Dates: January 19 - April 13, 2013
DOWNLOAD APPLICATION FORM HERE .
Sharon Caldwell, Hillary Drinkell, and Tim Seldin
The first week is orientation - The last is for reading, reflection, and wrap up. Plus you will have access to the entire course online classroom and resource collection, the video talks, and ongoing discussions with the instructor and your fellow students, for an entire year after the course ends.
Location: Your office or home, on your computer!
Instructors: Sharon Caldwell, Hillary Drinkell, and Tim Seldin.
Time: Set your own schedule, working on weekly learning activities and projects that will directly benefit your school next year. You should expect to invest at least five hours a week reading the extensive course materials, viewing online video presentations or listening to audios, collaborating with fellow students and Tim Seldin, and working on PR, marketing, and recruitment strategies that will directly impact your school.
We will schedule weekly live conversations with Tim Seldin. Participation is recommended, but not required. We will record them and post the recordings online.
Do you have a trip or specific time during this period when you will not be available? No problem! While it is best to participate with the entire group in ongoing discussions, You can catch up when you return.
A school is nothing but people. It lives in their hearts and minds. A great school is group of people acting in accordance with a common set of beliefs and values, who feel a sense of commitment to each other and to the institution.
So often, schools agonize over the difficulty of attracting and retaining enough students to meet our budget, and every time a Montessori child leaves before graduation, our classes and school community suffer.
The Montessori Foundation believes that this endless cycle can, and must, be broken. We can build our schools with children who will blossom in Montessori, and with parents who will value and remain committed to Montessori. This highly practical and hands-on course will show students how to organize their admissions/recruitment program to identify and attract the perfect families for your school.
Does this sound familiar?
“We worry about our enrollment every year.”
“My teachers get tired and discouraged when we hold parent education nights, and only the same five really committed families show up.”
“I wish that our parents were really supportive! What does it take to get parents to understand that we sometimes feel as if we’ve all taken a vow of poverty just so their tuition will stay low.”
“I’m really tired of defending Montessori to parents who think that we’re involved with a cult?”
A Montessori child can never be replaced! This course will help you to attract not only children who will blossom in your school, but parents whose values and commitments are in line with your school’s vision.
This course will help you to:
• consider how to make the most of the currently weak economy that many schools face.
• define your school’s unique identity
• build a stronger school community
• get the most out of your promotional dollars
• learn how to get positive PR on a shoestring
• understand the recruitment secrets of the most successful schools
• turn your school’s “limitations” into assets
• develop highly effective school brochures
• make direct mail strategies work for your school
• develop and effectively use direct mail pieces
• get free publicity for your school
• use slide shows and videos
• make your school newsletter your single most effective PR tool
• organize effective open houses and special events
• motivate your present families to help
• find the perfect match between family, child, staff, and school
• keep your vision alive
• develop effective parent education programs
• organize monthly community and class meetings
• work with parent volunteers
• make new families feel at home
• give children “bragging rights” through a strong extracurricular program
• Organize a Financial Aid Program
• Develop a more family-friendly school
Finding The Perfect Match
The Heartbreak of Goodbye
What would it be worth if parents really got it?
A Montessori child can never be replaced
It’s all about admissions
First making The phone ring – a first brief look at marketing
Defining your school’s identity
Is this school Montessori or ‘Monte-something’?
Is your school run like a shopping mall?
The Five Blind Men and the Elephant Or…Just what is this school of yours all about?
The 9 areas of a school’s function – assess your schools strengths and weaknesses
A brief initial description of your school - exercise
What do children really get out of Montessori?
Basic qualities and characteristics of your school
Vision for the world
Vision for the child
Vision for the teacher
Vision for the parent
Vision for school leadership
What are you selling to parents?
Don't sell parents on Montessori as if it were a commodity
Following the Rhumb Line
Preparing a Blueprint For A Montessori Program
The Blueprint exercise
Operationalizing your school's vision & values
Making the phone ring
How do you define success?
Long waiting list - low tuition – few expectations on parents
Anecdotal memory – "parents love us" no hard data
Word of mouth works well
We don’t need to advertise
Assignment What is your ad budget now? What did you do last year?
Looking at your history – How to prepare attrition charts - Assignment – Prepare attrition charts going back five years – Analyze.
Defining your customer
What Makes You Different?
What Benefits Do You Offer?
Patterns of enrollment and attrition – Why most Montessori schools look like pyramids — how this pattern can be broken
The 3 kinds of families in your school – True believers, The Parking Lot Mafia, and Parents Who Are ‘Playing The Field’
Who is your ideal family? How do you find them? How can you recognize them?
What kind of families cause you the most aggravation? Why do they come to your school in the beginning? Why do they leave? How can you recognize them?
What schools compete with you in your community? What makes them attractive to some parents?
