Updated: Feb 19, 2022
“A unique type of child appears, a ‘new child’; but really it is the child’s true ‘personality’ allowed to construct itself normally…. Once the child begins to concentrate, … [caprice, disorder, timidity, sloth, and extra-social behavior] disappear, and there remains only one type [of child] which has the characteristics [of concentration, work, discipline, sociability, and super-social behavior]…. The loss of all these superficial defects is not brought about by an adult, but by the child himself…. It is the most important single result of our whole work. The transition from one state to the other always follows a piece of work done by the hands with real things, work accompanied by mental concentration.”
- Montessori. The Absorbent Mind, pp. 203-204
Foundations for Inclusion Trisha Wilingham (NCMPS)
A Montessori Model for Inclusion by Joachim Dattke
Brian Berger and Dena AuCoin combine their special education and Montessori expertise to provide a detailed, insightful synthesis of a wide range of essential inclusion components. They compare pros and cons of contracting with special education service providers as consultants versus hiring full-time special educators. They review key issues including student self-determination, staff training, program development and implementation, and collaboration.
Special educator and Montessori Andree Rolfe describes four essential components of the intersection between Montessori and special education: implications of high incidence disabilities in Montessori environments, tensions between Montessori education and special education, current best practices for special education in Montessori environments, and the importance of pursuing new information and practices to stay current in special education. A graphic that represents the intersection of special eduction and Montessori is particularly insightful and will be a great aid to readers.
Jacqueline Cossentino and Elizabeth Slade take readers through a detailed explanation of a child study process that is rooted in Montessori principles and particularly effective in charter school settings. The authors describe their chapter as follows: A growing array of early intervention models aimed toward addressing diverse learning needs and developmental challenges prior to special education identification are gaining prominence in education policy and practice. Such models are grounded in principles central Montessori pedagogy, including mixed-age grouping, differentiation and ongoing child study. In addition to snoring Montessori's legacy of personalized, inclusive education, early intervention models of promising approaches to building both institutional and individual instructional capacity, enabling Montessori educators to more effectively follow not just the theoretical child, but all children.
Montessori special educator and consultant Christine Lowry shares her insightful vision for multi-tiered systems of support. She addresses current approaches to organizing levels of support in Montessori prepared environments. Her thoughtful attention to nurturing independence is particularly reassuring for guides struggling to apply interventions. Lower encourages guides and administrators to "prevent rather than react" by preparing, managing, and guiding learners with exceptionalities.
Ann Epstein suggests that teachers need to "make peace" with each child's present level of performance, rather than seeing academic and behavioral difficulties as insurmountable problems. Discovering "what works" can then become a positive, even exciting process. Epstein offers an array of Montessori-friendly supports for children with learning and behavioral challenges. She describes how social stories, memory guides, writing strategies, self-regulation procedures, sensory diets, and additional supports can be implemented with authenticity for children from Early Childhood through Lower Elementary levels.
by Kaleigh Donnelly (Arete)
>> IEP Overview
Special Education Framework (TN DOE)
Early Childhood Inclusion (NAEYC)
Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs (US Department of Health and Human Services)
Curated Toolkits on Learning Differences/Neuro-Diversity
The UDL Guidelines are a tool used in the implementation of Universal Design for Learning - a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn.
Support and Resources for Educators
Montessori Strategies for Children with Learning Differences
Montessori Strategies for Children with Learning Differences - The MACAR Model Joyce S. Pickering with Sylvia O. Richardson
Summarizes the life and work of Dr. Maria Montessori and notes the effectiveness her educational method for all children. The philosophy of Montessori, Piaget, and other constructionists is explained.
Offers a brief description of the Montessori integrated curriculum. The nine basic disciplines encompassed by the Montessori curriculum are described. These content areas and disciplines are interwoven with Montessori teaching strategies as introductory information for those not trained as Montessori educators.
This chapter describes Dr. Montessori's understanding of the Four Planes of Development for the "typical" child and then considers the differences in development found in children with language learning differences and varying exceptionalities. Definitions of learning differences, disabilities, borders, and exceptionalities are clarified. The rate and frequency of learning differences and related disorders are presented. Signs of learning and attention differences are described at various ages and stages from early childhood to adulthood.
This chapter present Montessori techniques from the training course, Montessori Applied to Children at Risk for Learning Differences (MACAR). These techniques enhance learning for students with learning differences and varying exceptionalities that can be combined with the Montessori approach.
Strategies to Support Concentration Annette Haines
Annette Haines provides a comprehensive overview of concentration across the planes. She first lays the foundation for thinking about student engagement: It must be understood that concentration is found through the interest of the child, which is guided by the sensitive periods. When we understand the child's development in this way, we can offer the most likely "hooks" to catch the child's interest and create engagement. Haines offers examples of hooks at each plane. Along the way she weaves in the science of the brain to further enhance understanding of the development of the yound child and to reinforce the "why" behind behavior.
Executive Functions & Self-Regulation (EF/SR)
>> Executive Functioning: Part 1 - The 10 Executive Functions by Kaleigh Donnelly (Arete)
>> Executive Functioning: Part 2 - Strategies and Interventions & Reference Tools by Kaleigh Donnelly (Arete)
>> Lectures 21, 30 & 31: Montessori, M. (2012). The 1946 London Lectures. A.M. Haines (Ed). Montessori-Pierson Publishing Company.
>> Chapters 19 & 20: Montessori, M. (1995). The Absorbent Mind. Macmillan.
