Free Downloads! 

Click here!
(membership required)

Not a member?
Signup (It's free)


The Eco-kitchen, (courtesy of PCC Natural Markets)

Here is a great article to share with parents and staff! And it may even be something you could work into lesson.
Go to:


Going back in time!

Emilia Gomez of San Salvador, El Salvador is a student at UMA. As part of the UMA training, she has been recalling some of her own early childhood experiences. Emilia sends a precious photo of her and her sister when they were little in San Salvador. Thanks, Emilia, for giving us permission to do so. What a treat, as your evaluator, to go back in time with you, visually!

Trudy Shepard


Creative Art idea, submitted by Ann Mannie of Greenville, NC.

The following is a conversation Trudy and Ann had about the use of balloons:

Ann: My question to you is a safety issue. The project uses partially inflated balloons as a tool for painting. The children loved the bright colors and the squishy, bouncy feeling of the balloons and enjoyed mixing primary colors. I used helium balloons and only partially inflated the balloons so that they were less easy to pop, but I started to get concerned about balloons as a choking hazard with young children (and that they can be inhaled and not easily dislodged) so I have taken up the project for now. What are your thoughts about balloons in the classroom with young children?

Trudy: I am aware of the standard warnings on latex balloons for children under 8 years old. I am very big on safety, however, I believe this balloon Art exercise poses no threat to children. First, no primary-aged child is going to be tempted swallow a balloon with paint on it. Second, the Montessori classroom is all about observation. An adult is always aware of who is working with the balloons and observing. Any child working on this particular Art exercise will have had a proper demonstration, which could include a “safety warning.” Naturally, you would not put this activity out until the class was normalized. If we carried each “safety issue” to the extreme, then certainly we would have to remove all knives, sewing needles, magnets, marbles, small beads, glassware, etc. from the Montessori classroom. In this case, the three balloons sitting in paint are just fine!

Thanks for your reassurance about the balloons in the classroom. My daughters agreed with you, saying that if we have knives and pin punching tools in the classroom, we should be able to handle balloons also! That said, I feel comfortable with the balloons and will use that as my art activity. 

So, readers...what do you think? We welcome your comments!


Seven Essential Traits of Leaders (cont.)

Leaders must be a member of the group and share in the group's basic values and goals. This does not imply that to lead one must fraternize or be informally friendly with the group. Acting as if no differences in responsibility and status exist between you and the group may decrease your effectiveness as a leader.

 This can be a fine line to walk. You must be member of the group in the sense that you identify with your employees and they identify with you. If you move too far from the group, you will lose your leadership. To be a leader, you must be identified by your employees as a group member. At the same time, you must not become "one of the guys or girls" to the extent that you submerge your position and status. This means that you should be sociable, friendly, and helpful, but not necessarily an intimate friend of each or any of the members of the group.

This has a great deal to do with boundaries which is worth exploring. Make a mental assessment of the boundaries you have within your group or school staff. Perhaps even with parents of students.


Seven Essential Traits of Leaders (cont.)

Integrity is another important quality of good leadership. The effective leader firmly adheres to his or her code of values. This does not mean that the leader is an inflexible person; to the contrary, effective leaders are often highly flexible and willing to compromise on many issues. However, effective leaders will not compromise when their core code of values are challenged. 

Integrity is important for two reasons. Adhering to a code of values is essential to an individual's self-worth. Without self-worth, an individual cannot lead effectively. Producing movement and change frequently results in a barrage of challenges to the leader's role, expertise, and value to the organization. Without self-worth, it is unlikely that the leader will "survive" the barrage. Secondly, people expect leaders to operate on a high ethical plane; if a leader shows a lack of integrity, it is unlikely that the leader's people will follow the leader for long.


Teacher Position Opening in Portland, Oregon

Founded in 1964, Providence Montessori School is the oldest school in the northwest. We have an opening for one A.M.I. lower elementary guide for the 2009-10 school year, providing a dynamic opportunity to participate in building our first elementary program. You could join our team of dedicated A.M.I. certified staff, currently guiding a vibrant program of 7 primary classrooms serving 140 children ages 2 1/2 - 6 years of age.

Our school is located in Portland, Oregon, a green eco-friendly city situated between the beautiful beaches and mountains known for its natural beauty and livability. As a member of the Providence team, you will work in a mission-driven environment that encourages diversity and personal growth and fosters our core values of Respect, Compassion, Justice, Excellence, and Stewardship.

