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Professional Development

Seton Montessori Institute has developed a dynamic series of Professional Excellence Seminars designed to engage the Montessori educator in creative exploration, discussion and extended learning.

These seminars support educators in fulfilling the new Professional Development requirement for teachers certified by the American Montessori Society (AMS) of demonstrating 50 approved hours of documented professional development every five years.

Montessori learning is a life long process. We encourage you to continue your development as an educator and a professional and we look forward to welcoming you often!

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Seton Montessori Institute is proud to offer our 2018 Spring Seminar

“The Future of Montessori Education: A Global Perspective” with Richard Ungerer
“Montessori Leadership with a focus on Diversity and Equity” with Erin Trondson

Saturday, March 17 from 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

at The Christian Church of Clarendon Hills

5750 Holmes Ave, Clarendon Hills, IL

Seminar Fee for all day Saturday, $75 

Half Day Session, $45 each


The Future of Montessori Education: A Global Perspective

 Morning Session (9:00 am – 12:00 pm)

Drawing on his unique experience working with Montessori groups worldwide, Richard Ungerer will share his vision and perspective on the future direction of Montessori education.  Where will we find ourselves in the next ten years?  What common goals might we share for growing, strengthening and sustaining Montessori education, both within and outside of the United States?  

Richard will discuss the challenges ahead and the areas in which the Montessori movement is positioned to make significant contributions. He will discuss the demands that we can expect from the future world of work and the urgent need for developing global citizenship skills in our classrooms.  A special focus will include the importance of advocacy for high quality Montessori Schools and Teacher Education Programs.

Join us for this provocative session, as we consider the future of Montessori education together.


“Montessori Leadership with a focus on Diversity and Equity”

Afternoon Session (1:30 pm – 4:30 pm)

Erin Trondson will present the afternoon workshop for experienced Montessori teachers and school leaders on “Montessori Leadership with a focus on Diversity and Equity”.  She seeks to support Administrators and Teachers in understanding, processing, and developing a vocabulary and systems around issues of diversity and equity facing our schools today. Erin will guide the group through some of the many complex issues surrounding diversity and will empower attendees with solutions for creating and conducting more inclusive environments. Upon completion of this workshop, attendees will have a renewed understanding of how Montessori and social justice can beautifully overlap.

About our speakers: 

Richard Ungerer served as Executive Director of the American Montessori Society based in New York City from January 2005 through July 2017. Before joining AMS, he led a number of organizations committed to enhancing education policy, leadership, school reform, and service learning programs for children, youth, and older adults.  He served as President of the National Institute for Work and Learning, the “I Have a Dream Foundation;” Executive Director of the Organization Development Network and the National Society for Internships and Experiential Education; and a Special Assistant in the U.S. Office of Education. He was a member of the Board and Vice President of the Council for American Private Education, a Board and Executive Committee member of the Trust for Insuring Educators, and currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the Montessori Model United Nations and is a Board Member of the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector.

Rich obtained his Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University with a major in Political Science and obtained a Master of Social Planning from the Boston College School of Social Work and a Master of Theology with a concentration in Social Ethics from Boston University School of Theology.  

Finally, Rich is passionate about the power of Montessori education and is committed to building a global Montessori Movement.

Erin Ruzicka Trondson of Madison, WI tied for the 2017 first place Outstanding Thesis Award given annually by the American Montessori Society (AMS).  Erin has worked in the Montessori community since 1997.  She has served as both a teacher, and as the Head of School at Woodland Montessori School in Madison, WI.  In addition to her Head of School duties, Erin is also an Adjunct Professor at UW – River Falls in the teacher education department and provides coaching and consulting to Montessori parents, teachers, and leaders.

Recently Erin completed her MS and research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the department of Curriculum & Instruction.  Her Master’s thesis is titled “Montessori Education & Social Justice: Overlap, Potential, & Areas for Growth”.  Find the award announcement on the AMS Dissertation and Thesis Awards page. The full thesis was chosen to be included in the online library by the AMS research committee and can be found in the AMS Research Library. In addition to her Master’s in Science, Erin holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as a Montessori credential from Seton Montessori Institute in Chicago, IL.  She has three daughters and lives with her husband in the country outside of Madison where they enjoy gardening, keeping chickens, and being in nature.  Erin is also a poet and is the winner of the third annual Apprentice House Chapbook Competition for her manuscript Nesting.

Register Now!

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 Introduction to Child Development, an Online Course

May – June 2018 Cohort

In response to requests from our community, and recognizing the importance of having a solid understanding of Child Development for all who work with children, we are excited to offer this online course to the general Montessori community for all to benefit. There are no pre-requisites other than the capacity to participate in an online course – all are welcome. Please see the information provided below and let us know if you have questions!

To participate in this course you must commit to participating in the two required video webinars to begin and wrap up the online course: one held on Tuesday, May 8th at 7:00 PM CST and the other on Tuesday, June 12th at 7:00 PM CST.

What am I going to learn in Introduction to Child Development (ICD) Course?

  • This course is an intro-level course, designed for those who do not have a strong background in Child Development.  Many who work in Montessori schools, as well as about half of the students coming into Seton Montessori Institute’s programs have come from different backgrounds and have not taken a Child Development course in recent years, if ever.  Through participating in this course you will learn about child development from conception through early adolescence, providing the strong foundation for your Montessori certification program and internship experiences. The major theme of the course will be the “whole child.” The course has also been designed to introduce online learning to all students in the first week to help you feel more comfortable with digital learning experiences.

