The Institute of Montessori Education

California Conference


The Institute of Montessori Education expands to California!

TIME will launch its services this Fall with our signature Montessori Back to School Conference in both Oakland and San Diego!

We are excited to partner with TIME to bring professional development, networking, and fun to California. If you have not attended a TIME event in the past, get ready for a great experience.
— MaryEllen Kordas and Mirko Sever, TIME Consultants
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Marta Donahoe

AMS 2019 Living Legacy

Montessori's Plan for a More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible; Peace and the New Human

Montessori knew that we must begin with the youngest children to cultivate a pathway to a better world. The scaffolded experiences she prescribed are supported by current research in education and child and adolescent brain development. Work in mindfulness and attachment enhance Montessori’s work and give us more developed tools for working with the effects of technology and trauma on the children and adolescents in our schools.

In each plane of development (from birth the age 24) there are specific aspects that serve as the groundwork for the next plane; beginning with the development for focus and concentration and joy in work, in the elementary years, a fascination with the intricate nature of things, and as an adolescent, a sense of community and a love of humanity. The Montessori method creates that foundation, and neuroscience enhances those key aspects that support focus, security, curiosity, compassion, and the executive functioning of the brain.

In this talk, Marta examines Montessori's chart of The Constructive Rhythm of Life and finds the threads that lead to the development of the New Human. The New Human is the person who has had a fully implemented Montessori education, and the person Montessori believed would have the capacity to bring peace to the world.

Marta Donahoe, MEd, has been a Montessori educator since 1979 when she studied with Martha McDermott and Hilda Rothschild at Xavier University. She has worked in private and public Montessori schools since then, teaching and guiding young people ages six through eighteen. For 18 years Marta coordinated the development and implementation of the middle and high school Montessori program at Clark Montessori and from that pioneering experience, assembled a team to develop CMStep (Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Teacher Education Program). She served as its executive director until 2017. She studied organizational development and Flawless Consulting with Peter Block and consults with Montessori schools all over the country, working mostly with adults who work in Montessori middle and high schools. In the early 90’s she received a Teacher of the Year Award when she taught in an upper elementary program. In 2008 she was a finalist for the Hawkins Teacher of the Year Award for her work at Clark Montessori Jr&Sr High School. In 2014 she was named an Ohio Distinguished Montessorian, and in 2016 she received an award of recognition from Xavier University for her contribution to Montessori Education. Marta has a master’s degree in Education from Xavier University and holds AMS credentials for ages 6-18. She serves on the editorial board of Montessori Life. She is a frequent presenter at Montessori conferences and has published a several articles in Montessori Life and The NAMTA Journal. Marta is a certified instructor with Mindful Schools. She lives with her husband in Asheville, NC.


Kathy Leitch

Executive Director, International Montessori Council

Montessori, Mindfulness, and Neuroscience…What do they have in common and Why does it matter?

Utilizing Montessori pedagogy, ancient teachings, and current neuroscience research Kathy will explore the impact that kindness, compassion, and inner peace have on educating world citizens in the 21st century. She will share how we can create a culture that transcends borders by infusing Montessori’s premise of peace and respect in every corner of our learning communities. You will learn why it is essential to prepare yourself and your environment to create a culture of peace. We will consider how this preparation significantly influences many identified keys to success, such as focus, self-regulation, curiosity, resilience, and cooperation. Kathy will share her passionate belief that education, far more than learning skills and content, is about the development of human potential. You will leave with a new appreciation and understanding of Montessori’s legacy of establishing peace through education!

Kathy Leitch has been active in Montessori education for over 30 years. She is the Executive Director of the International Montessori Council (IMC) and founder and head of Renaissance School in Fort Myers, Florida. Kathy graduated from Barry University and earned her Montessori Credentials from the American Montessori Society for Infant – Toddler (birth -3) and Early Childhood (3-6). Kathy also serves as a Montessori Teacher Trainer, International Workshop Leader, and School Consultant, and is a certified Parenting Instructor and Stress Management Facilitator.


