Conference Presentations and Handouts

Please visit: Hong Kong Montessori Research and Development Association

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Joyce Pickering

Inclusion: Respecting Each Child’s Learning Difference
This presentation will give an overview of learning differences, why some children learn differently, and what the teacher needs to know in order to optimize learning experiences for children with differences. In Montessori’s 4 planes of development, we see the planes through which the typically developing child passes as they mature.  For children who learn differently these planes can be envisioned as wavy lines with irregular development. In the “Absorbent Mind”, Montessori writes about the unequal development seen in some children.  In the first half of the first plane (0-3) all of the development of coordination, language-speech, attention and perception are developing along separate tracks. By 3 most children have basically equal development in all of these areas and therefore in the second half of the first plane (3-6) can integrate these vital areas with the result of the development of the intellect, executive function and emotional intelligence.  For those children whose development is not equal and the result is strengths in some areas of learning and significant weaknesses in others. It is for this reason that we must be equipped as teachers to understand each child and teach to their unique needs.  

Prof. Joyce Pickering is the 2013 Living Legacy Recipient for American Montessori Society as well as the President of AMS Board of Directors (2014-2017). Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) awarded the Wisdom of the Elders award to Joyce in 2015. She is an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and a committee member for accreditation of the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council. She is a forty-year Montessorian, speech and hearing pathologist, and learning disabilities specialist. Co-speaker: Gina Lofquist is the Senior Director of Teacher Education for the American Montessori Society. Early childhood, AMS credentialed her Montessori experience spans 26 years of teaching children and adults. She has also administrated schools and is the former Assistant Dean of Xavier University’s Montessori Institute which included an AMS teacher education program.  She has consulted for both private and public schools nationally and internationally and is a presenter at national and international Montessori conferences. 

Prof. Marlene Barron

Rethinking Education in a Flat World
RETHINKING EDUCATION for the 21st century. The 21st century was ushered in by a dramatic technological revolution.  The world has shifted from an industrial age to an information / knowledge age.  We live in an increasingly diverse, globalized, and complex, media-saturated society. Have schools changed to meet the challenges of the new millennium?  This keynote presentation will begin to examine the key questions in education through the 21st century lesson. 1.What should be learned? 2. When should it be learned? 3. How is it best learned? 4. How can we assess the outcomes? There will be a further presentation of the strategies embedded in the Montessori approach which meet the challenges of the 21st Century.  These include:  environments, materials, role of teacher.

Prof. Marlene Barron has over fifty years of experience as a consultant, educator, and Head of School. She founded the Staten Island Montessori School in 1965, was Head of School of West Side Montessori School in New York City from 1979-2007, and co-director of their teacher education program until 2008. She was a professor of education at New York University and project director of the NYU-Montessori Teacher Education until 2008. She was the director of the Etonkids Montessori Teacher Training Institute, EMTTA, in Beijing China from 2008-2017.

Prof. Angeline Lillard

More Science Behind the Genius
Montessori was developed in the first half of the 20th century, but it remains a fabulous system for human education. This is because it was developed scientifically in response to the actions of children, and children's basic needs and biological selves are fundamentally unchanged in these last 100 years. In this talk I will review basic Montessori principles in light of current research in human development, highlighting studies in the new 3rd edition of my book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius (now under contract for a Chinese edition). I will also discuss recent my most studies focusing on the outcomes of Montessori education and different implementations of Montessori. I hope that Montessori teachers and parents and other interested parties will find the talk informative and inspiring.

Prof. Angeline Lillard is the Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. She has been studying Montessori’s methods for more than two decades. In her best-selling book Montessori: The Science behind the Genius, articles, educational DVD, and speaking engagements, Professor Lillard presents Montessori’s theoretical principles, the science research that has followed them, and how they are implemented in a Montessori classroom.

Prof. Michelle Lane-Barmapov

Montessori and Autism
The rates of autism have increased dramatically in the last decade and more research is being conducted to find ways in which to help individuals diagnosed with autism, to function at their optimal developmental level. Montessori education, which has its origins in special education, has shown positive results in typically developing children and youth in the acquisition of cognitive and social skills. Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) therapy is an evidence-based treatment method for children with autism. Currently there is little research that specifically addresses the application of the Montessori method and children with autism. This presentation will review the blended Montessori ABA model that was created by Michelle Lane-Barmapov in 2003, as well as highlight some of the results from her 2016 thesis titled “Montessori and Autism: An Interpretive Description Study”. The goal of this presentation is to encourage Montessori educators to be aware of the Montessori ABA method, as well as learn some of the challenges that some Montessori educators currently face when having inclusive environments with children with autism.

Prof. Michelle Lane-Barmapov is the founder of the Montessori ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) program for children with autism. The Lane Montessori School for Autism in Toronto, Ontario was founded by Michelle and operated from 2003 to 2010. It was the first school in the world to combine the Montessori curriculum with ABA (a technique frequently used in autism therapy). Michelle received the Premier's Award from the government of Ontario in 2005 for her program blend. She currently works as a professor for the Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies at Sheridan College. Michelle also has her AMS Early Childhood credential, as well as a Masters of Health Studies.

Prof. Elizabeth Jones

Examining Hong Kong Children's Relations with Objects
This lecture will draw on qualitative ethnographic research that was undertaken in four Hong Kong preschools (one was Montessori School) in order to examine young children’s relations with objects. A poststructuralist theoretical framework (Foucault, 1977) is initially used in order to examine how objects are used in the rational endeavour of development and progress. The lecture will then incorporate actor network theory (Law, 1999; Latour, 1990; 1999) where as a consequence supplementary conceptual space is made where we can further appreciate the movements between objects, identity of child, Western orientated early years’ pedagogies, Chinese culture, affect and children’s learning. The lecture goes on to suggest that we should take careful note of such movements because they carry important lessons in terms of children’s learning.  

Prof. Elizabeth Jones took up the post of Research Chair Professor of Early Childhood Education at The Education University of Hong Kong in April 2015. Prior to that she was Professor of Early Childhood Education at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), where she led the Centre for the Cultural Studies of Children and Childhood. Liz also held a Visiting Professor post at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences in Norway.  In 2010 Liz was invited to become a Velma E. Schmidt Fellow in the College of Education at the University of North Texas. In August 2011 Liz was invited by the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand to take up an Erskine Scholarship within the School of Mãori and Indigenous Studies.

