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Past CMA Workshops

Here is a sampling of past workshops offered through the Center for Montessori Advancement. If you are interested in bringing any of these workshops to your school, please email us at cma@wmsde.org or call 302-475-0555.

All Age Levels

Programs for all educators

All Age Levels

Programs for all educators

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): What Do We All Need to Know?

Presented by LaKeetra Josey, Ph.D., APRN, PMHNP-BC
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic life events experienced in childhood that effect biopsychosocial health throughout a person's life. Exposure to such events has been linked to medical illnesses in adulthood and high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse. The purpose of this presentation is to provide information to facilitate understanding and recognition of ACEs, their impact in everyday life, and to provide support to educators in their work with children and families.

Autism 101

Presented by Heidi Mizell, Resource Coordinator - Autism Delaware
Autism is a spectrum disorder - its symptoms and characteristics can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations, from mild to severe. Although autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors, children and adults can exhibit any combination of the behaviors in any degree of severity. This workshop will provide the basics about this very important topic and provide a forum for discussion and inquiry.

Early Signs of Sensory Processing Disorder

Presented by Mary Lashno, OTR, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Do you have students who struggle to take in all of the sensory messages around them? Do they perceive the lights as too bright, the music as too loud or the scents as too strong? Or, perhaps, you have students who do not seem to register even intense sensory input. This workshop will provide information about sensory processing and sensory processing disorder. When children have challenges processing sensory information, their motor skills, attention spans, behavior, learning, play skills and self-care skills can all be affected. Come learn about the early signs of sensory processing disorder and the best ways to support all of the children in your classroom.

Families READ Literacy Program

Presented by Dawn Alexander
Dawn Alexander will discuss her work in creating the Families READ Literacy Program. This is a literacy and family engagement program that 1) invites parents, grandparents, siblings, and other family members into the classroom to be "Mystery Readers," 2) implements a classroom "Lending Library," so every child and every family has a book at home to read or look at and discuss, and 3) teaches family members the importance of strengthening language and literacy skills.

Dawn Alexander is the Preschool Expansion Coordinator for Colonial School District. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Delaware and a master's degree from Boston University. She has supervised practicum students and student teachers from the University of Delaware, Wilmington University, and Delaware Technical and Community College for over 15 years, and has taught early childhood education classes at the University of Delaware. Ms. Alexander and her preschool team members received the 2013 Superstars in Education Award from the Delaware Chamber of Commerce.

“Fun with Conflict”– Communication and Peacemaking for the Professional Educator

Presented by Leslie Connor, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and former Montessori parent
We all know a peaceful work environment is better for our well-being, productivity and sense of job satisfaction. Navigating conflict successfully with co-workers and colleagues is an important ingredient in the peaceful classroom and an aspect of what Maria Montessori called, “The spiritual preparation of the teacher.” Most of us prefer to sidestep conflict, even as we recognize the need to teach conflict resolution to our students. How do we build resilient working relationships and maintain them when the inevitable disagreements arise? This workshop will provide strategies for managing tricky conversations and situations in classroom and school settings.

Hygge in the Classroom

Presented by Anne Stabb and Rachel Cameron

Hygge (hoo-gah) is the Danish concept of coziness and comfort that is achieved by enjoying the simple things in life. Join us for this workshop to learn about the theory of Hygge and how to incorporate this practice in the set up and design of your classroom. This workshop will be presented by the mother-daughter duo Anne Stabb and Rachel Cameron. Together, they traveled to Denmark in the summer of 2017 and are ready to share their experiences along with their own research.  

In Defense of the Immune System: Your School's Role in Keeping Children Safe

Presented by Lisa Chou, RN, BSN - Wilmington Montessori School Nurse
The past 20 years have led to some surprising changes in our understanding of immune system function as it relates to vaccinations and food allergies. Join us to discuss this interesting and important topic, and learn what you can do to keep the children in your school safe.

