Teaching with ETC Montessori curriculum

Tools, techniques and new products aimed at helping you effectively present concepts in a Montessori environment

Touchstones Discussion Program

Aki Margaritis
Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Touchstones Vision

Touchstones believes in a world where people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and ideologies engage in mindful and collaborative discussion to address complex local and global issues.

Participants in Touchstones sit in a circle.

The Touchstones Discussion Project was founded in 1984 to build essential communication, thinking, and leadership skills among U.S. students. First used in K-12 classes in urban schools and researched in Pittsburgh and Delaware, Touchstones proven results and highly engaging format made it an attractive tool among adult groups as well. Through our train-the-trainer technique and fully developed program curricula, Touchstones is readily picked up by educators and community leaders around the world to empower the populations they serve. In Touchstones, participants find their voice and their dignity, experience the value of their own thinking, and discover a sense of belonging and purpose.

How Touchstones Works

Touchstones programs:

  • Feature short texts from classical and contemporary sources as tools for exploration
  • Strengthen group cooperative learning
  • Engage participants of all abilities and economic backgrounds to unlock hidden potential
  • Foster active listening and close reading through more than 35 Touchstones volumes
  • Reveal underlying cultural assumptions and participant presuppositions
  • Incorporate individual and group evaluation for deepened understanding and development
  • Encourage appreciation of and application of multiple perspectives in problem solving
  • Offer nearly three decades of proven outcomes in socio-emotional and cognitive growth
  • Reach hundreds of thousands of underserved people



Touchstones reaches people all over the world. In addition to the tens of thousands of U.S. schools using Touchstones today, our highly transportable programs are in more than 36 countries on six continents, and program materials have been translated into six languages for use in schools, colleges and universities, executive development, community and senior centers, NGOs and governmental agencies, and with the incarcerated. The lives of 5,000,000 participants and counting have been transformed through the activity of Touchstones discussions.


(The information listed here is an excerpt from Touchstones website. To read more about the discussion project please visit www.touchstones.org)