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1st Portugese Nienhuis Montessori Retreat | 20th – 22nd April | Lisbon - Portugal

“Learning to Move, Moving to Learn”
| 19 March 2018
1st Portugese Nienhuis Montessori Retreat | 20th – 22nd April | Lisbon - Portugal
1st Portugese Nienhuis Montessori Retreat | 20th – 22nd April | Lisbon - Portugal

We are very pleased to announce the 1st Portuguese Nienhuis Montessori Retreat, which will take place in central Lisbon, Portugal, from 20th – 22nd April 2018, with the theme “Learning to Move, Moving to Learn”.

In view of the rapid spreading that Montessori Method is taking all over Europe, every year in many countries Montessori conferences and refresher courses are being organised by national and European Montessori Associations. All these events are very valuable for extending people’s knowledge of Montessori education and exchanging experiences and ideas.

Alongside, Nienhuis Montessori has been organising the so-called Nienhuis Montessori Days, together with many experienced and distinguished Montessorians. These Montessori Days has been organised in several countries like The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, South Tirol (I), Poland and Czech Republic, and have become more and more popular. The main reason for this increasing popularity probably is the quality of the programme and the affordable price of these days. We have always had the support of many AMI trainers, AMI trained teachers or very experienced Montessorians with another background.

This Montessori Days are a Nienhuis Montessori’s initiative, which represent the first experience of a new event format, namely an European forum for sharing and conversation. The main idea is to gather, share and exchange experiences and ideas in an informal setting and to extend people knowledge of Montessori education. The name chosen for this Montessori event was Montessori Retreat.
Because of its enormous success and very positive feedback, and because it is necessary to take Montessori everywhere, this edition will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, where the interest on the Method is notoriously increasing.
The Retreat will have the participation of three distinguished and experienced Montessorians: Patricia Wallner, Madlena Ulrich, and Nancy Lechner.
About the Theme - “Learning to Move, Moving to Learn”.

Our modern living is fostering a sedentary lifestyle, which is increasingly robbing children of opportunity and time to move around freely and naturally. The young ones are strapped into car seats and strollers while the older ones have to sacrifice recess and outdoor play in order to spend more time doing academic work. But humans are not only mind and intellect, they have a physical body, too, and it is deeply connected with the overall development of the child.

What has been mentioned by Maria Montessori decades ago has been recognized by Neuroscience, which, through various studies, has demonstrated the importance of movement in the life of the Human Being, ensuring that in movement, in action, the individual learns and retains more, because this way he learns at the same time that he "feeds" the brain.

The way Children learn is therefore closely linked to their movements. Human Beings develop their intelligence by learning through their five senses, and especially through the relationship between the hand and the brain. When there is movement, action, the brain is stimulated in a different way than if the Child were simply standing, watching, and listening. The brain depends on all kinds of movements to develop.

In her days, Dr. Montessori was appalled by the way children were made to sit still in school. She wrote in her book The Absorbent Mind: Movement is the essential of life, and education (…) should only function as an aid to better expenditure of energy, whilst allowing it to develop normally.” Maria Montessori has therefore based her whole method on the premise that learning is linked to movement.

During our retreat, we will revisit important developmental milestones for movement and have a closer look at how the prepared environment and the Montessori activities can facilitate movement from birth to adolescence. 

Bring some comfy clothes – we are going to play games!


Movement is the last part that completes the cycle of thought, and spiritual uplift is attained through action or work.” (Maria Montessori, Education for a New World). Maria Montessori gave great emphasis to movement in the education of the human being. Instead of dividing school hours into lessons (sitting still) and movement (gymnastics or break time), she found a way to incorporate movement into the learning situation and thereby connect body and mind. For the young child, a sensorial learner who needs to explore the world with his whole body, movement is essential. When he reaches Elementary age, the child needs to conquer the world by letting his strong legs carry him out into society. How do we address these needs in the prepared Montessori environment? And what happens to the children in our modern times, when the children spend increasingly less time outdoors moving free and unhindered? Explore these and other questions with us at the Nienhuis Retreat in Portugal.