Inspiration for Imagination: Art and Creative Play

Presented by Amelia Wiggins, Delaware Art Museum
Learn how the Delaware Art Museum uses art to inspire creative play with families and early learners. Amelia Wiggins shares favorite strategies she uses in the galleries, and participants/teachers will be encouraged to work together to develop a learning activity inspired by a work of art from the museum's collection.

Introduction to Asperger's Syndrome

Have you heard about Asperger's syndrome or highly functioning autism and wanted to know more? Perhaps you know a child who has recently been diagnosed? This workshop is for those new to the diagnosis who want to learn about the basics of Asperger's. History of the disorder, a clinical description and explanation of the syndrome, the idea of a spectrum in autism, discussing Asperger's with parents, and working with children with Asperger's in the classroom will be discussed. There will be time for questions and answers and a bibliography of suggested readings will be provided.

Learning at Home to Support Learning at School

Presented by Sarah Williams, Wilmington Montessori School, and Stacey Hogan-Tietze, Montessori Academy at Christina
Develop a practical approach for partnering with parents and other primary caregivers to support the natural development and academic growth of the children you teach. We will explore the manner in which educators can extend Montessori practices to the home by coaching parents to incorporate the big ideas of Montessori philosophy into their own personal parenting styles. We will also include strategies for teaching behavior management and positive redirection, creating a prepared home environment, fostering independence within the family group, and supporting hands-on learning at home.

Mean Girls in the Classroom: Why it Happens, What it Looks Like and How to Deal with It

Presented by Yvonne Nass, Certified Parent Educator
This workshop will address the issue of “mean girls” in the classroom. Yvonne Nass will help us explore why this phenomenon occurs, identify what the dynamic looks like, understand what the effect is on the group and discuss how caregivers – teachers and parents alike – can help improve the social atmosphere within the classroom.

Montessori 101/Bringing Montessori Home

Presented by Betsy Haas and Lauren Harris, Wilmington Montessori School (teachers and moms)
Lauren will delve into the Montessori philosophy and explain in more detail what Montessori means and how it plays out in the classroom, with the teachers and in the school. Betsy will then give tips and pointers about how to carry the Montessori Method outside of school—no pricey materials needed! There are many simple things you can do to foster independence and creativity in your child while in the most comfortable of settings—your home. A wonderful workshop for those who are new to Montessori and those who want to learn more.

Montessori Technology for All Ages

Technology is deeply embedded in the Montessori Method. This presentation will define technology, then describe why and how digital technology should be integrated into the Montessori classroom in terms of Culture, Language, Mathematics, Practical Life and Sensorial education. It will outline a curriculum that begins at the preschool level and describe its essential concepts and the concrete expression of them in terms of both shelf work and software. You will leave with creative, low-cost, practical and unobtrusive examples of how to integrate technology in your classroom at any age level.

Paws for Reading - PAWS for People/Therapy Dogs

Presented by Stephanie Barry, Director, PAWS for Reading, and Nicole Davis, Program Support Specialist, PAWS for People
Beginning readers often falter when they read aloud. But something magical happens when kids read to a dog who doesn’t correct them. Learn how and why this unique program works! You will also hear about our other children’s programs: Pre-K PAWS (literacy support for our youngest readers) and our newest program focusing on the needs of our special kids.

Photography in the Classroom

Presented by Paula Sharpe, Wilmington Montessori School STEAM Coach
Photography can be a powerful tool for both teachers and students. Learn how it can be used in all areas and levels of the classroom. Explore the benefits and inspirational impact images can bring to your students, and walk away with practical activities and ideas to implement in your classroom. Teachers have always been inspired by art and famous artists, using their techniques to encourage children to paint, sketch and draw. This workshop will give you information to help your students learn about famous photographers and become photographers themselves. You will learn the basics of the camera, fundamental photographic skills and ways to integrate photography across the curriculum.

