The Colorado Montessori Association is a powerful voice for Montessori advocacy providing a forum for networking and professional growth in the Montessori community. It is a highly functioning, evolving professional organization, unified in its vision, respectful, purposeful and inclusive.
CMA Meet and Greet, August 27th

CMA Meet and Greet is coming in August! Save the evening of Thursday, August 27th for a gathering with other Colorado Montessorians to kick off another great school year.

This event is for ANY Montessori educator at any level - assistants, interns, teachers, directors, administrators, etc.
This will be a great opportunity to talk with other teachers from other schools and to help CMA plan for ways to build and strengthen Montessori schools in Colorado. Watch our Facebook page, website, and look for an Evite for further details on this not-to-miss event (with door prizes)! 

Be there! You and your chosen work are important to Colorado children and you deserve to celebrate with like-minded Montessori educators.


By RB Fast

CMA member schools have been working to seek alternative pathways for publicly-funded Montessori schools to demonstrate student growth and school accountability in a way that is aligned with our pedagogy and allows us full implementation of the curriculum. We have been fortunate to connect with leaders from across the state and country. 

Several schools have expressed interest in pursuing a pilot of alternative approaches in the near future. Three Montessori charter leaders have agreed to reach out to CDE about working with the state to implement such a program. In addition to our three schools, thousands of additional students are represented by the students enrolled in the 19 public Montessori schools in Colorado who serve students of compulsory attendance age in Colorado (there are many more primary-only programs who accept public funding sources).

In keeping with the Assessment for Public Montessori White Paper on the subject, pilot participants would agree to the following essential elements of participation:

1. Use of nationally-recognized academic assessment instrument
- This would be a summative assessment of federally required content areas in federally required grades or bands, with 3rd party verification ("graded" externally vs. in school administering the test itself). 3rd party data is preferred by the state for the purposes of accountability.
2. Demonstrated evidence that the school's program offers a way for students to master the state's academic standards (alignment)
- This would be electronic record keeping of progress vs. lessons aligned to the standards, in a program such as MRX, Montessori Workspace, or Montessori Compass, or using an internally developed electronic record keeping system (ERKS). This can also include portfolios and anecdotal evidence regarding student progress.
3. Regular self-evaluation of the school for meeting nationally-recognized standards of Montessori school quality
- This would mean some sort of best practice rubric developed in partnership or by a Montessori industry expert or credentialing body such as AMS, AMI, NAMTA, IMF, or the NCMPS.

While many options for specific methods of meeting the above criteria envisioned for participation exist, it is the intention of the School Leader Representative Group (SLRG) to initiate a conversation with the state with these general elements in mind. More specific details will be advanced in the future with the benefit of the insights from initial conversations.

There are many questions to be answered and many changes at the CDE. Therefore, the SLRG will reach out to CDE this week to initiate a meeting as soon as possible. It is notable that the recent adopted HB-1323-Reducing Assessments in Colorado Schools offers a vehicle for pilot programs. The legislation is fairly specific on the subject and contemplates a pilot program as a path to broad-scale alternatives to PARCC and CMAS for all schools. It doesn't currently match our intent to develop a program that is better aligned to Montessori education. That said, mention of a pilot option must be viewed through a lens of encouragement.

Click on the following hyperlink to reference the CMA White Paper on Assessment for Public Montessori, as well as other reference documents, which have been shared in the past. If you are interested in participating in the pilot program, please read the White Paper and let us know if you have questions.

We look forward to meeting with CDE and sharing with them our vision for a Montessori-friendlier approach to assessment in the near future. Please reach out to CMA with questions, comments, and feedback. We want to represent YOU!

Article submitted by: RB Fast, Beeline Consulting
"Montessori in the Mountains"
Conference Retreat

September 25-27, 2015
YMCA Conference Center and Resort, Estes Park, CO
Registration brochure is online at Click on RETREAT tab.

