- 55% - Heard about it from a friend
- 18% - Found out about it at a school fair or open house
- 18% - Drove by and saw the school sign
- 9% - Researched private elementary schools in their geographic area
When asked what information was missing or would have been useful in their decision-making, the majority of parents stated that a comparative description of Montessori and traditional education would have been very useful.
Educating parents, both current and future, about Montessori education is a win-win situation. Parents with children already enrolled in your school will be your biggest advocates. They will share and talk to other families about their positive experience with Montessori education. Parent education comes in many forms. Here are some ideas for effective parent education sessions:
Educating the Montessori Parent Leads to Successful Montessori Schools and Students
Coffee, bagels, and fresh fruit provide a casual atmosphere in which to present such topics as Cosmic Education, The Normalized Child, Peace Education, and The Prepared Environment.
Parent Education Series
- Montessori 101 – Interactive sessions that link school to home. Can include topics such as How to Incorporate Montessori Philosophy into the Home, Positive Discipline, Promoting Independence in Your Child, Sibling Rivalry, etc.
- Curriculum series – Montessori Mathematics, Montessori Language, Montessori Cultural Subjects, Practical Life, Going Out in the Montessori Classroom
- Guest speakers tied into Teacher workshops so parents know what their teachers are learning
Having a library of books, magazines, and pamphlets on Montessori and various parenting topics: sibling rivalry, special needs, toilet training, picky eaters, adolescence, and positive discipline.
Educating parents to the positive discipline method will not only help teachers out in the classroom, but help build better family relationships.
Pair each incoming family with a “veteran” family.
At the beginning of each year, create a survey to assess interest in a parent education program at your Montessori school, as it can change from year to year. Use those surveys to then create your parent education curriculum for the year. Make sure you advertise your parent education programs well enough in advance for parents to plan and coordinate child care if necessary. (Some schools even offer childcare if programs are to be held in the evening). Send fliers home, post fliers on classroom doors and in hallways, have teachers mention it to parents at arrival or dismissal, have teachers make phone calls to invite parents, put it in the newsletter and school email, and advertise it on the school reader/message board. Encourage teachers to attend, too. Building and maintaining positive parent relationships only breeds success for your school.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Sunday, January 13, 2008.