Professional Development Sessions Catalog

Getting Started

Sessions for district staff, parents, and potential teachers.

So you’re thinking of starting a public Montessori school!  Where do you begin? Who do you need to talk to? What do you need to know?

This session can be tailored to district leaders and staff, public stakeholders, charter school organizers, board members, etc. The session introduces a step-by-step process for taking the idea of public Montessori school from conception to reality. Topics include: assessing readiness, timelines, gathering a founding team, community engagement, building support, navigating the approval process, and ensuring a smooth start.

For many families, Montessori may be a mysterious unknown quantity. How does it work? Who is it for? Will their children learn and thrive?

This session explains the basics of the Montessori approach, the overall structure, the goals of the method, and the research supporting its effectiveness. Participants will have the opportunity to “peek inside” a Montessori classroom on video and get their questions answered and their concerns addressed.

Training your current teachers or recruiting new staff? Becoming a Montessori teacher isn’t something that happens in a few days or weeks. What do prospective teachers need to know before jumping in?

Created for teachers who are new to Montessori and are thinking about joining your Montessori program, this session gives an overview of Montessori education and the Montessori teacher preparation process, from beginning training to support for the development that takes place in the first few years on the job.

Assessing your program

Where are we now? What should we focus on next?

How well is your school doing? What should you work on next? Strong schools engage in continuous self-assessment. The strongest ones do this work systematically and with intention.

This session introduces the Essential Elements Rubric—a tool developed by NCMPS specifically for public Montessori schools to take a systematic, critical look at their programs and to chart a path of improvement.

Using a recognized set of Montessori standards and indicators, including adults, environments, family engagement, assessment and leadership, this rubric focuses decision-makers on the core work of their school and sets the groundwork for a focused strategic planning process.

Improving school-wide practice

Protocols for excellence

Public Montessori schools are called on to serve all children, and as the number of students with learning and behavioral difficulties rises, educators are confronted with the challenge of following all children with intelligence, practical expertise, and compassion. This training prepares faculty and staff to meet this challenge.

Child Study Training explores the growing array of early intervention models addressing learning and developmental needs. Under the headings of Response to Intervention (RTI) and Tiered Instruction, these models aim to meet diverse learning needs before or even in place of special education referrals.

The training reviews Montessori’s natural and historic links with special education and presents an RTI model designed to make the most of the Montessori prepared environment and approach. Participants will learn a system for building a child-centered professional culture centered on meeting the needs of all children, resolving difficulties early, and using a wide range of data to support student development.

This training is recommended as a school-wide initiative.

Lesson Study is a protocol for fostering robust team discussions of specific lessons or lesson sequences. It provides teachers an opportunity to refine presentations and follow-on activities within a clear, effective structure for sharing, observation, feedback, and reflection.

This session provides an orientation to the NCMPS Montessori Coaching model for the while school, exploring and facilitating dialogue about what it means to build a community of reflective practice in which every person is willing to coach and be coached in service of human flourishing.

This session is an introduction to the Montessori Coaches Training, but it does not offer the full training experience.

Assessing classrooms and students

How can we measure what really matters in Montessori?

The Developmental Environment Rating Scale (DERS) is a tool for observing and assessing developmental learning environments. In this half-day orientation, participants learn how the DERS can be used as a tool for classroom observation and continuous improvement.

This session is an introduction to the DERS, but does not offer training and certification.

Assessment is an increasing concern of all educators. Public Montessori schools face special challenges related to the demand to measure results that, often, do not match the goals and outcomes of Montessori learning environments—in particular, the growth students show in essential and foundational social-emotional skills. In this workshop, we’ll do a deep dive into capturing the impact of an education that emphasizes self-regulation, cognitive flexibility, initiation, collaboration, and risk-taking. Measurement of these abilities requires specialized tools, and this workshop introduces a suite of assessments that schools can use to track inputs and outcomes related to executive functions and social-emotional development, as well as literacy and numeracy.

This session explores tools assessing and reporting on students’ progress through a Montessori program. We look at the Normalization and Adjustment Checks, used when children are new in the environment; the Transition Skills Inventories, which give benchmarks for moving from level to level; and Progress Reports, used to share progress with families.

Building classroom practice

Classroom management, support for special needs, literacy, observation, and more.

How can we design learning environments to support optimal developmental outcomes for children? This session examines the research on how adults can structure and manage learning environments to promote the development of executive function, deep literacy, and social-emotional skills.

Observation, central to Montessori practice, is the core of meaningful and viable assessment. But turning observation into data requires structures and systems.

This session explores a range of NCMPS tools for classroom observation from the Montessori Assessment Playbook, including Observing Work Engagement, Observing an Individual Child, the Individual Child Inventory, and more.

Classroom management in Montessori means developing the structures and systems to empower students to manage themselves. These sessions introduce and develop some structures and systems, and explore troubleshooting strategies for the times when systems break down.

This session explores the effects of trauma and toxic stress on children and how well-prepared adults working in the therapeutic nature of the Montessori environment can nurture and transform children’s lives. The presentation introduces and outlines Child Study, a systematic approach and set of practical tools to help students who are presenting with challenges in the classroom.

This session is an introduction to the Child Study Training, but it does not offer the full training experience.

Assistants are vital members of the Montessori school community and have a key role to play in high-functioning learning environments. This session explores the assistant’s contributions to optimal child development and learning, including protecting engagement, preserving order, and fostering language development.

The creation of a developmentally-appropriate and pedagogically-aligned Montessori adolescent program is an exciting endeavor. This session explores the philosophical underpinnings and design characteristics of a successful early adolescent program for students aged 12-15.

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is an inquiry-based method of developing critical thinking and communication skills through facilitated discussions of art, and Montessorians across the country are having great success using VTS in their classrooms. In this full-day session, participants learn how to incorporate the method in their classrooms so that it becomes a natural part of the prepared environment rather than an add-on. We explore applications specific to Montessori learning (oral language development, grace and courtesy, cosmic education, and going out).

Developing whole school culture

Making the whole school a Montessori environment

Every adult in the building contributes to the construction of a Montessori learning environment. This orientation to the basic principles of the Montessori philosophy will help assistants, support staff, and any other non-Montessori-trained adults in your school building understand how to live, speak, and be in a Montessori community.

The school/home partnership is crucial to the success of any educational program, especially Montessori, and especially public Montessori, where “involvement” sometimes substitutes for “engagement.”

From outreach, to enrollment, to orientation, to ongoing parent education, this session offers concrete strategies for building a strong school-home community that puts the children squarely in the center. Participants will leave with activities and timelines for productively and effectively reaching out to parents and drawing them into the school community, regardless of who they are, what they do or how much they know about Montessori.