Wow. I have been so lucky to be at the International Montessori Congress in Prague for the last few days. The theme of the Congress was “pathway to peace”.
The common energy to spread Montessori and peace was infectious. We are all charged with this common purpose.
The Montessori glass classroom
The Montessori glass classroom is a great opportunity to observe the Montessori classroom in action – to witness the child working without anyone forcing them, with deep focus, peace and concentration.
At this year’s congress there were 3 small classrooms set up in tents in the forecourt of the Congress centre – one for toddlers (0-3), one for preschoolers (3-6) and one for primary/elementary (6-12).
The first glass classroom was run by Dr Montessori over 100 years ago in 1915 as part of the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.
I did a Facebook live from the event of the classrooms in action which has already been viewed nearly 4,000 times. Watch for yourself. It’s truly amazing.
You can also see my pictures of the Montessori glass classroom in Portland from 2013 here.
The Montessori Show live from the congress
Each month my friend Jeanne-Marie Paynel from Voilà Montessori and I run The Montessori Show to answer questions from parents. This time we did it live from the Congress for teachers and for parents perhaps wanting to know more.
It was so fun to be with Jeanne-Marie together to make this recording. You can even see a tour of the market that was running and a run down of some of the speakers we heard.
The replay is now available below.
Some other highlights
A nugget of inspiration from day 1. It was tucked away in this clip shown made by untv (thanks Rebecca from Iammontessori for the link!). In contrast to the bleak picture of our current world and possible future, ever the idealist and optimist, I latched onto another possibility: “We have everything we need to make things better.” Yes we do.
This was a snippet from an amazing talk by Alyssa Conklin-Moore, a 0-3 teacher working with toddlers in Ohio. I hope i heard correctly as the talk was so popular i was sitting out in the hall, listening out for gems. She spoke about applying Parker Palmer’s “Five Habits of the Heart” to help our self refection as parents and carers. Palmer’s work is new to me, but i’m inspired to read more. Watch this space!
If you haven’t seen Scilla Elworthy’s Ted talk, do it. A woman so full or grace, peace glowing from her skin, and hearing her in person gave me chills.
I also got to support my cohost, Jeanne-Marie, at her parenting workshop about setting limits with positive discipline.
I ended the day looking at the cosmic task of birth to 3 – which is fancy Montessori-speak for the importance of our work with the youngest children. We are planting seeds that will grow into the passionate children of the future.
We saw footage of women who have been working for over 50 years following Dr Montessori’s approach in Italy. You can see that caring for infants and toddlers is less about the materials and all about the gentle respectful relationship with the tiny yet impressive human being.
A truly truly an inspiring day.
The last day of the Congress we heard a similar call to action by Paul Gilding. His message is that the world is full. We are using more resources than the earth can provide.
What I took away from his talk was that the way to make change is to have conversation with the people you disagree with, not fight them. And that we are about to make a huge shift from consumerism from “What can i get?” to “What can I give?”. I agree 100%.
You can see his Ted talk here.
We heard about the work in the 6-12 classroom, the (hu)man in the universe. I loved learning more about this age child, how to give them the tools to find out for themselves and how to give them wonder about the universe around them.
At the closing ceremony, the big news was the announcement of the location for the 2021 International Montessori Congress – Bangkok, Thailand. I’m going to start saving now!
What an inspiring Congress it was. A huge thank you to the organisers for an amazing event, loads of inspiration, a huge call to action, and now we are left to make it happen.