Practical Parenting to Support the Brain: Intro

Childhood Potential

I was invited by the Childhood Potential Conference to offer a talk on the BEST topic: Practical Parenting to Support the Brain. The video below is a brief/short version of the longer version made for the conference. 

Key highlights include:

  • The brain never stops changing
  • Experience guides brain development
  • Use it or loose
  • Helping the child gain independence to grow strong brain neworks
  • The stress response and how to avoid it
  • Toileting and bedtime tips

If you're interested in Montessori parenting, you definitely want to check out the conference!


October 08, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Toileting Tips that Support the Brain

potty training tips to support the brain image

Potty-training, also known as Toilet-Learning, is messy. There's no way around it. But, it doesn't have to be stressful on top of being messy! I've put together some basic information on how to accomplish this in a short YouTube Video. This video is a shorter version of my Practical Parenting to Support the Brain video created for the Childhood Potential Conference (an online Montessori parenting conference that you won't want to miss).

View the article to see the video and read details.

October 04, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Stress, Resilience, & Ukraine

stress, resilience, and ukraine

I prepared this talk to help (hopefully) the Montessori teachers working in Ukraine or who have been displaced from their home by the war. I'll be meeting with them to discuss their questions and we're going to record that so stay tuned for more! In the meanwhile, you can learn more about the Ukrainian Montessori Community on their website:

This post and the video below quickly review some high level information about chronic stress and evidence-based strategies to promote resilience (our ability to handle and move past challenges). Click all the way through (click on the "View article" link below) to read more and see a PDF of the slides.

September 30, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Q&A with Ukrainian Parents

Anna Volokhova, MontessoriUAfounder of the Ukrainian Montessori Community, organized a zoom conversation with me and parents living in Ukraine in the midst of war and those who were displaced due to the war. You can watch a recording of that call here but I've also written down some of the ordinary and extraordinary questions that came up.
September 14, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Selfless Selfishness to Cope with Community Violence

Sesame Street in CommunitiesMy heart is breaking that I am drawn to write about this topic. With so many shootings these days, I'm no longer shocked to hear about another act of insanity. That statement is in itself shocking. 


When tragedy arrives, we need to tend to our own and the children's need to process and make sense of what happened. But isn't it when we do both of these things at the same time that we protect ourselves against depression and helplessness? Isn't it in the process of helping others that we ultimately help ourselves?

September 07, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Podcast: Neuroscience of Montessori

A few months ago, I got together with Céline Guerreiro my new friend in France who has a podcast about child development and neuroscience. Her work aims to support  "everyone who contributes to the full emotional and cognitive development of children. My goal is for every child to develop to their full potential. Montessori education is highlighted in many episodes."

The podcast is introduced in French but this episode, after the introduction, is in English.

June 11, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Big Idea: The Absorbent Mind

Big Idea - Dr. Maria Montessori's the Absorbent Mind discussed by Julia Volkman, teacher and founder of Maitri Learning

Today we often hear that children have minds like a sponge, they just absorb everything. Dr. Montessori’s definition is similar to that, but more precise and, yes, it is supported by research. Here's a very quick, high-level outline of the four key aspects of Dr. Montessori's Absorbent Mind (the video has a bit more detail).

June 10, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Teacher Education

Libertas teacher residency


Several years ago, I worked with NCMPS, Libertas School of Memphis, and a team of brilliant people to launch a new, radical approach to Montessori Teacher Education. Working closely with fellow Montessorians Elizabeth Slade and Sandra Wyner Andrew and under the leadership of the late Jackie Cossentino (NCMPS co-founder), we took our AMI training backgrounds and adapted our training approach to meet the needs of public Montessori teachers. 

We partnered with Libertas School of Memphis to run a pilot Teacher Residency program. We started by designing a two summer residency; this meant we set up our model classrooms right in the public school where the teachers would be working.

January 18, 2022 by Julia Volkman

Montessori Research Update - UWL Conference 2022

Julia Volkman is the Key Note Speaker for the UWL Virtual Montessori  Conference on January 15, 2022. 

Below is a recording of her talk which covers some critical Montessori research regarding the following topics: 

  • Stress
  • Disparities
  • Social-emotional learning
  • Creativity

As well as the application of these topics to your life and work.  

View the article to see the YouTube video and a copy of the slides.

January 14, 2022 by Maitri Sales

Five Steps to Literacy

My daughter read her first word on her third birthday. My family was amazed. We thought we had a true genius on our hands. But when I visited her Montessori preschool, I discovered the truth—in Montessori school, they explicitly teach you how to read as soon as you’re interested in it. Not to say that my daughter isn’t a genius (she’s amazing), but she was not the only 3-year-old in her class who was happily sounding out words. How could that even be possible?

reading land and water book

This post boils the scientific approach to language instruction down to five key concepts:

  1. Vocabulary development
  2. Phonemic awareness
  3. Letter-sound knowledge
  4. Writing (constructing words)
  5. Reading (sounding out words).

As you read, remember that no skills develop along a strictly linear path (Fischer & Yan, 2018). So, these steps are happening in order, simultaneously, and in reverse all at the same time. Thus, scientific pedagogy marries explicit, dynamic, and individualized educational approaches.

September 28, 2021 by Julia Volkman