Please note that school will be closed on Friday, November 1 so that WMS staff can attend the annual Montessori Schools of Connecticut Conference. This year’s conference, “Peace in Education: Diversity, Empathy, Communication” features keynote speaker Victoria Christgau, a lifelong peace/arts and nonviolence educator. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence (CTCN). She has been a Teaching Artist with the CT Office of the Arts for over twenty years and has founded and produced the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Commemoration of Litchfield County. In 2007, at the request of her mentor, legendary civil rights leader, educator and activist, Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr., Victoria founded the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence. As a Level III certified Kingian Nonviolence Trainer, Victoria has presented hundreds of nonviolence workshops, trainings and residencies at schools, colleges and numerous venues, implementing the philosophy and strategies of Kingian Nonviolence across racial, social, economic and generational divides.
This year’s MSC conference will also include the following breakouts presented by WMS faculty members.
IN PURSUIT OF PEACE IN THE CLASSROOM
Drawing on Dr. Martin Luther King’s Six Principles of Nonviolence, this participatory workshop will offer teachers a strategic framework for creating collaboration, building an inclusive community and resolving differences in the classroom. Debby will join Victoria Christgau in leading this presentation.
EMPOWERING MIDDLE-SCHOOL STUDENTS DOING CITIZEN SCIENCE
Middle-school students are at a key point in their lives for getting involved in the world outside of their families and the school. Engaging in Citizen Science initiatives can help them connect their work at school with issues in the larger world, and give them a sense of stewardship, empowerment, and agency.
Tom and Nora will provide participants with the various components and sequence of a Study of Water. Utilizing the local waterways for specific studies and research as well as how and what local community and State agencies can be engaged in partnerships to implement meaningful scientific research in evaluating the health of our local rivers and streams. Further studies involve research of water quality around the world, exploring current water filtration devices and experimenting with constructing filtration systems.
CREATING COMMUNITY, CONNECTION AND JOY THROUGH SINGING GAMES AND DANCES
Sing, move, dance and play! You won’t want to sit down for this workshop because you’ll be on your feet dancing and clapping. Matilda will share the best of her collection of children’s singing games from the African American, Anglo American, and Ghanaian traditions, great American contra dances, international folk dances and rounds. Share a dance, a laugh and spark human connection, realizing that you need other people to make this experience happen. When children are happy and physically engaged they are better students. When people dance with each other they build social connections and create community through music and movement. Dancing and playing singing games enable joyful human connection and has a powerful effect on children and on everyone. This presentation is based on Matilda’s work at The Washington Montessori School where she has been teaching music and dance for 38 years. This workshop will offer time honored and traditional ways to renew and revitalize genuine human connection. Come join us!
EXPANDING THE CIRCLE: CONVERSATIONS ABOUT ANIMALS IN THE MONTESSORI PEACE CURRICULUM
Martha invites participants to engage in collegial conversations about ideals our peace curricula share with a philosophy of empathy and compassion toward animals, and how exploring this compassion might enrich our curricula and our lives.
The goal is simply to inspire some mindful reflection of topics such as considering how the ways we use animals impact the environment, the lives of the animals, and our capacity for empathy? What are the impact issues of global hunger and vulnerable human populations? What role might transitioning to a more plant-based diet play? How can we consume more mindfully in general? What simple steps can we take to make a change? How do we infuse these conversations and ideas into our peace curricula for various ages? How can we begin to have these conversations amongst ourselves in the most positive ways possible? Visual materials will be provided to inform and enliven conversations. Participants will be inspired to engage in ongoing thought, conversation with colleagues in their schools and create simple steps to make that difference.