Join Montessori teachers and administrators from Colorado and beyond for a stimulating fall weekend of professional development and personal renewal in a beautiful mountain environment. CMA will host the Welcome Reception from 7-9:00 pm on Thursday, September 24th.
  • More than 70 workshops and panel discussions.
  • Noted presenters will include: Jennifer Morgan, Louise Chawla, Betsy Coe, Marta Donohoe, Judi Bauerlein, Susan Tracy McDaniel, Tanaya Winder, and Frank Leto, as well as local favorites: Dee Coulter, Alice Renton, Donohue Shortridge, Betsy Hoke, Kathryn Ross, Sonnie McFarland, and Betsy Lockhart. 
  • Sessions for Infant through Secondary levels.
  • Up to 15 hours credit for professional development.
  • Exhibit Hall (Alison's, ETC, Laughing Star, Great Extensions, Bluestem, Big Picture Science, Montessori Foundation, and more!)
  • Schools Showcase
  • Receptions and Dinners
  • Music, Yoga, and and Dance
Register before May 24 for Early Bird rates and the best choice of workshops. 


By Gina Abegg

In the Gardens, Part 2: Welcoming Wildlife
Dr. Montessori writes in her article "Nature in Education" from the NAMTA Journal, Vol. 38, No 1, winter 2013, "Children have a great concern for living beings, and the satisfaction of this instinct fills them with delight. It is therefore easy to interest them in taking care of plants and especially of animals... When he knows that animals hae need of him that little plants will dry up if he does not water them, he binds together with a new thread of love today's passing moments and those of tomorrow."

Some schools are fortunate to be able to keep chickens, goats, and pigs to care for and gather eggs and milk and this regular care builds responsibility and respect for these animal friends.

Dr. Montessori tells a story from the same article that shows the timeliness of these lessons. "The children see a number of dainty chicks that have come from eggs which a hen has covered with her wings for so long. The children are filled with feelings of tenderness and enthusiasm, and there is born in them a desire to give further help. They collect bits of straw, threads of old cotton cloth for the chicks, then wisps of wadding for the birds nesting under the roof or in the trees in the garden. And the chirping that goes on about them tells them thanks."
Many schools, whether they can keep domestic animals or not, attract and befriend the wildlife that lives in gardens and trees. As regular a task as watering, cleaning, and harvesting is to the gardens, so filling the baskets of nest building supplies, tending to the animal feeders, being sure the plants attracting birds, butterflies and bees are watered as well, and sources of water are filled. A stand of sunflowers is good to plan to allow tweezing seeds to feed the birds and squirrels through the winter. A quiet place near the plants and feeders is a favorite resting place for children observing and drawing passing creatures. A basket with binoculars, a bird identification book and a sketch book and pencil is helpful.

Although the rabbits at Parker Montessori help themselves to our gardens, children also put out plates of lettuce near the entrance to their home under the bike shed and delight in watching them enjoy the gift. We have had to learn the hard lesson that neighboring owls do attack rabbits and have had a sad burial of a friend. We've discovered how worms get stranded on the cement after a big rain and need to be brought back to the grass to live. Many teachers know the joy of teaching children to step carefully around ants and give bees their respectful space, release ladybugs into the gardens, and celebrate the flights of butterflies. The accompanying lessons in the classroom about cycles of life, animal parts, habitats, etc. are only more meaningful after direct experiences.

The National Wildlife Federation has a great deal of materials supporting schools wishing to increase their wildlife habitat and a garden plaque and certificate can be earned. Etsy has resources for nature and gardening: The Children and Nature Network offers further support:


Article Submitted by: Gina Abegg, The Compassionate Way
Colorado Montessorians unite! Support Montessori advocacy in Colorado while also enjoying the benefits of networking, community forums and discounts on events, including great speakers like David Kahn, Jackie Cossentino, Tim Seldin and Phil Gang!  
Without members like you, CMA's work to ensure Montessori training for QRIS quality raters, advocacy for testing options for public Montessori schools, and the passing of House Bill 1276 allowing breakable waivers for Montessori schools wouldn't be possible...
If you aren't already a member, click here to sign up now. 


