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.
Food Preparation Guidelines for the Classroom

by Susan Sears Smith
This past spring, I got to know Kara Kaiser, the Environmental Health Specialist with the Boulder County Health Department. Many of us are familiar with Kara as she speeds through our schools or centers every so often, penciling in marks and comments on her Health Department checklist attached to her clip board.
Kara was instrumental in reviewing my architectural plans for my infant and toddler center which opened a month ago in Lafayette. Her first comments about my carefully detailed plans were about sinks and food preparation. “You need more sinks!” she told me.

Kara and I mentally marched through each classroom and food preparation area on my plan and this is what I learned:
  1. Food preparation for the group must be done by an adult at another location and time than being in the classroom and watching the children.
  2. Food preparation means taking an item such as an apple and changing its nature such as cutting it. The apple goes from a whole state to a cut state.
  3. Food preparation which includes washing food must be at a food prep sink. This sink is indirectly plumbed which means that there will never be any backflow. The plumbing actually has a special contraption like a trap to prevent water going back up the sink. Many teachers wash food in a hand washing sink. The backflow potential in these sinks would contaminate the food. So all food must be washed at the food prep sink.
  4. Any non-cooked food item must be handled by the person who will be eating it. For example, a child may slice a banana, but it will be eaten only by him or her.
  5. Children may compile snacks prepared in advance by the teacher. For example, a child can serve fruit from different bowls to make a fruit salad or fruit skewer.
  6. Children may prepare items for cooking or baking in the classroom. In my toddler classroom each child dumps a premeasured ingredient into a bowl, we take turns mixing, and place the batter into the pan. I put the pan in the oven in another location. When food is cooked or baked, sanitation is not as much of an issue, because germs are destroyed with the high heat.
  7. Snacks should be served ready to eat without need of further cooking. (Also there may also be a regulation that food can no longer be prepared by a parent and served in the classroom. So food for birthdays must be prepackaged.)
  8. Finally, all infant rooms must require parents to bring bottles from the refrigerator or freezer (breast milk). When multiple bottles arrive warm or recently prepared, their combined temperature may cause the refrigerator to heat up to an unsafe and unsanitary level. Teachers should be sure to check the refrigerator thermometer from time to time. Also infant rooms must have room temperature water on the counter in order to prepare formula or cereals. Water must not be stored in the refrigerator for this purpose.
If you would like to ask any questions about these guidelines, I would be happy to find answers from Kara.
Article Submitted by: Susan Sears Smith

Susan Sears Smith is Director of Heart and Hands Montessori in Lafayette, Colorado. She has been a Montessori educator for 15 years and believes that cooking and food preparation is an important part of our work with children.
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!  
If you aren't already a member, click here to sign up now. 
CMA Directors' Network Meetings
December CMA Director's Network: No Meeting
  *Happy Holidays!*
January CMA Director's Network Meeting
What:       Directors' Network Meeting
Speaker:  Sheila Wolfe
When:      Thursday, January 15th, 2015 1:00-3:00 pm
Where:    Montessori Del Mundo, 15503 E. Mississippi Ave., Aurora, CO 80017
Phone:    720-863-8629
Topic:      Assessment and Montessori
Come and join other Montessori Heads of School as we network, discuss relevant issues and support one another in leading our schools.  Don't miss it!

CMA Director's Network Meeting Calendar
Click here for a copy of the 2014-2015 calendar for CMA's Director's Network Meetings, 

Heart and Hands Montessori Open House for Montessori Educators
What:       Open House for Montessori Educators
When:      Sunday, January 4, 2015 from 1 until 3 pm
Where:     Heart and Hands Montessori Center for Infants and Toddlers 
                 1355 Forest Park Circle, Suite 100 Lafayette, CO 80026

RSVP:      303-444-0181  

Please join us for end of the holiday refreshments as we share our new Center with you. 

Letter From the President...

