Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies
January 25, 2020
Phoenix, AZ
Workshop: Digital Technologies and Development


April 6, 2019
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Meeting with AMI Trainers: A Discussion with Dr. Laura Flores Shaw
Keynote: What is Resilience?

AMS Conference
March 20, 2019
Washington, DC
Workshop: Facilitating a Shared Understanding of Normalization

Montessori Australia
Early Childhood Conference: Montessori Three R’s:
Responsibility, Resourcefulness, Resilience
March 16-17, 2019
Gold Coast
Keynote: What is Resilience?
Workshop: Walking the Talk: Fostering the Three R’s Within Ourselves

Beehive Montessori School
March 8, 2019
Workshops: What is Normalization?
The Brain: It’s Not What You Think!
March 12, 2019
Parent Talk: Montessori is Brain-Based Education

The Brainstorming Tour–North America
September 27–Charlotte, North Carolina
October 11–Ottawa, Canada
October 13–Ontario, Canada
November 1–Denver, Colorado
November 8–Jersey City, New Jersey
January 16–Pasadena, California
January 17–Marin, California


Montessori Asia Conference
October 22-23
Shanghai, China
Keynote: Montessori is Brain-Based Education

October 20-21, 2018
Chongqing, China
Keynote: Montessori is Brain-Based Education

Stepping Stones Montessori
October 3, 2018
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Parent Talk: Montessori and Play
Teacher Workshop: Facilitating Effective Play and Identifying Problematic Play Behaviors

AMI 2018 AGM and Montessori Forum
April 13 – 15, 2018
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Research Presentation: Exploration of Normalization: A Construct Foundational to Montessori Teacher Evaluation

 March 29, 2018 – April 11, 2018
Paris, France
Sofia, Bulgaria
Bucharest, Romania
Vienna, Austria
Prague, Czech Republic
Athens, Greece
Dr. Laura Flores Shaw: Montessori for All Brain Types

Dr. Steven Hughes: Surviving School Testing: Documenting Montessori’s Unique Outcomes

Montessori Early Childhood Conference
Saturday, 17 March 2018 – Sunday, 18 March 2018
QT Gold Coast
Keynote: Montessori and Play
Workshop: Facilitating Effective Play and Identifying Problematic Play Behaviors


Digital Technologies and Development

Digital technologies have changed our lives. Our response to these changes is similar to every other generation that has experienced major technological innovation: moral panic. We’re panicked that digital devices are wiring our children’s brains for inattention; that violent video games will create a violent society; and that smartphones are making our adolescents depressed and suicidal. While to a certain extent this panic is understandable, we have to stop and ask ourselves: Does moral panic help us prepare our children for the digital age? Or does it nudge us toward binary no-screen-versus-screen choices, influencing us to perceive our children as blank slates rather than complex people with innate tendencies and their own agency? And are the concerns that fuel our moral panic even true? These are questions every parent and educator should ask themselves. These are questions that will be addressed in this literature-based workshop.

Forget Self-Esteem, It’s About Differentiation of the Self (Parent and/or teacher talk)

The capacity to distinguish one’s own thoughts and feelings from those of others is differentiation of self. Research shows that those with a higher degree of self-differentiation exhibit less anxiety and overall better psychological adjustment, better physical health, greater ability to self-regulate, better marital satisfaction, and lower levels of relationship violence and substance abuse. This talk compares the self-differentiation and self-esteem research and provides concrete ways teachers and parents can support children’s self-differentiation process in the classroom and at home.

The Brain: It’s Not What You Think! (Parent and/or educator talk)

Neuromyths are common misperceptions of how the brain works, and they are believed by both parents and educators. This talk dispels those myths and provides clearer understanding about what is currently known about brain function. Armed with this new information, teachers and parents can better evaluate practices and programs claiming to be “brain-based” and more effectively guide children towards becoming independent and contributing society members.

Laura Flores Shaw is an engaging speaker who brings the weight of her scholarship to bear on issues relevant to educational communities. She communicates with humor and insight, simplifying complex concepts from neuroscience and Montessori pedagogy, creating multiple pathways of understanding for her audience. Laura’s ability to understand the needs of the audiences she addresses translates to talks that deliver a real impact for parents and educators alike. I highly recommend Laura as a guest speaker and consultant.
— Parent and school board president


Montessori is Brain-Based Education (Keynote or Parent Talk)

 For the last two decades, cognitive science has been experiencing a “pragmatic turn” away from traditional “thinking” based frameworks of cognitive development towards an “enactive” framework, where cognition is grounded in sensorimotor skills. As neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert states, “We have a brain for one reason, and one reason only: to produce adaptable and complex movements.” This means we are not born to think—we are born to move. Conventional education, however, still operates from a “thinking” framework rather than one that is “enactive.” Yet, over 100 years ago, Maria Montessori designed enactive classroom environments that train children’s sensorimotor skills to purposely foster the development of their higher-level thinking. This talk shows how this 100-year-old pedagogy aligns with the most current research in cognitive science and neuroscience, making Montessori an education that is truly brain-based.

What is Normalization? (Talk or workshop based on Dr. Shaw’s research)

What exactly is normalization and which student behaviors actually demonstrate it? How do we distinguish normalization from simply good student behavior? And can teachers foster normalization? Beliefs about normalization influence teachers’ practice, as well as administrators’ evaluation of teachers. But recent research shows that teachers and administrators lack agreement as to what normalization actually is and how teachers should foster it. This workshop presents this research and examines normalization through the lens of self-regulated learning and teacher efficacy beliefs. It inspires practitioners and administrators to reach an agreed understanding of normalization to improve the fidelity of Montessori implementation across all classrooms within their schools.

Education for the 21st Century (Parent talk)

The public education system successfully trained millions of children for the industrial society and economy. But due to the proliferation of digital technologies towards the end of the last century, we socially reorganized into a society of distributed networks whose economy runs on knowledge. This means that the competencies required for success in the 21st century are very different than those required in the last century. It also means that we must fundamentally rethink our concept of school.

Ironically, over 100 years ago, just as industrialists were reforming education to prepare American children to work in their factories, Maria Montessori began developing a method that seemed to foreshadow the needs of the 21st century. Using research from multiple disciplines, including sociology, economics, cognitive science, psychology, education, and neuroscience, this talk discusses why Montessori is the educational framework for the 21st century.

As a parent, I truly appreciate Laura Flores Shaw’s ability to present research in an accessible and engaging way that makes a meaningful connection to my parenting and the choices I make for my children.
— Parent

Creativity Does Not Arise from Chaos (Parent and/or teacher talk)

There are two common assumptions about creativity: 1) creativity arises from chaotic free expression and 2) creativity is born rather than bred. The research shows, however, that creativity is actually a learned skill requiring knowledge and that everyone has creative potential. This talk discusses the creativity research and shows how Montessori fosters children’s creative potential.

Laura Flores Shaw, you still hold the first place of the best/most interesting/most informative presenters of all CCMA speakers!
— Educator
I really find Laura Flores Shaw to be a fabulous speaker, very motivating, and she always delivers options of several views. I would love to have her expertise more readily available.
— Educator  
If there is another topic relating to organizational behavior, education, or parenting that you would like to present at your organization, please contact me using the contact form at the bottom of this page.