well as and links to supporting materials. • • • •

Gregg Todd has been a Montessori teacher at the Elementary and Middle School level for past 15 years. He is currently working as a consultant specializing in Elementary Program Development, Teacher Training, and as an adjunct professor at Middlesex County College and Union County College teaching Reading and Composition. Gregg holds an Elementary I and II Credential from AMS, an MAT as a Reading Specialist and an MAE in Rhetoric. Sarah Todd has worked in Montessori for more than 20 years at the elementary and middle school levels. She has spent many years working on curriculum alignment and development for all levels in various states across the country. Sarah recently had the opportunity to develop a fluid three year, middle school scope and sequence for Language and Literature, integrating Montessori and International Baccalaureate. She holds an Elementary I Montessori Certification and an M.Ed. with a focus in Special Education.


A M Wor ks h op s Session A (AM) 9:30 - 10:45 • Room: Salon 1

Computer Science in a Montessori Classroom Target Audience: Elementary Teachers Presented by Michelle Velho and Grace Sanvictores Come explore how Computer Science can be a part of the Five Great Lessons! Computer Science is an integral part of our life today. Our children use various technology devices to further their learning. In the classroom, introducing children to technology is important and can be used for developing “computational thinking skills,” which simply put is logic and problem solving skills. During this workshop, presenters will share their experiences in introducing students to algorithms, functions, loops and conditionals. Examples of hands-on classroom activities that incorporate movement and teamwork, and how they serve as stepping stones before moving on to the screen, will be explained. Our goal is to not only inspire students who are consumers of technology, but users who understand and create technology. In addition, you will learn how computer science and coding can be integrated into the Cosmic Curriculum. • • • •

Michelle Velho is the STEAM coordinator at Hudson Montessori School. Her background includes a Master’s Degree in Microbiology and certifications for Primary Montessori Teaching, Computer Programming and Applications, and a Level I Credential for Montessori Applied to Children at Risk for Learning Differences (MACAR). She worked at the National Institute of Oceanography in Goa, India, Sanofi Aventis Pharmaceuticals and was a Stem Cell researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine before joining Hudson Montessori School. Grace Sanvictores is the Technology Coordinator and part of the STEAM team at Hudson Montessori School. She is a certified K-8 education teacher who was employed by the Jersey City District Public School for eight years. Prior to joining Hudson Montessori, she was an Educational Technology, Math and Science teacher for middle school students. She holds a Master’s degree in Supervision and Administration in Education. In addition, she was a Lego Robotics coach for many years.


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P M Wor ks h op s Session B (PM) 2:15 - 3:30 • Room: Salon 1

Feel that Rhythm!

How developmentally appropriate music activities can support young children’s emerging math skills Target Audience: Early Childhood (Primary) Teachers Presented by Ellen Acuna Songs, rhythmic chants, and movement activities are enjoyable ways to holistically support young children’s emerging math skills. In this interactive workshop, participants will experience developmentally appropriate, participatory music and movement activities that naturally support children’s exploration of math concepts such as pattern, sequence, representation, proportion, and opposite. Through PowerPoint presentation, small group discussion, presentation of current research on the topic, and active music experiences, participants will be introduced to the ways they can use music, movement, and rhythmic chants to naturally support even the youngest child’s emerging math skills in ways that are enjoyable for both children and adults. Participants will come away from this session with music activity ideas they can use right away in their work with children to support them in developing a foundation for future mathematical learning. • • • •

Ellen Acuna has eighteen years of experience as an early childhood music and movement specialist working with children birth through age five and their parents and caregivers. She also works as a music specialist in early learning settings, including outreach preschool classes in Trenton, NJ. In addition to her teaching work, she is a mentor for other music and movement specialists at Music Together Worldwide. She presents professional development workshops for music specialists and classroom teachers, presents live webinars on topics related to music and early learning, and has presented at national conferences, including the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) annual conference. She has a B.A. from West Chester University where she studied Speech Communications.


