Norwood-Fontbonne Academy (NFA) hosted the Montessori Teachers Association of Pennsylvania annual Conference (MTAPA) on March 15. “Touching the hearts of children through mindfulness and love” was the theme of the full day conference attended by 100 Pennsylvania Montessori educators.
Joan Raiti, President of MTAPA, opened the conference by honoring the memory of Sister Joan Daly, former NFA Montessori teacher, and the commitment of the Sisters of St. Joseph to Montessori education. Raiti presented a plaque to Sister Mary Helen Beirne, SSJ, NFA Head of School, for this occasion.
Sr. Joan Daly taught Montessori at the junior level at NFA for twenty-two years and traveled extensively to lecture on the value of a Montessori education. She was well known and respected in her field and trained new Montessori teachers at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education at the College of New Rochelle up to the time of her sudden death on July 17, 2013.
The conference welcomed American Montessori Society’s 2011 Living Legacy awardee, Sonnie McFarland, as the keynote speaker. This renowned author and leading Montessori expert shared her thoughts on how mindfulness is a key to touching both the hearts of the educators and the hearts of the children. She demonstrated peace activities that help children recognize their own love light and that of others.
Now in its 43rd year, NFA’s Montessori program is one of only 6 accredited in the state of Pennsylvania by the American Montessori Society. NFA’s Montessori program extends from pre-school through third grade.
“Here, at Norwood-Fontbonne Academy, we celebrate the giftedness of each child through our long leadership in Montessori education,” said Sr. Mary Helen, who is a member of the Montessori Head of Schools association.