Prof. Jane Osgood

"Quick, come! There is something really Chinese-y going on in the baby room right now": Towards Critical Affirmative Research Practices in Early Childhood Education
In this paper I examine how we might move beyond critique alone to attend to the possibilities that open up when we turn our attention to ordinary routines and mundane situations to reconfigure justice, equality and fairness in early year education. To do this I consider the ways in which discourses, curriculum frameworks, inspection regimes, research and pedagogical practices and routine happenings are entangled within everyday events in an early childhood center. By considering the material-semiotic-discursive and affective entanglements during festivals, events and celebrations within an early years center, I account for associations and traceable attachments in which education can be understood as more than an exclusively human endeavor. I pay particular focus to the materialized and embodied celebration of Chinese New Year as it plays out in one London nursery. This new materialist approach is informed by feminist philosophers Jane Bennett, Catherine Malabou and Donna Haraway and calls for us to view the world, and our human place in that world, afresh.

Prof. Jane Osgood is located at the Centre for Education Research & Scholarship, Middlesex University, London. Her present methodologies and research practices are framed by new material feminism and posthumanism. She is developing transdisciplinary theoretical approaches that maintain a concern with issues of social justice, and which critically engage with early childhood policy, curricular frameworks and pedagogical approaches. Through her work she seeks to trouble and extend understandings of the workforce, families, ‘the child’ and ‘childhood’ in early years contexts. She has published extensively within the postmodernist paradigm and is currently editor for Bloomsbury on a book series entitled: Feminist Thought in Childhood Research, and she is also currently editor of Gender & Education Journal.   

Guest Speakers

Research in Chinese PinYin and Chinese Characters from Perspective of the Taiwan Montessori Education Development
This session will examine ZhuYin symbols and its effect of explosive writing within the development of Taiwan Montessori education. We will explore what led to the process of creating Chinese PinYin using the Taiwanese ZhuYin model. We will then discuss the usage of sound games and movable alphabet to introduce PinYin by difficulty of sounds to understand how to use PinYin, and solve problems regarding tones, beginning vowels (in Chinese pronunciation), and overall reading/recognition. Using Montessori philosophy and language education rationale, combined with unique qualities of Chinese characters, young children find interest in exploring objects in their environments, thereby expanding their vocabulary. From these newly-learnt characters and words, they play various sorting games to discover special traits in the structures of Chinese characters and the principles of strokes and order. Chinese children will demonstrate explosive and unstoppable writing around the age of five and a half, after years of fine motor skill practice.

Maria Yu was graduated from the National Hsinchu University of Education, Taiwan. She received Montessori teaching credentials from Italian Montessori Association (1979), Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Diploma Children’s House (1986), and AMI Diploma Elementary (1994). Sister Yu has devoted over 30 years to Montessori education. She has researched and developed Chinese PinYin and characters learning within Montessori education since 2008. Currently she provides consulting services to Montessori education and administration management in Taiwan and Mainland China.

Kimitoshi Matsuura

Montessori as Peace Education - Is there enough focus on Peace Education as much as we teach math and language?
Is there enough focus on Peace Education as much as we teach math and language? Montessori said, “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education” (Education and Peace, p. viii, Foreword, 1975).  It is obvious that the ultimate purpose of Montessori Education is to establish peace. When we take a look at the world nowadays, we have to say we are far away from peace. What can we do as Montessorians for children to acquire the elements to achieve world peace?  “Difference” will be a key word. There are various differences in this world. Difference in race.  Difference in language. Difference in culture. Difference in currency. Difference in climate. There are countless differences. Peace will never be attained if we keep our belief that only our own views are correct and acceptable.When children begin to accept differences in their views, horizons will be broadened.  The acceptance of others and broaden view are the key elements to be constructors of world peace.  These differences are shown mainly in the regional cultures. I want to show many cultural activities from early childhood stage through elementary stage.

Kimitoshi Matsuura is the Head of School in Matsuura Gakuen Montessori School. He is also a senior researcher and chief trainer. He is a trainer for American Montessori Society (AMS) Taichung Taiwan IMEI Training course and the chairperson of sixth Montessori Asia Conference.

Geoffrey Bishop

Nature, the First and Essential Environment
The topic Nature, as it is connected to a child’s development, is a fundamental and important aspect of educating the whole child. In mainstream education the natural environment is sidelined and mostly ignored as an inconsequential part of a child’s wellbeing. This could not be further from the truth; study after study has proven that a child’s connection to the natural world enhances their ability to focus, to concentrate, to create and to imagine. This connection has far reaching health benefits as well as benefits in the areas of social and emotional wellbeing and as physical health. We dream of a time when the natural world was a part of our daily routine. Now with the advent of electronics, mass media and box stores, it’s hard to find the time or the energy to reconnect with nature. Terms like “Nature Deficit Disorder”, “No child left inside” and the “Eatable school yard” makes us feel so inadequate, that we become helpless in being able to fight back. This presentation gives teacher two things. First it will energize and revitalize the teachers need to reconnect their children to nature, to re-embrace the natural world and to discover the importance of that connection. The second aspect will highlight different activities and curriculum ideas teachers can use to reengage their children and connect them to the natural world. We will look at Art and Nature, silence and listening connections, literature and writing exercises that bring nature to the forefront and engage students in an environmental way.

Geoffrey E. Bishop, West NSW, Australia. His childhood was spent on his family's sheep station.  He studied Horticulture and Landscape Architecture in universities.In 1996 Geoffrey started Nature's Classroom Institute of Wisconsin, Inc. The Nature's Classroom Institute program helps students understand the natural environment, participate in ecosystem exploration and study, and work together with their peers and teachers as a community. He formed Nature's Classroom Montessori School that blends the core philosophy of Montessori with his environmental principles. Geoffrey's passionate and sustained focus over the past 15 years has been on organics and sustainability in schools while promoting getting children back outdoors and helping adults understand the importance of instinctive play in the natural world.

