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2021 BC Montessori PSA (BCMTPSA) Annual Conference:

Montessori & Storytelling

Friday, October 22, 2021

Virtual Conference (Online)


Registration is Open Now!

Conference Agenda


8:30am - PSA President

Welcome & Acknowledgements


8:45 - Keynote: Michael Dorer


9:45 - Break - Virtual Exhibitor Hall Opens


10:00 - Session 1


11:00 - Break


11:15 - Session 2


12:15 - Lunch & Exhibitor Hall


12:30 - PSA AGM 

Note: Only BCTF members have voting rights at the AGM.

1:00pm - Break & Exhibitor Hall Open


1:15pm - Session 3


2:15pm - Conclusions, Prizes and Wrap-up


3:30pm - Virtual Exhibitor Hall Closes



Conference Price:

BCTF / Independent School Teachers = $75

($25 membership is included with the cost)

2021/22 membership only = $25


UBC/SFU Teacher Candidates and retired teachers = $50

Please note:

All registrations need to be done online. There will be no registration on the day of the conference.

Only BCTF members have voting rights at the AGM

However, all attendees will become members and will have access to all resources and professional development opportunities.   

Remember to print your receipt at the time of purchase.


Please email us ahead of time if you require proof of attendance.

To purchase your 2021-2022 PSA membership only, please choose the link below.


Note: Please make sure to check your junk mail as many receipts are going directly there. 

Exhibitors & Vendors Online: 





About the Presenters


8:45 am: Keynote Speaker: Michael Dorer

Dr. Dorer is an internationally recognized Montessori expert with over 50 years of experience. His passion for and expertise in storytelling as an effective Montessori pedagogy shines through in his book The Deep Well of Time: The Transformative Power of Storytelling in the Classroom. In this session, he will go deeper into the art of storytelling and its intrinsic connection to developing self-regulation among our learners.

Michael Dorer is an internationally trained Montessori educator, specializing in Montessori curriculum and materials, and Montessori teacher education. He has worked with children from toddlers to middle schoolers in Montessori education beginning in 1969 and with teaching graduate student adults in Montessori education since 1978.

Michael’s educational background includes a doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Montessori credentials from both the American Montessori Society and the Association Montessori Internationale. Michael wrote the charter for the world’s first Montessori charter school, and also has broad experience in working with public and charter Montessori schools.

Michael has served as President of the International Association of Montessori Educators, the Minnesota Montessori Alliance, and The American Montessori Society; with extensive time on each of their boards.

Michael has written and published Montessori album textbooks. His latest book is The Deep Well of Time: The Transformative Power of Storytelling in the Classroom from Parent Child Press.

Michael is the Founding Director of the Institute for Montessori Innovation at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT, and is past Director of the Center for Contemporary Montessori Programs at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN.  He is presently a Senior Consultant for The Montessori Foundation.

10:00-11:00 Workshops (3 choices)


Option 1: Storytelling and the Language Curriculum - Michael Dorer

(See Bio above)

“The truth about stories is that’s all we are.” - Thomas King, 2004 Massey Lectures

Join Michael Dorer as he explores the links and opportunities to integrate fun and entertaining storytelling into the Montessori language curriculum to add both depth and clarity to the materials and presentations.


Option 2: The Many Angles of Intermediate Geometry - Irma Rodriguez

Consider the big picture, nothing exists in our 3-dimensional physical world except solids.  Our study of geometry starts with the understanding of lines;  that they are not really lines but line segments that form the boundaries of solids. One line segment is unable to create,  but two rays that meet at their origins or two segments that intersect create angles.  Three segments of a broken line, whose endpoints are connected, form the first polygon, a triangle.  Triangles create multi-sided polygons and polygons form the faces of solids.  Geometry by its etymology measures surface areas and volumes of solids.  


        Mere ideas must be isolated and concretized if they are to materialize.  We do this nearly impossible task by recreating them with geometry sticks and constructing polygons using triangles.  We derive mathematical formulas for calculating area and volume. Discovery, not rote memorization is the key.


Here is an “angle” to consider;  when we see with new eyes the reality of our physical world, we absorb, appreciate and begin to love its natural beauty and order, and in the process, we create inner order and develop our mathematical mind. 