By Rachel Averch

Elevating Food in the Montessori Classroom
Food is a basic need. It is also a basic pleasure. And, it is an opportunity for service, community, and nourishment of our bodies. It is so much a part of our daily lives, that we often find ourselves overlooking the value of slowing down and enjoying the process of preparing food and enjoying it together with people that we care about.

We all have days where we gulp down our breakfast as we race out the door (if we even take the time to have breakfast).  And, in so many homes, with our busy modern lives, a sit down dinner with the family each evening is a rarity. Taking the time to prepare food and be together without distractions can get lost in the mix.  Yet, doing just that is such a gift. We have the choice at every moment to either rush on to the next urgent thing, or to be present and intentional when we eat.

In the classroom, we have that oasis of calm presence that provides the right environment and such a beautiful opportunity to elevate food experiences for the children,  ensuring that food preparation and meal times are full of rich ritual and meaning so that the children innately slow down and experience the food that they are enjoying.

There are so many ways of bringing this thoughtfulness and joy into the daily practice of snacks and meals that the possibilities are really only limited by your creativity. Here are a few ideas to consider for your classroom to get you started:
  • Make sure that you include a variety of food preparation activities in your practical life area.
  • Have an herbal sun tea work available in practical life for the children to prepare iced tea which can be poured for guests / visitors.
  • Include flower arranging in your classroom, and invite children to contribute arrangements for both the snack and lunch tables. Parents can bring flowers in each week as a contribution.
  • Make sure that your dishes are beautiful, and include things like tablecloths, cloth napkins, doilies and place mats to increase that feeling of specialness.
  • Sit down and model having snack and lunch for the children. Enjoy the food and the friends.
  • Have bread baking as a daily ritual and a contribution to the community lunch.
  • If students bring lunches from home, have the class make a community meal once a week or even once a month.
  • Think about variety, nutritional value, and flavor when choosing menus for the children. Bring in new and unique foods for them to try.
  • Introduce new flavors and food experiences to the children on line: peaches that are at the height of their season, for example. Talk about what vitamins and minerals it has in it, and where the food grows or is made, as well as how it gets to their local grocery store.
  • Grow a garden: a window herb garden can be a lovely introduction to gardening for the children, or a larger-scale garden with vegetables gives them the opportunity to get hands-on. Food you grow yourself tastes better and is better for you. Plus, the children will try all sorts of things they might otherwise say no to when they grew it themselves.
  • Cook with the children! You can do cooking projects  with small groups, or have simple cooking projects set up as a practical life food preparation activity that can be done by one child at a time. Bringing families in to make a special dish is another way to make cooking happen in your classroom if you aren't much of a cook yourself.
  • Make lunchtime family style. Set the table. Put drinks and food in serving dishes if doing a prepared lunch and have the children serve themselves just as we would at home rather than serving them. Or, if children bring their own lunches at your school, use dishes rather than eating out of metal lunch boxes, and have a clear beginning, middle and end to the lunch process.
  • Use table cloths and cloth napkins, real dishes, glasses and silverware.
  • Have the children set the table.
  • Say a gratitude, sing a consistent song, or light a candle before beginning to eat to signal the start of the meal time.
  • Make sure that items for successful clean up are convenient and accessible. For example, table crumbing brushes and wet sponges in dishes set out, brooms and mops close by.
  • During lunch, sit and eat with the children. Enjoy the food, model proper etiquette and engage in conversation.
  • When lunch is finished, each child puts away his/her food, cleans his/her place, washes his/her dishes, and pushes in his/her chair.
  • Engage children in the process of the lunch area clean up just as they did with setting the table and preparing the food: sweeping and mopping the floor, putting away the un-served food in air tight containers, putting chairs and tables away, putting the table cloths and napkins where the dirty laundry goes for washing and so on.
Eating is a very special and very important part of each child's day, every day.  Like any other skill we teach, the lessons around food must always feel special, purposeful, engaging and fun. Making food special and helping children become mindful while eating is a precious gift that will stay with them for a lifetime. 
Bon Apetite!

