Montessori Leaders Collaborative: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the VISION of the mlc?
A: The MLC envisions a future in which Montessori education is accessible to significantly more children across the United States, and in which Montessori educators have an equal and appropriate seat at the table with those individuals who make decisions for the nation’s children.
The MLC believes we can affect this best by promoting collaboration between and among the national Montessori leadership. The many national Montessori organizations have unique identities, and the MLC values those differences while seeing commonalities in our work. When the MLC convenes, its members model respectful and enthusiastic participation, as we would expect to see in our Montessori schools.
Q: Who determines the membership of the MLC?
A: The Trust for Learning, who underwrites the convening of the MLC, invites new members to join the group.
The question of membership in the MLC is a collaborative discussion among current MLC members and takes into consideration organizations represented, expertise of members, and needs of the group.
Q: Does the MLC have a decision-making structure?
A: The MLC is a collaborative, which means that the group generates ideas, suggestions, proposals, and projects that relate to increasing access to high-quality Montessori education for more children and families.
Several projects that have emerged from MLC convenings have been presented to funders and have received funding. The MLC is a volunteer working group, and each member is responsible for moving ideas or projects forward.
Q: HOW IS THE MLC ADDRESSING THE NEED FOR MONTESSORI-CREDENTIALED TEACHERS?
A: Supporting a larger and more diverse Montessori teacher pipeline is one of the priorities of the MLC.
The need to expand the pool of Montessori teachers is a frequent topic of discussion at MLC meetings, and initiatives to grow the teaching force are underway at the MLC and individually within the national Montessori organizations.
The MLC sees Montessori education at a crossroads with tremendous opportunities but also challenges. More children and families seek out Montessori education—in urban, suburban, and rural communities, and in private, charter, and public school systems—but we are challenged to provide a qualified Montessori teaching force to meet the demand. One example of cross-organizational collaboration to promote Montessori teaching as a career path that grew out of the MLC is Teach Montessori. This co-branded portal aims to provide accessible information for prospective Montessori teachers, including introductions to training sites and a job board to demonstrate the availability of employment.
Q: HOW IS THE MLC SUPPORTING THE MONTESSORI TEACHER WORKFORCE?
A: Support and professional development for current Montessori teachers is a frequent topic of discussion at MLC meetings.
In line with growing the pool of qualified Montessori teachers to support growing demand for Montessori education, members of the MLC also recognize a need to support Montessori teachers to ensure that our workforce is qualified, continuously improving, and content to remain in the field.
The Montessori community as a whole offers a variety of opportunities to support Montessori teachers. State or local Montessori groups provide an opportunity for networking and membership in a local Montessori professional community. Many of the organizations represented in the MLC offer professional development opportunities to support teachers, which include conferences, live and recorded webinars, and mentorship programs. Cross-organizational opportunities to provide professional development are a current topic of discussion between MLC members.
Q: HOW IS THE MLC ADDRESSING PUBLIC POLICY AND REGULATORY CHALLENGES IMPACTING THE MONTESSORI COMMUNITY?
A: One of the challenges—and opportunities—the Montessori community faces is the impact of federal and legislative education policies on high-quality Montessori programs.
An example of cross-organizational collaboration to promote policies to protect authentic Montessori implementation is the Montessori Public Policy Initiative (MPPI), a jointly funded venture of the American Montessori Society and the Association Montessori Internationale/USA, which grew out of the MLC. The MPPI’s mission is to create a groundswell of activism through the establishment and support of grassroots advocacy coalitions, working together toward the shared goal of advancing Montessori through public consensus, shared interests, and efforts at the local, state, and federal levels of public policy.
Q: WHAT IS THE MLC DOING TO EXPAND ACCESS TO HIGH-QUALITY MONTESSORI EDUCATION FOR ALL CHILDREN?
A: All members of the MLC share the belief that Montessori should be both accessible and successful for more children and families.
The MLC is deeply engaged in questions of serving our most vulnerable populations.
We recommend that you visit the Access Montessori website, which is devoted to providing high-quality zero-to-six Montessori programming in vulnerable communities and is an initiative that grew out of the MLC.
Additionally, many of the individual Montessori associations that are represented in the MLC have their own initiatives that support expanding access to Montessori education.