Leadership Research, Montessori: Vol 01, No 1. (2022)

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This first issue of the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership Montessori is lovingly dedicated in memory of Michelle Griffiths. As key member of the inaugural Montessori transfer cohort, Michelle embodied the spirit of a Montessori educator in her work in both public and independent education settings. She was a champion for her Montessori students and a leader for her cohort. Her vision was to capture the Canadian Montessori educator experience. Her memory and dedication will carry on in the first, and all subsequent issues, of this thesis repository.

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 7
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    Montessori outside: creating an outdoor prepared environment
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2022) Leite, Noel L.
    Maria Montessori was a visionary who created classrooms known as the prepared environment which allows for exploration, concrete learning experiences, and freedom of choice within limits. This research project was designed to create an extension of the prepared environment outdoors to support meaningful learning opportunities. Children can learn directly from the world around them while connecting with nature. The purpose of this thesis was to inspire, encourage, build teachers' confidence, and highlight the importance and benefits of outdoor learning in Montessori settings. In addition, the creation of an outdoor prepared environment is designed to address the perceived barriers to outdoor learning. The culminating project is a website (www.montessorioutside.com) intended to support teachers in creating an outdoor prepared environment and to get children learning outdoors. The words of Maria Montessori are inspiring: “There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them, in a real forest. Something emanates from those trees which speaks to the soul, something no book, no museum is capable of giving” (Montessori, 1994, pp. 19-20).
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    Creating a peace education curriculum for the Montessori upper elementary classroom
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2022) Hartsook, Rachel H.
    Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator, known for developing an innovative educational philosophy that is followed around the world. Montessori believed it was children who would bring about world peace and a bettering of humanity, and that through education this would happen. This paper explores what the research says about current peace education practices around the world and outlines the importance of an inclusive and inquisitive approach to teaching peace to children. The paper explores the topic of peace education, describes the development of the upper elementary child (aged 9-12), and outlines in detail an age-appropriate peace education curriculum project in the form of a Montessori teaching manual that was created by the author for their Master of Education thesis.
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    Decolonization journey: nourishing the writer, learner, Montessori teacher
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2022) Holkestad, Kirsten S.
    This study utilizes narrative inquiry to illustrate my journey as a Montessori teacher who aims to challenge colonial thoughts and behaviors that contribute to a Eurocentric worldview in the classroom. Understanding my complicity in settler colonialism helps to orient my teaching practice along relational and anticolonial lines and exploring my settler identity necessitates questioning my sense of belonging on Indigenous lands. I employ autoethnographic writing to better understand my context and responsibility as a white settler Montessori teacher. Personal fieldwork tools include a Transformative Inquiry Journal and a Critical Self-Reflection Template that assist me in applying critical self-reflection to identify personal assumptions and biases, as well as those embedded in Montessori content and materials. The autoethnographic products include storied letters with two of my ancestors, poetry, and critical self-reflection that connect my personal experience to larger relational and cultural contexts. I use my experience to describe and critique cultural beliefs and practices through utilizing reflexivity to name and interrogate the intersection between myself and society by turning back on my experience, identity, and relationships and how they influence my work as a settler Montessori teacher. The personal and professional implications of this project include a commitment to lifelong learning, a pedagogy of discomfort, the practice of critical self-reflection, and the impetus for adopting an inclusive leadership style. This study is premised on the concept of the learning spirit and is intended for settler teachers who are willing to confront and challenge cognitive imperialism in their classrooms (Battiste, 2013).
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    Biomimicry: a tool to support student reconnection with nature in a Montessori secondary class
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2022) Rymer, Haley D.
    Extensive research validates the need to renew and strengthen a connection to nature as a way of battling unsustainability and numerous studies support the idea that education is a major catalyst for this much-needed paradigm shift. The emerging science, biomimicry has been used successfully in education and it is hypothesized that biomimicry’s use could lead to students’ reconnection with nature. This project aimed to create outdoor learning experiences for students to connect with nature in a Montessori environment by following the principles and examples of biomimicry. The inquiry was guided by the following questions: Why do we need to get young people back to nature and feel connected to a place in their local environment? What is biomimicry (within the context of education) and how can it be used as a tool for the goals of this project while supporting the principles of Montessori? A research-informed resource guide was developed to support the integration of biomimicry into secondary science in a Montessori education system. Biomimicry shares many commonalities with the core values of the Montessori pedagogy and the practices and principles of biomimicry have been shown to support both the Kindergarten to Grade 10 Science Curricular Competencies of the British Columbia curriculum and First Peoples Principles of Learning. By creating this resource guide, biomimicry’s use in a Montessori classroom was better understood. Additionally, a resource for both Montessori and non-Montessori educators was successfully created with accessible information and easy to incorporate classroom activities.
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    Framework of practice for adolescent Montessori: place-based education in an urban public Montessori Grade 7/8 classroom
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2022) Busby, Jennifer D.
    The purpose of this project was to develop a framework of practice document for an adolescent Montessori program in an urban environment. This project examined the connection between Montessori’s writings on adolescent education and place-based learning. A traditional model of Montessori’s Erdkinder may not be feasible for many urban, public Montessori schools; place-based learning and the work of the prepared adolescent teacher to connect pedagogy and curriculum creates a modern Erdkinder to meet the needs of the adolescent. This project highlights the need for spreading awareness of adolescent Montessori programming requirements within SPS. Because there currently is limited understanding of Montessori’s vision for adolescent learning within SPS, many elements of place-based learning are often viewed strictly as components of an outdoor education program. The evidence presented in my project supports my belief that place-based learning is much more than the ‘hard skills’ associated with outdoor education and provides compelling reasons to insist on the implementation of the tools created in my project. Montessori believed that schools should be specifically designed to meet the developmental needs of the child; my project allows a teacher to reflect on their practice to ensure they are facilitating an adolescent Montessori program that is genuine.