Montessori Florida Coalition 2021

Registration is now Open

MFC 2021 Virtual Event

“The Child Beckons”

February 6 – February 10

Five Speakers Prerecorded sessions released daily

Available for viewing all day for your convenience

Registration is now open!

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Early Bird Registration ends January 31, 2021


February 7, 2021 Speakers

Judy Dempsey

“Preparing the Emotional Environment in a Montessori Classroom”
Target Audience: ALL
This presentation will focus on ways to create a healthy and thriving emotional prepared environment in a Montessori classroom at any level. Dr. Montessori stressed to all of us how important it is to create positive, healthy prepared environments for our students. This includes the emotional environment. Many times, so much emphasis is placed on preparing the physical environment, without much thought or preparation for the emotional atmosphere. Just as with any other skill in life, it takes practice and intention to improve in any area that needs strengthening. Dr. Montessori would want us to continue to develop in a well-rounded way, which necessitates including this very important aspect of personal development.
About the Presenter:
Judy Dempsey has been a Montessori educator for 41 years. She has owned and operated Summit-Questa Montessori School in Davie, Florida for the past 26 years. The school serves children from the ages of 18 months through 8thgrade. The beautiful 10-acre campus has native habitats, numerous gardens, a wetland preserve, a mini-barnyard, outdoor fields, a gymnasium and two pools. The school is also the site of Summit Montessori Teacher Training Institute, an accredited teacher training center affiliated with the American Montessori Society. Judy is co-director of this training center and has been instrumental in training hundreds of Montessori teachers in the state of Florida since 2003.
As an innovative educator, Judy has served on numerous educational boards in Florida. She held the position of 1stVice President and Director of Accreditation for five years on the board of the Association of Independent Schools of Florida, a Florida state organization that accredits private schools and recognizes prominent educators. Judy was awarded the 2016-2017 Richard and Dorothy Lear Distinguished Educator of the Year- the highest honor given by the Association of Independent Schools of Florida. This award, named for the founders of the Lear School in Miami, recognizes the distinguished career of Judy Dempsey and her continuous efforts to provide a quality education to the children of South Florida.
Judy is the author of Turning Education Inside Out: Confessions of a Montessori Principal, which is now available world-wide through traditional book retailers. It was an educational bestseller on Amazon. In her informative and engaging bestseller, she details her over 40 years of experience with the Montessori philosophy as a Montessori educator, administrator, school owner, and teacher trainer. She shows the impact that the Montessori experience has on the developing child, clears up misconceptions about exactly what Montessori is, and helps prospective parents determine if Montessori is right for their child.

Geoffrey Bishop

“Stepping out now more than ever”
Target Audience: ALL
In times of COVID-19 the outdoors has become far more important for the health and safety of the child. Using your outdoor environment as much as possible will not only keep your students safer but will give them a sense of freedom that at this time, with all the restrictions, the indoor environment may not be able to do. We will delve into some ideas and ways to structure your outdoor environments to facilitate learning and experiences. I will show you all that we have done in our school to support students being outside as much as possible and yet still continuing with their work.
About the Presenter:
Geoffrey Bishop hails from the bush in North West NSW, Australia. After his childhood spent on the sheep station he went to an agricultural boarding school for five years then to University in both Sydney and Melbourne where he Studied Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.
For the next 10 years he traveled the world, visiting over 100 countries, where he spent most of his time trekking in rural areas, learning cultures and understanding his place in the world.
In 1996 Geoffrey started Nature’s Classroom Institute Environmental Education program. NCI is a residential program serving Montessori schools in Wisconsin, Illinoi, Indiana, Texas, California and Florida. 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. The program serves over 4,000 students a year and includes over 90 Montessori schools.
After developing a strong academic and environmental outdoor based curriculum, he formed Nature’s Classroom Institute Montessori School in 2002 that models the core philosophy of Montessori with a marriage to his environmental principles.
Nature’s Classroom Institute and Montessori school is based on 140 acre property in a small rural community of Mukwonago, WI. Geoffrey’s focus over the past years has been on organics and sustainability in schools and promoting getting children back outdoors and helping adults understand the importance of instinctive play in the nature world.
Geoffrey has lectured throughout Asia and across the United States, he is Chair of the Montessori Life Editorial Advisory Board for AMS and past chair of the Wisconsin Montessori Association. His works have been published in professional publications and his nature and outdoor curriculum “Montessori Science for the Elementary” is used in both public and private Montessori schools across the country.

