At the American Montessori Society’s convention Saturday in Philadelphia, Lisa Porter Kuh said she has a vivid memory of the day she arrived at Greene Towne Montessori School in Center City in 1966.

The private school had just opened, and Kuh said she felt at home when she spotted maps, puzzles, and handheld learning tools like the ones at the Montessori school she had attended in Wilmington.

The only surprise was the teacher. Kuh, now the director of early education for public schools in Somerville, Mass., said she had never seen a nun before. And the teacher was not only wearing a habit, she also was walking around the classroom in her socks because one of the children was polishing her shoes.

Greene Towne’s director of advancement had an explanation for that.

“Meaningful work,” said Erika Goldberg, citing one of the tenets of Montessori practice.

It was one small exchange among many as more than 4,000 Montessori educators from across the country and around the globe met at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown to celebrate and discuss the latest trends and research related to the educational method that Maria Montessori, the Italian educator and physician, pioneered more than a century ago.

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