Article Submitted by: Rachel Averch, AMS, Montessori Children's House of Denver
"Let us give the child a vision of the Whole Universe... the Universe is an important reality, and an answer to all questions. We shall walk together on this path of life: for all things are a part of the Universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity."
-Dr. Maria Montessori

Member Schools can now sport the CMA "Member Program" Logo on their websites!
If you are a CMA member school or organization in good standing, it’s worth sharing that information!   That you have chosen to partner with other Montessori programs in the state gives additional credibility to not only your school, but Montessori education in general.
You are invited to add this “CMA Member Program” logo to your website, or use it in print publications.  We ask that you complete a “CMA Logo Use Application Form”, and send a signed copy to CMA via email to: Upon receipt of a signed agreement, we will respond to your email with a digital version of the program member logo shown below for your use.  
  Denver, CO

Position Description
Are you passionate about Montessori and about teaching elementary students? Are you seeking out an established, professional and warm Montessori community to teach in where you are an integral part of a dedicated team of people with a common Montessori vision?
MCHD is currently accepting applications from Montessori Certified Lower Elementary Teachers. MCHD was started in 1991 by passionate Montessori Teachers dedicated to implementing Montessori in an ideal setting with a commitment to excellence. MCHD offers a Montessori education to children from 12 months through elementary and middle school (through its independent affiliate, The Secondary Academy).

MCHD is fully accredited by AdvancEd and NAEYC and is a full member school of AMS embarking on the AMS accreditation process in the coming school year. An amazing community of dedicated teachers and administrators team up to provide students and families with a strong Montessori education.
The Lower Elementary teacher is responsible for all classroom functions, including preparing the environment, teaching, student assessment and record keeping, parent relations and support, classroom communication, collaborating with administration and the toddler, primary and elementary teachers and working closely with and developing, training and supporting his/her assistant.

Position Requirements
Montessori Certification through a MACTE accredited teacher training program. 
2 or more years of experience, Teacher's Licensure and / or BA preferred, but not required.
Click here for more information about the Montessori Children's House of Denver.
Start Date: August 2015
Please email or fax resume to Attn: Michelle O'Donoghue, Executive Director. 
Email: Fax: 303-355-8629  Phone: 303-322-8324 x 121

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Lower Elementary Lead Teacher (Grades 4-5)
Black Hawk, CO
Position Description:

Gilpin County School District RE-1 seeks a teacher for the Montessori Grades 1st through 3rd. Gilpin County Schools serve approximately 425 PS-12 students with 50 staff members on one site. The District is on a 4-day a week schedule, Monday through Thursday. 

Job Goals:
To create a flexible program and a class environment favorable to learning and personal growth; to establish effective rapport with pupils; to motivate pupils to develop skills, attitudes, and knowledge needed to provide a good educational background in accordance with each pupils ability; to establish good relationships with parents and other staff members.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Training in and experience with the Montessori educational philosophy and practice at the upper elementary level.
- Successful experience as a teacher at the elementary level with background in early literacy development and standards-based instructional practices. 
- Demonstrated ability to work in a team environment using good communication skills with students, staff, and the school community.
- Knowledge of Colorado standards and assessments, core content knowledge in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies, and the ability to facilitate data-driven instruction.
- Use research-based instructional strategies and incorporate technology when teaching.
- Ability to ensure student academic success through individualized instruction, intervention, and enrichment.

