We are currently accepting applications for younger tamariki turning 3 after April 2025.

Principal Update

Ava Szabo – Principal

Kia ora Koutou e te whānau.

I have been very fortunate this term to be able to travel to the AMS (American Montessori Society) conference in Orlando, Florida.  This is an Annual gathering of Montessori teachers from across the USA and many other parts of the world. This year there were over 4000 people representing 25 counties. I met teachers and administrators from Australia, South Korea, Mexico and of course, the United States.

The theme for this conference was “STANDING TOGETHER TO INSPIRE CHANGE & CREATE IMPACT” – Standing as a united front, committed to sparking advancement and amplifying influence.

This sentiment is so true for all of Montessori regardless of where we are in the world.

My first event of the conference was a school visit and was to ‘Innovation Montessori Ocoee’.  I was attracted to this school as it was also started by a group of dedicated and committed whānau.  Another great example of community action.

The school was started in 2011 by a group of parents who had their children in a local private Montessori school, but wanted their Montessori experience to extend into elementary. They leased a few suites in a strip mall and opened for 108 children in kindergarten through to 2nd grade.  Today, Innovation boasts a new home on 20 acres in Ocoee, including five acres of wetlands that afford the children access to green spaces and serves nearly 800 students from Early Childhood through to Secondary.

I am always amazed that wherever I have travelled to visit Montessori schools, there is always the comfort of feeling at home; the familiarity of the prepared environment is very special.

I was also able to attend many keynote speakers, workshops and lectures.  The subjects ranged from Leadership, Neurodiversity in a Montessori Environment, Science of Reading, the prepared Adult, Banned Books and Curriculum, How Literature Inspires Empathy, Grace and Courtesy, Creativity and Innovations and so much more. It was very humbling to listen to so many experienced skilled experts across so many areas of education, research and work.

The final keynote speaker was Phil Hansen, an artist who spoke of his journey with his art – how and why he became an Art School dropout and then reconnected with art several years later. He spoke of ‘Limitations’ and ‘Self Limiting Belief’, explaining that a limitation is something that is placed in our way and a self-limiting belief was something we have put in our own way. A limitation allows for possibility while a self-limiting belief blocks all paths and does not leave room for possibility.

Phil gave us pause to think about how these beliefs form for our tamariki. He drew on the power of observation to recognise limitations and self-limiting beliefs and then the importance of Reflection, Identification, Recognition and Goal Setting to move past our self-limiting belief.  A very thoughtful presentation.

You can find out more about Phil Hansen from a Ted Talk he gave back in 2013 https://www.ted.com/talks/phil_hansen_embrace_the_shake.

Have a great week and I look forward to sharing more in my next pānui.

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