Positive Behavior Supports in Early Childhood Settings

Presented by Alexis Adams and Rebecca Sweeney

Alexis Adams, M.S., RBT, and Rebecca Sweeney, M.S. Ed., BCBA, discuss positive behavior supports at the school-wide, classroom and individual levels. Positive behavior supports are widely recognized as an effective school management strategy that applies the principles of behavior analysis to social problems created by interfering behaviors. By using positive behavior supports in schools, problem behaviors can effectively be prevented, and educational environments can be arranged to include all students, regardless of their ability.

Positive Guidance: Guiding Young Children's Behavior

Presented by Kelley Perkins, M.S., Rowan University professor
Establishing positive relationships is an ongoing and important process in high-quality early childhood programs. This workshop offers timely discussion of the fundamental ingredients children need to feel safe, secure and comfortable in their classrooms. Guiding children’s behavior is something that should occur throughout the day, not just when a child acts in a way that is unsafe or unacceptable. Behavior is guided by establishing predictable routines, setting clear rules with children, modeling kindness and respect, and remaining attentive and aware of what is going on in the classroom. Together, these actions help children feel noticed, confident and secure. Children experience your attention and guidance as a caring embrace holding everything together - they know you’re on their team.

The Power of Play and Its Role in Development

Presented by Beverly H. Kraut, ASHA Certified Children's Speech Disorders
Language, cognitive and social-emotional learning skills are rooted in a child's early play. Observing and supporting growth through play extends a child's thinking, talking and communicating. Play is a safe place in which children can learn new things and practice emerging skills without fear of failure. We will explore developmental steps taken through play, how play supports and facilitates children's social interactions and language development, and offer suggestions for activities and strategies to develop young children's play and language skills.

Preparing Students for the World of STEM

Presented by Judson Wagner, STEM Program Manager for the Brandywine School District
Educators are integral to Delaware's science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) equation. What preparation do Delaware's educators need in order to provide best teaching practice to every STEM learner? What do early childhood and elementary educators need to know about the Next Generation Science Standards? How can educators convey the excitement of STEM through interdisciplinary lessons, hands-on inquiry and problem-solving? Come and hear about STEM education and how to prepare your students for a rapidly changing world.

Reggio Emilia and the Montessori Method: To Compare and Contrast

Presented by Amy Sacia, Reggio-inspired educator and Wilmington Montessori School teacher
What is a Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum? Is Reggio Emilia a person’s name, a place or an Italian phrase? What does a Reggio-inspired school look like? How does it compare to a Montessori school and its practices? This workshop explores project-based and emergent curricula, the inquiry cycle of a Reggio-inspired educator and examples of projects. It also addresses the contrasting and complementary philosophies of Reggio Emilia educators and Dr. Maria Montessori.

Responsive Teaching: Creating a Classroom Environment in Which Children Thrive

Presented by Tracey Gable, Director of Montessori Enrichment at Wilmington Montessori School
Research and best practices tell us that who the child learns from is as important as what he or she learns. Cognitive growth occurs through social interaction; they are inextricably linked. This workshop will help you boost your students’ social/emotional learning, as well as their academic progress.

Stewards of Children: Darkness to Light (Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training)

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training
Stewards of Children is an evidence-informed program that teaches adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. It is designed for both youth-serving organizations and for individuals concerned about the safety of children.


What is Sensory Integration?

Many children with developmental difficulties experience differences in sensory modulation (the ability to perceive incoming sensory stimuli and organize the information to produce an adaptive response). Some of the signs of these difficulties include:

  • Over- and/or under-reactivity to sensations such as textures, tastes, smells and/or visual experiences
  • Clumsiness
  • Difficulty organizing materials
  • Difficulty or clumsiness with tool use
  • Standing too close or too far from others during interactions
  • Extreme emotional reactions and/or difficulty with transitions
  • Tendency to watch (or sometimes avoid) peers rather than interact with them
  • Seeming disinterest in play objects
  • Tendency to jump from one activity to another

What the Audiogram Does Not Tell Us About Auditory Processing Disorders

Presented by Thierry Morlet, Ph.D.
In this workshop, the basics of auditory processing and of several hearing disorders, such as auditory processing disorder and auditory neuropathy, will be reviewed. These disorders are manifested in similar ways and can remain undiagnosed for years, unless appropriate testing is used. This presentation will include a discussion of how these disorders can delay speech and language development and mimic other impairments, such as attention deficit disorder.

