Leadership Responsibilities for Implementing Montessori

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Leadership Responsibilities for Implementing Montessori

It takes a team to implement Montessori for Aging and Dementia, but so often leadership send their staff to training related to new programs or skills, but don’t attend the training themselves.  For successful Montessori program implementation, leaders should lead by example and attend the “From Can’t to Can Do!” workshop.  Leadership can support staff and encourage change by dedicating time to discuss cases and to brainstorm ways to promote Montessori throughout the community with the direct care staff.

We suggest that leaders participate in care in the community enough to both coach care partners in Montessori principles and listen to concerns from team members through the use of open-ended questions. Coaching sessions should involve collaborative sessions between the team members and the leader to brainstorm challenges and to trial additional techniques to support Montessori implementation. Leaders are encouraged to listen to the Montessori implementation experiences of each team member at least 3 times weekly. Listening sessions should include open-ended questions, and the leader should demonstrate active listening skills such as non-judgement, eye contact and positive body language.

Leaders should be present directly in the community enough to “catch” staff implementing Montessori principles. These small or large Montessori victories should be acknowledged by way of specific praise or perhaps entrance into a gift card drawing. Leaders are encouraged to choose a “Montessori Champion” of the month and publicly acknowledge the team member’s commitment to the program.

Each care area should have at least one Montessori champion for each time of day. For example, life enrichment, care partners, leadership, medical care partners as well as other care participants should have one person who is committed to the implementation of Montessori and seeks to support such implementation throughout the community. A Montessori champion is a person who “gets it.” They demonstrate success in the implementation of Montessori principles, and they encourage others to do the same. Montessori champions are also ideally opinion leaders within their respective circles. For example, it is one thing to hear about the benefits of Montessori from the presenter at the “From Can’t to Can Do!” workshop, but it is another scenario to hear about the benefits of Montessori from someone whom you work with every day, someone you respect, your peer and someone whose opinion you already value.

Creating, leading and supporting teams is critical in new program development.  In our efforts to guide you through this process, Brush and Douglas have created a workbook to empower healthcare teams to implement the core components of the Montessori program while adapting to the specific culture of the care community. Packed with practical suggestions to support care partner buy-in, this guide highlights key strategies for community leaders. As a special bonus, this guide also outlines supply lists and step-by-step instructions to engage older adults in meaningful activities such as metal insets, embroidery and food preparation. It takes a team, so let’s get started!

By | 2017-09-21T14:49:00+00:00 September 21st, 2017|Montessori, Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jennifer Brush
Jennifer A. Brush, M.A., CCC/SLP has been working for over 20 years to change the face of dementia care in hospitals, assisted living communities, nursing homes and home care. Prior to establishing her own practice, Jennifer served for many years as the Executive Director of IDEAS Institute, a nonprofit organization that improves the lives of older adults through the conduct of applied research. She is an international speaker and recognized speech-language pathologist known for her work in the areas of memory, swallowing, and environmental interventions for people with dementia. She has served as the Principal Investigator on applied research grants that have examined issues pertaining to dementia, hearing impairment, dining, dysphagia, and the long-term care environment. Her research and consulting in the area of environmental modifications has resulted in improved functioning for people with dementia. Jennifer offers interactive and educational presentations and coaching that help clients bridge the gap between current research findings and the care needs of people with dementia. Jennifer Brush is the co-author of four books: Creative Connections in Dementia Care™; I Care; Environment and Communication Assessment Toolkit™ (ECAT) and A Therapy Technique for Improving Memory: Spaced Retrieval. She is the author of Meal Time Matters and Meal Time Matters at Home, training programs that build nursing assistants' and home caregivers' skills related to dining, swallowing disorders, and safe feeding assistance. Jennifer has authored over 25 articles in peer-reviewed journals, served as guest editor of the journals Seminars in Speech and Language and Perspectives in Gerontology, volunteered as Chair of Professional Development in Gerontology for the American Speech Language Hearing Association Special Interest Group, and was an editorial reviewer for SpeechPathology.com. Jennifer is a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). Jennifer is honored to be appointed by the Executive Director of AMI to serve as an inaugural member of the Advisory Group for Montessori for Aging and Dementia. This group is responsible for writing the AMI standards for Montessori dementia programs. Jennifer presented her research in the area of dementia at the first international conference for Montessori environments for dementia in Sydney, Australia in 2014, and spoke at the annual AMI meeting in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2015. She will return to Sydney in November, 2015 to speak about creating supportive environments for the aging.
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