MEPI (Montessori Educational Programs International) was founded in 1995 by eight representatives of teacher education programs interested in promoting peace through authentic Montessori education and practice. MEPI offers educational programs across the US and in seven foreign countries, works in conjunction with MACTE (a training program), and MEPI has an annual conference that involves Montessorians from all over the world.
This Friday our school will be attending the annual MEPI conference. This tradition started way back in 2014 when my aunt, who is also a Montessorian, told me about the conference. I asked the school if we could attend and four of the lead teachers were able to go.
That first year was amazing. I felt so supported and aligned with my belief in the philosophy. Ms. Lisa (who some of you may remember as the legion that she is) and I decided that we too could present some of the workshops that we attended. We presented for the first time in 2015 and since then I’ve presented either solo or with a partner over ten different workshops. This year, I will be joined by many other fabulous teachers from our school who will also present!
I thought I’d share what our conference days look like, so you too can enjoy the fun we have!
Friday morning, we wake up early for a team building breakfast. Usually the people who are presenting that day are super nervous and are thankful for the pep talk from our co-workers (at least I always am!) After breakfast we gather with the rest of the conference attendees (in the 100’s) and hear our first guest speaker. They also take the time to do opening ceremonies and any sort of fun news that MEPI is achieving. I love hearing about all the legislation action that is happening to recognize and grow the Montessori philosophy.
We then move into our first workshop. Each workshop is about an hour and a half long. Some include activities, some are lectures, and some have “take-aways” that we can introduce into our classrooms or schools. In total there are three workshops on Friday, with a lunch sometime in the middle.
By the end of the day, we are all so tired, but we rally to have a whole school dinner hosted at one of the administrations rentals. During this time, we share what we’ve learned or found interesting in our workshops. There have often been passionate debates and presentations of topics, I LOVE THIS! Everyone knows I am SUPER passionate about Montessori.
Saturday is very similar with the addition of a Keynote speaker. This years Keynote is Christian Moore who wrote the book, “The Resilience Breakthrough: 27 Tools for Turning Adversary into Action.” I am going to show my bias and say that last years Keynote, Catherine McTamaney, was my absolute favorite. She wrote “The Tao of Montessori,” and I quote it daily.
This conference is so important and special to me and to all the staff members. We are so thankful to be able to attend annually.