U.S. Teacher Training Program Serving Indigenous Peoples Launches in New Mexico

By: Indigenous Montessori Institute
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Oct. 3, 2018 - PRLog -- The word "Keres" is the name of the native language spoken by the Keres Pueblo people of New Mexico. In 2006, the Keres Children's Learning Center (KCLC) Board of Directors and Founder, Trisha Moquino, partnered with Pueblo de Cochiti (a Keres speaking pueblo) Tribal Council to establish a non-profit Keres language immersion school. KCLC was created to address the decline of Keres and find a way for Western academics to meet— and complement— Indigenous language and culture.

Montessori method was chosen as KCLC's educational pedagogy because of its holistic approach to education. The Montessori approach considers the physical, social, emotional, spiritual, cognitive, and aesthetic needs and interests of the child as equally important and inseparable. This approach allows Indigenous language and culture to coexist with Western academia.

KCLC is now launching the Indigenous Montessori Institute (IMI). Led by IMI Director Tracy Cordero and KCLC Founder/Executive Director Trisha Moquino, IMI will teach Montessori educators how to work the method within Indigenous language/culture immersion environments. IMI will produce more Montessori educators who are prepared to meet and elevate the educational experience while ensuring the language and cultural traditions are fully integrated and honored.

"Our languages must stop taking a backseat to English and other colonizing languages. Our Keres language holds our worldview, our beliefs/values, and our key to practicing our ceremonies.  We must train teachers who are able to create an education that builds on the strengths of our Indigenous languages and cultures and furthermore our people and children. Our languages/cultures will allow us to maintain our sovereignty and help our children manifest their gifts and strengths in service to their people and to the natural world".  – Trisha Moquino, Founder

Indigenous Montessori Institute, directed by Tracey Cordero, is made possible through local, regional, national and international partnerships including Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), Better Way Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies (SIMS), Montessori ONE Academy, Escuela del Sol Montessori, and advisors Arabelle Luckhardt and Patricia Pantano. The IMI program will be hosted at Montessori ONE Academy, Albuquerque's only AMI-recognized school. Under the leadership of Director Tina Patel, Montessori ONE Academy is simultaneously launching the Montessori ONE Teacher Training Institute (MOTTI)— New Mexico's only AMI teacher training program, also with the support of Arizona-based SIMS.

"Language acquisition in children is typically exceptional, particularly between birth and age six. My own daughters grew up knowing my native languages of Hindi and Gujarati in addition to English. I want to support children of color everywhere by providing opportunities for education that celebrates their native languages and cultures during these formative years. IMI is instrumental in filling this void and meeting the needs of our diverse communities."Tina Patel, Founder/Director

The University of New Mexico's College of Education has expressed its support of the Indigenous Montessori Institute by including the program in its Spring 2019 course offerings.

The Institute was also mentioned in a New York Times Opinion piece published on September 28, 2019: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/23/opinion/jeff-bezos-pre...

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