Li Shuying

A Reflection on the Integration of Montessori Education and the Traditional Chinese Culture
Any form of an education is a product of the era and the Society’s local cultures. To fully unleash the value and essence of the education, it has to adapt and localize. Any imported cultures or values have to be rooted into local context in order to solidify and prevent becoming just a rigid policy. Over the past 100 years, the Montessori method have realized the dreams of many parents around the world and it has been greatly recommended by education specialists. It is both localized and globalized. To fully unleash the benefit of the Montessori education, we need to combine it with the excellent values of the Chinese traditions and the heart and soul of our culture. The blending of both would realize and showcase the strength of the Montessori education in spirit, value, educational perspective and pedagogical, to secure the perpetuity of its spirit.  

Li Shuying is an former Assistant Professor of the Beijing Normal University, The Honorary President of the China Montessori Expert Association, The Chef Consultant of the International Montessori Education Union, and a Member of Montessori Expert Committee of the Chinese Society of Education (CSE). She chaired the research program on the localization of Montessori in China for CSE. She is the Editor of “Montessori Education Collection”, “Quality Education: Application of Montessori at Home” etc.

I-Fang Lee

The Promise of Montessori Approach to Early Education in Today's Education Climate
Contemporary early childhood education is undergoing extraordinary challenges and changes. Parents, teachers, researchers, and the governments around the world are all searching for effective pedagogical practices through multiple waves of education reforms. Issues concerning play-based learning, whole child development, brain development, active learning, and school readiness are some examples in contemporary education research studies and reform policies. As a 20th century pioneer in education, can Dr. Maria Montessori’s education philosophy and pedagogical practice still enlighten us with new vision(s) in the 21st century? Recognizing the negative commentaries about Montessori’s pedagogical practice in modern times, this paper comes from a critical theoretical perspective to analyse the relevance of Montessori approach to education in the 21st century classrooms. The analyses and discussions in this paper highlight how Montessori’s philosophical beliefs on the role of the child, the role of the teacher, and the roles of the environment/curriculum can continue to offer hopes and promise to empower children’s growth, development, and learning. Additionally, I also attempt to develop a significant argument on how Montessori’s theoretical constructions about the child, the teacher, and the curriculum can open up more new possibilities for us to (re)imagine inclusive and equitable education for all children.

I-Fang Lee is a Senior Lecture in the School of Education at the University of Newcastle in Australia. I-Fang’s scholarly research interests include issues of effects of neoliberal discourses in education, preschool reforms and policies, early childhood curriculum and instruction, constructions of Asian childhoods, childhood studies and issues of equity, diversity and inclusion. I-Fang is also a trained Montessori teacher by the American Montessori Society (AMS). Previously, she had taught in Montessori classrooms in the United States for a few of years.

Liu Wen

Montessori Education and Children Creativity
This paper is an introduction to the conclusions of twenty years’ worth of lateral and longitude evidence-based research on Montessori education. We present the creativity, mode of thinking   individuality and sense of cultural belonging of children, under the circumstance of Montessori education. We can then theorize the process of practically localizing Montessori in China and its further significance.  It compared the differences in developing creativities by children under traditional education and Montessori Education. The development history and the fundamental idea of  Montessori Education fits perfectly into the concept of our society’s adaptation of educational equity. The current Chinese early childhood education reform attaches great importance to the development of Montessori education in rural areas. In the future, we will continue to work on longitudinal studies and application in depth, in hope for contribute to Montessori education with an evidence-based perspective.

Liu Wen is a Doctorate Candidate Advisor, a Certificated Psychologist of Chinese Psychological Society and Distinguished teacher of colleges and universities of Liaoning Province. She is also a member of Montessori Expert Committee of the Chinese Society of Education. Her main research areas include developmental and education psychology, early childhood education, and the theory and practice of Montessori education in China. She has published over 30 books, and 100 articles in SCI, SSCI and CSSCI.

Ke Xiaowei

The Impact of Montessori Teaching on Modern Chinese Education
At the beginning of the 20th century, scientific teaching methods like Friedrich Fröbel and Maria Montessori has greatly influenced the early childhood learning.  It has created a movement or a wakeup call to how we value the traditional way of teaching children. It has become more child-centered, where curriculum is based on each child’s wants and needs. Building up their own curiosity, and their own ways to explore. Chen Heqin’s idea of “living education” reflected Chinese traditional teaching qualities like self-exploration and discovery. Combining these qualities with the western teaching resulted in a very unique Chinese teaching module. By combining Montessori and Chen Heqin’s teaching module, not only helps with children’s growth and development, but also helps with further enhancing the future of early childhood education.

Ke Xiaowei is the grandson of Chen Heqin. He has become a biographer and a researcher in educational history. Mr. Ke serves as a member of China Writers Association and Vice President of Beijing Chen Heqin Educational Thought Research Association. He was an executive director of China Tao Xingzhi Research Association and also an author of "Chen Heqin Biography" "Chen Heqin painting" as well as the editor of "Chen Heqin education philosophy".    

Fanny Wai Fan Lam

Update On Neuroscience Underpinning Child Development - Why The First 1,000 Days Matters? 
The Chinese wisdom “三歲定八十” states that cognition at age three predicts that at eighty. Actually, the brain is a complex organ, made up of 100 billion neurons, and 90% of brain development happens in the first 1,000 days, spanning from conception to a child’s second birthday. The most rapid period of brain growth and its period of highest plasticity is in this first 1,000 days. Dr. Montessori stated “Education should begin at birth”. We have evidence from gene expression, neurophysiology and neuroimaging studies to suggest that nutrition, bonding and attachment as well as sensorimotor stimulations in the first 1000 days, critically defines the physical health, immune system as well as the intellectual and mental health functioning for the rest of one’s life. In this lecture, Dr. Lam seeks to summarize the update medical and scientific evidence relevant to early brain development and the link of sensorimotor stimulations as related to Dr. Montessori’s experiences and observations. Through explanation of the positive effects of balanced nutrition, secure attachment and safe environmental exploration, as well as the adverse effects of under-/over-nutrition and toxic stress, advice pertaining to seize the brain’s narrow window of opportunity, and to achieve the best developmental potentials is given.  

