Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What Parents Look for in a Montessori School: Tips on First Impressions

NAMC what parents look for in a montessori school first impressions boy in classroom
When deciding on the right preschool for my niece, my sister and her husband considered several schools. One of their considerations was a local Montessori school. My sister said they had high expectations for their visit, knowing my commitment to Montessori. Unfortunately, their first impression did not encourage them to choose this school; they were disappointed in the school and the environment.

Families considering the best option for educating their young children are usually looking for the same things my sister and her family sought. Among other things, they want an environment that is clean and welcoming and teachers who are professional, knowledgeable, open communicators, and kind... and it is likely that families will assess whether you meet these criteria very quickly when they visit your school.

Making First Impressions Count: Tips on What Parents Look for in a Montessori School


The Environment

Remember that the outside of your building is equally important as the inside, as this is what families see first. Stand in your parking lot and look at your school. Is it well landscaped and clean? Simple touches such as adding some flowers and making sure the walkway is clean make a good first impression.

Overall, the environment should be welcoming, clean, and inviting. The classrooms and common areas should be well-lit, with as much natural light as possible. Make sure everything is clean and tidy. Keeping walls and windows clear is helpful. Choose colors for your environment that are neutral, creating a calming atmosphere. Are there plants or fresh flowers in the room? What about a water element, such as a small waterfall? Is there soothing music playing softly in the background? Are the children’s personal belongings put away neatly?

The main draw of the Montessori environment is, of course, the material itself. Review the material in your classroom and make certain it is in good repair and stored neatly on the shelves. Clutter and untidiness turn parents and children off. As the focal point of the environment, the material should beckon to children and adults alike to remove it from the shelves and work with it.
NAMC what parents look for in a montessori school first impressions family working together

Teachers and Staff

From the moment visitors arrive on your campus, they should feel welcome. It is important for parents to know that the entire staff is there to care for and nurture their children. Teachers and staff should be able to effectively and enthusiastically communicate the Montessori philosophy and methodology, so parents understand the difference between conventional and Montessori environments. Why are there no colorful bulletin boards or bright primary colors? Why are the children working by themselves on something different? What about group work? Where are all the tables and chairs? What is the purpose of multi-age classroom? Considering the answers to such questions ahead of time will prepare you when parents voice concerns — and you will be able to quickly put them at ease!

Additionally, if parents have specific concerns about their child, be prepared to listen to them and to let them know how you can meet their child’s needs. Parents and teachers alike need to know what it really means to follow the child. All children are special and have individual needs. Following the child means being respectfully accountable to each individual child and providing the best environment and situation in order for them to learn and become independent.

Although we follow the same philosophy and methodology, each Montessori school is different. However, it is important to ensure that what makes you unique also makes you welcoming to new families. Take a look at your school through the eyes of prospective parents. Is this a place where you would want your own child to go every day? What can you do to improve your image and encourage new enrollment? The answers might surprise you!

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. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have questions or comments? Let us know what you thought
about this article!

We appreciate feedback and love to discuss with our readers further.

Find What Interests You Easily!

Are you interested in reading back through NAMC's blog articles from years gone by? Are you looking for more information on a specific topic?

Use the menu below to select the year and then the month to narrow down the time frame the articles you are interested in were posted. You can also browse our entire list of categories below; by clicking on one, you will see every article posted under that topic since 2007.

Still having trouble finding what you're looking for? Try our search box (located in the side bar of every page) to search all posts on our site for your keyword. If you require further information, or have comments or concerns, feel free to contact us.

NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog Archive

Post Category Labels

We'd love to hear from you!

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.

NAMC is always looking for feedback and dialogue with our students and other Montessorians. We invite you to contact us if you may have any questions or comments in regards to our blog or articles we have posted here at our Montessori Teacher Training page.

Please note:If you want to learn more about NAMC, are interested in our programs, or are a student, please contact us through the main NAMC site to ensure a timely response from one of our advisors, tutors, or education specialists.

Fill out my online form.