The Colorado Montessori Association is a membership organization that serves and unites the community of Montessori educators and supporters in our state. CMA prepares a respectful and collaborative environment for advocacy, networking, and professional development, which incubates our individual and collective potential to transform education in Colorado.
Call for Presenters - Montessori In The Mountains: Estes Park Retreat
Save September 25-27, 2015 for the second "Montessori in the Mountains" Conference Retreat at the YMCA Conference Center in Estes Park. This event is sponsored by Montessori Education Center of the Rockies and proposals from presenters are currently invited. (Deadline for proposals is 9/30/14). Please e-mail Dot Thompson to request a Proposal Form or if you have any questions. Retreat registration will start in January 2015.
Directors' Network Meetings
The Director's Network Meetings will resume in September.  More details to follow.
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!
What:          Michael Gurian speaking on the minds of boys and girls
When:         Saturday, September 6th, 2014, 6:30-8:30 pm
Where:       Naropa University * Nalanda Campus * 6287 Arapahoe Avenue

For more information, see full flier here
Does it Matter?
by Martha Teien

I have lived in the mountains since 1993.  I began my personal transformation via Maria Montessori almost immediately after, as my oldest at the time began her education at Vail Valley Montessori.  My official transformation with MEPI (Montessori Educational Programs International) certification training began in 1995. 
Up here in the clouds we live in a beautiful mountain bubble.  It is a long valley with a small town community due to the physical isolation that the mountains and weather create.  My program is a primary program where the students move on to a new school at 6 years and although I don’t see them on a daily basis anymore, I frequently have the pleasure of continuing to watch them grow.  But… at a distance.
Sometimes I am lucky to see them in the grocery store for a personal update.  Often I see their accomplishments in the local paper or on Facebook.  And as my years in the classroom continue, my former students will often share graduation announcements.  That was a hard one to get used to at first!
But recently I received a paper written by one of my former students.  She is now in 8th grade and participating in a class called Service Skills where the students are introduced to the idea of Global Citizenship.  The teacher asked her students to write an essay of self examination based on NPR’s ‘This I Believe” in which they would describe the core values that guide their daily lives. 
After reading her reflection, I was able to answer the query that often floats through my subconscious upon touching base with a former student—“Does it matter?”  Yes, Montessori Matters.
Sarah has given me permission to share her words with you. 
By Sarah Evans
            I believe in the power of Montessori. I believe that in Montessori you learn all of the basic things that you need to know in life. Montessori teaches you skills like washing the dishes, making beds, counting, and reading. But, it also teaches you how to work out your own problems at the peace table, make your own decisions when you chose what you wanted your first activity to be, that there are pros and cons to everything, and to be prepared.
         Montessori taught me to work out my own problems with other people, myself, and things around me. If someone had a problem or didn’t know how to do an activity, the teacher would let them sit there for a moment and try to figure out the problem for themself. If they truly couldn’t figure it out, the teacher would go over to them and help them problem solve it; not tell them the answer. This helped me learn how to try to figure things out and not rely on other people. The second way Montessori taught me to solve my own problems was when I had an argument or a disagreement with another student, I would have to take them to the peace table. One person would tell you how they feel about the situation and the other would respond with their side of the story. We would stay there until we came to an agreement and solved the problem.
         Montessori also taught me to make my own decisions. During morning meeting, I and my other classmates would all sit in circle on the rug.  We would share anything that we want, then we would have to close our eyes. Mrs. Martha, our teacher, would tell us the options of the activities we could do. I would have to make a decision that was what I wanted to do, not what my friends wanted. Then we could continue with the rest of our day and we could hang out with our friends, but that first decision would be completely mine.
         Montessori taught me many things, but the last one that really stands out is that there are pros and cons to everything and that you have to look at the bright side. During morning meeting, one of the choices that you could choose was to have snack time first. Everyone wanted to choose that, but only two people could. One of my best friends, Emma, and I would always try and choose that. But, if we were the first to do it, we would have to unload the dishwasher and put the dishes away. This has showed me that even though it was great to be able to get to have snack time first, there was still something that we had to do to earn it.
         Montessori showed me more than what people think it would.  It is just meant to educate young kids before they go to elementary school.  That was not the case for me. Although I learned to read, write, count, and tie my shoe, I learned so much more life lessons that have truly helped me in the rest of my life.