Wai Fan Fanny Lam is a specialist in Developmental-Behavioural Paediatrics and a paediatrician with more than 20 years of clinical experience. She is committed to enable children to develop their best potentials in cognitive, socio-emotional and adaptive functioning. She is trained in medical genetics in The New Children's Hospital, Sydney and in Pediatric Neurology in The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. Currently, She serves as the consultant Developmental Paediatrician in both Hong Kong Developmental Paediatrics Centre and the Matilda International Hospital. In recognition of her efforts in teaching, she is also appointed as the Honorary Clinical Assistant Professor of the Department of Paediatrics, University of Hong Kong and Tutor of The Association for Research in Infant and Child Development, United Kingdom.

Lim Chuan Yew

Combination of diagnostic principles of Chinese Medicine with Montessori observation: The Effect of Skeletal Problems on a Growing Child
Beginning from infancy, the spine perpetually suffers from direct and indirect harm.  Factors ranging from bad habits during pregnancy, clumsiness of methods during childbirth, improper handling while cradling, to minor injuries in daily life may trigger a series of consequences harming the spine, brain and central nervous system.  An active child may suffer from internal injuries resulted by external wounds which are difficult to notice and therefore overlooked.  The internal (body and mind) imbalance of yin and yang may deter health, affecting the child’s skeletal development, gross and fine motor skills, and even sensorial, emotional and social development. This talk will discuss how to combine the diagnostic principles of Chinese medicine (visual observation of the patient, listening to patient’s voice and bodily sounds, asking patient of his/her physical feelings and taking pulse readings) and Montessori observation to formulate more effective prevention and accurate intervention for children as needed.

Lim Chuan Yew studied in Chinese medicine at Kang Ming TCM College in Singapore and received an Honorary Doctorate from the Dragon Rises College of Oriental Medicine of United States. He followed a master from China, Mr. Huang, when he was young and trained as a Chinese medical doctor specializing in orthopedics and acupuncture. He practiced for over 30 years. He has 20 years of teaching experience in Asia, Europe and North American. He specializes in acupuncture and manipulation, treating traumatology and spine-related diseases. Co-speaker: Ralph Yau is an AMS teacher trainer, the founder of Hong Kong Montessori Research and Development Association and Infinity Children’s School. He is the Montessori Advisor of the Po Leung Kuk Affiliated kindergartens and schools in China.  He was a secondary school and primary school teacher, TV and radio news reporter and anchor. Ever since the last ten years, he has engaged in Montessori education to nurture children, parents and teachers. He studies Chinese medicine and Chinese philosophy to integrate local and world traditional cultures and thoughts with Montessori education.

Presentations (20 May)

The Benefits and Challenges of Intergenerational Centre that offer Adult Day Care and Montessori-based Preschool
Elizabeth Park and Yan Yan Imamura
Intergenerational center provides older adults with opportunities to interact with children during planned activities. Studies have shown that older adults who spend time with children experience positive health and cognitive outcomes. Similarly, young children who spend time with elders experience positive social/emotional outcomes. In this study, we evaluate the benefits and challenges of operating an intergenerational center in Hawai’i, USA. The elderly populations are ever growing since they are living longer and healthier. The state of Hawai’i has one of the highest percentage of elderly population in USA. This is a case study investigating the benefits and challenges of intergenerational Montessori­based school in a low socioeconomic neighborhood in Hawai’i. The adult daycare and Montessori­based preschool share the same campus and provide planned activities throughout the daily routine. The research questions are: 1. What are the potential benefits and challenges of intergenerational program for adult day care elders? 2. What are the potential benefits and challenges of intergenerational program for Montessori­based preschool children. Methods of data collection are surveys, interviews and classroom observations. The results of the findings will be reported at the presentation.

Dialogue with Professor Lillard

How can Children Improve Mathematics by using Montessori Approach under an Educational System?
Chia-Hsun (Johnson) Chang
Children studying under Taiwanese government compulsory education (standard pre-defined curriculum) attend to my Montessori classroom after school once a week. They are from grade 1 to grade 6 (6-12 years old). I observed the past experiences of children, and provided Montessori materials for them to internalize concepts through concrete works related to order and logic. The progression plan depends on each child's abilities instead of the school standardized progress, allowing children’s learning to be scaffolded upward, from concrete to abstract. In this seminar, I will share how to use Montessori materials to help children overcome the abstract gap when they encounter knowledge difficulties in school.

Multisensory Learning in the Dual Language Environment
Karin Ann
Montessori was one of the first educators to observe the power and effectiveness of the Multisensory Learning Environment, where the simultaneous use of all of the child’s learning pathways - visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile – enhances engagement, memory and learning. In the Montessori classroom, the child is surrounded with an array of sequential learning materials, thereby boosting language acquisition through both sensorial experience and written and verbal exploration. In a Dual Language Montessori Environment, the multisensory approach is especially powerful for it provides diverse channels for a child to learn, in the way that is most suited to the child and each individual language. Through working with the materials, the child subconsciously draws parallels and contrasts between the languages, allowing him to experience the language from various perspectives, and to ultimately learn in the most natural way. Our presentation will outline how the Montessori multisensory approach has been applied to the dual language environment at the International Montessori School for the Casa dei Bambini (3 to 6) and Primary (6 to 12) Programs. We will also share the encouraging results this approach has yielded in preparing our children for their continued success in learning English and Chinese.

The Birth of a Rural Chinese Montessori Kindergarten
Gao Likui, Zhao Yue and Zhu Lin
What was the process of successfully establishing a Montessori kindergarten in a Chinese rural community, approaching its five-year anniversary? This is a story of how the Montessori philosophy and school grew from a virtually unknown concept to widely accepted within the community. The presenting organisation, with its seventeen years of Montessori educational experience, will share this memorable experience and how to sustain and expand into the future. The presenters will explore different aspects of the journey, including: how to win over the trust and funding of local ministers of education, how to invite experienced Montessorians as consultants, the challenges within the journey and how they were resolved, how to assist and scaffold family education in a rural community, and how to move and enrich the culture of an entire rural community.

The Birth of Montessori Chinese Cultural Materials - Hand is Our Second Brain
Jacky Tan and Maureen Zhang
Why did we become involved with developing Montessori materials? How do we incorporate hands on teaching materials to help brain development? In this presentation, we will share the difficulties and experiences throughout the production of teaching materials. We will also discuss the importance of professional consultation regarding teaching materials and share the differences between Chinese teaching materials versus teaching materials for other languages. Through the production processes of materials in other languages such as English, Arabic, Spanish and Thai, Chinese teaching materials are rare. The influences from other countries can help contribute to this big leap in Chinese education.