Why Before- & After-School Child-Care Programs Matter - To Teachers, Administrators, Parents & Children

Presented by Laura Messinger, Montessori Academy at Christina
Research indicates that children fare better in school when the before-school and after-school programs in which they are enrolled are high quality and maximize these “hours of opportunity.” Laura Messinger, an experienced director of child-care programs, leads a discussion of the importance of “Out of School Time” programs and their value for children, their families and the community at large.

Early Childhood

Early Childhood

Programs for early childhood educators

Birding for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Learn how to incorporate feathered friends into your classroom curriculum. Not only will you have the opportunity to see examples of many different activities, songs and materials, but you will discover how to instill a love and respect for nature into the hearts of even the smallest children.

Cultivating Little Naturalists

Presented by Lauren Harris, Lead Toddler Teacher at Wilmington Montessori School and Certified Naturalist
Come learn about new and fun ways to incorporate nature into your classroom curriculum. We will talk about how to expose children to elements of nature by using sensory tables, art projects, circle time activities and more! We will also discuss ways to use technology to research and expose children to rare nature experiences. Join us to learn how to cultivate little naturalists!

Bringing Artists Into the Preschool Classsroom

We all do arts and crafts in our rooms, but how do we introduce artists and art history into the classroom in a meaningful way? The goal of this workshop is to provide you with the materials and ideas for introducing your students to artists such as Marc Chagall, Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian and others. You will have the opportunity to try some of the projects yourself as well as receive information on other projects that you may take and try on your own.

Dramatic Play for Small Spaces and Small Budgets

Discover how creating rich dramatic play areas in a toddler or preschool classroom can be easy and affordable. In this workshop you will learn the importance of play and all the benefits it has to offer. You will learn practical ways to build dramatic play area space with everyday objects you may already have in your environment.

Looking Through A Different Lens: Seeing the Learning in the Chaos

Presented by Lauren Harris, Wilmington Montessori School Toddler Lead Teacher
Observation is a crucial skill for any Early Childhood teacher. It is evident when observing in an Early Childhood classroom that there is a great deal of development and change taking place. Children seek opportunities to experiment with cause and effect, exert maximum effort, develop gross motor control and find ways to communicate their needs. With a wide developmental range and, at times, very young children, classrooms can seem like mayhem. But, when we step back and observe, it is evident that significant learning occurs within the chaos. 

In this workshop, we discuss how to use observation to identify how a child's behavior can inform our teaching practice, how to hone the power of redirection - an extremely useful tool in an early childhood environment -and how various materials that can be useful when helping children meet their developmental needs. 

Math in the bath? De-mystifying Mathematics in the Preschool Classroom

Come see how you can use simple math concepts such as patterns, shapes and sorting to begin math instruction. You will learn about story books you can use and see how to build lessons that won’t even seem like math... it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Nature in the Classroom

What could be more right than rebuilding the bridge to nature?How do we actually model this connection to nature for our students? Participants will see demonstrations of lessons for preschool students, get ideas to bring nature into their classrooms, and discuss books on promoting a lasting love of nature.

Positive Behavior Supports in the Classroom

Presented by Roger Harrison, MD
Roger Harrison, MD will address ways to offer positive behavior supports to children in early childhood classrooms and will touch on similar supports for elementary students. Please join us for an evening of insight, knowledge and wisdom about children and the important role teachers play in their development of attention and self-regulation.

Dr. Harrison spends most of his time as a clinician, but is also involved in research projects studying outcomes of parent-child conduct clinic group treatment and ADHD diagnostics. He is keenly interested in understanding the connection between learning problems and ADHD in children.