 Article Submitted by: Martha Teien


Recalling our Reasons
By Illyce Kaarto

"A teacher, therefore, who would think that he could prepare himself for his mission through study alone would be mistaken.  The first thing required of a teacher is that he be rightly disposed for his task.   -Dr. Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.” - Dr. Montessori  
“A man is not what he is because of the teachers he has had...but because of what he has done.” - Dr. Montessori
“She happily researched Peru for a month and presented her beautiful work to us...what about the rest of the continents?"
“He is unstoppable in writing and illustrating stories about soccer all day...what about her math?”
“They have been flying about the room with focused yet joyful abandon in their study of Imaginary Island...will we do well on the test?”

We might wonder about some of these questions. And, as we ponder, it begs the deeper question, the quintessential Montessori question we might all ask ourselves:  Is there some sort of conundrum we feel between following the beauty of the child’s innate interests and following the expectations of the outer world? 

Especially in this day and age, do we, even given our deep and unwavering faith in Montessori, still have times when we question this?  Do we think our children ‘should’ be doing something other than their inherent interests?  And, are we aware of it?  Does it cause us consternation?  More importantly, what does it cause to happen for our children?

We might wonder, but when we read her writings, it is abundantly clear what Dr. Montessori believed in.  Follow the child.  They know what they need.  The child will work to fill his needs.  But still, we might wonder.

Once, an insightful and wise Montessori parent of mine thoughtfully wished to me, “We would love for you to help her to use her powers for good…”

When I think about it, I am awestruck by my years of being fortunate enough to see the powers of the children - the secret powers that Dr. Montessori believed they possessed.  Don’t you love reminiscing about them?  We joyfully remember the boy who held a deep fascination with nuclear power, and who lovingly and painstakingly designed his own power plants to save the world.  We think lovingly about the girl who passionately dedicated two entire years to writing and illustrating her own series of stupendous novels.  Etched in our memories forever is the girl who was so enamored of our classroom pets that she inspired us all to create and send illustrated letters to our president in hopes of saving the entire Universe.  Don’t we all marvel at their powers?

Will that boy end up developing new sources of clean energy for our health?  Will the girl end up being the next J.K. Rowling and bringing joy to multitudes of other children?  Will that classroom end up saving the entire Universe?

Will we ever know what might happen, how they might ‘use their powers for good,’ if we don’t follow them?  What might happen if we don’t take the time to observe and honor those powers, enable the children to meet their own needs, and have faith in them to freely choose the work they are passionate about?   Can you envision, right now, the special and beautiful powers of each child you so know so well?  

As Dr. Montessori believed, they truly are a hope and a promise...if we truly follow them. 

Article Submitted by: Illyce Kaarto
Colorado Education Update

Launch Delayed For New Early Childhood Rating System
from Chalkbeat Colorado
by Ann Schimke

The state has backed away from its planned July start date for a new mandatory quality rating system for early childhood education and officials now say they are aiming for a November launch. The new system, funded with part of a $44 million federal Race to the Top grant, fits with a national trend to improve child care  and better inform parents about the quality of local providers. While the state recently selected the technology vendor that will build the new system—the Boulder-based Vertiba—there are still a number of unanswered questions about the new system, including its permanent name. Currently, it is being called the Next Generation Quality Rating and Improvement System, but a new name and logo will probably be unveiled in July. It’s also unclear at the moment which contractor will be selected to administer the three highest ratings under the new five-level system. An earlier bid process for the contractor was cancelled by the state in the spring, and responses to a second RFP aren’t due till June 13. The well-regarded non-profit Qualistar runs the state’s current rating system and administrators there plan to submit a proposal to be the ratings contractor under the new system. Under the new free system, which will ultimately impact around 4,800 licensed providers, there will be five levels of quality instead of four. The lowest level will require simply that providers be licensed. Providers can advance to level two if they complete a self-assessment, create an improvement plan, and have staff members complete online trainings and enroll in the state’s online professional development registry. Levels three, four and five will require a site visit similar to the ones Qualistar raters conduct now, though components and scoring methodology will be a little different.
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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.

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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). 
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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!  
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Butterfly Matching Game
from: Pinterest and
Mama Jenn
 Butterfly matching game
Fine Motor Skill Game
From Pinterest and Powerful Mothering
crazy straw fine motor skills with felt at
CMA Board of Directors
Kathryn Ross - President
RB Fast - Vice President
Rachel Averch - Secretary

Katy Myers - Treasurer
Dot Thompson
Sheila Wolfe
Lyn Mead
Karen Farquharson
Jim Barrett
Martha Teien

Contact us by e*mail

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: Rose Henson