New Video lesson plans
In the Learning Center

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 (tomorrow!). 

She will be speaking on 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.  

You can watch the pre-recorded video of her talk on our YouTube channel.

Below is a slide show of her entire presentation for you to follow along with as you watch or review at your convenience.   

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

Montessori and Neuroscience

When I was teaching in Public Montessori School, I had to get my master's degree in order to maintain my teaching certification. I looked at options and discovered the Mind, Brain, Education program at Harvard. Harvard was a two hour drive away from me, I was teaching so I couldn't go full time, and, you know, it's Harvard so would I even get in? But, once I learned about the program, I couldn't bring myself to study anything else. So, I took introductory courses through Harvard Extension School, got totally hooked, and ultimately completed my master's degree with studies immersed on that topic.

What I found is that research is almost completely aligned with the Montessori teachings. When it is done authentically, there is nothing better for the developing child. Yes!

In this video, I highlight some key understandings we have about the brain and how they mesh with the Montessori pedagogy. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that Montessori actually means "scientific pedagogy." It's not a guru model. It is the scientific method applied to education.

Here are some of the key points.

July 01, 2021 by Julia Volkman

Spanking Research



Spanking is not a thing of the past. If you are working in a classroom, you most likely have direct experience of this reality. Most of us have students who are spanked.

Many of us also remember being spanked when we were children or have spanked our own children. In fact, about half of parents in the US report that they have spanked their child (under age 9) within the last year (Finkelhor et al., 2019).

In research terms, spanking is called corporal punishment. Corporal punishment happens when someone intentionally causes physical harm (even mild) to someone else in order to give them negative feedback (to punish them for bad behavior).

In the United States, "mild" corporal punishment is completely legal if it happens at home. In care settings like schools, it is against the law in only 31 states (Global Initiative to End Corporal Punishment of Children, 2020).

While spanking is often seen as socially acceptable, new research suggests that even mild corporal punishment in childhood may have negative long-term consequences for brain development. Read on for details.

April 16, 2021 by Julia Volkman