Saturday, April 7, 2018 from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM CDT
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St James Episcopal School 
9845 McCree Rd.
Dallas, TX 75238

Driving Directions 


Kathy Cash & Neal Agrawal 
DFW Montessori Association 

DFW Montessori Association

Spring Conference


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Join us for a day of 

"Travels through a Montessori World"
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Host School
St. James Episcopal School


This year’s Spring conference will be held at the beautiful campus of St. James Episcopal School. This school is surrounded by a large campus in the heart of the Lake Highlands area. A highlight to the school is the landscaped and active Children’s Garden in the inner courtyard. We know you will enjoy the surroundings and we are hoping for beautiful weather so we can enjoy some time in the garden.

The Workshop Sessions will be experiential in nature. That means there will be a presentation along with class activities or discussions. Come dressed comfortably (jeans/ flats/ appropriate weather protection) and be prepared to spend some time outside.

Upon your arrival, you will become part of a team which will rotate between 4 scheduled Workshop Sessions. Our presenters have volunteered to present 4 times so that all participants will get to go to all 4 workshops listed below. There will be a time in the middle of the day for lunch, exhibits and school tours. This will allow us time to mingle with all the participants attending. We look forward to greeting you at 8:00 AM.

7 Hours of Professional Development

8:00-8:30—Registration/Coffee/Tea/Light Snack
8:30-9:45—Workshop Session 1
10:00-11:30—Workshop Session 2
11:30-1:00Time to mingle with our Montessori Friends as we:
  •  Pick up a Box lunch to eat inside or outside, weather permitting
  •  Tour the beautiful classrooms, garden, and facilities of the school
  •  Check in with the Exhibitors
1:00-2:15—Workshop Session 3
2:30-4:00—Workshop Session 4
4:00—Pick up Professional Development Certificates
Workshop Sessions and Presenters

Workshop 1. Connections to Nature. Presenter —Loree Birkenback
We’ll be learning some easy techniques for connecting children to the garden and to nature. Weather permitting, we’ll have this class in our garden, and…once you have a few lessons under your belt, you’ll be able to experience our garden just as the children do! 

Loree Birkenback has been with St. James Episcopal School for 24 years, the first 12 years as a Lead teacher and the latter 12 as the Head of School . She has her AMS lower elementary certification and has been an avid gardener since childhood. She instructs gardening classes each Friday for children ranging in age from 18 months to 6 years of age.
Workshop 2. We're on the Same Team: Effective and Positive Communication with Busy Parents. Presenters Kelsy O’Keefe and Jennifer Wester
We will discuss simple tactics to keep communication positive and explore ways to meet parents where they are in learning about Montessori. We will explore ways to gain support from the Parents that are advocates for you and your school.

Kelsey O'Keefe is a parent of two primary aged children, and holds the position of Director of Development and Operations at ArborCreek Montessori Academy in Farmers Branch, Texas. Kelsey first learned about the Montessori method when enrolling her children in a Montessori school, and soon decided to retire from her legal practice in order to focus full time on learning more about Montessori and how it can be implemented to serve children and families on a greater scale. 
Jennifer Wester  holds a degree in Computing and the Arts from Yale University, is a mom to two young boys, and former TeamUSA athlete. Now a working artist and entrepreneur, she makes time to work extensively in the non-profit sector — volunteering in a number of positions with educational, sporting, neighborhood, and arts organizations. 

Workshop 3. 

Measuring and Supporting Outcomes in a Montessori Environment. Presenter—Rebecca Bernard

Current research tells us what is truly important for children; linguistic and cultural fluency, social-emotional development and executive functions. We know inhibition control, initiation and concentration, working memory and social-emotional flexibility are highly predictive of academic and life success. Learn how to objectively identify the traits of a successful classroom and the necessary behaviors of the adults who nurture these outcomes.

 Rebecca Bernard has been a leader in the Montessori field since 1996 and School Director at Montessori New Beginnings since 2007. She has led both corporate and privately-owned Montessori schools, specializing in the academic excellence of young children. Rebecca is Montessori Certified at the Early Childhood level through M.E.P.I and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of North Texas in Biology with advanced studies in Mathematics, Chemistry and Business. She lives with her husband and three boys in the Plano area and enjoys reading, watching live music, traveling and spending time with her family.

Workshop 4. 

Parent Infant Program for the Sensitive Period in Parenting. Presenter—Sherri Simmons

Wondering if a Parent Infant program would be a good fit for your community? Parents find themselves bombarded by an avalanche of “expert” advice on parenting. Breast or bottle, to swaddle or not to swaddle, co-sleeping, attachment parenting, and the list goes on and on! Much like the child’s sensitive periods for development, the early parenting years are a time of heightened focus on developing a parenting style. A Parent infant program gives parents a unique view of their new role, in a prepared environment designed for the parent to follow their baby’s cues, and a safe haven to bring concerns and celebration as they explore this new world of parenthood! Let’s explore what it takes to bring parent infant program to your school!

Sherri Simmons, a parenting coach to parents and mentor to early childhood educators, has more than 20 years of experience in both teaching and consulting. She earned her Assistant to Infancy AMI Diploma from the Montessori Training Center International in Rome, Italy, in 1999. Sherri is currently working at Springhill Montessori School and as an instructor at the Montessori Development Center of DFW. "My dream is for parents to be equipped to nurture the potential in their children and for parent-infant to reach each family in the most sensitive period of parenting!”

Thank You!