I am always in awe when I step into a Montessori classroom and see the purposeful endeavors of the children – their joyful smiles, concentrated connections to the environment, and especially, their ever emerging sense of self – a self not in isolation, but always in relation to others. My experience in Montessori environments, whether classrooms, lecture halls, or training centers, has provided me a similar sense of self – and a deep appreciation of my connection to others with a shared passion.
That connection is one not bound by time, as we – and life – are part of a continuum that has gone on before us and will continue when we are gone. I was privileged to have been invited by Ann Neubert to join the inaugural team of instructors, some who continue as core instructors, for the inception of NMI in 1984. The many instructors who are now or have been with NMI over the past many years are the backbone of NMI, whose dedication and professionalism continues the legacy of excellence first established by Ann and the initial team of instructors.
Since Ann’s untimely death in 1990, I took on the role of Program Director, and also inherited, together with Linda Seeley, the role of co-chair of the AMS National Congress, which Ann had graciously taken on that year. This came immediately following having moved back to my home state of Maine to raise our family. Such is often the case that one’s life journey does not go as anticipated or planned! This was soon to become true again when I received an invitation to come to Beijing, China to do teacher training at the International Montessori School of Beijing (IMSB) – the first Montessori school in Beijing. This, in turn, lead to the founding of an NMI additional location for Early Childhood certification – the first AMS affiliated course in mainland China.
Additional invitations were to present themselves, leading to new NMI certification programs on the South Shore of Massachusetts, northern Virginia, South Carolina, the island of Saipan, Shanghai, and the first AMS Early Childhood course in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is not always easy to balance dividing ones time on different continents, but the opportunity to bring Montessori education to other cultures and countries is both a privilege and a pleasure, though no greater one than that of the longstanding consistency of providing quality Montessori certification and enrichment opportunities at NMI’s primary location on the North Shore of Massachusetts, and elsewhere at home in America.
As my husband, Donald, has said, “though the familiar path has ended, the journey continues”. If you have shared my path previously, I honor you; if you are sharing my path now, I celebrate you; if you are contemplating our paths joining, I welcome you! As you follow your own path, I wish you well. (below: Martha with some past and present NMI Instructors along the path…)