Cincinnati Montessori Society Logo
Online Newsletter Issue No. 5
Summer 2011
Message from the CMS President...

Years ago, when I was 26, I walked into Beth Bronsil's office at Xavier University with my mother.  I was a college dropout, but I had finally decided - I just knew - that I had found my calling.  Beth made it easy.  I left her office that day, committed to the tasks that lay before me for the next 4 years of my life.   I know that many of you, reading this now, have had a similar epiphany that guided you to the office door of Xavier University's Montessori Teacher Education Program.


Beth still gets a kick out of reminding me that my mother was with me that day.  Circumstances had prevented Mom from fulfilling her wish to have her own college experience, and she was delighted to walk into a college professor's office with me, and proud that I was going to be the teacher she had wanted so much to be.  And I was delighted, too, to have someone hand me a plan of action that seemed attainable.  I had found Montessori, and I felt like I had come home. 


Montessori education has been a passion and a calling that has enriched my life in so many ways.  I have been fortunate as a Montessori educator, to have so many wonderful experiences and opportunities throughout my career.  I have taught children, taught and mentored adults, started Montessori classrooms, converted traditional classrooms into Montessori classrooms, traveled to Cuba with a Montessori delegation, and most recently, I have watched my own daughter obtain her Montessori certification and college degree.  As you read this, she is in Shanghai having a Montessori experience of her own.  It's my turn to be proud.


Now, I won't deny it; I tried to convince myself that I was too busy, not the right person for the job of President of the Cincinnati Montessori Society, that surely someone better equipped and with more time on their hands would want the position. 


Well, it seems as though Fate has decided for me.  So, here I am.  It's my turn - my time to try to give back to the people and the wonderful, rich, and rewarding experiences that we have shared these past three decades.  And, for the next two years, I am going to do my best, to do my best.


Perhaps some of you will decide to inquire about joining the Cincinnati Montessori Society.  You may even take it a step further and become a member of the Board of Directors.  And then someday, perhaps three decades from today, you will be offered a chance to give back.  It is my greatest hope today, that when it's your turn, you will step forward, and do your best, to do your best. 



Julia Preziosi

CMS President

The First Graduating Class of James N. Gamble Montessori High School

-Jill Wilson, CMS Vice President


The year 2011 marks the first graduating class of Cincinnati Public School's James N. Gamble Montessori High School.  At their Graduation Ceremony, the graduates wanted to remember and thank those who were instrumental in bringing Montessori to the Cincinnati Public Schools.  As the president of the Cincinnati Montessori Society, I was the treasure keeper of the historical files of CMS since it's inception in 1963.  During this time, I was called upon to conduct some research. As it turns out, CMS played an integral role in bringing Montessori to public schools.  Our research discovered that CMS, with Paula Lillard as the president at the time, provided funding and Montessori equipment in 1967 to start an elementary (6-9 year olds) program in the west end at The Sands School.  The class would serve graduates of pre-primary Montessori classes operated under Headstart by the Cincinnati Montessori Society as well as students from Montessori classes in other parts of the city.  The details become a bit unclear as to how long CMS' involvement lasted, but it is undeniably clear to me the impact their vision and efforts have had on Cincinnati and hundreds of students - from 1 classroom to 7 public schools and over 45 private schools in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.


Not having been to a high school graduation since my own, I was curious as to what the evening would bring.  From the moment the Commencement Ceremony began I was inspired by the grace, style and passion of the faculty and students.  Jack Jose, Gamble Montessori School Principal, gave a brief history of the Montessori Movement and presented plaques honoring and thanking CMS, Xavier University, Sands Montessori School and Mrs. Fannie Mallory for their part in supporting Montessori Education in Cincinnati Public Schools - and that was the "boring" part.


From the "Ain't I a Woman" dance by Jazmine Meacham, the Senior Remarks by Jasmine Hill and Brennan Robb, and Te'Anna Foote singing "I Believe" to the Commencement Address by Meg Thomas, Founder of Gamble Montessori High School, the remarks by class president Dahnae Parrott, and the Gaelic Blessing sung by the choir, I don't think there was a dry eye in the house - including mine and my husband's!  And, as a pre-primary teacher who has read countless books to children, I was delighted to watch the group meeting led by Jason Banks, one of the 3 original teachers who helped to start the program, with all the graduates on the floor as he read "Oh, The Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss - talk about going full circle!


