From the Dean’s Desk

News from the Dean’s Desk at

Montessori Teachers College on November 18, 2013


Thanks to Kendra Hern for forwarding link below to a very interesting article

Review of New Book:

I am reading  The Joyful Child: Montessori, Global Wisdom for Birth to Three written by Susan Mayclin Stephenson and look forward to sharing a review next week.

Message to 2013 Infant Toddler Group from Martine

“Please tell the group I’m doing very well. Travelled a lot in the last few months. Just back from Budapest and Serbia. So no more travelling before the baby is born. The baby will most likely be called Iselin Clare. Iselin is a Norwegian name but with Celtic roots (same as Aisling). Maple can be her nick name. After all she will only have the connection to Canada 🙂 Say hi to all of them from me. And I hope in the future I can come to Canada again .”   Note from Paula: some of the group thought a good name for Martine’s baby might be ‘Maple!’

Review of CAMT Keynote speaker

See attached for Paula’s review of Paula Polk Lillard’s presentation titled: Montessori and the Human Spirit. 

  •     Professional Education 

There continues to be is great interest in our next Professional Education Workshop:

Topic:  Autism: A Montessori Approach presented by Michelle Lane-Barmapov.

Do reserve your place soon by contacting Debbie Couture at 416 640 1565 to register; alternatively, you can download the Registration Form from our website:

NB:    Michelle will have copies of her book: Autism: A Montessori Approach for  sale at $12.00 per book.


  •   2014 Courses 

The following MTC courses commence in January 2014:

Elementary Part 1 (commences with on-line module)

Infant Toddler

Introduction to Montessori philosophy and materials for Assistants

Later in Spring 2014 MTC will offer an enriched review course for those who have already taken the Assistants’ course.

 Montessori Method for Dementia

Two Day Workshops:   Debbie Couture, Director of Training for this programme will teach at Montessori for Seniors, 16 Coldwater Rd. North York, ON on the following dates:

December 9 & 10

To register:     Registration forms available on MTC website.  You can also contact

Debbie Couture at MTC:  416 640 1565


 Montessori and the Human Spirit presented by Keynote Speaker, Paula Polk Lillard

 It was a great pleasure to meet Paula Polk Lillard again and to be present at her inspirational presentation on Montessori and the Human Spirit.

At the outset, Paula explained that her lifelong inspiration has been her experiences at Forest Bluff Montessori School which she cofounded in 1982.  She outlined the four Planes of Development and focused on the child as a spiritual being.  She explained clearly that each human being is in the process of self-formation and is adapted to time, place and culture.

It was good to be reminded that Dr. Montessori was a very practical person who had no expectations of perfection.  Instead she recognized the human spirit in each person and believed that each person needed to adapt to the circumstances and situations of life.

Adaptation:  Unlike animals who operate through instinct, the child is a formed vessel at birth.  The child’ first task is to adapt to life outside the womb and that this adaptation is supported by the life into which the child is born.

While the latest fad in today’s life is a reliance on technology, Paula stressed that the ultimate questions for the young person are the following:   who am I, and what am I to do with my life?

A Unique Method:  Dr. Montessori went beyond individual happiness as a goal for life, Paula Polk Lillard continued.  Dr. Montessori believed that we are given the gift of self formation, and she pioneered a detailed plan that matches that lofty vision.  She spent six years in India. Her scientific background, unusual life experiences and innate intelligence helped her to understand that each child is destined to adapt to all aspects of culture.    Montessori is a truly unique universal educational system that suits children in today’s world.

Humility and lifelong learning:  Paula reminded us that this very important quality does not come easily to teachers.  Dr. Montessori knew she needed to engage in lifelong learning to understand the child.  She kept up with the work and progress of others and was curious until the end of her life. She had openness to all knowledge which is necessary for Montessori teachers in today’s world. It was interesting to know that she met Freud and Piaget.

Paula Polk Lillard then shared her knowledge and experiences with children from birth to early adulthood, using beautiful pictures from Forest Bluff School.  She reminded us that the child’s development does not move in a linear fashion but follows the Four Planes of Development, each with specific goals and spurts.  The child develops specific attributes to meet these goals.

The Planes of Development

The child’s development begins in the First Plane lasting from 0 – 3 years.  The Toddler develops freedom for disciplined action.  This was illustrated by an important video in which a 14 month old child revealed tremendous joy when completing a task of wiping up spilt milk.

The child in the First Plane of Development explores as an individual in an environment that offers real experiences.  The child continues to develop self control, recognition of the rights of others and respect for others.  The child’s will is represented by self discipline.  Respect for the environment, for adults and for adult authority is in place by age of six, but it all begins in the 0 – 3 community.

The child in the Second Plane of Development, which lasts from 6 – 12 years, is interested in other children’s minds.  The goals of the Second Plane are only met if the goals of the First Plane have been met.  The children work in groups at Elementary level.  Qualities of morality, justice and gratitude emerge, while social relationships are developed.  The Great Lessons are an important part of the Elementary curriculum.  These are imaginary, not factual.  Their purpose is to get children excited so that they will follow up with their own research.  The Great Lessons are followed by Key Lessons.

The 3rd Plane of Development lasts from 12 – 18 years.  This can be a bewildering time for the adolescent, who experiences great inner turmoil.  Dr. Montessori compared this time to the fragile, vulnerable child aged 0 – 3 years.  The adolescent, who displays exuberance and a super confidence, needs much support and a special approach for a positive outcome.  The adolescents also need opportunities to identify their strengths and weaknesses.  They are risk takers who need to succeed.  Physical challenges in the outdoors replace the Montessori materials of the previous two Planes.  They engage in research from primary resources.  They need intellectual challenges by working with adults who reveal their passions to the adolescents.  This leads the adolescents to see possibilities for their future lives.  In this way the human spirit of the child reacts to the adult’s human spirit.

Paula Polk Lillard reminded us that the adolescent teacher is a Renaissance person and this is more important than having specific knowledge.

Finally, Paula shared the exciting news that Beacon Academy High School will open in Chicago in 2014.  This High School will be an amalgamation of six High Schools.

Summary:  Paula Polk Lillard reminded us that the child is a spiritual being who adapts to the environment.  The child experiences a process of formation during which self discipline is developed.  The child develops intellect, will, appreciation, choice, compassion, steadfastness and wisdom amongst other attributes and this is the secret of human development.

Submitted by Paula Glasgow, Dean, Montessori Teachers College, Toronto



  • Until next week…..