P M Wor ks h op s Session B (PM) 2:15 - 3:30 • Room: VIP A

Leading Montessori Programs in Changing, Challenging Times Target Audience: Administrators Presented by Robert Evans As the world changes at an ever-faster pace, more children arrive less ready to learn, more parents act like entitled customers, and a new generation of teachers enters the profession, the challenges of leading any school— especially a Montessori School—keep rising. This session will explore some of the core dilemmas of leadership and outline concrete ways to cope with them. • • • •

Robert Evans is a clinical and organizational psychologist and the Executive Director of The Human Relations Service in Wellesley, Mass, A former high school and pre-school teacher, and a former child and family therapist, he has worked with schools and families for forty years. He has consulted to more than 1,700 schools and districts around the country, including dozens of Montessori schools. His presentations are known for their lively wit and plain talk, He is the author of many articles and three books: The Human Side of School Change, and Seven Secrets of The Savvy School Leader, and Family Matters: How Schools Can Cope with The Crisis in Childrearing.


P M Wor ks h op s Session B (PM) 2:15 - 3:30 • Room: VIP B

Montessori and Executive Function Perfect Together! Target Audience: All Levels Presented by Mary Pat Kochenash What is Executive Function and why is it so important? Why is the Montessori Classroom the perfect learning environment in which to develop this skill set? Executive Function is a set of cognitive processes – including attention, inhibition, working memory, flexibility, problem solving, and planning – that are necessary for lifelong learning. The Montessori environment inherently and naturally fosters the development of these skills. This workshop will provide a broad understanding of executive function, both skills and sub skills, and discuss how it is enmeshed in a Montessori classroom. Participants will leave with an understanding of why the Montessori environment so brilliantly develops these skills, and how to utilize this information to develop your school and to promote it to parents. • • • •

Mary Pat Kochenash is a school based occupational therapist with 20+ years in the profession. Her specialty area is school based OT and she works with all ages, pre-K through 21. Her recent focus has been bringing concepts of learning, grasp development, self-regulation and executive function to all education settings and helping teachers implement these principles in their classrooms. Her love for all things Montessori began many years ago when she enrolled her son in a Montessori preschool.


P M Wor ks h op s Session B (PM) 2:15 - 3:30 • Room: Salon 2

From a Lovely Luncheon of Language. . .Create a Sumptuous Smorgasbord of Luscious Literacy! Target Audience: Early Childhood (Primary) & Elementary Teachers Presented by Ruth Pace This workshop is inspired by and in the spirit of Joy Turner’s classic article “How Do You Teach Reading?” in the Summer 1995 issue of Montessori LIFE. This workshop will raise the participants’ awareness of the endless opportunities to demonstrate and practice literacy that present themselves daily in classrooms and beyond. By realizing how painless - and fun the acquisition of literacy can be, participants will leave with some a new understanding of how they already include many of the “delicious” language choices in their existing programs. After a review of the traditional Montessori materials for the preparation for and development of language, extensions and suggestions for surrounding the children with communication will be presented. This workshop includes something for everyone with a little time to for sharing successes, too! • • • •

Ruth Pace holds a BA from Juniata College in Elementary Education with a minor in Fine Arts. She has an AMS 6-12 credential through CMTE/NY, and has been an elementary (6-9, 9-12,6-12) and primary (2-6,3-5) guide for more than 30 years. She is currently the guide of the Elementary Class at The Monarch Montessori School in Little Falls. Ruth is a member of AMS and NAMTA and plays flute with the Hanover Wind Symphony.


P M Wor ks h op s Session B (PM) 2:15 - 3:30 • Room: Salon A

Mindfulness in the Montessori classroom Target Audience: Early Childhood (Primary) Teachers Presented by Tina Rasin and Susanne Biancamano Mindfulness is already intricately woven in the Montessori classroom. This workshop will provide an introduction to mindfulness practice and how you can implement it in the primary 3-6 classroom. Learn how to use what you already know plus several fundamental mindfulness exercises like breathing exercises, mindful listening, exploring emotions, labeling thoughts, mindful movement, body scan and more. Neuroscience research has proven that mindfulness practice changes the brain. The development of mindfulness builds the foundation for teaching stress management, emotion regulation and interpersonal skills. Mindfulness does not only help us cope with stress but allows us to thrive while dealing with stress. Mindfulness interventions improve attention, emotional regulation, compassion, calming and resilience. These benefits are particularly relevant to educators. To truly be able to understand mindfulness you have to try it yourself. Come learn how to implement a mindfulness program in your classroom! • • • •

