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Online Newsletter Issue No. 16
Spring 2014

Happy Spring! It seems the weather has finally turned and the warmer temperatures are upon us. With the warm weather, comes parent/teacher conferences, end of the school year to-do lists, and summer vacation planning. May you find time for quiet reflection and thoughtful planning.

I know the CMS Board of Directors is reflecting on our 2014 Spring Conference and we are busy planning the remainder of our year together and looking forward to what next year may bring!

We were happily overwhelmed with the attendance for this year's Spring Conference! It was a successful day with many of you offering valuable feedback on the evaluations. Many of you stated that you:
  • "gained an overall better sense of learning disabilities."
  • "felt a renewed passion for Montessori."
  • "rediscovered the importance of observation and appreciate the uniqueness of their students."
You can view pictures from the day here. Thank you for sharing the day with us, thank you for opening your minds and opening your hearts and thank you for continuing to spread the Montessori philosophy.

Heather Gerker
CMS President

OMA:  A Call To Action!

by: Jill Wilson

I often think of the old proverb that says, "The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.  The second-best time is now."  The same holds true for so many things in my life, and especially for advocacy of Montessori.  I just returned from the AMS National Conference in Dallas, Texas, and I have been spurred into action.

It became overwhelmingly obvious to me that our children need more Montessori programs.  But at the same time, Montessori programs are struggling when it comes to legislative and regulatory challenges at the federal, state and local levels.  Many of these policies are weighted against and adversely affect Montessori classrooms and practices.  For instance, in many Quality Rating and Improvement Systems, quality Montessori programs are given low scores due to the lack of building blocks, stuffed animals and toys in the classroom.

It is up to us to educate legislators to what is a quality Montessori program.  The best time to begin grassroots advocacy was 20 years ago.  The second best time is NOW!

Continue reading article here >>>
Will a Montessori Education Prepare My Child for the "Real World"?

by Jeff Groh,
Assistant Director and 9-12 teacher at
The New School Montessori

This is a common question I hear as I meet with prospective parents and take them on a tour through our community at The New School Montessori.

This is a difficult question to answer considering the "real world" is a relative term.  Do they mean the "real world" of professional pressures, deadlines, and aggressive competition? Or do they mean the "real world" of emotional intelligence, engaged citizenry, compassion, joy, and relationship to one's environment?  If I were to be honest with myself, I'm pretty sure they're asking about the former - the "real world" of work.  Fortunately, no matter which version of the "real world" they are referring to, my answer is the same, a resounding "Yes!"

Multi-age classrooms and emphasis on time management prepare in "real world" ways.

For those of you who are not familiar with Montessori education let me briefly explain that it is a philosophy and pedagogy based on the scientific research of Dr. Maria Montessori. Children are grouped in multi- aged class-rooms, where students are engaged in hands-on, self-paced, collaborative work. Multi-aged classrooms allow older students to be leaders and mentors while providing opportunities for younger students to work with older classmates on group projects.  In addition, Montessori teachers do not stand in front of a class giving lectures while asking students to work on the same thing, at the same time, in the same way.  Rather, they walk throughout the classroom working one-on-one with students or in small groups.At the core of the Montessori philosophy is the belief that all students have a natural desire to learn, explore, and joyfully work toward independence through knowledge and discipline.

Now, keeping all of that in mind, I want you to ask yourself:
  • In any "real world" job, is everyone the same age?
  • Are workers all sitting at their desks working on the same thing at the same time?
  • Do workers often need to access memorized facts in a timed setting?  Of course not.
In a "real world" job, one is expected to be able to work with people at different levels of experience, work well independently and in a group, set up work, concentrate on it, keep it organized, complete it, and put it away.  Workers need to try things to see if they work and then learn from their mistakes. They need to be able to problem solve and to communicate effectively.

The top five types of knowledge and skills employers are looking for in the 21st Century were listed by a Gallup poll in this order and are all skills deeply embedded in the Montessori method:
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Information technology application
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Diversity training
Montessori education has been proven to prepare children for the "real world".