Performance Responsibilities:
1. Plans a program of study that is appropriate to the maturity and interest of students and meets their individual needs and abilities.
2. Creates a positive classroom environment which upholds and enforces the school rules and is conducive to learning. 
3. The teacher will guide the learning process to increase student achievement in accordance with the curriculum and consistent with state and local standards.
4. Employs instructional methods and materials that are most appropriate for meeting stated objectives.
5. Assesses the accomplishments of students on a regular basis and provides progress reports as required in a timely and confidential manner. 
6. Work with other professionals to determine special learning needs of pupils on a regular basis, seeking the assistance of specialists as required.
7. Collaborates with colleagues, students, and/or parents on an ongoing basis concerning student academic and behavioral progress.
8. The school professional adheres to the Board of Education policies, state rules and regulations, and to licensure standards.
9. Strives to maintain and improve professional competence and serves on staff committees as required. 

- Bachelor's Degree from an accredited college or university.
- Have or be eligible to obtain a valid Colorado Teaching Certificate endorsed in Elementary Education.
- Evidence of Elementary Content Knowledge PLACE or PRAXIS II passing score.
- Training certificate in Upper Elementary from an accredited Montessori Teacher Training Program (AMS preferred).
- One to three years of teaching experience with elementary students preferred.

Start Date: August 3, 2015. (Employment period is 163 days per year).
Internal candidates submit a letter of interest and resume to the secondary principal.
- Download an application at
- A complete packet includes: district application, cover letter, resume, and three letters of recommendation dated within the last year.
- Send a complete application via email with attachments to Michelle Welch at
- Application review is ongoing and the position will be open until filled.

Salary is based on Certified Salary Schedule. Outside experience is credited up to 5 years on salary schedule.

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Executive Director Fellowship
Metro Denver area, CO
Position Description:

The Executive Director Fellowship will be charged with the task to open and operate a Montessori public charter school, learning and working for two years with the mission-driven organization Great Work, Inc. The fellowship is mission- critical, to honor the natural development of the child by preparing educators and learning communities for the practice of Montessori Scientific Pedagogy. The first 2 years of the position will be a fellowship Executive Director position. The first year will be spent immersing yourself in Montessori philosophy and pedagogy, and participating in innovative school leadership training. The first year will also involve applying for a charter school approval and developing systems for the school. Year 2 the Executive Director will be responsible for opening a charter school. 

Job Goals:
The successful candidate must believe that every community deserves to have access to high-quality Montessori education, and that every Montessori school have access to adults dedicated to serving human development. The successful candidate will also be committed to offer both their voice and their efforts, to public education advocacy!

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
Start-up: Working with founding team to create a nonprofit organization, develop a board of directors, engage community, develop charter school application, and secure a charter.
Operations: Responsible for the organization's day to day operations. Designing and delivering the strategies/processes for instructional and financial stability. Ensuring the safety, cleanliness and proper maintenance of all facilities and equipment.
Staff: Recruiting, hiring, and developing all incoming staff. Ensuring staff is functioning at their highest level. Supervising and supporting the charter school's principal in the implementation of its curriculum and the achievement of its educational objectives.
Finances: Overseeing and leading fundraising efforts. Creating and managing a budget.
Public Relations and Advocacy: Serving as a spokesperson for Great Work, Inc. and Montessori education as it relates to underserved children. Partnering with other district leaders to ensure alignment across strategic visions and shared understanding of challenges and opportunities. Conducting outreach and partnering with local and national Montessori community to advocate for public Montessori education.

Key Traits and Qualifications Sought:
- Exceptional  interpersonal skills, with a track record of working collaboratively with staff at all levels to build consensus while also delivering exceptional results.
- Ability to adopt innovative best practices for charter education
- Strong leadership skills
- Political savvy
- Guide and counsel staff, board members, and principal in decision-making and problem solving.
- Develop strong relationships with a diverse group of students to help in their educational journey.
- Ability to build a school culture of respect
- Developed and maintain partnerships with community organizations including local businesses and non-profit organizations
- Profoundly professional, strategic and well-organized and to maintain their and their colleagues' focus on the mission
- Manage people in collaborative and consensus-building manner in a variety of relationships, including direct and indirect reports and volunteers
- Demonstrated ability to manage, mediate, and resolve conflict, both interpersonal and organizational
- Demonstrated ability to hire, supervise, and dismiss staff
- Proven leader of an organization and community through change that endures
- Developed, implemented, and supervised the uses of systems, processes, and procedures