Tina Rasin holds a Masters degree in Psychology from the University of Zagreb, Croatia. After moving to New Jersey, she was introduced to Montessori education and this is her fifth year teaching at the Unitarian Montessori School. Tina has always been interested in neurobiological studies and development of the healthy mind, and latter prompted her to become a graduate of Mindful Schools. She implemented mindfulness as a part of Kindergarten enrichment program and this year, Tina started to teach mindfulness in two primary classes. Susanne Biancamano has been at the Unitarian Montessori School since 2012, she became the Administrator of Development in 2013 and became full time Director in 2014. She has been an accredited Montessori teacher for over 15 years. In addition to her Montessori certification, Susanne studied Business and Marketing at St. Peter’s University and Social Work at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Social Work.


P M Wor ks h op s Session B (PM) 2:15 - 3:30 • Room: Gold Room

Going Out: Small Group Field Trips for Real Experiences Target Audience: Elementary Teachers Presented by Melanie Thiesse “Going Out” trips, unlike field trips, allow small groups of children to plan and take trips that are in direct correlation with their interests and the topics they are learning. By giving children the liberty to go out into the world and seek information, they develop a greater understanding for how things work and the amazing amount of effort that goes into making our civilization thrive. Going Outs provide an opportunity for students to explore their interests in all areas of the curriculum, making Cosmic Education come alive. Going Outs are more than just trips to museums and libraries. Professionals like doctors and professors are often happy to meet with students and show them their place of business. Factories and utilities facilities are sometimes open to the public for tours as well. It is real-life experiences and opportunities for children to see how our society works, and how they fit into it, that makes these trips so special. Participants will come away from the workshop ready to begin implementing a Going Out program. They will be provided all the forms and will know how trips enhance the cosmic curriculum and allow for individualized education. The will also know how to prepare students to begin taking trips and how to arrange for the logistics of such a program. • • • •

Melanie Thiesse, M.Ed., is currently the Curriculum Coordinator at The Westmont Montessori School, an elected member of the Bridgewater-Raritan Board of Education, and an elementary teacher educator for Princeton Center Teacher Education. Her career in Montessori education began in 1993 and she has worked in toddler, primary, elementary, and middle school classrooms, spending the majority of those years in the upper elementary classroom. She also has experience as a level director, director of special programs, accreditation team chair, and conference workshop presenter. Melanie will be presenting this workshop at the 2017 AMS conference in San Diego.


P M Wor ks h op s Session B (PM) 2:15 - 3:30 • Room Salon 3

Science Rocks! Target Audience: Early Childhood and Elementary Teachers Presented by the Rev. Michelle White The Montessori curriculum offers unique opportunities to learn science in context. Sometimes though, the scientific concepts and materials may prove intimidating and obscure when opportunities for extending learning are presented. Teachers may wonder “where am I going with this?” or how will this experience matter later?” Never having been trained as a science educator, it may be difficult for some teachers to see opportunities to teach science everywhere! The Science Rocks Workshop offers teachers a painless opportunity to enliven the curriculum with unique experiences that grow out of current STEAM and State level science standards. The hands-on approach encourages children and teachers to become makers of science, to discover new applications and create new uses of old materials. Children begin to own their identities as scientists and engineers in creating new solutions to difficult problems. Attendees will leave with a renewed appreciation for the beauty and accessibility of science and the importance of science to all aspects of life! • • • •

The Rev. Michelle White is the mother of two Montessori students and a retired NYS educator. She is currently teaching science at the Ridgewood Montessori School of Paramus, NJ. Rev. White is particularly interested in encouraging students and teachers in developing a comfortable relationship with the concepts, materials and possibilities the study of science affords. Science is for everyone!



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NJMAC 2017 Conference Catalog  

Includes full workshop descriptions, as well as speaker bios.

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