An article titled "Montessori Mafia" in the Wall Street Journal by Peter Sims, author of Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, states,

"The Montessori educational approach might be the surest route to joining the creative elite, which are so overrepresented by [Montessori] alumni that one might suspect a Montessori Mafia: Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, videogame pioneer Will Wright, and Wikipedia
founder Jimmy Wales."

Sims didn't mention other famous Montessori innovators like Julia Child, Katherine Graham (Pulitzer Prize winning author), Gabriel Garcia Marquez (winner of the Nobel Prize for literature), Yo-Yo Ma (cellist and winner of 15 Grammy Awards), George Clooney (Academy Award winning actor), Helen Keller (who is considered one of the most widely admired people of the 20th Century), and the list goes on.

Continue reading article here >>>
CMS Conference:  A Great Success!
by:  Kristen Patterson, Head of School,
Central Montessori Academy

The Cincinnati Montessori Society hosted its biggest conference ever, with over 500 teachers,administra- tors, and parents in attendance. On Saturday, March 1, 2014 everyone gathered to hear about and become inspired by the theme, "Montessori: The Right Fit for All Learners." Debbie Edwards started the conference with a talk about different learning styles and ways to support children within the classroom. Following the keynote were 16 breakout sessions. All the sessions had different topics to provide educators with ideas and strategies to take back to their classrooms.

While our number of CMS members has grown, so has our conference attendance and overall outreach, with over 1,000 members. Now, the CMS conference has started to serve Montessori educators throughout the region. This year's conference hosted professionals from Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan.

This year, the conference fell in conjunction with Montessori Education Week. The International Association for Montessori Education began the nationally recognized Montessori Week in 2007. This year, right before the conference, the governor of Kentucky, Steven L. Beshear, declared a proclamation recognizing Montessori Education Week in the state of Kentucky. At the conference, the mayor of Covington, Kentucky, Sherry Carran, recognized teachers' selfless dedication to students and to celebrate the Kentucky proclamation. Another honorable guest Laureen Golden, from the Ohio Montessori Alliance, addressed the group, calling Montessorians to action to advocate, partition and watch government politics closely in order to protect the Montessori philosophy within our schools.

The Conference is a time to learn new things and to be inspired by breakout speakers. It is also a time to connect with like-minded educators, collaborate, and meet with old classmates, interns, or colleagues. This year's valuable conference would not have
happened without our generous sponsors.Erigo Employer Solutions was our largest sponsor, followed by CAI Insurance and Children, Inc. We want to thank them again for their donations and making this event affordable, educational, and enjoyable for teachers. Thank you to all who attended and presented. You help to make our conference a huge success, year after year!
Special Request for Gently Used Montessori Materials
by:  Haejin Lee

I have been serving at the Faith Food Pantry at the River of Life church in Over the Rhine every Wednesday for the past two and a half years. During my service, I have often felt a sense of hopelessness at the never-ending cycle of poverty.

In July 2013, River of Life held a one week Vacation Bible School for the children of the people who come to the pantry. I was amazed and heartbroken when I met them. Despite challenging home experiences, the children were physically and emotionally hungry. The transformation of the children in just one week gave me a glimpse of hope that change is possible.  If I could feed them, care for them and provide a safe environment, I knew I could really impact their lives. I decided I wanted to start an after school program.  I jumped in with both feet and started knocking on doors but nobody was interested. Every grant told me they only wanted to support existing programs and not help fund a new one.  After exhausting every option I could, I started a pilot program beginning of this year anyway.  The program is called RiverKids and is for children in kindergarten through 6th grade. We meet Mondays and Tuesdays after school until 6pm. Right now we are focused on feeding the children and creating a safe home setting. We are helping them to learn what it means to respect themselves, others and the environment, and making sure their homework is done. Our ultimate goal is to help change them through education.

