AMI Talks – The Importance of Movement

On 15 November 2023 Prof. Adele Diamond, Ruben Jongkind and Patrick Oudejans presented the AMI Talk on The Importance of Movement.

Movement is the essence of life, a realisation that Maria Montessori artfully wove into numerous learning opportunities. It remains one of the hallmark features of her approach to human development, spanning from our earliest moments in life to the very end. In our AMI Talk, we were joined by three exceptional presenters to delve into the crucial elements that contribute to refining motor skills and amplifying the joy of physical activity.
Our first speaker is the globally renowned Professor Adele Diamond, a pioneer in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience. She discussed the profound significance of music, dance, and movement in her presentation. Following Professor Diamond's talk, we had the privilege of hearing from the two visionaries behind Montessori Sports, Ruben Jongkind and Patrick Oudejans. They shared their perspective on how "Sport is a key to educate human potential." 

Click the links to watch or listen to the recordings.


Adele Diamond

Adele Diamond is the Canada Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. A leader in two fields, psychology and neuroscience, Adele co-founded the now flourishing interdisciplinary field of “developmental cognitive neuroscience.”
Her speciality is “executive functions” (e.g., self-control, creative problem-solving, mentally playing with ideas, and focused concentration), especially in children. Her discoveries have thrice changed international medical guidelines for the treatment of diseases and have had a significant impact on educational practices worldwide, improving millions of children’s lives.  
She received her BA from Swarthmore (Phi Beta Kappa), her PhD from Harvard, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale Medical School.  Adele is a member of the Royal Society of Canada, was named one of the “2000 Outstanding Women of the 20th Century” and was listed as one of the 15 most influential neuroscientists alive today. Her other awards include an Award for Lifetime Contributions to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society.

Ruben Jongkind

Movement and sports have always been Ruben Jongkind's passions. Starting out as a coach in 2006, he worked with several Dutch champions in athletics, triathlon and pentathlon before taking on the responsibility of coaching at the academy of Dutch Football Club Ajax Amsterdam.  Here Ruben was introduced to the Montessori philosophy through youth player Jamie Lawrence. Between 2011 and 2016, Ruben worked with Johan Cruyff and brought Montessori principles into the training environment of the academy. 
In 2018, together with Patrick Oudejans, Ruben  founded Montessori Sports with the aim of using the power of sports to improve education for all children. Ruben went on to take AMI primary training, and in 2020 Montessori Sports signed a strategic partnership with AMI, with graduates currently spread across 73 countries.  Ruben has recently initiated  the Montessori Sports Charity. 

Patrick Oudejans

Patrick Oudejans started his sports coaching career in 2005, working with children aged 6-12. He pursued a degree in Sports Management and Business (Hon. BSc), graduating in 2014. Patrick's graduation thesis was conducted at the AFC Ajax youth academy, where he met Ruben. In 2013, Patrick received a job offer from Ajax as a Data Analyst, where he worked on Plan Cruyff. He also travelled internationally to explore football environments. Patrick left Ajax at the end of 2015 to join Cruyff Football and moved to Beijing in 2017 to start a pilot project integrating sports into Montessori environments. The successful pilot led to two fully operating Casa programmes with AMI-educated staff. In 2018, Patrick and Ruben founded Montessori Sports, enriching Montessori environments with sports to improve education for all children. The COVID-19 pandemic caused Patrick to move back to the Netherlands in 2020, resulting in the creation of an AMI-accredited programme for integrating sports into daily activities with children.