It was truly an honor to be a part of the Commencement Ceremony for the first graduating class of Gamble Montessori - congratulations to the twenty four  2011 Graduates of Gamble Montessori High School!


"Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!" (Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!)

Where do Central Montessori Academy Lower Elementary Students Enjoy Playing the Most?

-By: Kristin Patterson/ Lower Elementary Teacher at Central Montessori Academy


Central Montessori Academy is working on plans to build a new Natural Playground.

So I asked myself; where do Central Montessori Academy lower elementary students enjoy playing the most? I wondered if the 1st-3rd grade children enjoy playing in the natural areas we have more than the equipped playground or organized sports area. I also wondered about the value of natural playgrounds in helping with environmental conservation and its educational value for students.

As I gathered this information it provided the teachers, administrators, and the new playground committee with information to help create the new natural playground.

Observations and Prediction

During recess the children are able to play in a fenced equipped playground with a slide, tire swing, wooden fort,and pebble box. They also can play in a large grass field, wooded areas, or follow a trail through tall grasses. Before completing this study I observed many students playing in the natural areas; near trees and high grass area with trails. Creating a map of the playground was a way for students to think about the details of their environment and places they like to play . Children do best expressing their thoughts through drawing. (Salmon, 2008) When children are asked about their favorite spots on the playground the majority of students will record and write about the natural spaces. Some people believe that recess is a time where students are not learning but taking a break from learning.However recess is a very important time for young children to learn about leadership, socializing, and creativity. Giving children a natural environment to explore gives them more opportunities for active play. (McGinnis) A few years ago a group of CMA children created bug world (see pictures) where they created a stick structure and captured bugs to place within 'bug world.' The children had a president and security team to be sure that other children were careful not to knock their creation over. This type of long sustaining dramatic play is easily fostered using natural materials. This year large groups of students have created a home using sticks and food such as berries, grass, and monkey brains. Giving children a natural environment to play in promotes curiosity and appreciation for nature. Through this type of appreciation children learn about environmental conservation and ways they can help preserve their own environment. (Grodzińska-Jurczak & Stępska 2006) Nature provides many opportunities and challenges for children and an ever- changing place to play and that is why most children at CMA will choose the natural areas as their favorite places.

Methods Used to Find Where CMA Students Most Often Play.

Elementary students have a large area for recess. To find out where the 1st-3rd grade students like to play, the children mapped their playground.


The children have been learning about mapping and the value of maps. First the students looked at a satellite map of Central Montessori Academy (CMA) from Google Maps. Then students drew maps by looking at the playground and the field area.





The children included their own names for areas and marked 1 through 4 indicating their favorite spots with a red dot. Then they were asked to write and draw about their one favorite place. The children's favorite places on the maps were tallied along with their written responses for their favorite spot.


To read full article, click here.
rootsGreater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education and Xavier University Montessori Teacher Education Program present:

Montessori and Special Education - Returning to Our Roots

Featured Guest Presenter:  Joyce Pickering

Join us for this 20 hour workshop, designed for experienced Montessori early childhood and early elementary teachers.   We will explore the strategies and techniques for successfully including children with special learning and developmental needs into Montessori environments.  Those insights, supported by observation and environmental adaptations, can also assist us as we support typically developing children.
Workshop Schedule:
Monday August 1, 2011 8:30-12:30 
Observation as Ethnographic Research

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 8:30-12:30 
Using observations to inform practice, meet state school requirements, and formulate deeper questions for research

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 8:30-3:30 
Joyce Pickering, read Miss Pickering's bio here.
Thursday, August 4, 4011 8:30-12:30 
Putting it all in practice:  Environmental and procedural adaptations; working with families
Cost for the week:  $175.00
ODE, Step Up To Quality and Kentucky STARS credit will be available.Graduate credit will also be available for additional fees.

For more information, click here.

