Montessori education has been around for over a century, and families continue to choose Montessori preschools for their young children. The Montessori style is self-paced, student-centered, and focuses on a child’s whole development— physical, emotional, social, and mental.
Running a Montessori school for early childhood education can be rewarding and beneficial to your whole community. If you’re thinking of opening a childcare center that fosters this alternative learning environment, keep reading to learn how to start a Montessori preschool.
Why Start a Montessori School?
When you start a Montessori preschool, you’re committing to offering a robust education to children of all learning styles. In fact, Dr. Maria Montessori first developed this type of school for children who were formerly unwilling or unable to learn in traditional education settings.
The Montessori method:
- Focuses on hands-on learning
- Cultivates independent thinking
- Encourages self-guided activities
- Is inclusive of children with special needs
- Welcomes mixed-age learning environments
Other benefits of opening a Montessori preschool include serving a diverse population, collaborating with innovative childcare experts, and earning a higher income.
Opening a Montessori School or Daycare
Since a majority of Montessori schools and daycares are privately run, the process of starting one is slightly different than opening a childcare center. Let’s explore every step of the process.
Get Montessori Certified
To become a Montessori director or teacher you need to go through a certification process. This proves that you understand the Montessori teaching model and philosophy, and have the training required to deliver Montessori education to your class. You can find education programs to become certified on the American Montessori Society website.
Know the Local Regulations
There are state and local licenses you need to obtain to legally run a childcare center. For private schools, the regulations vary from state to state. Learn about all the rules and regulations you need to open and run your business safely. If not, you put your preschool at risk of getting fined or shut down.
Create a Montessori Business Plan
You might want to form a business plan when starting a Montessori school. Think about everything you need to open your doors and start serving families.
A preschool business plan includes:
- Creating a budget
- Making a schedule
- Observing your competition
- Finding a facility
- Making a curriculum
- Hiring staff
- Purchasing supplies and equipment
- Getting organized for everyday operations
Research the average cost to start a Montessori preschool. If you need to fundraise or look for grants before opening, include that as part of your business plan.
Establish a Curriculum
Set up the curriculum your Montessori school will implement throughout the class. Because the Montessori approach tends to be more exploration-focused than other preschool programs, your curriculum should include the five main themes of Montessori teaching.
- Practical Life: A child engages with their environment while learning independence, order, and basic functions through life. This includes exploring curiosity, caring for others, caring for the self, and caring for the environment.
- Sensory: Children learn through all five senses, and learn to pursue discoveries that were sparked by the senses. This includes using sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing to learn about the outer world.
- Math: Children learn math at a gradual pace and must understand basic concepts before moving on to abstract applications.
- Language: Class engagement helps kids expand their vocabulary and language skills, as well as improve communication development. Many Montessori schools incorporate multiple languages in the classroom, as it encourages children to develop different modes of listening and comprehension.
- Cultural: Children learn about change and how to respect people’s sense of importance in the world. This is learned through lessons on history, art, science, and geography, as well as group activities.
Pick a Location
Where will you operate your Montessori school? If you don’t already have a location in mind, start looking at local places to rent or buy. When you get a location, you want to design it to encourage optimal Montessori learning.
Your location needs to facilitate an organized environment, allow for meal preparation (by teachers and children), have a shared group area, stations for individual learning, and have age-appropriate storage. You also want to consider outdoor space to play and multiple classrooms for different age groups.
Get Special Equipment
To teach preschool with the Montessori method, your classroom needs some special equipment. Aside from the standard preschool furniture and supplies, many Montessori schools have:
- A wide variety of sensory materials like foam toys, musical instruments, and beads
- Hands-on “personal life” items like toy kitchens, toy irons, child-sized brooms, non-toxic cleaning products
- Maps and 3D globs
- Movable alphabets
- A pink tower
The type of equipment and supplies you select should align with your curriculum, and cater to the special niche of students you plan to market towards (if applicable).
Hire Montessori Employees
You’ll need a team to help you run your Montessori preschool. It can be challenging when hiring employees for Montessori schools because not all candidates with childcare backgrounds will have Montessori experience.
However, many Montessori preschool directors leave room for growth in the hiring process. For example, if a potential hire has a good educational background, a great attitude, and is willing to learn more about the Montessori method, they can be a good fit for the job.
Set Up Tuition
Calculate how many students would be ideal for your program and how much tuition needs to be to run a successful Montessori business. Many Montessori schools charge more than public childcare centers or franchises because they’re privately funded and supported by families who are willing to invest in this type of education.
When setting up tuition, consider offering two or three different options to families. This allows parents to choose how often their child attends your school based on their family schedule.
Market Your Preschool
After you’ve arranged a lot of the logistics of your Montessori preschool and are ready to open your doors, you might want to market yourself in-person and online. Marketing lets local families know you’re open for enrollment. When done correctly, you can capture the interest and unique values of the families who are looking for a new Montessori school like yours.
Here are a few things to consider when marketing your preschool:
- Get a website. A good website can help people find you via Google Search and showcase your values, programs, and facility to those looking for local preschool options.
- Share brochures around town. Get the word out by leaving free pamphlets at local libraries, cafes, medical offices, or parks.
- Post announcements online. You can post free announcements on educational platforms or invest in paid advertising for your local directories.
There are many other ways to market your preschool successfully using social media, referrals, and newspapers.
Use a Childcare Management Software
Today, it can be extremely difficult to organize everything you need to start a Montessori preschool. Many childcare centers, both private and public, use digital software to help them manage their business.
A childcare app like Daily Connect helps Montessori directors manage parent communication, class attendance, learning assessments, and even Montessori curriculum guidelines. These types of software also allow you to stay up to date with state inspections and communicate with staff.