The home of everything Montessori is now only one click away.
Have you ever found yourself trying to schedule a doctor’s appointment and wondering when that field trip is scheduled so you don’t schedule them on the same day? Or trying to respond to a friend of a friend who wants to know, “What is Montessori anyway? Is it worth it?” You know that you can access both the school calendar, and an article you can share, but do you have time to gather all that information? What if there was one app for that?
Montessori.org—home of the Montessori Foundation, the International Montessori Council, and the Montessori Family Alliance—officially released The Montessori App on the iOS and Android app stores. This new app organizes all Montessori.org resources into one central spot. In addition to Montessori.org resources, this partnership also allows any Montessori school to have its own school-specific app within The Montessori App, making it a true one-stop-shop for any Montessori school’s community. Anyone can install this new app for free by searching for montessori.org on the app store.
The Foundation’s new mobile app allows anyone in the Montessori community to easily access all of Montessori.org’s information in a user-friendly, personalized way. This new home for everything Montessori is helpful for parents, teachers, school administrators, and anyone else interested in learning more about what Montessori has to offer. Now anyone can join the app to discover upcoming events and webcasts, receive personalized messages about things happening in the Montessori community, and much more.
“It will be a very easy way for interested parents to put Montessori resources on their phone,” said Tim Seldin, founder and President of the Montessori Foundation and Chair of the IMC. “For no cost, they can get information about Montessori, they can check out Montessori schools, they can get many of their questions answered.” He emphasized that “amid the cacophony of noise about Montessori that’s out there,” one of the Montessori Foundation’s goals was to create a way to bring Montessori resources to parents through “something that they can use on a smartphone in those few minutes that the average parent has to sit still, without their child tugging on their shirt.”
The Montessori Foundation has been creating resources, starting with Tomorrow’s Child, the Montessori parenting magazine, for 30 years. In the last seven years, weekly webinars have been added and all are available on the website and on the app. If you have a question about cooking with your child, the lessons, or materials in the classroom, traveling with your child, or anything else pertaining to Montessori, you should be able to find an article or a webinar with ideas on the topic.
Building a mobile app wasn’t a new idea for Montessori.org. Seldin said that they had been very intrigued by the idea of having their own custom mobile app for montessori.org resources for some time. “The reason why we didn’t do it before — and we’ve really thought about this for a few years now — is the cost has been astronomical,” said Seldin. “I mean, we actually bought a do-it-yourself app maker, and it frankly never worked correctly. It was a giant pain in the neck.”
Seldin then met the founders of Onespot, a startup that empowers any school to have a custom, school-specific mobile app without needing to write a single line of code. Seldin said that when he started working with the Onespot founders, “We were able to get something up and running very quickly for the Montessori Foundation, the International Montessori Council, our Montessori Family Alliance, and our Montessori marketplace. That’s really complicated.” The Onespot platform was able to take that complicated system and make it simple.
The platform is like website builders, like Squarespace or Wix, but for mobile apps. Complex organizations (such as schools, businesses, non-profits, or even montessori. org) can use Onespot to make custom, easyto-use mobile apps. And because the platform was developed with scalable technology, the founders can keep the pricing incredibly af- fordable, while still providing top-notch customer service. “It was just obvious to me that they were on to something,” said Seldin.
As this is the first iOS and Android mobile app of its kind, The Montessori App is exciting for the whole Montessori community worldwide.
Montessori schools tend to use many online tools these days for communicating with parents about student progress or sharing other communications.
This new app brings everything together in one place, so parents don’t need to remember five or more different websites and download five or more different apps. This is the first app that deeply solves the community side of Montessori.
“It’s like a Montessori super app,” said Samuel Buchanan, one of Onespot’s founders. “It’s a new home for all Montessori resources, and Montessori schools around the world are starting to move in.”
One of those first schools to get their own custom app created within The Montessori App is the Montessori Children’s School in Key West, Florida. “I like it because it kind of ties us into a bigger picture, so people see it’s not just our little school down here; there’s a bigger entity out there,” said Amy O’Connor, the Executive Director of the school. She added that if parents “want to grow more with Montessori, there are all sorts of resources on montessori.org. I just think it gives more of a lift to substantiate what we’re doing here.”
Jessica Losardo, Director of Operations at the Montessori Children’s School, is also excited about the new app, saying that “should a parent consider Montessori, they can go to the Montessori Foundation’s website and actually research all the different schools to see how they compare to each other—what they’re doing similarly, what they’re doing differently—so that they get a very well-rounded idea of Montessori.”
Having their own app for their school within The Montessori App allows the Children’s School—as well as a growing number of other Montessori schools—to consolidate all their existing platforms and websites into one central spot on the device their community members use most: their phones.
According to a recent TechCrunch article, people around the world now spend an average of four to five hours per day using mobile apps, and that number continues to rise, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Centralizing all their school-specific platforms has been tremendously helpful for the Children’s School. “I was starting to feel like we had a lot of places that we were asking parents to visit,” said O’Connor. “We use Montessori Compass, SchoolCues, and a program called Clockify for parents to document their volunteer hours. And it just seems like a lot of apps.”
And they’re not the only ones feeling overwhelmed by the growing number of different apps and platforms that a school community needs to keep track of. Seldin, who has worked with hundreds of Montessori schools over the years, echoed the same sentiment, saying that “parents find it very frustrating to remember how to access their child’s records or the school calendar, or you name it. Even though most schools provide answers on their websites, it’s not always easy to navigate on a smartphone.” He added, “As we end up with more and more online tools and more and more online ways of communicating, there’s really something to having one central place to collect it all.”
The Montessori Foundation launched The Montessori App to be exactly that—one spot for everything Montessori. And as Montessori schools around the world are continuing to join in with their own app inside The Montessori App, this unifying solution is spreading quickly to the whole Montessori community.
“All our work-related stuff is there. Or, for a parent, all their school-related stuff is right there”, said O’Connor. “I think it just makes life easier. And when it’s easier for the parents, or the staff, or whomever, then the school experiences more engagement.”
You can learn more about this collaboration between the Montessori Foundation & Onespot by downloading The Montessori App. See how your school can join the platform by visiting www.MontessoriMobileApps.com (www.seabirdapps.com/montessori-school)