Montessori Learning: More Effective, Higher Level Learning
Audrey Wong
One of the biggest concerns that parents have when sending their child to the Montessori school is that they believe their children are learning less when compared to the traditional schools. From their own experience, Chinese parents believe that memorizing and repetition is the best form of learning. However, this leads to the fallacy of context specific recall which has limited real world application and demonstrates only the most basic level of learning. Montessori classrooms are designed to effectively foster higher-level learning through independent thinking, adaptation and application. Montessori education values the importance of repetition, but has improved upon this through variation and extension of the activities. The learning experience is enhanced as the student remains engaged through different activities teaching the same lesson. It allows for the same skills to be taught in many different contexts. This, in turn, allows for mastery of the skill and adaptation that could be used beyond the classroom setting. Using learning pyramids and infographics, this presentation will help the Montessori schools and teachers to explain to parents the paradigm shift from lower leveling of learning to higher level learning. This workshop will demonstrate examples of these learning activities and strategies.

Keeping a Good Quality in Montessori Teacher Education Program
Susan Lee
Developing clear standards and keeping good management within a Montessori teacher education program builds a richer and more consistent program. This workshop is designed to idea sharing and open discussion of ways on how to organize and maintain records keepings of your faculty members and adult learners, build good communication and connections with faculty members, adult learners and practicum site, and strengthen adult learning environments to impact your student’s growth and commitment.

Merging of Illustrated Stories in Early Childhood Peace Education: A Practical Research
Li Hsiu-Li
The qualitative research targets 2.5-year-old to 5-year-old kindergarten children in Taiwan. The research investigates how peace education and its related activities for children can be actualized through illustrative stories. Furthermore, the research also studied how the children understand the peace education concepts and growth and transformation after undergoing the activity. The result shows that reading illustration stories is a good method to provide experience-learning opportunities for the children. . Children internalize and enhance peace education concepts through the guidance of the stories’ characters. They develop cares for themselves, for others and for the environment by building up the empathy.

From Zero to Infinity - Montessori Parent Education in Chinese Community
Daisy Lau and Ralph Yau
Hong Kong provides an interesting backdrop that sparks the necessity and importance of parent education. A highly commercialized and competitive society, a majority of parents are eager to try out all types of “innovative” education approaches or products on their children, disregarding scientific grounds and against parental instinct. To revive this parental instinct, it is important to have the right place, the right time, and the right people. Over the last ten years of Montessori Parent Education experience, we have guided over 16,000 parents to understand their children through a scientific lens. We act as a bridge between children and parents by explaining the child’s developmental needs to parents and help parents and children transform by themselves. Besides seminars, parents learn, observe, and experience the application of the scientific theories in Child-Parent Class with Montessori directresses, which helps them to do the same at home. In this workshop, the presenters will share their experience as one of the pioneers in promoting parent education in Hong Kong and the Greater China area. We will discuss the normalization of parents, the elements of a successful parent education program, and the actual implementation of parent education course.

Montessori West meets East - a Comparison of Montessori in Germany and Thailand
Andreas Becker
As initiator of a prize-winning parent run Montessori Initiative in Germany, teacher in a secondary Montessori School and educational director of a Montessori School in Thailand as well as trainer and motivator in several Thai Schools and Universities, I have insight to the differences in both countries. In my paper I will give a short introduction in how Montessori came to Germany, Austria,  Switzerland and Thailand and what influences parent and teacher initiatives had in that development. To spread the word about Montessori, teacher and parent education is very important. I will talk about the differences in Teacher Education and why I think that Germany has one of the best ways to be a qualified Montessori Teacher for 21st century and how teacher education could improve in Thailand. The best way to accomplish education for Peace and for the unity of people all around the world is getting as many schools as possible to teach the Montessori way, which empowers students, parents and teachers.

Montessori Culture Curriculum for the Children Going Back to Nature
Trevor Wong and Brian Hui
Children belong in nature, with everything relevant to their growth as related to nature.  When the children come into contact with nature, they genuinely experience different living things under natural law.  They reveal their strength and are well nourished becoming a normal child. Montessori culture curriculum includes geography, history, science, zoology and botany.  All subjects educate child about the phenomenon in nature.  In Hong Kong, there are a lot of very rich natural resources. Adults can make use of these resources in country parks. They can find suitable location and prepare safe natural environment for children to explore and experience with adults. With Montessori culture curriculum, children are educated the knowledge that are experienced from the nature. The strong relationship between children and nature be developed positively.

Presentations (21 May)

Understanding the Works of Occupational Therapist
Charmaine Li
Part 1: The importance of sensory education
Sensory-based therapies are adopted by occupational therapists in treatments of children with developmental and behavioral needs. Activities are selected aiming to promote organization of sensory system by providing tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive sensations, together with other senses, interacting with the environment.  Effective and organized sensory systems also contribute into emotional stabilities, attention and advanced learning. Sensory registration and modulation help to provide regulation of sensory processing to a child’s daily performance. Children who have Sensation Seeking patterns are very active, continuously engaging and excitable to meet high thresholds. Children with Sensation Avoiding perceive specific stimuli as threatening ones, developing an avoiding pattern and present with uncooperative and reluctant to explore. Children with Sensory Sensitivity detect more input than others and often present with distractibility. Sensory Profile is a widely used assessment for sensory registration and modulation. The method of assessment will be introduced.
Part 2: The functions of the hands
Fine motor movements involve the coordination of small muscles in the hands and fingers.  Dr. Montessori stated “The hands are the instrument of man’s intelligence”. Children develop fine motor skills with increasing demand for self-care activities, writing and leisure activities. Many of the daily tasks also require coordination with the visual and hand functions. Root components for fine motor development, assessments and training strategies are discussed.

Infinite Music - Implementation of Musical Minds in a Hong Kong Montessori School
Vincent Wong Tin Tok
Infinity Children Music nurtures young children’s understanding and sensation towards music, allowing them to enjoy and feel music rather than practicing techniques. In a Montessori-inspired, open, and free environment, children absorb the entirety of musicality – experiencing rhythm, beat, and the harmony of pitch and tone unrestrained – and build a solid foundation in music. This workshop will demonstrate how to combine the right time, the right place, and the right people to instill the call of musical sensitivity, in hope that each child will blossom into instruments themselves and play out infinite music.