CMS LogoAs you know, the Cincinnati Montessori Society is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring together parents, teachers and schools in order to promote and support the Montessori philosophy. It is governed by a volunteer board of trustees of Montessori parents, teachers, students, administrators and others interested in supporting Montessori education. If you are interested in serving on the board or have talents to share, please email your name and contact info to our nominations committee at

Each year, as we vote in new board members, we examine how we are serving our customers and what else we can do to support and promote Montessori Education in Cincinnati. Your feedback is very  important to us - comments, compliments and critiques!
  • What do you like and/or dislike about our service?
  • What ideas do you have to make our organization better?
  • What areas do you think are important for CMS get involved in?
Please send us your thoughts at
In This Issue
The First Graduating Class of James N. Gamble Montessori High school
Where do Central Montessori Academy Lower Elementary Students Enjoy Playing the Most?
Montessori and Special Education - Returning to Our Roots
Calendar of Events
Executive Board Members

Julia Preziosi
Vice President
Jill Wilson
Susan Flaspohler
Membership Secretary
Meri Fox
Recording Secretary
Sarah Fullen

The Cincinnati  Montessori Society is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring together parents, teachers, and schools in order to promote and support the Montessori philosophy.  It is governed by a volunteer board of trustees, comprised of Montessori parents, teachers, students, administrators and others interested in supporting this method of education.

"The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth. From this almost mystic affirmation there comes what may seem a strange conclusion: that education must start from birth."

- Maria Montessori
Now accepting
articles for the 
Back to School CMS Newsletter!

Send us your favorite
lesson plan, your thoughts
and/or experiences.
Email submissions by
August 12th to CMS.

Welcome New CMS Board Members...and returning members
New Members:

Robyn Breiman, CMTE/NY


Marta Donahoe, CMStep


Anna Rehrer, Parent/Montessori teacher


Kim Stagmeier, Xavier University Montessori Lab School


Molly Wilkins,

Dater Montessori

Returning Members:

Caitlin Blumenfeld,

Sands Montessori

Brooke Byam,
Summit Country Day Montessori

Teresa Dugan,

Prince of Peace Montessori

Valerie Dyas,
Parent/Montessori Teacher

Kathy Farfsing,

Parent/Montessori Teacher

Susan Flaspohle,r

Mercy Montessori

Meri Fox,

Maple Knoll Child Center

Sarah Fullen,

Sands Montessori

Heather Gerker,

Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education

Tricia Grawe,

Mercy Montessori

Sara Hensley Thomas,
Parent/Montessori Teacher

Julie Kugler Ackley,
Xavier University

Julia Preziosi,

Northern Kentucky Montessori


Susan Scheibenzuber,

Cornerstone Montessori/Laughing Star

Noreen Sullivan,

Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori

Kristin Patterson,

Central Montessori Academy

Jill Wilson,

Parent/Montessori Teacher

Katie Young,

Prince of Peace

Carol Zanin,
Prince of Peace
Calendar of Events


Cultivating Spirituality through Educational Practices  July 11-14
Directors: Gina Lofquist, M.Ed and Lesley Kern, M. Ed

Click here for more info.


Montessori for the Modern Classroom  June 27-July 1
Director, Carrie Biales, M. Ed

Click here for more info.


Developing the Student Leader  July 18-22
Director: Laura Saylor, M.Ed

Click here for more info.


Montessori Music Heritage 

July 25th-July 29th  For more info, go to 


Montessori and Special Education -

Returning to Our Roots

Featured Guest Presenter: Joyce Pickering  presented by Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education and Xavier University Montessori Teacher Education Program
August 1 - 4

Click here for more info.

Positions Available

Children's Meeting House

is seeking a director with a passionate commitment to authentic Montessori education, training in the Montessori method and experience running an established Montessori school. With at least eight years' experience in a position as either director or assistant director, or the equivalent, the applicant must have demonstrated abilities in team building, promoting faculty development, and strategically creating long-term school success.


The Director must:

  • Have strong communication skills
  • Possess a collaborative leadership style
  • Have the ability to further the school's mission and continue to develop its educational programs
  • Have an understanding of successful admissions strategies and the ability to attract strong students and faculty to the school
  • Lead and collaborate in development/fundraising activities
  • Have financial astuteness
  • Possess excellent interpersonal skills.  
  • Montessori certification and teaching experience (grades PK to 6)
  • A minimum of eight years' experience in a Montessori school
  • Have or be qualified for an Ohio teaching or administrative license.
About the school:

Children's Meeting House, located 25 minutes northeast of downtown Cincinnati, is a well recognized, non-profit, Montessori school with exceptional standards. We currently serve 160 children between the ages of three to twelve. The school is affiliated with A.M.S. and accredited by the State of Ohio. Located on 350 peaceful, sprawling acres with gardens, a pond and trails, children have daily interaction with nature and a unique opportunity for ecological learning.  For more information, see our



To apply for one of these positions- email a resume to 

or fax to Casey at 513-697-4191. 

Submit your listing to CMS.
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Heather Gerker

Tricia Grawe

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