Geoffrey Bishop

Executive Director, Nature’s Classroom Institute

Where the Sidewalk Ends Real Discovery Begins

Nature, as it is connected to a child’s development is a fundamental and important aspect of educating the whole child. Studies have proven that a child’s connection to the natural world enhances their ability to focus, to concentrate, to create, take risks and to imagine. This connection has far-reaching health benefits in the areas of social and emotional health, well-being and physical health. Nature is as an important part of our health, physically, socially and emotionally as any other academic or social pursuit.

This session will energize and revitalize your need to reconnect your children to nature, to re-embrace the natural world and to discover the importance of that connection. Geoffrey will highlight different activities and curriculum ideas you can use to re-engage their children and connect them to the natural world. We will look at Art and Nature, silence and listening connections, literature and writing exercises that bring nature to the four front and engage students in an environmental way. We will look at play and the benefits that the natural world with its loose parts, excited children to play in a focused and creative manner.

Geoffrey Bishop, hails from Australia. After his childhood spent on his family’s sheep station he went to an agricultural boarding school for five years, and then to University in both Sydney and Melbourne where he studied Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. For the next 10 years he traveled the world, visiting over 80 countries, where he spent most of his time trekking in rural areas, learning cultures and understanding his place in the world. In 1996 Geoffrey started Nature’s Classroom Institute of Wisconsin, Inc. Geoffrey’s passionate and sustained focus over the past 15 years has been on organics and sustainability in schools while promoting getting children back outdoors and helping adults understand the importance of instinctive play in the natural world.


Susan Tracy McDaniel

AMI and AMS Infant and Toddler Montessori Credentialed Expert

Susan Tracy McDaniel is a Lecturer in the Infant & Toddler Education program at Seton Montessori Institute in Chicago. She has served infants and toddlers as teacher for over 20 years, and she is a frequent speaker and consultant. Apart from Seton, Susan is the Director of the Learning Together Parent Education Center in Palatine, IL. She holds AMS and AMI credentials in Infant & Toddler Education. Susan received a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University in and a M.Ed. in Education from Loyola College.


Charles Terranova

AMI and AMS Early Childhood and Elementary Montessori Credentialed Expert

Charles Terranova has been active nationally and internationally as a classroom teacher, teacher educator, administrator, and speaker. Charles has worked in both independent and public Montessori schools and has consulted with a number of Boards of Trustees, Heads of Schools and teachers. He presents regularly at local and national Montessori conferences. Charles holds AMI and AMS Early Childhood and AMS Elementary I-II Certification. For the past 25 years, Charles has served as a field consultant, supervising teacher, and course instructor at Seacoast Center Montessori Teacher Education Program and Cambridge Montessori Institute Teacher Education Program.


Robyn Breiman

AMS Early Childhood and Elementary Montessori Credentialed Expert

Robyn is a Montessori teacher educator, school consultant, field consultant, lecturer, workshop presenter and accreditation visitor in the US and internationally. A Montessorian for over forty years, she's taught 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12 and was Head of School at The New School, in Cincinnati OH. Robyn served on the AMS Board of Directors for 6 years, until 2018. Currently, she works with AMS' Emerging Leaders Fellowship program. Robyn earned a B.A. in English (SUNY Binghamton) and M.Ed. (Xavier University). She has AMS credentials for Early Childhood, Elementary I and Elementary II. Robyn serves as METTC's program coordinator and practicum coordinator.


MaryEllen Kordas

AMS Administrator Credentialed Montessori Consultant

MaryEllen Kordas has been active in Montessori education for over 40 years. She served on the board of the American Montessori Society and recently as president and as a member of the MPPI Council (Montessori Public Policy Initiative). She is on the management faculty at Westside Montessori in New York. Mary Ellen developed and led the first AMS-accredited school in California which is one of the largest single-campus schools in the country, with a staff of 70 teachers and administrators serving 500 children from Toddler level through 8th grade. She currently provides consulting services to school leadership and boards through MEK Consulting.