Cultural Inheritance of Chinese Ethnic Minorities in Montessori way
Jessica Ma
The culture of the minority ethnic groups is the essential part of Chinese culture.  These ethnic groups contain plenty of cultural elements, which are waiting to be discovered by adventurous hearts. However, lots of ethnic group traditions and customs fail to reach out to the mainstream culture and risk extinction. Maria Montessori thinks that the passing down of the cultures must be through children, otherwise it would be of no use. In four years, we try to integrate the characteristics of the ethnic culture and the activities of folk cultures with Montessori Education and to design different theme learning materials and activities for children to manipulate. The major ethnic groups - Zhuang, Miao, Zang, and Mongols are shown as a demonstration and they would surely ignite the desire of cultural exploration.

Curriculum in a Hong Kong Montessori School
Horance Wong and Floreta Liu
What are the contributions of a Montessori school?  How can it be executed?  How does a Montessori teacher fulfill his or her mission? A Hong Kong Montessori school showcases how to involve children from mixed age group in their daily school life, the school operation and the resources management.   Three years in a Montessori school, curriculum from spring, summer, autumn to winter are shared and demonstrated. The school integrates two different stages of education - 0-3 and 3-6 into a single early childhood curriculum through smooth transitioning.  Utilizing the uniqueness of a Montessori school we help higher education students develop by being a practicum and observation site for graduate students of early childhood education, an international Montessori education exchange center, etc.  The crucial value of a Montessori school is to achieve peaceful infusion and cooperation between school and families, foster early childhood education development and promote education in the community.  

Preparing Rich Culture Environment for Our Beginners - Localization of Montessori in Japan
Kayo Nemoto, Harumi Sato and Yosuke Motomiya (Japan Montessori Institute)
It is the importance of focusing on children rather than on teachers in education.  We have to get out of teacher centrism.  In order to focus on the child, we need not only love but also knowledge about child’s development. Recently this knowledge about child’s development is revealed by modern science, especially by neuroscience. This means Montessori education is proven scientifically. Teacher needs to observe the child correctly and understand the child's interest. From Montessori’s point of view,this is sensitive period. Knowing sensitive period of the child, we can define the developmental stage of the child.  Our role is to tie this child's sensitive period to activities. Appearance of the flow starting from concentration phenomenon to normalization is important.  Based on the above fact, we are following what Dr. Maria Montessori was doing more than 100 years ago. To extend Montessori education, we assimilate Montessori Method to our own traditional culture.  We will show how we assimilate Montessori Education to our country Japan based on traditional Japanese culture especially at Practical Life activities and Cultural activities.

The First Lesson for Children - Physics
Selina Cheung
Motor development is the earliest and most important sign of infants and young children’s brain growth.  Dr. Montessori stated “Movement helps the development of mind.”  Early recognition of symptoms and signs of motor delay or dysfunction allows early intervention and prevents long term physical and mental disability. In these lectures, the Paediatric Physiotherapist will discuss the clinical conditions encompassing major referral loads, including global developmental delay and gross motor delay, hypotonia, hypermobility syndromes, developmental coordination disorder as well as neurological conditions. Treatment approach includes postural correction and walking gait analysis, training of balance and coordination, muscle strengthening and endurance training, tone normalization and motor learning through open/ closed chain activities, as well as electrical stimulation. Education to parents and teachers as well as provision of home program is also imperative.

Coexistence of Traditional and Montessori Education
Cheng Ka Chon
As I used to teach students in a ‘traditional’ way, I have a chance to reflect, examine about my teaching style and new educational perspectives, when I embarked on the road to becoming a Montessori teacher. In this journey, I opened my eyes to the role of ‘traditional’ method played in the practice of early childhood education.  No doubt that ‘traditional’ teaching style is valuable since it has a long history of application and widely around the world. However, reform and innovation in education continue practiced, and ‘traditional’ way is critiqued as an ‘old’ teaching style that needs to be replaced. Nevertheless, ‘traditional’ method is still commonly used at this time. Does this mean traditional method, compared with other methods of teaching, is still a better choice, especially for helping children to grow and learn? When I review my experiences in teaching students by ‘traditional’ way and ‘Montessori’ method, there is no such thing as good or bad in pedagogy. For this reason, could we combine these two methods in the practice of early childhood education?

Montessori Children Learn Piano (Canceled, the presenter could not come to this session, pls feel free to join other presentation)
Yu Qishi
In this presentation, Yu will share the beautiful journey of Montessori Children’s piano-learning process. Montessori children possess many strong, relevant traits, including: higher musically and sense, more nimble fingers, a fine-tuned sense of hearing, stronger sense of rhythm, higher cognition and understanding, strong memory, higher level of concentration, finer attention to detail, better emotional control, stronger organizational skills, etc. Yu’s pedagogical method, utilizing the child’s mother tongue, is very compatible with the Montessori method. For example, the child may first explore the piano and develop a relationship with it while the teacher observes the child’s interest, allowing the journey of music together with the teacher, the child will become self-motivated to practice repeatedly, eventually achieving positive outcomes.

Enhancing the Quality and Sensitivity of Parent-Child Interactions in Pre-school Children with Developmental Disabilities
Maureen Kong
An abundance of scientific evidence clearly demonstrates the development of a child’s brain architecture depends on the establishment of nurturing and stable relationships with the important people in his or her life. Findings from long term studies demonstrated that children who experienced parenting that was warm, sensitive, cognitively stimulating and not intrusive or over-controlling early in life showed better cognitive functioning, academic achievement and social adjustment when in middle primary school. The recognition that the early years lay the foundation for future development has led Maureen to study the characteristics of the parent-child interactions in Hong Kong parents with preschoolers with developmental disabilities, as well as investigate early intervention programs to promote children’s social and emotional competence. During presentation, the findings from a randomized-controlled study of the Incredible Years Parent Program in the local context will be shared, including whether this intervention program, developed in the United States, was effective in transforming the quality and sensitivity of parent-child interactions immediately after the intervention. Parents’ perspectives regarding the feasibility of this intervention program and how this program influenced their child’s development and in parents’ bonding with their child will be highlighted.