Supporting Writing in the Preschool Classroom

Join us for a discussion on the pre-emergent and emergent stages of writing in children ages 2-5. We will identify specific practices related to the "Emergent Writing" sub-domain of the Delaware Early Learning Foundations, and examine the criterion pertaining to early writing required for NAEYC accreditation. The emphasis will be on identifying activities already in use in your classroom that meet the criteria, as well as sharing additional developmentally appropriate practices.

Technology in the Preschool Classroom

What is technology? This workshop will present different concepts of technology, and how it permeates everyday life. You will be provided with ideas for bringing materials into the primary classroom and discussion will focus on the necessity of doing so. While designed within Montessori principles as the introduction to a wider elementary technology curriculum, it is applicable to any class of 3- to 6-year-olds.

Using Books in the Preschool Classroom

Learn how to incorporate books in a preschool or toddler classroom. Find out new and exciting ways to tie literature into thematic units, art activities, cooking projects, circle time songs and your curriculum.



Programs for elementary educators

A Beginner's Look at Executive Functioning

Executive function is an umbrella term for the brain’s cognitive processes. This workshop will give an overview of what executive functioning is, its different components, and what it looks like in the elementary classroom. By identifying these different processes, participants will gain a greater understanding of how to identify these skills in children’s learning and how to best support them.

Mood and Behavioral Disorders in Children

Presented by LaKeetra M. Josey, Ph.D., APRN, PMHNP-BC
The purpose of this presentation is to provide a brief overview of some of the most prevalent mood and behavioral disorders in children. Illustrative cases will be used to discuss symptom presentations. 
Dr. LaKeetra Josey is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She is co-founder and co-owner of Your Center, LLC, in Wilmington, Del., and is the Associate Program Director of the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Her areas of clinical and research interests are child and adolescent mental health and integrated physical and mental health-care. 

Poetry Writing for Elementary Students

Join us as we share poetry that inspires us and find ways to incorporate poetry in the classroom each day. We will explore contemporary and classic poetry. You will also have the opportunity to write some of your own creative poems and enjoy the wonder of words.

Raising the Bar for Kindergarten Writers

Do the kindergarten students in your classroom write? Do you understand the appropriate expectations for kindergarten writing? Are you confident about your writing instruction for kindergartners? Kindergarten straddles the worlds of preschool and elementary school. Kindergartners are not the same developmentally as first-graders, but they are more grown-up than preschoolers. So how do we create a writing environment that is responsive to their developmental needs and potential while supporting the learning outcomes that prepare them for the curriculum of the upper grades? Participants will leave this workshop with a better understanding of the writing standards for kindergarten, information about how to launch a writer’s workshop in your classroom, and ideas that can help you create a community of writers ready to meet the curriculum challenges of the elementary school years.

Reading & Spelling: A Developmental Continuum for Kindergarten Through High School

Presented by Mary Ellen Cummings, M.Ed.
The first step in instructional planning is finding out where your students are. Do they have advanced skills, are they at benchmark or are they in need of intervention? Well-known reading specialist Mary Ellen Cummings has created a tool for determining student skill levels: Reading & Spelling: A Developmental Continuum for Kindergarten through High School. This continuum helps teachers evaluate their students' abilities – across all grade levels. It was developed to provide a way of looking at what students know and to help teachers make informed decisions about curriculum as well as targeted lessons and activities. Join us for this informative workshop and learn about this valuable resource.

Tips for a Wonderful Writer's Workshop

Many of us are familiar with Lucy Caulkins and her writing curriculum. Come explore new ways to integrate other types of writing with the Small Moments lessons. This workshop will take you through the writing process of the “small moment” genre, including ways to use graphic organizers, modeling how to write a draft, revising, editing, writing a final draft and publishing. There will also be time for a question and answer session where participants can share their experiences in writer’s workshop and discuss techniques that work (or don’t work) for them.