B.A. in Music, Anthropology & Sociology (UQ); B.A. with Hons. in Economics & History (Univ. of NSW); 6-12 Elementary Certification (American Montessori Society, College of New Rochelle, NY); Master of Education (with MA State Certification) with specialist studies in Conflict Resolution and Peaceable Schools (Lesley University, Cambridge, MA)
Mark Powell has taught since 1994 in Montessori schools in the Boston and San Francisco Bay areas. He was also Technology Coordinator at a traditional independent school in Oakland CA for three years, an experience which allowed him to think deeply about how to utilize digital technology meaningfully in Montessori classrooms. He was a teacher trainer with the Center for Montessori Teacher Education, New York for twelve years. Mark has published two dozen articles on Montessori education in Montessori and other education journals, and he authored a chapter in the 2008 book A Place for Play edited by Elizabeth Goodenough. Mark has designed many classroom materials, several of which are now sold across the United States and internationally by companies such as Hello Wood and Nienhuis Montessori. He has delivered workshops at American Montessori Society national conferences and has consulted for dozens of Montessori schools across the U.S. and in Australia and New Zealand. After 22 years away he’s glad to be at home in Queensland at last!
Why are you involved with Montessori Education?
After completing a degree in economics I was trying to decide what to do with myself and took relief work in childcare. I loved the aliveness, optimism and playfulness of children—it really was a “relief” after studying economics! Although there were aspects that disturbed me—mainly around how children were treated disrespectfully by adults—I pursued more work in the field and eventually stumbled onto Montessori. I saw 3, 4 and 5 year-olds who were allowed to act independently and who showed more confidence and respect for one another than the 9-11 year-olds I had interacted with in aftercare situations. I realized then that this method contained important principles for transforming myself and society for the better.
How would you describe what you do?
I draw on my 22 years of experience as a Montessori teacher and teacher trainer to offer our early years and primary teachers the support they need to run high quality programs.
What’s your favourite thing about your role?
Offering teachers the kind of administrative support I often wish I had received as a classroom teacher.