Irma Rodriguez's Bio:

Irma earned her AMI 6-12 credential in 1975 from the International Center for Advanced Montessori Studies in Bergamo, Italy.   She was sponsored by the Italian Embassy in the Philippines and the Maria Montessori Cooperative School where she was hired to be the Montessori curriculum consultant.  Irma trained under the guidance of Camilo Grazzini who worked closely with Mario Montessori, the son of Dr. Maria Montessori.  


She was awarded her Early Childhood credential by Pan American Montessori Society (PAMS). PAMS was chartered in 1973 by Feland Meadows, Ph.D. and by Elizabeth Caspari, Ed. D.  During WWII Maria Montessori and Elizabeth Caspari were unable to leave India. Elizabeth completed her Montessori training in Adyar Madras and had the privilege of working with Maria Montessori for four years in Kodaikanal.


Prior to Irma’s move to Canada in 1993 as a teacher trainer, she owned and operated a Montessori School for children ages 3-12, which was accredited by the Ministry of Philippine Education. The school operated for twelve years, repeatedly proving the efficacy of the Montessori system of Education.  It was Elizabeth Caspari’s plan to spend several months in the Philippines to train teachers at her school while preparing Irma to become a Master Teacher.  Unfortunately, Madam Caspari’s failing health at the time did not allow for this to come to fruition.


Irma has been involved in training Montessori teachers in Canada and the US since 1993.


From 2005 – 2017 Irma worked as an instructor for the Vancouver School Board (VSB)’s Montessori Credential Program instructor. She provided AMS MACTE accredited training in Vancouver and Victoria, BC. She is currently the lead instructor for the training program that was transferred by the VSB to a non-profit society to help ensure accessibility to a Vancouver based AMS, MACTE accredited elementary training program. The training program’s new name is Centre for Advanced Montessori Studies of Vancouver (CAMSV).  CAMSV’s new Montessori Elementary Credential course was officially AMS approved and MACTE accredited in September 2021. 


Irma finds time for herself mostly by sketching and painting.  Her love for reading centers around biographical and historical books.  She likes writing, both fiction and non-fiction.  She has written two autobiographical sketches, one of which is titled, The Journey of a Reluctant Teacher.

She has written a book on teaching grammar to children ages 6-12 for teachers entitled, The Power of Words.  She has also completed a soon to be published book on teaching geometry for the same age group, which includes coloured illustrations in the form of a portfolio.

Option 3:  New to a Montessori Classroom? Let's Chat! 

- Patricia Patrick

New to a Montessori Classroom – This workshop will provide Q & A time and a chance to share practical ideas on setting up your Montessori classroom. We will focus on the layout and order of your Montessori materials, highlight the main priorities that should be covered depending on your grade levels, and maintain a work/life balance in order to survive!


This workshop will help teachers new to a Montessori classroom. It can be daunting taking on the role of a Montessori teacher, especially in the Public School system. We will cover the layout and sequence of the Montessori materials, the different areas in a Montessori classroom, and how to ensure success without feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. 

Patricia Patrick's Bio:


Patricia has been passionate about Montessori for the past 36 years as a Montessori administrator, teacher, and mentor. She attended the AMI college in Dublin, Ireland, and later was taught by Angela Martin, one of the founders of MACTE (who was trained by Maria Montessori herself!) in Victoria, BC. Patricia is also the Montessori examiner for the Montessori training program at West-Mont School in Victoria which is connected to the Montessori Connections based in Scotland. Currently, Patricia teaches in a Montessori grades 1,2,3 at Hammond Elementary in Maple Ridge and is the president of the Montessori Public School Teachers’ PSA.

11:10-12:10 Workshops (3 choices)

Option 1: How the Stories Change: telling histories to young learners through an Indigenous lens - Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn, SFU Archeologist


As Montessori Educators prepare their classroom environments and create materials to enact the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action to teach the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, we first need to relearn and then make the story come alive from an Indigenous perspective. We also need to make sure that we communicate about Indigenous cultures as living, evolving cultures. As he shares his journey to find compelling ways of telling the story of the history of Turtle Island (North America) to young learners, Dr. Yellowhorn will share what he learned as he grappled with the challenge, what the essential strands of the story are, and engage in a dialogue about what we can learn as educators from that experience.

Eldon Yellowhorn's Bio:

Eldon Yellowhorn not only tells stories but also brings life to them.