Susan Tracy McDaniel


“Trusting Infant and Toddlers”



Adults often worry about infants and toddlers. Adults may believe that the youngest children can’t do anything for themselves and that we must do everything for them. In this session, Susan will remind you that, as we observe, trust replaces worry. We can see the capability of children rather than seeing them as helpless. This helps us to avoid over-helping and interfering.


Susan Tracy McDaniel has worked with infants, toddlers, parents and educators since 1989. She teaches observation in several teacher education courses, and to parents. Susan is instructor in AMS’s Instructor Academy. She mentors others to start Parent-Infant programs in their communities on four continents and her dream is that parents everywhere would have access to the support we can offer through Montessori.

Melissa Regalado


“Early Childhood Music Instruction, Dance and Sing-Along”

Target Audience:

Early Childhood

Experience a variety of music activities for line time. These activities include transition songs, books presented in a music format, beginning music theory and cultural dances.

About the Presenter:

Melissa Regalado is a teacher/directress at Coral Reef Montessori Academy. She has a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Miami. Ms. Regalado received an Early Childhood Credential in 2016 from the Montessori Teacher Training Institute at Alexander Montessori.

Karen Simon

Spanish Speaking Audience Presenter


“Justicia Social A Través De La Educación Dual”

Target Audience: ALL

Justicia Social A Través De La Educación Dual

Este taller tiene como objetivo profundizar la capacidad y pericia de maestros Montessori que sirven a niños hispanohablantes en salones bilingües. Con un enfoque en el desarrollo del lenguaje, la alfabetización dual, una enseñanza culturalmente relevante y globalmente competente y fuertes conexiones familiares, presentaremos ideas de cómo desarrollar en niños hispanohablantes un fuerte y sano orgullo en su herencia y cómo involucrar a los padres y familiares en este empeño.

Este taller está basado en un curso presentado por el National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector.

Karen Simon ha sido educadora Montessori por más de 25 años, enseñando a niños de 2 ½ a 12 años, así como a adultos. Nació y creció en Venezuela y ha vivido en Estados Unidos desde 1975. Karen tiene credenciales AMS para la Casa de Niños y Taller I-II. Ha trabajado en la formación de maestros en los tres niveles y actualmente está involucrada en hacer que la educación de maestros Montessori sea más accesible en español. Es miembro de la facultad de varios programas de formación de docentes Montessori, presidenta de la Junta Directiva de MACTE y consultora educativa.


Social Justice Through Bilingual Education

This workshop aims to deepen the capacity and expertise of Montessori teachers serving Spanish-speaking children in bilingual classrooms. With a focus on language development, dual literacy, culturally relevant and globally competent teaching, and strong family connections, we will present ideas on how to develop a strong and healthy pride in their heritage in Spanish-speaking children and how to involve parents and family members in this endeavor.

This workshop is based on a course presented by the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector.

Karen Simon has been a Montessori educator for over 25 years, teaching children 2 ½ – 12 years old, as well as adults. She was born and raised in Venezuela and has lived in the United States since the mid-1970’s. Karen holds AMS credentials for Early Childhood and Elementary I-II. She has worked in teacher education at all three levels and is currently involved in making Montessori teacher education more accessible in Spanish. She is a faculty member of several teacher education programs, Chair of the MACTE Board of Directors, as well as an educational consultant.


AMS Professional Development hours, and CEUS

In-service hours and AMS professional development hours will be provided after the conference via e-mail. You must view the full workshop for it to count towards your hours. Hours will be provided according to the workshops and hours that you attended.

Continue Education Units (CEUS) will be available after the conference for purchase. An application form and a link will be sent via email after the conference to those that qualify.

10 hours equal to 1 CEU. The cost is $25.00 per CEU.



Each year at the conference, Florida Montessori educators are recognized with an Award of Honor for 25 plus years of experience in Montessori education. If you know of someone who falls into this category and has not yet been recognized, we would love to honor them!

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Judy Dempsey at

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