December 2014

Dear CMA Members,
In early November, CMA board members spent a couple of hours with a diverse group of Montessori educators from AMS, AMI, NAMTA, MACTE, MEPI, The Montessori Foundation, NCMPS, and others.  This group of Montessori leaders comprises the Montessori Leadership Collaborative, a fluid group of Montessori educators who have agreed “to continue their work in planning for a more collaborative future for the Montessori Movement, with the unanimous goal of bringing Montessori to more children in this country.”  The MLC are supported and encouraged by members of the Trust for Learning, another group that  aims to bring Montessori education to more children.  

Although we don’t know what will come of our meeting specifically, we do know that every Montessori program in Colorado is part of a network that connects in many directions.  By focusing on strengthening the relationships within a diverse Montessori community, we can all become stronger.  CMA joins MLC and Trust for Learning in supporting Montessori programs of all descriptions.


Kathryn Ross
President, CMA
Schools Showcase
Submitted by: Dot Thompson and MECR
SCHOOLS SHOWCASE planned for September 2015 Retreat in Estes Park.
Montessori schools in Colorado and beyond will show off their energy, creativity, and special features at the “Montessori in the Mountains” retreat at the YMCA of the Rockies Conference Center and Resort in Estes Park, September 25-27, 2015
SHOWCASE displays will be set up Science Fair style in an exhibit area near the conference meeting rooms, so that attendees may enjoy an overview of our wonderful schools. Contact Retreat Coordinator, Dot Thompson, to register for table space:
Submitted by: Sheila Wolfe
Do you need a copy of the Alignment of Colorado Academic Standards with Montessori materials and lessons?  All CMA members have free access to this full alignment, from Preschool through 6th Grade.   We are grateful to the following people for their endless work on this project, and for donating it to CMA:  Sheila Wolfe, Kristina Baxter, Karen Farquharson, Michael Lambert, Dave Piersch, and Wendy Williams.

Please go to the CMA website and look under the "resources" drop down menu to take advantage of this member benefit.
Montessori Advocacy and Activism:
Submitted by: Montessori Parent, Lynn Roberts

Our public Montessori schools have been highly impacted by Colorado Senate Bill 191, passed in 2010 and in the process of being fully implemented this year. In practice, SB 191 alters Montessori curriculum, offers a weak assessment of our teachers and their training in child development and time-tested pedagogy, reduces educational diversity, institutionalizes achievement gaps, and harms relationships between those who historically have been allies in children's best interests. Please consider signing the linked petition and recommending it to others!
CMA is not taking a position on this petition at this time.
CMA Advocacy Information Available on Website
Submitted by: Kathryn Ross, President
We now have a new "Advocacy" tab on our website with CMA Advocacy information. We will update this information periodically to reflect immediate and pertinent issues that affect Montessori in Colorado.


By Illyce Kaarto

"But, above is the education of adolescents that is important, because adolescence is the time when the child enters on the state of manhood and becomes a member of society."
-Dr. Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence
As I continue to go through my Montessori Secondary training, I have been fortunate enough to connect with many wonderful folks who graciously share their own adolescent stories and memories.  Together, we reminisce...and we wonder...why was adolescence such a unique time in our lives?
Adolescence seems to be continually fraught with interesting conceptions and misconceptions by our society...but Dr. Montessori observed the truth.  She saw adolescence as a tender time full of hope, love, and possibility.  She believed adolescents to be full of joy, selflessness, optimism, confidence, dignity, self-discipline, initiative, independence, helpfulness, and good judgment.  She witnessed them finding their cosmic tasks in our world through engaging in authentic work of the hand, head, and heart.  Dr. Montessori believed that the adolescent was not in a period for solely academic experiences, but rather, for meaningful experiences in connection with the Earth, and with Nature. 
She realized that adolescence is, specifically, unlike any other period in life.  A special age of becoming.  In those few the transition between childhood and adulthood...adolescents have the unique and real potential to choose who they will be, and to understand how they might use their power to really affect our world. Montessorians, what is our responsibility to the adolescent?  How do we best follow them?