It is a very humble beginning.  We only have enough funding to support 9 kids right now and we are in desperate need of Montessori materials such as beads for math and movable alphabets for language.  Please consider partnering with me and helping support these children. 

I graduated from Xavier, class of 1994 with an M.Ed in Montessori. I am a Montessorian and I believe in Montessori Education.  If you have Montessori materials that you are willing to donate, please contact me at:

RiverKids - After School Program
2000 Central Pkwy
Cincinnati, OH 45214
For more information, click here.
The Value of 'A Promise':
An Acronym for our Times
by:  Kate Powers

We are living at a time in which we must endure and learn to thrive amidst constant change/chaos/ ambiguity.  What children need most from us - as teachers, parents, grandparents - is consistency, patience, flexibility and understanding.  We must be the loyal, dependable, loving, generous figures at the heart of every child's world.

A PROMISE - if you remember these letters and what they stand for, it will go a long way towards helping you be successful.

A - Absorbent Mind. Remember that the child picks up everything about you: your mood, your appearance, your tone of voice. The child is not just absorbing lessons from the materials in the environment. YOU are the most important lesson the child will learn about life!

P - Preparation. In order to be consistent, patient, flexible and understanding, you need to be rested, exercised, and well-fed. If you attend to these basic needs of yourself, as well as to your spirit, you will approach your "prepared environment" with wisdom and good energy.

Continue reading article here >>>
Insights from a Montessori Parent
This article is shared by a single mother of three who insured all of her children went through Montessori schools all over the country, including here in Cincinnati. She recognizes many non-academic qualities the Montessori experience has to offer and has truly enjoyed watching her children grow up in these classrooms.

As a child who grew up in a traditional school setting, I was very unaware that other educational systems existed. When I moved to Illinois with a newborn and no extended family, I began asking around about childcare and school systems. A co-worker told me about a Montessori school that had an infant and toddler program and, just out of curiosity, I went to check it out. I was amazed! The peacefulness and calmness of the environment astounded me. I was hooked from that very moment.

I now have three children, all graduated from high school and one still in college. They attended various Montessori schools as we moved from city to city for my job. My only requirement before relocating was that there  be a Montessori school available. I have seen so many positives come out of my children being raised in Montessori environments. The most amazing to me, however, is their love of learning and the way they completely immerse themselves into whatever they are learning about. For my children, nothing comes from just reading a textbook. Even in college, when they were studying about religions or cultures, they would find a way to immerse themselves in that study in one way or another. My oldest is now continuing to go through a Master's program, I believe simply because he loves school so much.

Continue reading article here >>>
In this Newsletter
OMA Call to Action!
A Montessori Education...for the Real World!
CMS Conference Recap
Special Request for Montessori Materials
A Montessori Promise
Montessori Parent Article
Community Calendar
The Value of a Montessori Education
Teacher Salary Survey Results
Job Board
Board Member Highlight
Executive Board Members

Heather Gerker, M.Ed.


Vice President
Kristen Patterson, M.Ed.

Susan Flaspohler, M.Ed.
Membership Secretary
Meri Fox
Recording Secretary
Valerie Dyas, M.Ed.

Cincinnati Montessori Society
on Facebook
CMS Facebook Like
Montessori Community Calendar

Professional Development Workshop Opportunities, Montessori School Open Houses, and more!

The Value of a
Montessori Education: 
A First Hand Account 

Alex Traxler is a graduate of two local Montessori schools and is currently attending college. She has recently begun to understand the importance her Montessori education has had on her life and her love of learning. Here, she shares what being part of a Montessori environment has meant to her through the years, and continues to mean in her life now.  

Stacking the pink tower by size became outlining research papers from big ideas to small. Counting the shiny beads on wires one by one to learn simple math became analyzing data collected in labs to support hypotheses. Learning to work with other children in the multiage classroom became interacting positively with professors, guiding new students, and having an open mind to acquire wisdom from every person I meet.
Today I am a sophomore at Middlebury College in Vermont. I have decided to major in neuroscience and study abroad next spring in Chile. I love reading, enjoying the mountains, and learning about people. I have been lucky enough to be a first year counselor for twenty-eight individuals this year. I play on the ultimate frisbee team, run around with the mountain club, and consume far too much coffee. But I have not made it here on my own.

