Professional Development Resources
By Tammy Oesting for Trillium Montessori
In preparing ourselves for our task of contributing to the unfolding of the child before us, adults also undergo a transformation, initiated in Montessori training, and hopefully sparked again and again over a lifetime of experiences that lead to what Thomas Berry calls our Great Work and Dr. Montessori identified as our cosmic task. My own journey is peppered with transformational events and I embrace Berry’s idea that, “Education must be a pervasive life experience.” (1988, p. 96); however, in coaching colleagues on their growth path, it is clear that sometimes, a plan is necessary to this growth, and having a variety of resources tailored to their needs is essential to fulfilling this plan.
27 years ago when I started my career in Montessori, I was hungry for any and all workshops or courses that would stretch my spirit and my Montessori practice. Seeking resources that amplified my goal of constant improvement became a part-time job and a cause for frustration as hurdles such as the cost of workshops and finding time away from my classroom and family revealed the gap in accessible, affordable, relevant and effective professional development. If only I had then, what is offered now by Trillium Montessori, I believe I would have escaped some of the avoidable difficulties along the way.
Trillium Montessori, founded and led by Seemi Abdullah, has grown from a blog about her one room schoolhouse to a curation of professional development opportunities for Montessori educators, parents, and school leaders.
When I joined the ranks of teacher educators looking to share my niche of wisdom just a mere five years ago, Seemi offered the Montessori Classroom Setup Bootcamp course for teachers looking for guidance and structure in preparing their environments for the new school year, a few stand-alone workshops by the renowned Jonathan Wolff, and she had just completed the first Montessori Summer Summit.
Today, Seemi assists Montessori educators who have completed their training by optimising their practice through three primary avenues: classroom administration, working with children, and curriculum enrichment. For example, the Montessori Classroom Setup Bootcamp offers guides step by step instruction and encouragement in preparing themselves and their environments, the logistical administration needs that result in the smooth running of their environments. In 2020, Trillium Montessori and my company, ClassrooMechanics, partnered to createPrinciples to Practice, a low-cost membership and online summit focusing on translating Montessori principles into effective child guidance practices. The third petal in the Trillium Montessori offerings is fulfilled through a printables shop and in collaboration with other amazing Montessorians, the Hands On Kid Activities where club members receive monthly enrichment materials for their 3-6 environments.
These three pillars, or three petals of the Trillium flower, form a strong foundation of support to Montessori guides in optimising their practice by equipping them with practical tools that lead to a smooth running classroom.
You might be wondering how Trillium Montessori’s offerings might assist guides in their journey? When practical strategies are applied over time, guides report an expanded ability to manage classroom logistics, an ease of working with children, and an ability to maintain a system of curriculum enrichment that allows them to focus on practices that are transformational.
Additionally, Trillium Montessori hosts virtual courses that are more explicitly transformative such as Britt Hawthorne’s Introduction to Anti-Bias Education, Claudia Mann’sTough to Treasured: How to Forge Positive Relationships Throughout your Programs (and Your Life), and Andy Lulka’s Materials and the Mind.
Trillium Montessori now offers resources supporting classroom communities serving students 0-3, 3-6, 6-12. For example, Infant-Toddler guides stretch their practice with lessons learned in Laura LeClair’s Infant Environment Deep Dive and Emily Breaux’s Practical Life in the Toddler Environmentwhile 3-6 guides acquire newfound skills with Carolyn Lucento’s Musically Montessori or with Cathie Perolman’s Making the Most of the Moveable Alphabet. Elementary guides expand their repertoire with Priscilla Spears’ The Story of Mammals or Kelly Johnson’s Eco-Art and Nature Journaling workshops.
The variety of topics that speak to the range of roles in Montessori communities is another gift Trillium Montessori curates for the community. Imagine a Montessori classroom where support staff fulfill their role of assisting the guide, maintaining the environment, and facilitating student conflicts with ease because the assistant was acclimated to their role through my self-paced online Montessori Assistant Toolkitfound at Trillium Montessori. Imagine the school leader that reduced the number of high stakes, emotionally charged interactions with parents because they learned the psychology and techniques for building relationships with parents from Jonathan Wolff’s Optimizing Parent Relations for Teachers and School Leaders. Imagine the Elementary guide that is able to assess exactly where an incoming student is their understanding of a concept without reverting to testing because they embraced the guidelines found in Letty Rising’s Analyzing Student Data: Guidance for Montessori Elementary Teachers. Imagine Montessori parents that unexpectedly need to homeschool due to the pandemic and find their groove because they joined Jana Morgan Herman’s Montessori Homeschool by Design. Imagine a parent to a child new to Montessori reducing their anxieties because they read Angie Ma’s free ebook “Let’s Get Ready for the Start of School”.
If you can imagine a one-stop shop for every member in a Montessori community to grow in their role by equipping themselves with the tools to amplify the conditions for every child to reach their potential, then I suspect your vision just might look like Trillium Montessori.
If you would like to explore further how you might plan your professional development journey, join us on Tuesday 12 October at 19.00 (CEST) when we are joined by Tammy who will provide you with the inspiration and tools to empower your professional growth (or that of your staff members) that leads to improved practices and community cohesion, ultimately realising the Montessori mission of preparing oneself. Register here.