Behind the scenes, all members of the CMS Staff have been keeping busy—not only in supporting families through our Distance Learning programming, but also through a staff book club. One of the major values we hold at CMS is the opportunity for our staff to participate in professional development, whether that’s through attending conferences, webinars, or simply connecting with other CMS staff members to learn more about our Montessori practice. Despite the separation, this turned out to be a fantastic opportunity for our staff to learn together.
During this period of Distance Learning, three small groups gathered for a weekly virtual book club to discuss Rita Kramer’s Maria Montessori: A Biography. These groups were made up of our assistants, support staff, and extended care staff. They selected Kramer’s biography because it was an accessible online resource for each of our staff members through the St. Louis Public Library, and the idea of learning about our founder appealed to staff members who have not had the AMI Montessori training. It sparked much conversation, even though the weekly assigned reading only carried our groups through Part One!
During the final meetings for each of our groups, staff members were asked to reflect on this question: What have you learned, personally or professionally, through this experience that you plan to carry forward? Because this weekly gathering proved to be so valuable, we wanted to share some of the responses to this question. Read on to hear what our staff learned during this time of learning together while apart!
“This book club has helped strengthen my understanding of the Montessori method and materials. Also, it has reinforced my belief that we have a strong faculty and staff that are committed to the children and what they need to thrive.”
“This Book Club gave me the opportunity to learn more about the history of Montessori education – something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. It gave me a better understanding of the theories behind the practices we do in the classroom. It was also wonderful to stay connected!”
“I loved getting to know the members of our group as we talked about our own childhood experiences as related to the influences of Montessori’s own classroom and familial influences.”
“I learned how to read with probing questions in mind. This has helped me with the thinking process and also, enjoyed discussions from a different point of view. Book discussions helped me go deeper in to the concept.”
“Reading Maria Montessori’s biography has given me insight on her life and a greater appreciation for the Montessori pedagogy. Gaining this knowledge prior to beginning primary training will be very helpful!”
“It has been a joy to facilitate book clubs this spring! I definitely feel more connected to my assistant/support colleagues, and for this I’m so grateful. By reading Dr. Montessori’s biography, I also feel so much closer to her as a brilliant and imperfect human being and my revered vocational ancestor. I know these experiences will strengthen my work at CMS going forward!”
Many thanks to Ms. Rosie who facilitated each of the three weekly group meetings and developed discussions for each gathering! We are so grateful for our engaged staff members who make CMS the strong community it is.