“The Hot Seat” turned out to be an amazing success! We collected 20 amazing ideas!!!
Do you have questions about implementing Montessori and you have no one to ask for advice?
Do you have a dream and you need a little support to start thinking about how to make it come true?
Or do you just feel alone and need company?
In that case, my Talk to Mirka Zoom Call is exactly for YOU! Come and join me! I will answer your questions and be your place of support, help and encouragement. There is no fee for this. It is completely free and EVERYONE is welcome.
Sometimes it takes just one answered question to spark enthusiasm and create energy, and Montessori is brought to yet another part of the world.
This week I had a guest who had a big question. My guest was Ciprian Radu.
Ciprian is from Romania and he is building a brand new Montessori school just outside of Bucharest. I became part of his journey when he signed up for my mentoring program. And I can tell you that he is absolutely amazing and his school will be awesome.
His question was: “How can I gain the trust of parents – my future clients – in a Montessori school which is not built yet?”
A group of experienced Montessori teachers, heads of schools, school founders and trainers who attended the Talk to Mirka meeting put their heads together and we harvested our collective wisdom and shared it with Ciprian.
It turned out to be such an amazing success! We collected 20 amazing ideas in 4 areas for Ciprian!
In 1 hour, Ciprian got advice from 6 different Montessori professionals!!! And for no charge. How awesome when we are willing to share with each other, right!!!
And I was so excited about the shared wisdom and knowledge that I decided to turn it into this information packed blog post!
May this be of use for you all. And, one important request! And I really ask you to do this, please!
If you have more tips which could help Ciprian, please, send them my way to email@example.com. I will expand this resource as your ideas come in. I will cite you and include your reference in the document! The resource can keep growing for the benefit of everyone! And you will increase credit with your own followers and parents as well!
Now, here are the ideas how a school can gain the trust of parents, before it is even built and open, which we collected today!
Focus on these four key areas for the start:
Aim for a Strong Montessori Program
Root your program in strong Montessori philosophy and practice. Research the types of Montessori programs that are available and choose what works best for the children you will serve. Always educate parents about the Montessori method and why you implement it the way you do. Be ready to share your knowledge and passion at every opportunity. Keywords here are authenticity, genuineness, and “putting the child at the center.”
Shared by Anjana Choudhuri
Be aware that a Montessori school is always evolving. You may start with an infant community and grow into a primary school, later expanding to elementary and adolescent programs. The entire school will grow, including children, staff, parents and you. The school, and all of you with it, will go through different developmental stages, requiring observation, reflection, recalibration, and ongoing improvement.
Based on The Whole School Montessori Handbook by NAMTA
Among the absolute pillars of a successful Montessori program are the prepared Montessori environment and the Montessori prepared adult. Carefully select guides with high-quality Montessori education and preferably experience, as you are a new program. You need mature and grounded adults with excellent communication and relationship skills. They should be responsible, relatable, likable, trustworthy, calm, and patient. Above all they need to be able to receive feedback and give feedback openly.
Shared by Larrisa Santimaria from elAlbahabla School, Argentina
Seamless experience is your unique selling proposition. Parents want to find one school for their child from day one until the end of their schooling. Offering a Montessori program for children from 15 months to 15 years has proven to be the most interesting and viable structure.
Montessori in Action: Building Resilient Montessori Schools by Elizabeth Slade
Parent Education, Parent Education, Parent Education
Start organizing parent education and support programs from the inception of your project, even before your school is built.
These are all free and edited transcriptions, not direct quotes.
Learn to Love Marketing!
You are reading well. Learn to love marketing! There is no long term success and sustainability without it!
Marketing means “letting the world know”.
To market your program effectively you first need to understand your future clients. You need to get to know them.
Are they already interested in Montessori, or do you need to introduce them to it? Do they understand what authentic Montessori is? What are their true needs, and how can your program address them? How can you genuinely connect with them and gain their trust?
Second, you need to figure out where to talk to them so that you can tell them about your service.
Before you have your own community, your own clients, engage with your potential clients where they already gather. Use Facebook Groups, various types of social media and other platforms. Find them both online and offline. Find out where they hang out. Visit physical places where they go, such as parent and child groups, family centers, pediatricians’ waiting rooms, gyms, coffee shops, parent conferences, and educational events.
Third, once you get to know them, find them and know where to talk to them, you need to learn how to talk to them.
Help and respond to their needs, posts, and questions. Let them get to know you as someone they can rely on. Engage with them, have conversations, and ask them what they need. Carry a flier with you and be ready to share information with passion. Make it automatic that you share all the time with everyone.
And if you feel a bit uncomfortable, start with your family and friends and practice with them. They are the group and community you already have. Engage them, ask them to share, and ignite their passion to spread the word about your program to their friends. Grow your community one person and one step at a time. Every person matters, no matter how unimportant they may seem at first.
Tell your story. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Share why you are passionate about Montessori. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. People connect with other people’s stories. For your school to be successful, people must connect with yours.
Differentiate, attract, and direct. This is The DAD Principle. Stand out from the crowd. You want to be noticed. Once people start listening to you, offer something attractive and valuable. When people connect with you because they see you mean it that you want to serve them, guide them towards a specific action. Whether it’s signing up for a parent evening seminar or participating in a grill party, a call to action helps build a relationship and establish trust. You engage with them in a unique way. You involve them in collaboration and conversation.
And last but not least, be aware that you need to market not only your school but also Montessori as a method. Introduce Montessori to the world and inform parents about their children’s needs and how Montessori supports their full development. Not all parents are familiar with Montessori, so be prepared to explain what it is and what it is not. Be the Montessori advocate and ambassador. We need to be many to make a difference!
All of the Above And…Create Your Community!
You understand the gist now. It all starts and ends with the community. There is nothing more important than community. There is nothing more important than the love you give, the people you connect with and the time of your life and work you share with them, making this world a better place.
Offer nothing but love, care and support. And your school or any other project will be successful.
And one more important hint! Collaborate with your “competitors” instead of competing with them. In this ever-changing world, sustainability can only be achieved through collaboration. Skip competing and invest in collaborating. You will grow faster and stronger. You will be more efficient and effective.
Reach out to local schools, similar projects, people who are doing similar things, connect and share. Help them understand that learning from each other is what makes you all better and more successful. Establish associations and lead the way in connecting. Together, approach local authorities and advocate for Montessori. Many harmonious voices are stronger than one!
Remember, we have a shared goal. We want to bring Montessori to all children of the world!
Here are a few useful resources we collected from among ourselves:
A beautiful parent created Montessori film “Let The Child Be The Guide”.
Amazing videos from inside Montessori classrooms which you can watch with your families.
TedX Talk by two Montessori adolescents about their Montessori educational experience. Recorded courtesy of Montessori Institute Prague at the occasion of Montessori Congress held in Prague in 2017.
I hope you enjoyed the outcome of this “Hot Seat” collective wisdom gathering as much as I did! Next session is next Monday, 3pm CEST. Get your link here. This time, we will talk about running adolescent programs!
PS: A Reminder!