I arrived at college with a purely Montessori schooling background. Never before had I sat through traditional lectures or addressed a teacher as "Professor" anything. Montessori gave me what I really needed, however. Attending Central Montessori Academy as a little one set the foundation
for confidence and flexibility in the classroom. For me, no knowledge has ever been absolute. Montessori showed me how much there is yet to discover and how many ways there are to look at a single idea, object, or fact. Clark Montessori guided me through years of consolidating my ideas and beliefs and led me to the conclusion that school is meant to inspire. I have carried this inspiration with me to college and hope to make fascinating new findings as a result.

Without Montessori, I am not sure that I would feel this freedom of thought. Because I was taught at such a young age that learning is something to be interacted with, something malleable and amorphous, I feel I have gained much more from every aspect of life. My preschool through high school experience gave me much more than a way to "survive" college, it showed me how to appreciate and fully live my life every day.
Teacher Salary
Survey Results  
Thank you very much to the  twelve CMS Member Schools who took the time to share their teachers' salary and benefits information. Ten non-profit and two for-profit private schools completed the 2013-14 Salary Survey.
Please click here to see the results.
We hope you are able to use this valuable information. We appreciate your feedback and plan to conduct this survey again in the future.

How can this survey better support you? Please send us your comments and suggestions.
Job Board

CMS Board  
Member Highlight 

Name: Jill Wilson
Current School/ Occupation: I am currently home with my 7, 4 and 1 year old children.
Years of Teaching:  18
Why did you choose Montessori?  Montessori chose me!  The moment I sat down to observe (for a random assignment from my UC Psychology class) in the Montessori classroom, I was deeply touched by the amazing capabilities, the intense desires and focus, and the bountiful joy in learning that I saw in the children as they independently fulfilled their work cycle.  As I learned more about the Montessori pedagogy, I was even more inspired by the underlying respect that was given to the children: a respect to develop to their fullest potential, in their own timing, and in their own space.
Why did you join the CMS board? My wonderfully energetic co-teacher said: "Come on the board, Jill, you'll meet a ton of great people!"  And, in the 20 years I've been on the board, many close friendships were formed here first - not to mention a couple jobs gained through these fabulous connections.
Favorite teaching moment:  I love it when I happen to be present when a child blends a word together for the first time.  They often look so surprised that they actually read a word and it was so easy.  All the work they did to prepare for that moment and the joy in their faces when it happens is a beautiful example of the children constructing their own knowledge.
Interesting personal fact: I've been a licensed pilot for 16 years and have seen both coasts in a small plane.
What do you love most about Montessori? I love the freedom the Montessori philosophy gives children to choose their own work, follow their own interests and trusting that the children will learn so precisely just what they are ready for in each given moment.  And I love how so many of the
foundational principles of the Montessori philosophy are being "proven" by current brain research as best practices for education.
Interests and Hobbies:  Children and Montessori are, by far, my greatest hobby.  In addition to serving on the CMS board, I am a founding member and current Treasurer of the Ohio Montessori Alliance  and serve on the board of directors of my children's school.  I enjoy learning about Nutrition, Natural Healing and most things alternative.  I have a horse that I still get to ride every once in a while and love doing anything outside. 
Anything else? My favorite quote:  "What we need is a world full of miracles, as it seemed miraculous to see the young child seeking work and independence, and manifesting a wealth of enthusiasm and love."  - Dr. Maria Montessori, Peace and Education   
Have Something
to Share?
Are you a CMS member school? Does your school have an event coming up or other news to share? Tell us the exciting things happening at your school - we'd love to include it here!

Space is limited so contact us soon if you are interested.
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 contact us.

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. 
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