A member of the Piikani Nation in Alberta, Dr. Yellowhorn is an archaeologist and professor of Indigenous studies at Simon Fraser University. He is the co-author of two award-winning books for intermediate and middle school readers that tell the history of Turtle Island (North America) from an Indigenous viewpoint - Turtle Island: The Story of North America’s First People, which tells the story of Indigenous Peoples before colonization and What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous Stories of Rebellion and Renewal, which describes what Indigenous Peoples did when invaders arrived on their homelands. He was featured on the APTN Documentary 1491: The Untold Story of the Americas before Columbus.


Dr. Yellowhorn is a native speaker of the Blackfoot language and is working to preserve it and ensure it has a future. In partnership with SFU Computing Science, he led a project to create a Blackfoot Language Learning App. He is also the lead investigator on the Brandon Residential School project which aims to identify the remains of 104 children buried on the grounds of the Brandon Residential School.

Option 2: Going Deeper with Math Materials -

Irma Rodgriguez

(See Bio above)


Within the span of less than an hour let us explore together three topic strands.

  1. from the +, x, - Snake Games to the derivation of the rules for the four operations with the positive and negative integers 

  2. from the checkerboard to the extraction of square roots of binomials and trinomials 

  3. from the bead cabinet to the extraction of cube roots

Option 3: Writing Skills and Research: Improving Authorship through Inquiry - Catherine Munro

Do you have students who love research and learning about things but hate writing? 

Maria Montessori said in her book From Childhood to Adolescence, “Here is an essential principle of education: to teach details is to bring confusion; to establish the relationship between things is to bring knowledge.” 

Students may think they hate writing when in fact they may only hate the fact that they don’t know how to go about it. Mini-lessons about funneling ideas, organizing information, discovering their writer’s voice, the use of juicy words, and editing for conventions can be the missing link between the enjoyable act of research and the necessary sharing of that information. 

Unlike the narrative form of writing, which can feel open-ended and overwhelming, non-fiction writing can parcel writing skills and allow budding authors to focus on building one skill at a time. 

In this workshop, we will explore how to use non-fiction features as a context for developing writing skills. Teacher modeling and student samples will provide participants with a clear vision of how to implement such a project in their own class. 



Catherine Munro's Bio

Teaching Montessori has been like a journey of coming home for Catherine. She grew up on a farm where she took care of animals (large and small), grew food in the family garden, and learned a myriad of skills related to home and the land. It is not surprising that she found her way to Montessori pedagogy. Catherine currently teaches in a lower elementary Montessori classroom in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. She previously taught in Victoria at the private school Maria Montessori and Selkirk Montessori. Catherine holds a level I and II certificate through AMI. She completed her Master’s in Montessori from St. Catherine’s University.

1:15-2:15  Workshops (2 choices)

Option 1: Storytelling and the Math Curriculum - Michael Dorer

(See Bio above) 

Michael Dorer's stories are a wonderful way to explain mathematical concepts. Come and find out how you too can master the art of storytelling to explain Math in a new way.

Option 2: Place-Based Learning and the Story of Japanese Internment Sites

This Landscapes of Injustice unit provides Grade 4-7 learners meaningful opportunities to explore issues of discrimination and racism through a historical study of Japanese Canadian internment, dispossession, and redress. Using a powerful simulation activity to anchor supporting lessons, students deepen their understanding of past injustices as well as consider how our newfound knowledge and perspective can help us recognize inequity and advocate for social justice as well-informed, compassionate citizens. This socials unit includes step-by-step lessons that align with BC’s Revised Curriculum.

For more information:

Option 3: Every Face Has a Story: An Afternoon of Making Art & Sharing Stories - Debbie Tobin

An art project that you can teach in your class next week and beyond.

Inspired by the many students Debbie has been so fortunate to teach over the years, this workshop explores the medium of pastels and construction paper to create portraits as unique as the stories that each of our children has to share. No experience necessary, just a whole lot of laughter and smiles!

Materials Needed: Pastels, large format construction paper in the colour of your choosing.

Debbie Tobin's Bio:

Debbie is a passionate teacher and a strong advocate for the use of the arts in all curricular areas. Through her role as a teacher, she has given workshops in art, student leadership, and social responsibility. She is the founder of The Richmond Children’s Arts Festival which for the last 13 years has had over 100,00 students and 1000’s of teachers work with 100’s professional artists in a hands-on approach to develop their creative minds and voices. Debbie believes all children have a story to tell and the connection between art and literacy is one of the strongest vehicles in creating and promoting student's voice. Currently, she is the Vice Principal at Eagle Harbour Montessori.


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