Fair-wage, Eco-happy, Right-livelihood, Woman-owned
Maitri Learning was founded somewhat accidentally by a Montessori teacher who was trying to buy the perfect materials for her classroom and couldn't find them anywhere. Now, the materials she created (based specifically on the precise directions received in her AMI training) are used by Montessori teachers, parents, and teacher trainers around the world. We named ourselves after the Buddhist word maitri which means having a compassionate, kind heart. We keep the principle of maitri at the front of all of our business decisions.
Maitri is a green, eco-friendly, fair-wage, right-livelihood, woman-owned business. We pay all of our employees at least $15/hour, which should be our country's national minimum wage. Our prices reflect these fair labor costs along with the costs of environmentally-sound paper, toxin-free laminate, and inks made without ozone-depleting substances. We are a green company! Our manufacturing and shipping practices are environmentally-friendly. We print our cards on high-quality, acid-free, heavyweight papers made from tree-free and/or recycled fibers; we use a laminate with a non-toxic adhesive; we print our correspondence and catalogs on recycled papers; we use inks/toners that don't deplete the ozone layer; we use recycled/recyclable shipping materials; and we recycle everything we can. All products are made in the USA with careful attention to the environmental impact of our work. We have a small footprint!!!
Julia Volkman, Maitri Learning’s Founder and President, has been teaching children and mentoring teachers in private and public schools since 1997. She is a recurrent teaching fellow for Harvard University's Neuroscience of Learning/Mind, Brain, Health, and Education course (Extension School) and a Montessori Mentor consulting with public and private schools across the nation. Previously, she was a consultant for the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS), a member of the Advisory Panel for the Montessori Training Center of the Northeast's Boston AMI Training initiative, a columnist for the Public School Montessorian, and an intern supervisor for the Northeast Montessori Institute (AMS).
Ms. Volkman earned her AMI 3 to 6+ diploma from the Montreal Montessori Training Centre, a bilingual program. She earned her master's degree from Harvard University where she researched the movable alphabet and studied cognitive neuroscience/neuroeducation (a transdisciplinary approach to education that considers the child’s genetics, environment, capacities, and interests). Through her work at Harvard, she was asked to be the teacher’s representative on the Advisory Panel for the Annenberg Foundation's course Neuroscience & the Classroom (developed in conjunction with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics). That course features two public Montessori school classrooms (Zanetti Montessori in Springfield, MA) and Ms. Volkman mentoring in those rooms. This course is available online for free.
Ms. Volkman regularly speaks at Montessori conferences and schools across the country including the Spanish AMI Centennary, AMI Scientific Pedagogy Group, AMS annual conferences, the Montessori Foundation, the Maine Montessori Association (keynote), the South Carolina Montessori Alliance (keynote), and the Wisconsin Montessori Association (keynote), among others. There is good information describing her general approach to the Children’s House at www.MariaMontessori.com.
Before coming to Montessori, Ms. Volkman worked as an instructional designer, writer, and educational consultant (developing educational programs for physicians and business professionals). Ms. Volkman is a wife, mother, and lead menagerie keeper of two dogs, two cats, and one bearded dragon. You can follow Ms. Volkman on our Pedagogy Blog, on Facebook, and on Pinterest.
If you need some one-on-one support for your Montessori Primary class, we may be able to help. Send us an email to get the ball rolling.
Laminate Information & Research
Our lamination method is supported by data from a clinical study of lamination formats. We print our cards on heavy weight, environmentally sound papers (not card stock which can peel away from the laminate). We use a 5 mil laminate that extends just to the edge of the cards (not beyond) and we round the corners (to eliminate the tactile distraction of "pokey" corners and to add to their longevity).
Based on the results of the lamination study, we recommend the following lamination procedures:
- use 5 mil laminate (pouch or roll) round the corners on all cards, preferably using a corner rounding machine (available as a hand punch at craft stores or as a manual stack corner rounder such as the Diamond 1 or the CR-20 which can be found at many Internet stores)
- paste or print material on heavy weight paper (32 lb.) NOT card stock (card stock tends to pull away from the laminate; it does not adhere well and will have a shorter life than paper cards)
- When you laminate, we recommend leaving a cm or so of extra laminate around the edges of the cards. This will improve their durability and longevity.
Maitri Learning has evolved with the help, guidance, and input of many extraordinary individuals. Click here to read more.