Preferred traits:
- Knowledge of charter school administration, policies and laws governing charter schools
- Exposure to Montessori and support of the Montessori philosophy
- Facility with accounting principles, financial statements and budgets and ability to supervise fiscal professionals
- An ability to actively listen, to demonstrate empathy for the speaker and to rapidly gain an understanding of the issue
An ability to be flexible, to collaborate and to create consensus.


Education and Experience:
- Master's degree or equivalent in education, public policy, law, non-profit management, or a similar field
- Five years' experience as lead administrator (or member of the leadership team) of a charter school, Montessori school or similar non-profit institution, with oversight responsibilities for some or all of the following areas: strategy, planning, personnel management (including hiring, evaluation and dismissal, program development and implementation, public affairs and communication, fundraising, budgeting and finance.

Year 1 stipend: $65,000-$75,000, based on experience. All training paid for during the first year.
Year 2: Charter School Executive Director Salary TBD/Negotiable.

To Apply: 
Send the following to ATTENTION: Wendy Steinway. Please include Executive Director Fellowship in the subject line.
- A cover letter that includes how you meet the requirements stated, your salary requirements, how you found out about the position, and why you are passionate about the mission of Great Work, Inc.
- Your resume
- Three professional references/Name and contact number
- A short relevant writing sample why it's important to change the world through education
For more information go to: NO phone calls please.
If you have a position that you would like to see posted in the CMA newsletter, please contact us with your position information at: 

Cost:  $35.00 per month for Member Schools, $75.00 per month for Non-Member Schools. 

Position posting deadline is the 3rd Friday of each month for the coming month's newsletter.

To become a CMA member school, click here.
Get Involved with CMA... 
Articles & Images Needed - Submission deadline: the 3rd Friday of each month.
  • Are you a published author or photographer? Would you like to be? Submit your original work to CMA by the 3rd Friday of each month with the possibility of having your photographs and/or article selected for one of the future newsletters. Submit photographs and articles for consideration to CMA at with a copy of your article and some details about yourself. (CMA reserves the right to edit all material prior to publication). 
Be a member!
  • If you aren't already, sign up to become a member of the Colorado Montessori Association, by clicking here.  
  • If you are already a member, don't forget to renew your membership now!
Glitter Slime
From Pinterest and The 36th Avenue

Water Wall
From Pinterest and Green Garden Blog

Bike Wheel Trellis
From Pinterest and Dukes and Duchesses

CMA Board of Directors
Kathryn Ross - President
RB Fast - Vice President

Lyn Mead - Treasurer
Rachel Averch - Secretary
Sheila Wolfe

Katy Myers
Karen Farquharson
Jim Barrett
Martha Teien

July Board Meeting:

July 21st, 4:00-6:00 pm
2211 Xanthia Way, Denver, CO 80238

Contact us by e*mail
Join CMA Today!

Member Benefits:

  • Two program administrators are enrolled at no extra charge.
  • Lead teachers receive a $10 discount on membership.
  • Discounts on admission to CMA sponsored professional development events.
  • Featured on CMA website with a link to the school’s website.
  • $40 discount on job advertisements in the CMA newsletter.
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Would you like to have an article you have written published, or do you have any great photos or noteworthy events that you would like to share in the CMA Newsletter?  If so, please e*mail CMA! The deadline for newsletter submitting is the 3rd Friday of each month for the coming month's newsletter.
"The unknown energy that can help humanity is that which lies hidden in the child."
-Dr. Maria Montessori
Edited by: Katie O'Neill