Minnesota Montessori Network July 2019 Newsletter
July Advocacy Update
Thank You for the Collaboration at June Legislative Brainstorming Session  

Thank you to everyone who participated in the June Legislative Brainstorming session! We appreciate your input and collaboration in creating a list of challenges, opportunities, and priorities. Below is a summary of the themes from our session. We have begun conversations with legislators regarding these topics to determine next steps and will continue to provide updates in the monthly newsletters.  

Next Step: Meet with Department of Human Services

A key next step following the brainstorming session is to set up a meeting with the Department of Human Services (DHS) to open up communication channels about opportunities in this area. In preparation for these discussions we will be looking further into the specifics in other states that have alternative licensing inspection pathways for Montessori schools. Advocates in IL have also shared that the Montessori community there has offered Montessori 101 classes for DHS licensors for professional development credit that have fostered awareness and relationships, and we will be looking into this as an opportunity in MN as well.  

Want to Get Involved?  

During the brainstorming session, we identified both legislative as well as some non-legislative opportunities efforts that can help support existing schools and the growth of Montessori in MN. We are looking for people to help us move these forward. Thank you to everyone who has already expressed interest in ongoing participation in these advocacy efforts - we will soon be reaching out with next steps. If you would like to get involved, please reach out to Michelle Behling at michelle@mnmn.org with general interest or any specific areas you are interested in. Examples of opportunities include:

  • Legislative advocacy related to the four topic areas below
  • Efforts to improve Montessori awareness
  • University-related efforts such as presenting about Montessori at undergraduate education classes or offering field work opportunities
  • Being on a contact list to offer tours for leaders such legislators, agencies, school board members, and professors
  • Mentor schools that are considering a Montessori program or are transitioning to one
  • Serve as a liaison with other education groups

Summary of Legislative Related Themes from Brainstorming Session*

  • Looking for option for teachers to hold Tier 4 License with recognition of completing a Montessori training program
  • Seeking options for better-aligned pedagogy exam for Tier 3 License 

  • Montessori classrooms have 3, 4, and 5 year olds together and are impacted by different funding sources for each age. Would be valuable for funding to have equally accessible channels
  • As options are considered to fund early childhood, consider diverse delivery options

  • Organization and sequencing do not align with standardized testing sequencing and impact schools’ ability to follow Montessori curriculum
Department of Human Services
  • Some licensing rules and inspection regulations are prohibitive to Montessori curriculum
  • Seeking work group to consider alternative checklist for visits or pathway for Montessori credentialed schools and increased Montessori awareness within DHS

Minnesota State Fair
Montessori will be return for our 5th year to the State Fair in 2019! Our sought-after haven for the young fairgoers and their families will return to its same location in the Education Building of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds August 22, 2018 - September 2, 2019! There is no better investment to connect Minnesotans with Montessori and Montessorians with Minnesotans than this high-energy high-reach interactive Montessori classrooms exhibit for all ages!
This year we return to our “roots” and offer primarily individual volunteer opportunities.  144 3-hour shifts are available! You can sign up alone or with friends. School teams and other groups are able to reserve full shifts, more than one shift, and even full days (act fast!) by signing up for the shifts with a contact name and a school reference. If your school or group reserves a full shift or more, you are able to organize the time in any manner that works for the group provided that three individuals (including one trained practitioner) are present at all times you have reserved! Don’t forget that volunteering with current or alumni students/families is an exciting way to engage your full community in the fun!
If you have questions about volunteering, you the State Fair Volunteer page of our website and reach us at info@mnmn.org with any questions!
Other Advocacy News
Legislative Session Reflections

"Anyone who works in advocacy knows that it is often a two steps forward, one step back proposition. While this is difficult to accept when we are talking about the lives of our youngest children, we need the persistence to come back again next year, and the next, until the glass is truly full." 
Ann McCully, Executive Director of Child Care Aware of Minnesota, shares this observation and other reflections in a new blog post about the 2019 Minnesota Legislative session.

Child Care Headlines

Summer is often a quieter time for policy news, but the discussion around child care is buzzing right now! State and national publications recently featured opinion and news pieces about the importance of child care.  

Abigail Wozniak, Director of the Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, wrote about the importance of high-quality child care as part of an article for the Guardian.  

State early learning advocates penned their frustration with the Minnesota Senate's lack of action on the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) this session.  

Ithaca, New York, is now offering child care at all city council and commission meetings in an effort to include more voices in the decision-making process. 

"Why don’t we talk about child care? Because we take for granted the (mostly) women who are underpaid and overworked who care for our children — but not so we can march off to work in search of fulfillment. Nope. So we can keep a roof over our heads and save for college and participate in an economy that needs us." Michele Norris, former host of NPR’s “All Things Considered” and the founding director of the Race Card Project, reflects on the ways we do and don't talk about child care , both in the democratic debates and other public conversations. 

A July 7 Letter to the Editor in the Echo Press highlights the importance of child care availability in choosing and pursuing a career.  

Did you watch the US Women's National Team in the World Cup? Team member and champion Jessica McDonald shares her struggles with juggling child care and her profession. 

Keeping child care in the headlines is one important way to highlight the need for policy changes. You can contribute to the momentum by sharing articles on your social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Do you see something missing from the conversation? Write your own letter to the editor to your local paper. 

Child Care Roundtable Discussion

Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan met with elected officials, early childhood professionals, and employers at a roundtable discussion in Little Falls on July 10 to discuss child care. You can watch back the conversation on Facebook .

CCDBG State Snapshots

Check out a new resource from Child Care Aware about how states are using the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). 

CARE Fellowship--Apply Today!

Looking for a challenging leadership opportunity? Interested in having your voice heard in policy discussions? Want to meet people who are as passionate about early childhood and school-age care as you? This opportunity is for you!

The CARE Collaborative is pleased to offer another year of the CARE (Child Care Advocates Ready to Emerge) Public Policy Fellowship (Year 14!) and continue working with professionals in the fields of early childhood and school-age care on how they can be effective advocates for themselves and the profession when engaging and educating policymakers at all levels of government.

This is an excellent leadership development opportunity for those who are interested in learning how to make an impact on public policies affecting the early childhood and school-age care fields.
The program begins in October 2019 and will include nine, once a month, face-to-face, all day Friday training sessions and one Wednesday event at the State Capitol, and will include networking, mentoring, and hands-on projects to develop advocacy skills. The program is offered at no cost to participants.

NEW THIS YEAR - The CARE Fellowship is approved in Develop! Participants can add 4 hours to their learning record for each session attended.