Just two years ago Montessori Northwest began actively working to make Montessori education accessible to more children and families. We have made significant progress by building on our strengths and developing our position within this incredible Montessori community. The scope of our work begins locally in the Pacific Northwest yet extends across the globe through the work of our graduates. As MNW continues to expand the accessibility and influence of Montessori education we have defined three major areas for our work:
1) GROW TEACHER TRAINING
Montessori Northwest is responding to an urgent call for AMI teacher training beyond Portland, Oregon. We are currently drafting feasibility studies for three satellite courses that will begin as early as 2015: Elementary in Spokane, Washington, as well as Assistants to Infancy and Primary in the Bay Area, California. These courses will cultivate trained teachers to work in public and private schools and will expand MNW’s programs across the entire western United States.
Beyond the training, we support our alumni and community by providing workshops for all Montessori practitioners. The need for these programs has been highlighted by recent record-breaking registration numbers in fall workshops, forums and guided discussions. We are also working to establish university partnerships that will lead toward a public teaching credential and will soon launch the application process for our newly established Learning to Leading fund – a financial aid fund for teachers working in public or tuition-free Montessori programs. These application materials will be available for courses beginning in 2015.
2) ADVOCATE FOR ACCESSIBLE QUALITY MONTESSORI EDUCATION
Organizational partnerships have blossomed alongside our program expansions. We are thrilled to continue working with the Family Relief Nursery after sponsoring their staff to participate in the AMI Assistants Course this past summer. We believe that Montessori principles can be adopted to improve educational practices in any environment and are happy to support the incredible work that the nursery does for Oregon families in crisis.
Montessori Northwest is excited to be researching best practices for opening our own demonstration classroom for children here in the Portland area. Along with our 2013 Congress attendees, we were deeply inspired by the programs serving communities in need from around the world, from Afghanistan to Dallas. We have set out to open a classroom for children that will educate, inspire, and demonstrate what Montessori can do for children and communities that face significant challenges.
3) OUTREACH TO PROMOTE THE UNDERSTANDING OF MONTESSORI
In summer 2014 we held a Montessori Glass Classroom in downtown Portland after reviving this classic event at the 2013 International Montessori Congress. After documenting the process, our Glass Classroom Handbook has been used to replicate this program across the nation, placing Montessori repeatedly in the public’s view. MNW is thrilled to be a contributor to the Montessori in the Capital event scheduled for February 2015 in the Oregon State Capital Building. In addition to events like this, we are improving our communications strategies to gain visibility for Montessori education and its contributions to the education reform conversation.
If you are interested in supporting this work, please consider making a donation to Montessori Northwest. Your contribution will directly support these ambitious endeavors to make Montessori education more accessible.