The brilliant icy landscape of Quebec City sparkled outdoors as we gathered in the cheery warmth of École Montessori de Québec. Founded by Benoit Dubuc, now an AMI elementary trainer in Geneva, Switzerland, L’Ecole welcomes children eighteen months through twelve years in eight different classroom communities.

Wednesday evening and again for a full day Thursday, 150 enthusiastic Montessorians buoyed me up with their inspiring and thoughtful presence, elevating my spirits and warming my presentation. My American English presentation was translated into smooth and lively Quebec French by the Head of School, Jean Poirier, who served the conference from the beginning as our sure and wise planner and point man.

Our stay was hosted by the gracious Benoit Dubuc and his charming and sophisticated wife Marie-Charlotte – she of fine cuisine. Together they led us about their city’s streets to see their childhood homes, one block apart. Once Benoit had flown off to Geneva to meet his AMI students for two weeks and my conference had been delivered, Marie-Charlotte guided us through the Museum of Civilizations where she had spent a major part of her career as a special exhibition researcher.

Allan Nguyen, elementary guide and nascent official tour guide, showed us all the marvels of nature, architecture, and history of Quebec City. We watched with him over a fine lunch at a lovely waterside inn as the tides drove up the ice-clotted St. Lawrence River, exposing its broad and deep body of emerald liquid beneath it. During the conference, Allan, a webmaster and painter, served as our tech man and photographer.

The smart, serene, and lovely Catherine de Villers hosted the school’s flawlessly organized conference, complete with both a pleasant welcome lunch and a jolly farewell dinner for us.

Best of all, perhaps, was seeing the children in their communities at École Montessori de Québec. They were relaxed and charming, gradually disengaging from their happy chosen work to tidy up for lunch. Two upper elementary children toured us through all the levels of the school, gladly practicing their English on us, pointing out the animal members tucked away among the many tall, leafy house plants that we might not otherwise have noticed in the various children’s communities.

Here again is the conference program and below are comments from a few conference attendees:


“You had a remarkable evening.”

“It was so pleasant and convincing to hear you speak about the children and what we adults should know and do if we want to help them bloom. Thank you for enlightening and strengthening us adults, parents, educators, grandparents!”

“You are wise, calm, and enthusiastic about children and their well-being and it is communicated.”