Montessori for Social Justice was founded in 2013. After an impromptu gathering at the AMI International Montessori Congress members of the national Montessori community who attended began catalyzing relationships and resource sharing.
The first resource offered was a listserv email, where they shared research, narratives, and offered support to those who had a personal commitment to public Montessori, and social justice. The group grew large in a short time, and there was a consensus that those who advocate for public Montessori, and those advocating for social justice in Montessori education should meet.
In June 2014, the first “Montessori unconference” was held in St. Louis, MO was attended by 35 people, and again in summer 2015, hosted in Salt Lake City, Utah.
After the successful 2015 (un)conference, the group was codified to establish the commitment to social justice, racial equity, and an anti-bias, antiracist application of Montessori pedagogy.
Between 2015-16 committees and working groups were convened to delegate conference planning, recruitment & community engagement, mission & visioning, and accountability to People of the Global Majority.
The 2016 conference in Cambridge, MA was the first known Montessori conference that included an Antiracism Training workshop for Montessori educators.
In 2017, the founding Board was elected by the MSJ community, and convened the first board meeting at the 2017 conference in Houston, TX.
The 2018 conference was held in St. Paul, MN at St. Catherine’s University and included two pre-conference events: a De-Centering Whiteness group and a full-day retreat for Montessorians of Color of the Global Majority.
The 2019 conference was hosted by Harmony Montessori School in Portland, OR. This conference included the two, day-long pre-conference events: a De-Centering Whiteness group and a full-day retreat for Montessorians of Color of the Global Majority.
It had been two years since the inaugural board’s inception and it was time for some of them to transition off the board. Five new members were voted to replace the board members that left.