Creating a Road Map for a Montessori School
Rosemary Gosse
A set of clearly defined goals according to Dr. Montessori’s research and modern needs is essential in order to gauge the performance of a Montessori school and its progress toward creating environments that meet them. Practices that create respectful learning environments meeting the developmental needs of children; that allow children to internalize concentration, order, coordination and independence through manipulation of concrete materials; that support the development of critical thinking skills; and that create a life-long love of learning are examined.

The Art of Chinese Characters
Daisy Lau and Teresa So
Education is an awakening. The chairperson of HKMRDA, Daisy Lau used seven years to research and develop a scientific method of learning Chinese characters in early childhood education, using the Montessori approach to emphasize the essence of Chinese writing. The experiences of this usage in the last five years will now be shared. Chinese traditional characters fit into whole-brain learning, with left and right neuro-hemispheres learning simultaneously. How can logical association of meaning (left hemisphere) and graphic memory and impression (right hemisphere) work together, then coordinate with the hippocampus to internalize the learning? How can the child participate proactively with self-motivation and experience an exciting learning experience? From the pleasures of self-discovery, the origins of Chinese characters, an environment conducive to creating words, analysis of Chinese characters, pre-reading and pre-writing readiness, to creating essays as expressions of self, a front-line teacher will explain the process based on her practical experience in the classroom. Each Chinese person will take pride in Chinese characters.

Spiritual Development Process of Montessori Teacher
Hung Chueh Mei
Adult preparation:
 1] How to prepare to be a Montessori teacher? First of all, you must use imagination within traditional schools, teachers mainly notice children’s behaviors, take care of them, and know what should be done to educate them. But in the view of a Montessori teacher, the child in front of her or him has not yet been known and is waiting to be understood by the teacher. This is the basic difference between the two kinds of teachers. We must believe children will grow on their own through learning and working.
2) The growth of a Montessori teacher. It is a long and arduous journey to become a real Montessori teacher. Only continuous self-learning, reflection and encouragement can elevate mind. 

More than Just a Puzzle
Jesmine Lok
Maria Montessori was a Scientist. The Montessori approach to education is a scientific approach. This workshop examines the ways we can expand science and technology experiences in Montessori early childhood classrooms. There are puzzles in every classroom, especially the wooden puzzles of animals, plants and daily living materials. Children learn about these materials and what next with these materials? Let’s start with puzzle. We will show classroom case on how we use the puzzle in the classroom and extend into a thematic unit. Children will learn thoroughly on these animals, plants, tools, enhance their fine motor skills and of course encourage their curiosity. My observations of dozens of classrooms have noted that science activities are mostly limited to commercial materials. We are NOT a proponent of smart tools. We want children to use five senses to do this with REAL objects. In addition, these organizers require spatial and intellectual abilities. We believe that these organizers need to be transparent to teachers so that they can provide these experiences for children. Participants will experience the process and methods of science exploration, recognize the importance of being an organizer, and use strategies to communicate about the exploration and notice the relationships among objects.

Montessori Journey from Early Childhood to Primary School
Teresa Tsai
Dr. Maria Montessori chronicled a child’s development marked by four stages. During the first stage of age 0 to 6, the child grows in key areas physically, mentally, etc., learning with the “absorbent mind”. This paves way to the second stage of development in his age 6 to 12, the child continues growing and embarks on learning with the “reasoning mind” in primary school education. In her observation of the child going through such stages, Dr. Montessori identified the shift in approach as revealed in the child’s learning experience being part of his physiological and psychological development. Montessori presented to adults this discovery along with her unique analysis and advocacy of the primary school child’s learning needs in pedagogically deliverable terms via a comprehensive curriculum known as “Cosmic Education.”  Going forward, joy and challenge await the Montessori primary educator and children to journey together, sometimes in uncharted territories, in meeting children’s needs to develop their reasoning mind, associated with tremendous quest for knowledge and learning powers and fuelled by their boundless imagination! This is truly rewarding time for children to discover their global vision and understanding of the universe. Teresa Tsai shares her insight into the Montessori education approach, her joy in working with children motivated to learn, and also her experience of welcoming Casa children on board the primary class.

How to Secure the Language Sensitive Period
Cheryl Lam
Part 1: Speech and language development
Children's speech and language development follows a typical pattern and is critical during their preschool years. However, some healthy young children may experience a speech and language delay or disorder during their preschool years. Dr. Montessori and many other educators have identified the early childhood years as the sensitive period for language, when an explosive volume of neuro-pathways is formed regarding linguistics and whole language. What are the common signs, symptoms and barriers to their development? How can we work collaboratively as teachers, parents, caregivers, and therapists to help them?  What are the problems that may arise as a result of such delays or disorders?
Part 2: Feeding difficulties, eating and drinking disorders
Feeding problems are common in children. Approximately 20-50% of typically developing children and 70-89% of children with developmental disabilities are reported to experience feeding difficulties. A quality Montessori directress can often observe signs of developmental delay through symptoms of feeding difficulties, and may give positive suggestions for change to improve the child’s all-around development. What are feeding difficulties and eating and drinking disorders? What are the signs, symptoms and barriers to their development? How can we work collaboratively as teachers, parents, caregivers, and therapists to help them? What are the problems that may arise as a result of such disorders?

The Root of Peace - The Plan of Infant Teacher in Peace Education
Daisy Lau and Chen Shunhong
According to Dr. Maria Montessori, “As the teacher of peace, children teach us the mysteries of human nature” Life can influence other lives. The Chinese concept from Trimetric Classic, The beginning of Life (人之初) suggests the great power that infants have on providing the human world with positivity. Infants bring about a powerful life force of positivity, proactivity, self-motivation and optimism. A parent trained by HKMRDA brings her newborn children (the “infant teacher”) to the participating primary school. The rare opportunity for the students to witness a newborn’s growth and development from the beginning can guide and sprout the students’ compassion, care, understanding, humility, inclusivity, respect, acceptance, and many other positive human traits. HKMRDA shares the preparation, the methodology and the results of this plan. 

