Check out the hand-embroidered Timeline of Life hanging in the background.
Mamie’s students made it!

My name is Mamie Lawrence Gallagher a 2015 Elementary grad from MTCNE, trainer Carla Foster. I am kanaka maoli, Native Hawaiian, from Hawai’i and opened a school a month after taking my exams. (Superstar and classmate Faiqa Khan did the same in Memphis). The school is named Mo’O School. It is an AMI-recognized ‘aina-based school (place-based) and includes a Primary and a 6-12 Elementary. It also happens to be a storefront school! I am the Elementary Guide and School Director. 

I am blessed to be married to a man who sews nomenclature pouches, builds shelves, and supports anything and everything Montessori in any way he can. We have two daughters, ages 12 and 14, who were Montessori children from their Toddler community through Elementary. They have both smoothly transitioned into their next learning communities, do the laundry, shopping and cooking, and we wouldn’t be as functional a family without them! 

I am a Montessori child and had the best Primary Guide, Ms. Jingy Wong. Our school on Maui was new and only had a Primary program at that time, but our family remained close with Ms. Jingy. I remember how much I missed her when she left to do her elementary training at WMI in the early 80’s and how excited I was to visit her classroom when she returned, even though by that time I was well established at another school. For me, the sun has always risen and set on Ms. Jingy. After I had my own children, I found myself constantly turning back towards Montessori. We Hawaiians have a saying, Nana i ke kumu – look to the source. In this case it was Ms. Jingy, and since she was AMI-trained, I knew which way to go. 

When I was looking for AMI training in 2012, I knew I would have to travel far from home. I chose MTCNE because it was close to family, and I imagined I would need their support. I am so grateful for those three summers with my cousins and for the home-away-from-home that they provided when I was working so hard. I was privileged to have the financial resources and family support to access high-quality training, but that is not the case for most. Upon returning to Hawai’i and building Mo’O School, I set a goal to explore bringing training to Moana Nui (our Pacific Ocean community). I am so excited that MTCNE is willing to travel to my home this time, to start satellite training courses on O’ahu this spring and summer. 

If someone asked me if they should attend AMI training at MTCNE, I might say which one and may I join you? What we are given by our trainers is a gift – a labor of experience, inquiry, righteous work and love. I am in and out of my albums every day, and with each lesson I present I am weaving lineage. If you put in the work (and it is Work) and you approach each day with ha’aha’a, the kind of humility in which wonder expands as you realize the beauty of the world and your small role in it, the Montessori life is a divine life. 

When you go through a 3 summer course with a cohort, you live a lot of life together — love and heartbreak, major life changes, new life and even death. Add the enormity of the elementary training + the characteristics of the 2nd plane guide and the level of intensity, drama, and fun binds you to your classmates forever. I feel very blessed to love and be loved by amazing humans in my course. Even though we’re far apart, I think of you all and trust that we would all welcome one another with open arms. 

What I most admire about what I see happening at MTCNE are two efforts: 1) The fact that the training center has sponsored so many trainers-in-training over the last decade at all of the levels, and 2) the many satellite locations where MTCNE trainings are being held. The macabre joke of not allowing all the AMI trainers to travel together in one plane, is no longer a real threat! I am proud to be aligned with a training center whose trainers reflect our beautifully diverse world and whose trainings are now offered not only in the U.S. and in Europe, but also in Asia and the Pacific. And I am sure that this is only the beginning. Mahalo nui, thank you, to Tim Nee and Courtney Reim and all the good folx who support them. 

AMI training has opened the doorway to a beautiful vocation. I know how to turn inward and nurture myself, and am tasked to do it! in service of my work. I have built a toolkit and Montessori lens, both within myself and in my albums to serve my work with children, families and community. I have been connected in beloved community to a group of diverse humans who share my commitment and can offer me support when I need it. I have used that foundation to build a school and school community, and I am so excited to now add training for my island communities. AMI training hasn’t changed me, just as our work with children doesn’t change them. Instead, I firmly believe it has aided me in my own natural development to find my cosmic task which we Hawaiians call kuleana. I am so grateful. 

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