"Never let a child risk failure until he has a reasonable chance of success."
     - Maria Montessori

MSM Annual Conference

30 Years of Connecting Montessori Schools

MSM is pleased to be able to offer a high quality conference experience for schools in the Massachusetts area. The most important part of attending the MSM Annual Conference is the valuable information you take home to your community. The ideas and strategies you learn from workshops, roundtables, speakers, and exhibitors can be implemented back home in your own school.

2017 Annual Conference will be January 7, 2017


Take your thinking to a higher level...share your research and wealth of knowledge and experience at this year's MSM Annual Conference! Your work in Montessori and early childhood education is of great value; this is your opportunity to inform and inspire your community!

Submitting a proposal: Submit your proposal for the 2017 Annual Conference. All proposals should reflect research and/or practical experience that is innovative, well-grounded, and consistent with the principles of a Montessori education. Proposals must be submitted online. MSM will inform you of your status regardless if the proposal is accepted or not.

The online proposal form provides detailed instructions on how to complete a submission. Workshops run for 75 minutes.

If your proposal is selected, you will be automatically registered for the conference at no cost to you. You will also be given an honorarium of $200 for your presentation.

No Sales policy: MSM's policy is that presenters may not sell products in session rooms. Presenters are not permitted to sell products before, during or after their session at the Annual Conference. If you would like to purchase a booth in MSM's Exhibit Hall, please contact Susan Swift at susanswift@northamptonmontessori.org

Questions: Please e-mail Don Grace at

Keynote Speaker for 2017, David Sobel

David Sobel is Senior Faculty in the Education Department at Antioch University New England in Keene, NH. He consults and speaks widely on child development and place-based education with schools, environmental organizations and the National Park Service. He has authored eight books and more than 60 articles focused on children and nature for educators, parents, environmentalists and school administrators in the last 30 years.

He has served on the editorial boards of Encounter, Community Works Journal and Orion Afield and writes a regular column for Community Works Journal. His articles and essays have appeared in Orion, Encounter, Sierra, Sanctuary, Wondertime, Green Teacher, Play Rights, Educational Leadership and the Harvard Education Letter. He has written chapters included in Father Nature; Stories from Where We Live-The North Atlantic Coast; Place-based Education in a Global Age; and The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion. His most recent books are Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens published by Redleaf and Wild Play, Parenting Adventures in the Great Outdoors soon to be republished by Green Writers Press.

He was recognized as one of the Daring Dozen educational leaders in the United States in 2007 by Edutopia magazine. He lives in the Monadnock region of southwestern New Hampshire and is committed to cold water swimming, the exploration of landscape nooks and crannies and to joyfully embracing the gift of life on earth.

Keynote Topic, Place Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities Through Outdoor and Environmental Study for All Ages

Place Based education is described an educational approach that draws on local history, culture, economics, environment, and circumstances as a curriculum source, sometimes with the explicit goal of connecting students to their community and thereby promoting citizenship, entrepreneurship, community sustainability, or environmental stewardship

"David strongly believes that we must cultivate the wonder of nature in childhood. William Wadsworth suggested that the natural world is "appareled with celestial light" in childhood. By that he means that nature is perceived differently by children than by adults. Furthermore, I believe that there is a critical period in middle childhood when children are biologically programmed to bond with the natural world. He believes that if this bonding occurs, it sets the individual on a path of environmental values and commitment. Therefore, parents and educators should take advantage of this openness in childhood and provide frequent opportunities for children to adventurously be at-one in nature."

David is familiar with Montessori pedagogy and will provide examples at each age grouping level. His talk will include theory, research, and practical examples & may include several videos of different age groupings working on an environmental project. This topic will resonate with all levels as environmental education is a topic all Montessorians embrace. The talk will integrate a large body of work that David has invested his career in researching, writing, practicing as a parent and teaching to college students and presenting to pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, community educators, parents of pre-school children through high school. David is a provocative and detailed writer; is invested in assuring his audiences that there are many practical ways to achieve the following goals: of connecting children to nature; engaging them in age appropriate constructive activities; and providing the foundations for responsible environmental behavior.


The facilities at Dean College in Franklin, MA, have been so wonderful more than three years that we are returning to Dean College again this year. Centrally located and easily accessible, Dean College's light-filled, modern, well-equipped facilities have helped provide a comfortable and nurturing learning environment for teachers....especially at lunch. The conference will be held in their campus center at 109 West Central Street Franklin, MA 02038 - if you are using a GPS please use this address as it will bring you directly to the conference building. Any other address used will take your elsewhere on campus. Click here for a map of the Dean College campus.


The flow of the day, at this time, is as follows:

Registration, 8:30
Raffle, Continental Breakfast and Vendors
Welcome Address, 9:00
Keynote Speaker, 9:15-10:45
Morning Workshops, 11:00-12:15
Lunch, 12:30-1:30
Afternoon Workshops, 1:30-2:45


The Annual MSM Conference provides your company with an outstanding opportunity to display your products and services to the largest gathering of Montessorians in the state. Our over 400 attendees are the leaders and decision makers, as well as users of materials, from schools across New England. They come to network, attend more informative sessions, and would love to learn about how your products or services can be used at their schools. Are you interested in being a vendor? Click here for more details.


In response to member comments after the 2008 Annual Conference we have created this section of the site for Keynote and workshop handouts and PowerPoint presentations. Presenters will be given the option to post their information here either before or after the conference date. All materials are provided in PDF, which can be viewed with Adobe Reader.

If information from a workshop is not listed on this page please contact the presenter directly with questions. MSM does not have copies of presenter materials available.

2016 Presentation Material
Effectively Integrating Reading
Resources for Mindfulness Zentangle
Zentangle Lesson Plan MA grades 3-6
Using Zentangle to Enhance Mindfulness in the Classroom Notes