 How will I take this course?

  • Introduction to Child Development will be delivered in an online format. The ICD course is one that has a majority of its work completed online. The course will begin and end with an online video teleconference for all class participants. All of the course design integrates Montessori principles.   
  • Students are required to purchase the magazine format textbook CDEV by Rathus, available on and other online retailers.

What will I be doing in Introduction to Child Development? 

  • There are several components to the course. Since it is on the web, much of the “classroom discussion” takes place through journals and discussion boards. There will be one writing assignment and one non-writing assignment. There are two required video webinars that you must participate in that will be held on May 8th and June 12th at 7:00 pm Central Time.  The rest of the coursework is completed at times that work well for your schedule.
  • The program has been thoughtfully prepared to be an appropriate pace for participants.

How often will I need to log in?

  • The majority of the course is asynchronous, meaning that each person logs on at their own time, and you typically do not need to log in at the same time as all the other students each week.  There will be some students who are able to complete their work only needing to long in once a week while others will need to log in three to five times in order to be successful. It depends on the type of learner you are, how much time you take to complete the various assignments, and whether you learn best from doing your work in one longer session or in several shorter sessions.

When will my work be due?

  • You will have one to two due dates per week, but you can always turn your work in earlier. Your work is due at 11:59 pm of your time zone.  

Course Fee: $350 (CDEV book purchase is responsibility of the student and an estimated additional cost of $55). 

About our Instructors 

Our instructors are all members of the Seton Montessori Institute faculty who hold graduate degrees in Education and have had extensive coursework and research on Child Development and related topics.

Register Now!

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Online Course – Essential Topics for Montessori Leaders: An Overview of Research and Advocacy

Seton Montessori Institute is offering an online course for the Montessori community, geared towards Heads of Schools, administrators, and teacher leaders entitled “Essential Topics for Montessori Leaders: An Overview of Research and Advocacy“. 

This course will provide meaningful background information and functional strategies to inform your work as you support children with special needs, their teachers and their families in your school community.  Topics include:

  • Maria Montessori’s concept of the Scientific Pedagogue and its influence on our classrooms and schools
  • An overview of the latest research on Montessori education
  • What does non-Montessori research say about basic Montessori principles
  • How to create a research-friendly culture within your school community
  • Current policy issues that require Montessori attention and advocacy
  • Advocacy 101
  • The Role of the Montessori Leader in advocating for high quality Montessori

The course will begin on Monday, April 2, in a live webinar held from 7:00 – 9:00 pm (Central Time), meeting weekly for six weeks through May 7, 2018.  Full course participation will involve attending a live, weekly 2-hour webinar, completing assigned readings and related reflections, and the completion of a final project, for an average committment of 2.5-4 hours per week.

The cost for participating in the course is $300.  The course will be led by Anna Perry and will feature several expert guest speakers including Dr. Angela Murray, Senior Researcher for the American Montessori Society and Dr. John Chattin-McNichols, current faculty member of Seton Montessori Institute’s Elementary Certification program, Former President of the American Montessori Society, and Co-Founder of AMS’ Teachers Research Network.  

Join us to learn more about this important aspect of serving children and families in our Montessori schools.

Register Now!

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Seton Montessori Institute is proud to offer our 2017 November Seminar

Preparing Montessori Environments for Ecological Literacy and Wonder


Saturday, November 11th from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm

at The Christian Church of Clarendon Hills

5750 Holmes Ave, Clarendon Hills, IL

Seminar Fee for Saturday, $45

Preparing Montessori Environments for Ecological Literacy and Wonder

Meaningful and recurring experiences in nature are essential both to children’s inner well-being and to their gradually developing awareness of themselves as stewards of the planet.  Come revitalize your own relationship to the natural world and to your role as guide and companion to children in their nature exploration.  Learn how to integrate nature discovery as a central element in the community life of your class, gain an understanding of the relationship of nature and human evolution as they relate to the development of the child, and explore nature through stories, art, writing, silence and listening activities and creative play.

About our speaker:

Geoffrey E. Bishop, our keynote speaker, hails from the bush in North West NSW, Australia. After his childhood spent on his family’s sheep station he went to an agricultural boarding school for five years, and then to University in both Sydney and Melbourne where he studied Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.
For the next 10 years he traveled the world, visiting over 80 countries, where he spent most of his time trekking in rural areas, learning cultures and understanding his place in the world.
In 1996 Geoffrey started Nature’s Classroom Institute of Wisconsin, Inc.. NCI is a residential environmental education program serving schools throughout the Midwest. The Nature’s Classroom Institute program helps students understand the natural environment, participate in ecosystem exploration and study, and work together with their peers and teachers as a community. The program includes activities such as confidence-building, group challenges, historical simulations, scientific explorations, and many more hands-on academic lessons.
After developing a strong academic and environmental outdoor based curriculum, he formed Nature’s Classroom Montessori School that blends the core philosophy of Montessori with his environmental principles. The past Board Chair of the Wisconsin Association of Environmental Education (WAEE), he has been honored by WAEE as Wisconsin Non-Formal Educator of the Year.
Nature’s Classroom is on 400 acres in the small rural community of Mukwonago, Wisconsin. Geoffrey’s passionate and sustained focus over the past 15 years has been on organics and sustainability in schools while promoting getting children back outdoors and helping adults understand the importance of instinctive play in the natural world. 

© 2018 Seton Montessori Institute • 5728 Virginia Avenue, Clarendon Hills, IL 60514 • Phone: (630) 654-0151 • All rights reserved.

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