Workshops and Exhibitions

Workshop 1
Interactive Chinese Music Concert
Cheung Hiu Fai, Chinese Music Ensemble and Montessori children
The meaning of “Music” in the Chinese dictionary is “an art of harmonious combination of beat, rhythm, and vocals or instrumental chords.”  In Encyclopedia Dictionary of Chinese Language, “Music” refers to “the orderly and organized sounds created by a person or instrument for the purpose of expressing thoughts and emotions through these sounds.” With a Chinese music orchestra led by a Chinese musician parent, this Chinese concert for children and adults will feature interaction between Chinese instruments and traditional Chinese painting-inspired animation – all according to the Montessori education philosophy for music appreciation. Starting with performance of traditional Chinese pieces featuring an ensemble of Chinese instruments, the orchestra introduces each instrumental group through demonstrating the art of “blowing, strumming, bowing and hitting, and further still with examination of each individual instrument (how sounds are created, special traits of the instrument with the chord of instrumental groups, etc.). From whole to parts, then parts to whole once again, to create the beauty of traditional Chinese music art. We have invited 50 pairs of aged 3-6 children and their parents to join this Chinese music appreciation, so that conference participants can also observe children’s behaviors throughout the concert and take the experience into consideration when planning future music programs.

Workshop 2
(1a) Infant Community: Toddler-Parent Class

Infant and Toddler Teachers of Infinity Children's School
Upon completion of the parent education foundational course, the entire family continues their growth together in the toddler-parent class. Teachers demonstrate the use of behaviors and movements to satisfy children’s intrinsic and extrinsic needs, while satisfying parents’ desires to understand more about their children’s psychological development. As children interact with the people and objects in their surrounding, teachers carefully observe, providing guidance or changing the surroundings at the right times to nurture the children. The changes and guidance at appropriate times assist in building self-motivation, independence, concentration, perseverance, multiple intelligence, creativity, emotional stability, socialization, and willingness to contribute within the children. In addition, teachers serve as the bridge between children and parents by scaffolding parents’ understandings of theories and explanations behind their children’s behaviors.

(1b) Infant Community: The Wisdom of Observation
Daisy Lau
Education stems from the observation of life. It is the compass of education, especially in early childhood education.  Understanding early life will spark up rare and exceptional influence on human development. Shaping up a human and instilling humanity is the origin, root, and priority of education. The development of a human’s abilities towards normalization is the most paramount goal. Participant will first spend one hour observing toddlers in a Montessori classroom.  Using Montessori-based informal assessment as observation and record-keeping methods, an experienced Montessori directress-observer will provide analysis and discuss child development within sensory, movement and linguistics facets.  The discussion will inspire and provide practical application examples and suggestions to assist children’s growth and development.

(2) Infant Community: Demonstration of Infant and Toddler Teaching Materials by AMI teachers       
Teachers from Zhejiang Mroad Culture and Education: Chen Ying, Lian Chao
In order for children to self-explore and learn through objects within their grasp, the Montessori philosophy’s prepared environment and education materials are of utmost importance. Dr. Montessori and teachers of the method specialize in designing materials according to children’s internal needs. As children observe, discover, and explore plentiful yet orderly materials, they will learn to use their minds. How teachers use materials and demonstrate their contents and steps is equally important, so that children will not rely upon adults, but instead internalize the order independently.  “Help me to do it myself” is a paramount goal within Montessori education.

(3) Infant Community: Infant and Toddler Extension Works by AMS teachers
Infinity Children's School: Chan Hoi Man, Chan Po Shan, Halo Sze
In her later life, Dr. Montessori focused on 0-3 infant-toddler development. It is the responsibility of Montessori infant-toddler directresses to create extension learning materials according to Dr. Montessori’s philosophy, to ensure children’s spiritual and physical development in all areas, including adjustment to their own culture. Experienced toddler-infant directresses will share their ideas and inspirations for designing materials, demonstrate effective designs. These materials must be within the infant-toddler range of abilities, with slight changes that are achievable through appropriate scaffolding. They allow children’s abilities to manifest naturally, and allow children to enjoy the order of movements and understand the cause and effect of their work. This workshop is created with interactions and exchanges between participants and presenters.

Exhibition 1
Casa dei Bambini (Aged 3-6 Montessori Classroom) 
AMS & AMI Teachers from various educational organizations
This exhibition displays a standard Casa dei Bambini (3-6 years old Montessori Classroom). One of the highlights is the demonstration of Montessori teaching materials by AMS and AMI teachers, followed by the interactions with the conference participants and Q&A session. Meanwhile, AMS teachers from Hong Kong also display a series of Languages (Chinese and English) and Cultural extension works created according to the principles of Montessori Philosophy. It is the aim of this exhibition to bring a new sense of integration and togetherness to the conference.

Exhibition Two
Poster Session
A group of Montessori educators and organisations shares their recent research studies or experience on Montessori education through the medium of posters. The exhibitors include HKMRDA, The Education University of Hong Kong, Professor Michelle Lane-Barmapov, Japan Montessori Research Institute, Andreas Becker, Capital Education Institute, Dalian Hongmei Bilingual Kindergarten and Zhejiang Mroad Culture and Education, etc.

Exhibition 3
"Touching Moment" Photo Exhibition

Exhibition 4
Awakening the Sense of Art
Deng Chao and Liu Liwei
Using products of the universe, concept of the five elements, including gold, wood, water, fire and earth can awaken children’s sense of art. Children can put the different elements together into specific masterpieces when they interact with materials under the natural environment and know how to use Montessori teaching aids. What is important is the process of creating; it can achieve the exercise different muscle group and offer a sense of satisfaction through the manifestation of right brain information. Therefore, the product can be more recognized by others and develop into an aesthetic style, which becomes a catalyst that wakes up the passion of creating art within children. Teachers will display all kinds of children's works in a large space that indicates the East and West cultures in harmony amid diversity.

Closing Ceremony Guest

Prof. Zhu Jiaxiong
Executive Director and Academic Committee Member of the Chinese Society of Education (CSE), Chairman of Preschool Education Committee of CSE, Montessori Education Expert Committee Member of CSE, Tenured Professor and Doctoral Tutor of the East China Normal University, Expert Committee Member of the third National Teacher Education and Curriculum Resources of the Ministry of Education, Chairman of Mainland China Committee of Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association.

Ms. Chen Aidi
Chief Expert Member of Association Montessori Internationale (AMI)  China Affiliated Society, Montessori Education Expert Committee member of CSE, Special Expert appointed by Beijing Institute of Education

Montessori School Visits