Magazine article Montessori Life

"Looking Again" at AMS's 44th National Conference

Magazine article Montessori Life

"Looking Again" at AMS's 44th National Conference

Article excerpt

Boston's historic Park Plaza Hotel seemed empty indeed after the 1,800 Montessorians departed. The day was April 25, 2004, and it marked the end of AMS's four-day, 44th national conference, which was themed "Look Again: Think, Discover, Express." Peggy Mclntosh, Ph.D., associate director of the Wellesley College Centers for Research on Women, had wrapped things up that morning with a final keynote address, giving us a stirring reminder of Maria Montessori's commitment to social justice and asking us to take a stand against systems of privilege that jeopardize Montessori's vision of global peace and equity.

The ornate ballroom, only recently crowded with Montessori exhibitors displaying their wares to enthusiastic teachers, teacher educators, and other friends of Montessori, who meanwhile were discussing the broad array of workshops given by more than 150 presenters, was now empty save the "de-installed" children's artwork awaiting pick-up from local schools. The steering committee packed up the extra tote bags, which days earlier had been "stuffed" for attendees with conference materials and sundry treats, while the AMS staff boxed books and registration materials. We were tired and relieved, but also very pleased. We were proud to have hosted a remarkable line-up of educational leaders who encouraged us to look again at our practice and build upon the legacy of Dr. Montessori.

Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot had brought the large crowd to life with her dramatic sharing of parables of wisdom from her recent book, The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn from Each Other. Apple Computer's Mark Benno, Ph.D., had everyone dreaming aloud of ways to digitally empower learners. Kerry Ruef presented The Private Eye Project, inspiring attendees to look at things closely and to think metaphorically. Mike Vance, the Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch speaker and co-author of Think Out of the Box, told heartwarming stories of creative people, their habits, and breakthrough ideas. …

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