Dr. Montessori wrote..."The need that is so keenly felt for a reform of secondary schools concerns not only an educational, but also a human and social problem.  Schools as they are today, are adapted neither to the needs of adolescence nor to the time in which we live."  Does this still ring true?  Are the middle schools of today meeting the current needs of our adolescents? 
How can we adapt our schools to follow our children in adolescence, as Dr. Montessori urges?
If you go to a Montessori adolescent secondary program, what might you see?  You might see adolescents happily working in urban gardens, warmly reading to younger children, selling their handmade crafts made from recycled materials, harvesting giant pumpkins, feeding and tending to farm animals, creating and serving community meals from scratch, teaching English to adults, joyously understanding and performing Shakespeare plays, creating and utilizing aquaponics systems, authoring  and selling books for children, discussing edgy social justice issues, practicing and creating original instrumental music, refurbishing apartments for Burmese refugee families, and researching novel and environmentally friendly ways to power our world...or cure disease.

Humbling.  Inspiring.  Hopeful.  Satisfying.  Extraordinary.

Is this the adaptation that Dr. Montessori spoke of? 

If you have a chance, go visit a Montessori middle school.  You will see, just as Dr. Montessori observed...that when we follow adolescents with acceptance, love, and compassion...they are beyond powerful.

*For further reading, please enjoy Dr. Montessori's book From Childhood to Adolescence...her Appendices on the  Erdkinder are of particular interest.*
Article Submitted by: Illyce Kaarto

Welcome to Lionel Espanoza, new CMA Board Member!
Lionel Espanoza is the Director of Quality Initiatives at the Denver Preschool Program and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the CMA Board of Directors. His profile is available on DPP's staff page.
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.  
Get Involved with CMA... 
Editor Needed
  • CMA is in need of an editor with both editing skills and tech savvy to help compile our monthly newsletter. The time commitment is between 2-6 hours per month. Please email us at if you are interested in finding out more!
Articles Needed - Submission deadline: the 3rd Friday of each month.
  • Are you a published author? Would you like to be? Submit your original work to CMA by the 3rd Friday of each month with the possibility of having your article selected for one of the future newsletters. Submit 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!
5 Tips for Getting Your News in a Local Paper
Submitted by: AMS and Kathryn Ross

5 Tips for Getting Your News in a Local Paper

Publishing an article in your local paper can be an impactful way to spread the word about your school or program to your local community. Here are some tips for getting the word out:
  • Form a relationship with a local reporter, especially one who reports on education issues: comment on her articles, follow her on Twitter, invite her to a school function or out for a cup of tea.
  • Instead of sending an impersonal press release, pitch your story directly to your new “reporter friend” directly, and do it in an e-mail.
  • Local newspapers love human interest stories, particularly ones with emotional content. Before pitching your idea, ask yourself: “Is this a story with soul?”
  • Be concise and precise in what you write. Reporters are busy people.
  • Sometimes small newspapers will “gift” you with editorial space if you let them know you’ll write an article yourself. Do ask!
Please take our 1-question snap poll to let us know if this information was helpful!
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.

DIY Snowglobe
from: Pinterest and The Sweetest Occasion
DIY snow globes from The Sweetest Occasion | Photo by Alice G. Patterson 
Snowflake Matching through a Magnifying Glass
From Pinterest and Looks Like Spilt Milk
snowflake matching. look through the magnifying glass to match the small and big one. love this
Sorting Snowballs
From Pinterest and Learning and Teaching with Preschoolers
sorting - Re-pinned by #PediaStaff.  Visit for all our pediatric therapy pins
Animal Tracks
From Pinterest and My Montessori Journey
Animal tracks book  great idea! i've been wanting to make one for when we go camping for the boys
CMA Board of Directors
Kathryn Ross - President
RB Fast - Vice President
Rachel Averch - Secretary

Katy Myers - Treasurer
Sheila Wolfe
Lyn Mead
Karen Farquharson
Jim Barrett
Martha Teien
Lionel Espanoza

January Board Meeting:
January 27, 2015 * 4:00-6:00 pm
Montessori Del Mundo

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 teacher tips, 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.
Edited by: Susan Sears Smith and Rachel Averch