Click Here to Download All the MINAS Elementary Lesson Plans.

Click Here to Download Individual Lesson Plans.


Introducing MINAS

The Midwest Institute for Native American Studies (MINAS) was formed as a not-for-profit organization in 1999 to educate early elementary children about the cultural and social traditions of the indigenous peoples of the Great Lakes area. Since then, we have created a wide variety of interdisciplinary materials and curricula to empower students to understand and respect these historic tribes and nations. After review from the organization’s Board of Directors,  MINAS’s Executive Director and Montessori teacher Linda Bechtle has field tested each material in her classrooms as well as in a number of Chicago-area Montessori and public schools to ensure they are well-received by students and teachers alike.

What We Do

Over the years, MINAS has helped to inspire and educate thousands of students and teachers in the Midwest through presentations at national and regional Montessori conferences and at public, private and Montessori schools.  In addition to producing bibliographies of culturally sensitive and age- appropriate books, Websites and other resources, MINAS has amassed a nearly 2,700-volume library of often hard-to-find books available for loan to member researchers. Member schools may borrow MINAS materials free of charge and receive discounts on classroom presentations by Ms. Bechtle on a variety of topics.

Please contact us for more information about our membership and materials, classroom presentations and teacher education workshops!

About Our Executive Director

MINAS’s Executive Director Linda Bechtle has been involved with Montessori education for more than 20 years at Evanston’s Chiaravalle Montessori School and Midwest Montessori Children’s House, as well as at Chicago’s Rogers Park Montessori School.  She received her Early Childhood and Elementary I certificates from Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center and, in 2009, received her M. Ed with a Montessori focus from New Hampshire’s Plymouth State University. Recently, she served on the Education Task Force for the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian that created a widely-acclaimed Native American Studies K-12 Curriculum Overview and Resource Guide for teachers.