Friday, February 12, 2010

Montessori Leadership Guide: Building a Montessori Community

NAMC montessori leadership building community boy and father
This is the time of year when many Montessori schools are preparing to promote Fall 2010 enrollment. We turn our attention to updating and revising communications vehicles such as websites, brochures, newsletters and advertisements. We set out housekeeping plans to upgrade or update physical space. We look at scheduling regular open houses for prospective parents. All this is necessary and effective in terms of getting the word out and demonstrating that we are ready to welcome new students through our doors.

But what will make them stay?

Attracting and retaining students is really about attracting Montessori families. Enrollment success is very much dependent on attracting families that match your Montessori school’s values, philosophy, and commitment to quality education for children. Here are some tips on how you can help your Montessori community flourish.

Montessori Leadership Guide: Building a Montessori Community

It begins with a clearly-defined identity, mission and guiding principles. As important members of your communities, Montessori schools benefit from a strong communications strategy that provides a lens into the immediate and long-term value and impact of your presence in and contribution to that community. Montessori schools have the opportunity to provide the foundation for lifelong learning in every child that passes through your doors. This goal cannot be met without the involvement and engagement of each family. In other words, Montessori schools play an integral role in building Montessori communities in order to thrive.

In upcoming articles for 2010 centered on Montessori leadership, we will explore a number of specific initiatives to develop a sound approach toward nurturing a community of families and faculty that are committed to investing in Montessori as an education for life.

Some areas that we will look at:
  • Mission and Guiding Principles: Your School Compass
  • Defining Your Path: Authenticity and Integrity
  • Marketing and Communications: Building Awareness and Understanding
  • Enrollment
  • Parent Education, Communication and Involvement
  • School Facilities: Ongoing Maintenance and Improvement
  • Faculty Support and Development
  • Student Assessment and Record Keeping
  • Mentorship At Any Age
Let us begin with your unique identity. Every Montessori school has one, whether it has been defined, or is yet to be defined. What is your school’s essential character? Perhaps your faculty has a special affinity to connecting with and caring for nature and the environment. Write it down. Ask your teachers, students and parents to define it in their own words. Keep this information, and revisit it further down the road, when you have more fully explored what you envision the true nature of your Montessori school is or should be. This will help you move toward developing a school culture and community that follows a clearly-defined vision.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, February 12, 2010.

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