>> Quade, L.G. (2011). Enhancement of Executive Function in the Prepared Environment. Communications 2011/12. AMI. 42 - 53.
>> Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. (2014). Activities Guide: Enhancing and practicing executive function skills with children from infancy to adolescence.
>> Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. (2012). In Brief: Executive Function: Skills for Life and Learning.
from Sensory Processing Disorder: Effective Evidence-Based Approaches that Work. 2008. Presentation for PESE by Dr. Susan Fralick-Ball, PsyD, MSN, CH, CLNC
Normalization & Deviations
>>Montessori, M. (1995). Ch. 19: The Child's Contribution to Society - Normalization The Absorbent Mind. Henry Holt & Company.
Accommodations & Modifications
>> The Difference between Accommodations and Modifications and Common Accommodations & Modifications in Schools (Understood: We are the lifelong guide for those who learn and think differently.)
>> Adaptations, Extensions, Modifications and Strategies - 9 Critical Steps Needed to Plan a Lesson that Reaches at Risk Students (Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services)
>> Step by Step: Breaking Learning Down Using Behavioral Psychology by Harry Fletcher-Wood
Trauma Informed Practices
>> What makes for resilient children? Introduction to the Attachment Village. Summay of maturation and attachment research by psychologist Gordon Neufeld, synthesized by Bob Nardo.
>> Harris, N.B. (2014). How childhood trauma affects health across the lifetime. [TEDMED]
>> Common Trauma Symptoms in Students and Helpful Strategies for Educators. Institute of Education Sciences
>> Perry, B.D. (n.d.) Stress, Trauma and the Brain - Insights for Educators.
Episode 1: The Neurosequential Model. The Neurosequential Model in Education, based on an understanding of the structure and sequential nature of the brain, can help educators increase their students’ engagement in learning and mitigate behavioral problems. Listen as Dr. Perry describes the model and its significant impact on how we interact with our students, our own children, and each other.
Episode 2: How Stress Impacts Brain Function. Stress is a natural part of life and we experience it daily. However, we don’t often think about what stress does to our brain, our ability to learn new concepts, get along with others, or recall information. Dr. Perry discusses the impact of stress on students and teachers, and explains how creating a safe, secure environment is critical to allowing students to reach their full potential.
Episode 3: The Power of Connection. Relationships are essential to human life. Research demonstrates that when teachers establish a true empathic connection with students, they are able to engage and reengage students in learning, and actually heal and grow children’s brains. Dr. Perry discusses the important role relationships have in learning, and gives us practical ways to do this in the school setting.
Episode 4: Regulating Yourself and Your Classroom. Human beings are social creatures, and because of that, our moods and personalities are extremely contagious to one another. Dr. Perry explains how students and teachers can often impact each other’s mood and brain function, and shares effective classroom strategies that help keep students and adults calm and regulated, decrease behavior challenges, and improve academic engagement.
Episode 5: Educator Strategies for the Classroom. Research shows that traditional behavioral modification techniques and full reliance on rewards and consequences are often ineffective with the students who need it the most. Dr. Perry lays out several easy-to-implement strategies for teachers and their classrooms, resulting in a significant impact on the overall social, emotional, and academic functioning of the students.
>> How Trauma Manifests in the Classroom - Resource List by The Institute for Anti-Racist Education
>> Puvis, K.B, et. al. (2013). Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI): A Systemic Approach to Complex Developmental Trauma. Child Youth Services. 34(4). 360 - 386.
Culturally Responsive Practices
Introduction to Child Study
>> Arete Child Study Guide by Marviesta Crider
>> Child Study Process Overview by Marviesta Crider
NCMPS/Arete Tools for Referral
>> Arete Child Study Referral (Primary)
>> Arete Child Study Referral (Elementary)
>> Information Gathering (NCMPS)
NCMPS Tools for the Family Meeting
>> NCMPS Child Study Family Meeting Form (example)
Arete Tools for Family Engagement
>> Child Study Check-In (Example)
NCMPS Tools for the Child Study Meeting
>> Child Study Meeting (example) [video: pw - arete]
>> Child Summary Form (template)
>> Intervention Brainstorm (template)
>> Intervention Brainstorm (example)
>> Action Plan
>> Action Plan (example)
>> Talbert, Sunny Day. (2020). Inclusion of Special Needs Students in a Montessori Elementary Classroom. Retrieved from Sophia, the St. Catherine University repository website: https://sophia.stkate.edu/maed/382
This study project was designed to study the effectiveness of implementations to aid in the successful inclusion of special needs students in a Montessori elementary classroom. This study also looked at the impacts that inclusion has on special-needs students. This study took place in a small Montessori upper elementary classroom of fourth through sixth grade in the southern United States. The implementations included self=control building, self-regulating and calming activities, Grace and Courtesy lessons, team building activities and oral reading, discussions and journal entries of Wonder (Palacio, 2021). Data was collected using student journals, an observational tally, researcher's field journal, discussion notes and parent pre, mid, and post surveys. The findings indicate there is a correlation of use of the implementations and a reduction of inappropriate interactions. It is recommended that future studies focus on a larger subject base as well as a more longitudinal period of implementations and data collection.
Nurturing children and youth who develop differently than their peers can make our hearts soar and bring us enormous depths of frustration. Ann's presentation will identify key factors that contribute to the joys and challenges of guiding learners with exceptionalities. We will investigate principles of effective inclusion that apply to learners of all ages and identify Montessori-friendly supports for several aspects of difficult behaviors: tantrums and meltdowns (toddlers and primary), non-compliance (El1-2), and anxiety (early adolescence).