Montessori Leadership Institute

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Sharon Caldwell

Six weeks: This course will be offered again later in 2014


This is an introductory course which will lead into many other new courses that will be offered by the Montessori Foundation over the course of the coming years.

A fundamental premise of our long-running and successful courses Building a World Class Montessori School and Finding the Perfect Match is that clarity is the key to success.

It is generally agreed that there is a great deal of diversity in what is known as “Montessori”, not only between different schools, but also within schools. What is not commonly understood is the reason for this diversity. Research conducted by the Montessori Foundation has identified studies which explain how different people’s ideas and understanding of different components of curriculum impact on how they apply any curriculum in the classroom. This course aims to translate this understanding into a practical and useable format, which will help you to understand your own position better and place it into a broader context of curriculum implementation, leading to greater clarity within your own school.

Although these first modules are fairly theoretical, they will support practical application within your school.

This six-week course is structured as follows:

Week 1:Log-in, getting to know one another.

Introductory reading and forum discussions.

Curriculum ideology inventory – unpacking your own beliefs on the aim of education, knowledge, learning, teaching and assessment.

Week 2: What do we really mean by the word “curriculum?”

This session explores the various meanings and contexts of “curriculum”. Any curriculum, whether explicitly or implicitly, contains aims, views about what constitutes “knowledge” and how it is created, views on what it means to “learn”, the nature of the child and society, the role of the adult, what knowledge is important in education, and how to appropriately assess whether learning has indeed taken place. Clarity (or the lack thereof) as regards all these issues contributes to the success or failure of any educational program.

This session will help participants clarify and describe the various components of their own school’s curriculum with greater clarity and accuracy. We will distinguish such aspects as explicit and implicit curricula, delivered and received curriculum etc.

We will also introduce the concept of the four dominant ideologies of curriculum.

Weeks 3 & 4: Curriculum ideologies and frameworks.

This module will address four dominant curriculum ideologies in greater detail. We will explore how choices regarding curriculum content, the respective roles of the adult and the child, didactic method and assessment are influenced by those ideologies. We will look at how the writings of Dr. Montessori, conventional training methodologies and this course itself, align to the framework of curriculum ideologies. This will help participants to achieve clarity on their own position and understandings. The resources in this section will help participants distinguish between methodologies of the Scholar Academic, Social Efficiency, Developmental and Social Transformation approaches to education.

Week 5: Where does Maria Montessori fit into the framework?

This module will explore how Dr. Montessori’s vision (as representing in her writing) might fit into the framework.

You will be supported in exploring the extent to which you (and your school) align with this,

The practical application is that you will be able to choose resources, recording, assessment and reporting systems that align with your school’s principles, while at the same being clear on how this might be challenged from other perspectives.

Week 6: Wrap up and planning.  This module will address some planning for future work, along with some specific explorations for areas of interest which will arise from earlier discussion.


Courses planned for later in the year, for which this course is a prerequisite:

1)   Sowing seeds: An exploration of Cosmic Education for the Elementary School. This course will help school leaders understand how the elementary program can be enriched and extended well beyond simply meeting Core Standards.

2)   Using the Montessori Foundation’s Scope and Sequence to expand and enrich your schools curriculum at all levels.

3)   Authentic recording and reporting in the Montessori School.

4)   Helping parents understand your curriculum: When parents challenge Montessori, they are coming from a particular perspective. Understanding and appreciating this helps school leaders to address parent questions and doubts meaningfully and productively.

5)   Whole school alignment – building on the concept of “clarity is the key to success” this course will guide you to examine how all areas of your school reflect a consistent understanding of curriculum in line with one of the four curriculum ideologies.


Course Leader

Sharon CaldwellSHARON CALDWELL, B.A.Hons./HDE, has been involved in Montessori for fifteen years, after a six year stint as a teacher in a conventional high school. She founded Nahoon Montessori School, which drew strongly on democratic school tradition to realise the principles of student governance suggested in Dr. Montessori’s writings. As a result of her experience and insight into a variety of educational models, Sharon has run workshops and presented at Montessori, Alternative/Democratic and other education conferences in the USA, Australia, India, China and South Africa. She is coeditor of the International Montessori Council’s publication Montessori Leadership, has edited course materials for the Center for Guided Montessori Studies, and is a regular contributor to Tomorrow’s Child. She supports Montessori schools and parents internationally as a mentor on Montessori_Online, an online discussion group sponsored by the Montessori Foundation, and is an instructional guide on two of the Montessori Foundation’s leadership programs: Building a World Class Montessori School and Finding the Perfect Match. She has contributed chapters to The Directory of Democratic Education and Turning Points: 27 Visionaries in Education Tell Their Own Stories. She lives in East London, South Africa.


Registration Fees:

Non-IMC Members: $750 for the first person from a school/$600 for each additional person enrolling from the same school.

Members of the International Montessori Council (IMC): Individual IMC members or attendees sponsored by a school that is a member of the International Montessori Council, receive a substantial discount: $700 for the first person from an IMC affiliated school/$500 for each additional participant enrolling from the same IMC member school.


How to Apply:

You can register online or mail your application and payment by credit card or check (drawn against a US bank) in to us at The Montessori Foundation, 19600 State Road 64 East, Bradenton, FL 34212 USA. Please make checks payable to The Montessori Foundation.

You can scan and email your application (with payment by Mastercard, Visa or American Express) to the Montessori Foundation at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or fax it to us at 1-941-745-3111. If you need to arrange a wire transfer, please email or call for instructions.




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Last Updated (Sunday, 13 April 2014 18:02)





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