What unique selling points might make your school more attractive to the right families? How can you highlight your school’s special features and benefits?
Paid marketing strategies
Advertising Montessori - Exercises evaluating sample ads
Laws of communication psychology – need for repetition before audience hears and remembers
What is the return On Your PR Investment? How you can measure and track results
Shotgun marketing vs. our need for pinpoint accuracy
Beginning to develop a basic media strategy
What are your ads saying to the reader?
Guidelines for creating great ads
Photography – how to find the right sources – selecting a professional photographer Tips for taking better shots around your school.
Defining your school’s unique selling points
Exercises – review sample print ads Assignment – Collect portfolio of best schools ads you can find
Designing a series of ads for your school
Evaluate sample mini brochures and direct mail pieces
Placing mini brochures in the community – libraries, doctors offices, chamber of Commerce offices, Realtor’s Info Packs - Hand out at special community events, school fairs, etc
Assignment – collect portfolio of best schools mini brochures you can find, evaluate. Design a mini brochure for your school
Using Radio Ads & TV Spots – Why they may be affordable and worthwhile. Building a plan. View samples online
Using bill boards
Writing Public service announcements
Developing contacts and relationships in the local media
Guerilla marketing – Free or very low cost strategies
Community special events and fairs
Chamber of Commerce and Rotary
Befriend groups like the Leche League and Mom’s Helping Moms
Organize ongoing series of public talks & workshops
Bumper stickers and window decals
Imprinted clothing with school name and logo
Your school sign and signage throughout your campus
Special events at your school: family festivals, fund raising events, open houses, art fairs
Kids competing in community events – spelling bees, science fairs, parades
Developing your Marketing Plan
Your Marketing Budget
Selecting the Media to use to get your message across
Planning your guerilla marketing program
List of some public relations and marketing Ideas
A Month-By-Month Marketing Calendar
Your intended measurable results - Your plan to gather the results data
The Admissions Process
An overview of the process, from first phone call to the application
When the phone rings
Phone answering strategies 101
Answering machines are a no-no
Making time to talk to the prospective applicant
Qualifying the prospect
We are not selling – we’re helping people think this through for themselves
Heartbreak of parents leaving
Is your school a true community or child care?
Montessori myths that lead us to admit the wrong families
We fall in love with the child
Mom is great but we never meet dad
If we don’t let them in, they will never have the chance to discover – Roulette table approach
Parent ambassador program
L ist of contacts before application
Parent tour guides
Parents who contact people once they have applied – meet, give feedback to admission office
Ambassador family assigned to incoming families for first year
Small pamphlets about one aspect of the school - How they are used - Samples
Why they should be professionally designed and printed
Selecting a designer and printer -Why using a parent is often a bad idea
A Sample School Brochure - Evaluate portfolio of school brochures - Write a brochure for your school
Curriculum Scope and Sequence Booklets
What parents want to know
What gives parents reassurance and confidence
How they are used
Philosophy of curriculum in Montessori
A Sample Curriculum Booklet
Is Montessori right for you – Talks for prospective parents Montessori 101 (How Tomorrow’s Child Can Help)
Communicating your school’s expectations for new families
The Application Process
The weekly open house
Addressing parent concerns “Does Montessori prepare children for public school?”
Why both parents must go through process together
Application process - parent seminar 2 – What you need to know about our school
What it is like to be a parent here
Guided tour of a Montessori classroom
Transfer of records
Meet our parents
Interview with Head of School
Description of the Admission Procedure
Role of Admissions Director and Head of School - Sample job description
Application For School
Non discrimination policies and procedures
While you must not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, ethnic group, and country of origin, your school has a right to seek children whose needs your school can realistic meet, and families who will truly support your school and who will be committed to continuing at your school. Ideally, they parents figure out for themselves if your school is not a good fit – but do not be afraid to say no.
Student Recommendation Forms
In class visits
Report On Child Classroom Visit
The admissions committee
Task & process
Letter Of Acceptance
Letter Of Provisional Acceptance
Letter Denying Admission
Some Thoughts About Tuition
Pricing your tuition
The need to charge enough to do the job right
Add in a safety margin
2 and 3 day enrollments
Loss of revenue
What are these families really seeking?
Affect on program quality
Half day enrollmentas
Loss of revenue
Arguments for children only staying half day
Arguments against children leaving in the afternoon
Why half day children should stay at least through lunch
Problem with afternoon session
Why you should never use a non-Montessori child care program
Montessori all day model
Differentiated tuition for older age groups
Affect on revenue
Incentive to withdraw at break points
School should be thought of as a community – everyone pays a share
Separate fees in additional to tuition
Types of fees many schools use
Why parents zero in on separate fees - Source of aggravation
Why annual tuition increases are necessary
How to sell normal annual tuition increases to parents
Financial state of the school meeting
Next year’s tuition
What will your child get in return?
