For over 30 years, Sr. Christina Marie Trudeau worked tirelessly as a pioneer in Montessori and was influential in bringing these teaching methods to Hawaii, Japan, India and the Philippines.
In the following article Sister shares updates about the work she started.
I am excited to talk about the current state of the Montessori programs in which I was very active before I retired. Montessori began with the Creation story and, although the public school systems often do not allow that the Creationism portion of Montessori be taught, it seems the ideas of connectedness, of the whole and cosmic nature of Montessori, of the living nature of Montessori teaching are still unfolding in many regions of the world. Montessori truly is a current and growing teaching philosophy.
I am so happy to see the progress of Montessori in Japan, where Sr. St. John Watanabe continues beautifully to focus the Sisters and the university, and shares with the international conference (AMI) our program that integrates the concept of Creationism in lesson plans. Professors Kiyoko (Kondo) Okuyama and Fumiko Fukuhara lead their university’s teacher training program and encourage Montessori to incorporate the Creation story.
I want to acknowledge the vital work of Michael Fassiotto, who passed away in 2013. He laid the groundwork that allowed my missionary work in Montessori to blossom in Hawaii, and through Chaminade University’s program, he established the credentials to Montessori to flourish throughout the Pacific Islands. My other dear teammate, Dr. Louise Bogard continues our work begun with Dr. Fassiotto; consulting wherever Montessori guidance is needed.
In Hawaii now, professors Elizabeth Park and Jerry Richmond continue to grow our Montessori program. Dr. Park, as head of Chaminade’s teaching program, has developed a Montessori online program enabling them to serve all the islands with a small staff. Professor Jerry Richmond has supported new teachers who have expanded the Montessori missionary program all over the Pacific, continuing our goals to 1) develop the Hawaiian Montessori Program, and 2) extend the program by traveling to remote areas, making materials native to those areas, and translating the coursework into the native languages wherever they go. These talented missionary teachers are bringing our understanding of cosmic connectedness to individualized programs around the Pacific Basin missionary area, which includes the outer Hawaiian Islands, the Philippine Islands and now China and Taiwan.
In the past few years, California’s Montessori program has also grown in both private and public schools. Although Notre Dame de Namur University no longer delivers Montessori training, the teachers who trained there have forged strong recognition for American Montessori society (AMS) programs throughout the states. Perhaps in the future, the University may look forward to sponsor general Montessori courses in summer school so that teachers can receive continuing education to support their work in the field.
It is so very rewarding to me that fine teachers from Japan, Hawaii, the Philippines, and California have continued their strong and dedicated missions to reach young teachers all over the mission territory, bringing Montessori to so many remote areas. These teachers and leaders are making many of my dreams come true. I am forever grateful for their devoted work. I will always believe Montessori education is the best system to teach individual young people throughout our world.