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Absorbent Mind Podcasts

In this episode, Joanne Shango speaks with Dr. Punum Bhatia about going back to the basics while maintaining quality Montessori education.

Inspired by Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy, Punum Bhatia, PhD has dedicated her life to Montessori education as a parent, teacher, and teacher educator for over thirty years. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature; earned Masters’ degrees in English Literature and Education from the University of Calcutta; and completed a certificate diploma in Montessori Pedagogy. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Colorado Denver in 2012 for her work on the Self-Efficacy of Montessori teachers. In her efforts to understand children and the environments necessary for them to grow and flourish, Punum focuses on Maria Montessori’s original philosophy and techniques. After teaching the Montessori method to cohorts all around the world, she is the proud owner of her very own bilingual preschool, Montessori Casa International in Denver, Colorado.

Joanne’s engaging conversation with Claudia Mann, lifelong learner and Montessori guide. Claudia is the founder of the Demystifying Cosmic Education Group, and talks candidly about her journey to Montessori as a parent and musician in the 1970’s. Well versed in Montessori’s practical application from an array of experiences, Claudia talks of challenges and successes over time — especially in today’s adaptive online Montessori educational processes. She also reveals some particularly intriguing ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of cosmic education from her unique perspective.

Debby Riordan, the founding director of Montessori 360, knows how innovation doesn’t necessarily mean having to create something new for Montessori. People recognize the Montessori name, but know little about how the method truly works. Joanne and Debby talk about practical life exercises, soft skills, hard skills and emotional intelligence in relationship to what Montessori does for children and their future. And how to present Montessori to parents with a traditional education.

Children who are educated utilizing the Montessori method learn the fundamentals of reading and math, and are prepared for traditional school.  However, this is not the most important aspect of a Montessori education. Prominent students of Montessori schooling include Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, renowned chef Julia Child, and Prince William and Harry.

Montessori helps children develop the soft skills working toward the hard skills. Practical life exercises such as washing windows may seem impractical to parents with backgrounds in traditional education. However, these exercises teach children independence, responsibility, and step by step processes that develop the mathematical mind.

This interplay extends to elementary school students planning their own field trips and coordinating with their peers utilizing skills that are perceived as far beyond their grade level. These skills aid in shaping how these children will become future leaders of our world.

Joanne’s revealing interview with Jackie Grunberg, noted wildlife biologist, trainer, Montessori guide, consultant and the founder of Backpack Sciences.

Joanne’s conversation with Alan Preece, Director of Training Center Evolution and Growth at Association Montessori Internationale/AMI Global, on innovative opportunities for Montessori education and the Montessori brand — for students, parents and the community, especially in this remote learning environment.