Providence is committed to the A.M.I. Montessori philosophy. The ideal candidate must be ready to assume the undertaking of a start-up lower elementary classroom, demonstrating initiative, leadership, classroom management and organizational skills. In addition, the ability to problem solve, communicate effectively with parents, children, staff and parent advisory board is needed. The position requires a B.A., A.M.I elementary certification and at least three years experience. Other requirements are listed on our website. We offer a competitive salary package including comprehensive benefits and perks.

If you are interested please apply (and attach resume) online at, Job #45895.

For more information feel free to contact Karen Ito, Recruiter, at 503-215-7410 (direct) or 1-877-564-6747 (ask for Karen) or

Also posted at:


Seven Essential Traits of Leaders (cont.)

How is your Drive?

People who provide effective leadership always seem to have above average energy levels, often much above average. They appear to thrive on achieving something important and being in a position to influence others to achieve. This inner drive is often associated with high personal standards, a certain dissatisfaction with the status quo, and a tendency to push for continuing improvements and achievement of goals. Observers often sense this restless ambition after being with leaders for only a short time. 
A strong internal drive to achieve and succeed is probably essential, simply because leadership can be absolutely exhausting. The hours are long. The problems can be huge. Yet it may take sustained effort for years to accomplish the kinds of change associated with leadership. It is difficult to imagine people with less than a high level of internal drive handling the long hours required and the problems encountered over such a long period of time.

Suggestion: do an assessment of both your body and mind. How do you feel physically? Are you getting enough exercise? Diet? Is your mind cluttered with too many details that you lack concentration. Again, do a personal assessment, take notes and come up with a plan. Then share it with others who should know of your personal changes of habit, who can encourage you and allow you the space you need to make what may be significant changes in you.


Seven Essential Traits of Leaders (cont.)

The "considerate leader" helps in very practical ways, explaining actions, giving detailed instruction, and seeking to improve working conditions for his or her employees. Considerate leaders are not necessarily warm and sympathetic, but they are concerned when employees encounter problems and barriers on the job.

 It will enhance your capacity for leadership if you develop your ability to be considerate in ways that your employees find practical and helpful. An example of consideration would be assisting an employee who is tied up in "red tape" and is uncertain about what to do. It is important that you be aware of the difficulties that may confront your employees, and that you are both willing and able to help them overcome these difficulties.



Seven Essential Traits of Leaders (cont.)

The second is Emotional Stability

A quality exhibited by many good leaders is having a stable emotional outlook especially in times of crisis. With few exceptions, the great leaders in history have exhibited the ability to control their emotions in the face of immense situations and problems.

Winston Churchill, George Washington, Napoleon, and Robert E. Lee were each viewed by their contemporaries as "islands of calm" during the heat of battle.

 Women such as Rosa Parks, Indira Ghandi and Margaret Thatcher- demonstrated a keen mix of intelligence, humility and inner strength.

Why is emotional control important? Consider two people who lose emotional control during an argument. Both lose objectivity. Both say and do things that they later regret. Nothing is accomplished except alienation. Unfortunately this scenario is probably repeated thousands of times each day in the business world. The effective leader, however, keeps his or her emotions in check, thereby remaining in a position to make intelligent decisions, accomplish positive results, and serve as an "anchor" for his or her group during times of change or crisis.

Question: does your administrative and teaching team at school see you as the calm voice of reason even in the midst of chaos?


Seven Essential Traits of Leaders

Often we get caught up in the day to day routine of managing our schools that we forget our role as leader. So for the next seven blog posts, UMA will take a look at some of the essential characteristics of leaders.

The first is EMPATHY.

To be empathetic, you have to be aware of the needs of your teachers and other employees, and sensitive to and active in meeting these needs. It involves anticipating the needs and behaviors of your team ( more on being a team later), becoming in effect a "facilitator of change" for them. The more your employees see you as one who effectively deals with problems and seeks opportunities for growth in yourself and others, the more they will be motivated to help you. Empathy enables you to more effectively influence and help individual employees. Empathy also will help you to encourage mutually helpful relations among group members and to win support for positive group effort.

Related subjects to consider: active listening, dealing with anger or frustration, honesty with humility, understanding.