Adele Diamond, Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver gave the key note address. Her topic "Dance, Music and other related activities for the Development of Children" dealt with her research into executive functions (EFs), how they are influenced by biological and environmental factors and how they can be improved.  

Clips of El Sistema, National Dance Institute (NDI) and Youth Circus showed children from impoverished backgrounds engaging with their arts in vital and professional ways. The inspirational music played by El Sistema, the National Youth and Children's Orchestra of Venezuela has astounded the world with its energy, vigour, beauty and professionalism. Jaques D'Amboise has transformed the lives of children with disabilities and troubled background through NDI.  

The important information Adele gave was pertinent to every participant in their own setting whether school or social project and the importance of humanity, compassion and beauty shone through her presentation.

Sandrine Mallet started KidsRFuture three years ago and her presentation showed schools in Argentina, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, Mexico that are connected with other schools providing needed resources and support. She also spoke about Langkata Women's Prison Day Care Centre, which is just beginning it's Montessori journey. Children stay with their mothers in the prison until they are 4 years old and are then sent to families or orphanages. Sandrine  spoke passionately of the altruistic nature of the child and how empathy evoked in giving and receiving opens neural pathways in the brain that will influence a child's life journey.she spoke of the partnerships process and how a school in Versailles recently raised 1000 euros to help reconstruct a school in Nepal.

Susan Mayclin Stephenson shared many pictures of her work in the Himalayas, Mongolia, Morocco and Brazil. She raises money through consultations and lectures at schools in order to assist in areas where people cannot pay for access to Montessori information. She spoke of consulting at Tibetan Montessori schools in India that were started by the Dalai Lama in 1960. She shared the website where Montessorians from around the world have donated to help a school in the earthquake area of Nepal, showed pictures of a new 0-3 Montessori program at an orphanage in Morocco, and explained how the Portuguese translation of her 0-3 book is reaching hundreds of parents in Brazil free via the internet. Many of this information is available at www.susanart.net.

André Roberfroid gave his farewell talk where he reinforced the value of the ESF gathering and spoke of the task ahead. The values we have learnt from the child of Freedom, Respect and Solidarity are also valid as the framework in other settings. The Assembly should be exhilarated and excited and each person gathered here is privileged to be part of the way forward.

The day concluded with Fern Girdlestone Ojeland's presentation on the importance of bonding between parents and children. Participants were led in joyful dance to conclude the afternoon session.

Speakers