Guest Post by Peter Davidson
The seeds of MAA were planted when AMI-USA began to include administrators in the refresher course weekend. We looked around at each other and recognized common questions, common concerns, and common experiences. We also began to see that our movement had come of age, that we had wisdom and support to offer one another, as well as resources to offer in support of spreading the word about Montessori.
After the refresher course in 2004, someone created a distribution list of all of the participants’ email addresses, and sent out an email. Thus began a flood of email exchanges. After the 2005 Refresher Course, the new participants’ email addresses were added to the distribution list, and the conversations from 2004 and 2005 were archived into one document, indexed by topic, a task that was repeated in 2006.
By the time of the Centenary Refresher Course in San Francisco in 2007, the energy had emerged to build upon this email group and create an organization that would respond to administrators’ needs. There was a meeting held in the restaurant of the conference hotel, and a group began to coalesce that would become the founding Board of Directors of MAA. One of the first acts of this group was to convert the email distribution list, which had grown long and unwieldy, into the Google discussion group that still serves us today.
That summer, there was a successful summer Retreat for Montessori administrators held in Portland, even before an organization had been formalized to run it. It set the pattern for one of the primary functions of MAA going forward, to provide a venue and program for administrators to gather in the summer to talk, bond, relax and refresh ourselves.
That fall, a prolonged discussion ensued on the Google site, as to what the purposes and membership of this new organization should be. By the next Refresher Course, MAA was ready to announce itself, to incorporate and develop By-laws, to accept memberships, and to run its first official summer retreat as an organization.
Since then, MAA has been recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. The summer retreat has become an annual event, coordinated with the North American Montessori Teachers Association (NAMTA) summer workshop for new Montessori administrators. MAA has been invited to provide the content for the final day of the administrators portion of Annual AMI-USA Refresher Course. MAA has been the catalyst for increasing cooperation and coordination between all of the U.S. affiliates of the Association Montessori Internationale, including AMI-USA, NAMTA, and AMI-EAA.
We are most excited about our new website, mariamontessori.com, which aims to spread the word of Dr. Montessori’s insight about the nature of childhood to new parents, by deliberately targeting a younger audience through social networking and emerging technologies.
As you can see from this brief history, MAA is an organization that has arisen organically in responses to the needs of schools and administrators. We welcome all Montessori administrators who support our goals to join us in this critically important and never ending work. We strongly believe that in the child rests the best hope for a better future, and that Montessori represents the one tried and tested methodology for unlocking the potential of children to create that better future.
Peter Davidson was the founding Head at the Montessori School of Beaverton, an AMI school in Portland and currently serves as consultant for Montessori in Redlands, an AMI school in Southern California.