16:00 Registration
17:00 Opening and introduction
17:30 Primitive Reflexes (0-3) Patricia Wallner
18:00 Uniting mind and body (3-6) Madlena Ulrich
18:30 Feet that walk, hands that work (6-12) Madlena Ulrich
19:00 Dinner

9:00 Learn to Move (0-3) Patricia Wallner
10:00 Break
10:30 Movement as an integrated part of the child´s work in the Children´s House – Madlena Ulrich
11:30 Break
12:00 Movement in the age of screens – Patricia Wallner and Madlena Ulrich
13:00 Lunch
14:15 Fundamental Movement Skills and the outdoor environment – Madlena Ulrich
15:15 Break
15:45 Movement, Music and the Brain – Nancy Lechner
16:45 Finish
17:00 Socializing
17:30 Dinner
9:00 How to Work with your Child at Home – Patricia Wallner
10:00 Break
10:45 Movement Songs and Games (participants are encouraged to share their favourite movement games and songs) - Nancy Lechner
11:45 Closing Remarks

Practical information

Higher School of Education Almeida Garrett

Date and time:

  • 20th April 2018 from 04h00pm to 08h00pm (including dinner)
  • 21st April 2018 from 09h00am to 08h00pm (including lunch and dinner)
  • 22nd April 2018 from 09h00am to 12h00pm.


  • Registration on or before de 31st March 2018 - € 100,00
  • Registration from the 1st until the 20th of April - € 110,00

Included in the Price: Access to all activities, meals, coffee breaks, Certificate of Participation and other useful elements. The Participants will also have access to a showcase of Nienhuis materials, with special prices.

The registration is completed by filing the form (across "bilhetes disponiveis") and making the payment of the contribution through the:

  • IBAN: PT50 0035 0995 0063 0943 1303 7

(Please place your name in the description). Proof of payment must be sent to the e-mail


The Retreat will have the participation of three distinguished and experienced Montessorians: Patricia Wallner, Madlena Ulrich, and Nancy Lechner.

Patricia Wallner – AMI Trainer 0 – 3
Patricia Wallner has been working in Montessori since 1970. She took her AMI 3-6 diploma in Washington D.C. and the 0-3 diploma in Houston, Texas with Dr. Silvana Montanaro. For 17 years she worked in a bilingual Infant Community in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where she lives. In 1995 she began the Training of Training program supported by the Association Montessori Internationale and during her training earned a Master’s degree in Education. She has trained students and lectured in Europe, Asia and the U.S.A. Her goal is to promote Montessori, especially for the 0-3 age group in Europe.

Madlena Ulrich – AMI Trainer 3 – 6
Madlena Ulrich spent her childhood in Germany and attended a Montessori Elementary school there. She moved to Norway as an adolescent and later obtained a Bachelor’s degree as a preschool teacher and is about to finish a Master’s degree in pedagogy at the university College of Vestfold, Norway. She took her original AMI 3-6 training at Mount St. Mary’s Montessori College in Dublin, Ireland. Since 1995 she has worked in the classroom and has been involved in the development of Montessori in Norway by giving lectures and serving as Vice President on the board for the national association NMF. In 2008 she started on her Training of Trainer’s, spending two years with Molly O’Shaughnessy in Minnesota and a summer course with Ulla Wikefeldt in Sweden. She is currently part of the AMI faculty in China and lectures in Norway as well as other countries.

Nancy Lechner
Nancy Lechner M.Ed., has been working with young children since 1977, and holds Association Montessori Internationale (A.M.I.) credentials in: 0-3 -- Assistant to Infancy, 3-6 -- Primary Education and Special Education. Nancy has presented parent events, staff development, and special education workshops throughout California, as well as in Oregon, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, and Romania. She has also been a guest speaker in the Early Childhood Education Program at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. Working as the Director of Training at the Assistants to Infancy level at Montessori Northwest in Portland Oregon, Nancy runs summer courses in Portland, and has completed an A-I satellite course during the academic year in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. She is currently running an A-I course at the Montessori Institute of Bucharest, Romania. Additionally, she is a Consultant for AMI-USA.

More info

Do you have any qustions or want to receive more info? Please email to Jardim Da Descoberta, they will be happy to help you.