How to sell extraordinary one-time adjustments to a parent community.
Family Friendly Schools
Orienting new parents into the school
New Parent Receptions
Social event for families
Back to school nights – what works
Parent ed program
Monthly Class And Community Meetings
Working with Volunteers
What they can do
The Rule of thirds
Orienting and training
Ground rules and limits
How to do the task
Handbook for major tasks to make it easy
Thanks and recognizing volunteers
Parent work hour programs
Fund Raising And Special Events
A Series Of Parent Talks
Writing press Releases
Dealing with negative publicity
Sample Parent Handbook
Evidence That Montessori Is Worth It
Homework A Montessori Approach
Taking The Pulse Of Your Families
Listening To Your Students
Kindergarten And Elementary Moving Up Meetings
SHARON CALDWELL, B.A.Hons./HDE, has been involved in Montessori for fifteen years, after a six year stint as a teacher in a conventional high school. She founded Nahoon Montessori School, which drew strongly on democratic school tradition to realise the principles of student governance suggested in Dr. Montessori’s writings. As a result of her experience and insight into a variety of educational models, Sharon has run workshops and presented at Montessori, Alternative/Democratic and other education conferences in the USA, Australia, India, China and South Africa. She is coeditor of the International Montessori Council’s publication Montessori Leadership, has edited course materials for the Center for Guided Montessori Studies, and is a regular contributor to Tomorrow’s Child. She supports Montessori schools and parents internationally as a mentor on Montessori_Online, an online discussion group sponsored by the Montessori Foundation, and is an instructional guide on two of the Montessori Foundation’s leadership programs: Building a World Class Montessori School and Finding the Perfect Match. She has contributed chapters to The Directory of Democratic Education and Turning Points: 27 Visionaries in Education Tell Their Own Stories. She lives in East London, South Africa, with her husband, Denver, and two former Montessori and now self-directed home-educating sons, Christopher and Nicholas.
HILLARY DRINKELL, B.A. has been involved in Montessori education since 1988. She started as a parent volunteer in a small school, which so inspired her that she took the Early Childhood training and then progressed to the Elementary training. Hillary has worked in both Early Childhood and Elementary classrooms. She was Dean of Elementary at New Gate School in Sarasota, Florida and now works as a consultant, program officer and online teacher guide for The Montessori Foundation. In addition to her MEI Montessori, MACTE accredited Elementary training she has an undergraduate degree majoring in Industrial Psychology and Speech and Drama from the University of Durban, Natal, South Africa and a M.Ed. with emphasis in Montessori education from Plymouth State University, USA.
Hillary consults at Montessori schools assisting in developing new programs, turning existing programs into classic Montessori programs, administrative issues, faculty training and hiring, how to go about getting school accreditation and alignment of standards to an authentic Montessori curriculum. She writes articles for both Tomorrow’s Child and Montessori Leadership, and assists in writing online leadership courses for The Montessori Foundation. She is also involved in the restructuring of the IMC’s accreditation standards document. She has also worked for The Center for Guided Studies as both a teacher trainer and as a writer for one of their Elementary courses.
TIM SELDIN, M.Ed. is the President of The Montessori Foundation and Chair of the International Montessori Council. His almost forty years of experience in Montessori education includes twenty-two years as Headmaster of the Barrie School in Silver Spring, MD, his own alma mater (age two through high school graduation). He has also served as the Director of the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies and as Head of the New Gate School in Sarasota, Florida. He earned a B.A. in History and Philosophy from Georgetown University, an M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Supervision from The American University, and his Montessori certification from the American Montessori Society. Tim Seldin is the author of several books on Montessori Education, including his latest, How to Raise An Amazing Child; The Montessori Way with Dr. Paul Epstein; Building a World-class Montessori School; Finding the Perfect Match - Recruit and Retain Your Ideal Enrollment; Master Teachers - Model Programs; Starting a New Montessori School, Celebrations of Life, and The World in the Palm of Her Hand.
How to Apply:
You can register online or mail your application and payment by credit card or check (drawn against a US bank) in to us at The Montessori Foundation, 19600 State Road 64 East, Bradenton, FL 34212 USA. Please make checks payable to The Montessori Foundation.
You can scan and email your application (with payment by Mastercard, Visa or American Express) to the Montessori Foundation at
or fax it to us at 1-941-745-3111. If you need to arrange a wire transfer, please email or call for instructions.
Non-IMC Members: $1,250 for the first person from a school/$1,000 for each additional person enrolling from the same school.
Members of the International Montessori Council (IMC): Individual IMC members, or participants sponsored by a school that is a member of the International Montessori Council, receive a substantial discount: $950 for the first person enrolled from an IMC affiliated school/$800 for each additional participant enrolling from the same IMC member school.
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