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Our most popular course!

NOTE: This is a self-paced online course. Registration is open and you may register at any point in the year. Some people have been able to complete the course in 12 weeks with an investment of approximately 5 hours a week to read the materials, watch the videos, and complete the challenges for their own school. We give registrants ongoing access. Many students return to it again and again. 

With the course, students may use up to 5 hours of personal one-on-one consultation with Tim Seldin or other senior consultants from the Montessori Foundation.

Additionally, the Montessori Foundation offers a series of optional weekly webinars on Wednesdays at 1 PM East Coast time in the United States. Many of these live sessions make be of interest and value to participants in the course. Questions are encouraged.

Course Description

Building a World-Class Montessori School has been our most popular course for almost 30 years.

World-Class Montessori schools that have achieved a level of excellence, stability, and widespread public appeal that makes them highly attractive to prospective parents and teachers. So often, though, schools struggle, primarily because they continue to compromise their programs and principles in hope of becoming more attractive to parents. The Montessori Foundation helps make the case for courage, conviction, and consistency. Our premise is that there is a Montessori way that we can and must follow to produce, time and time again, the results that made Montessori schools famous around the world. We will sketch out the specific elements of best practice that can lead your school to greater success in everything it does.

The Montessori Foundation has worked with hundreds of Montessori schools around the world, helping them to clarify their philosophy and develop the highest levels of Montessori curriculum and practice. This course will give both an incredibly in-depth overview of all of the Montessori Foundation's other courses in Montessori school leadership, along with a host of specific strategies and tools that you need to chart the best course for your school's future.

We don't provide a precise syllabus because we add to the course to respond to your interests, needs, and concerns. 

Topics covered include:

UNIT 1: Introduction to World Class Montessori Schools

Introduction to the concept of a World-Class Montessori School.

  • A historical perspective of Montessori education.
  • Clarifying what it means to be a Montessori school.
  • How a school differs from other businesses.
  • How a Montessori school differs from other schools.
  • Perspective: Abundance vs. Scarcity.
  • The Nine Areas of School Operation.

Starting a new school: rationale; steps; legal & financial structures; business plan

UNIT 2: Defining Your Identity

What are core values, vision, mission, and aims and why are they important?
 Achieving clarity regarding core values, mission, vision, and aims.

  • How some Montessori schools lose their way (missions and market forces)
  • Defining a school's identity based on core values.
  • Creating a 'Blueprint' for the school.
  • Using a Best Practice process to guide decisions.

UNIT 3: Ownership of the School / Governance by the Board

  • The role of Boards in the management of Montessori schools.
  • Creating Boards that function efficiently and effectively.
  • How boards work with the head (recruit, support and evaluate the head).
  • Effective board meetings.

UNIT 4: School Leadership / Administration

  • Defining the role of the School Head: administrative and leadership functions.How to find the right person as Head of School.
  • How to find the right person as Head of School.Employment agreement for the Head of School.
  • The employment agreement for the Head of School.
  • Sustainable School Leadership: Assessing and supporting the Head

UNIT 5: The Educational Program

  • The fundamental principles underpinning an authentic Montessori program.
  • Establishing continuity and cohesion across all levels in a school.
  • Designing and implementing a cohesive and integrated Montessori curriculum.
  • Implementing a studio program to enhance and extend the Montessori program.
  • Program assessment.
  • Student assessment, recording, and reporting.
  • Aspects of Best Practice in a Montessori educational program.

UNIT 6: Faculty & Staff

  • Staffing a Montessori school - important principles and ethical issues.
  • Recruiting the right staff.
  • Choosing the right candidates.
  • Interview techniques and questions.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of faculty.
  • Job descriptions.
  • Staff Handbooks.
  • Salaries and legalities.
  • Staff development and retention.
  • Characteristics of Master Teachers.

UNIT 7: Facilities

  •  Aspects of architecture and grounds layout.
  • Designing an aesthetic and effective Montessori classroom.
  • Assessing the efficacy of school facilities.

UNIT 8: Finances

  • Setting tuition.
  • Enrollment agreements.
  • Refund insurance.
  • Tuition increases.
  • Financial aid.
  • Collecting past-due tuition.
  • Other aspects of finances.
  • Assessing the health of your school's financial position.

UNIT 9: Recruitment and Admissions

  • An introduction to the process of 'Finding the Perfect Match.'How to market a Montessori school.
  • How to market a Montessori school. Define what you are selling and identify your school's unique selling points.
  • Define what you are selling and identify your school's unique selling points Marketing strategies: direct mail, brochures, print, radio, TV, guerilla marketing.
  • Marketing strategies: direct mail, brochures, print, radio, TV, guerilla marketing.The admissions process and documentation.
  • The admissions process and documentation. Making admissions decisions.
  • Making admissions decisions.
  • Retaining families once they are enrolled.

UNIT 10: Building School Community

  • Building strong school communities.
  • Community meetings.
  • Involving parents productively in the school.
  • The family-friendly school.
  • Customer service.
  • Parent Education.

UNIT 11: Gathering Additional Resources

  • Fundraising, from annual campaigns, special events, and capital projects.

While much of the content is prerecorded, we will walk you through any issues or interests that are not already included.

Icons & text

  • Incredible depth and perspective

    With the Montessori Foundation's team of noted Montessori consultants, Tim Seldin and his family have led and provided expert advice and support to Montessori schools since 1932,

  • Practical systems and resources

    With more than 50 hours of video talks about almost every aspect of leading a great Montessori school, this is a resource to be used again and again.

  • Individual Consultation

    With the course, you get direct access to our senior consultants, including Tim Seldin. We include up to 5 hours of consultation - a value of $750 by itself. If you need more help, it is available at a cost that is much more affordable than for-profit school consulting firms.

Course curriculum

  • 01


    Show Content
    • How the Montessori Foundation can help
    • Welcome to Building a World-Class Montessori School
  • 02

    What is a World Class Montessori School?

    Show Content
    • Audio Talk About What Is A World-Class Montessori School
    • Turning Dreams into Reality – How to Build a World Class Montessori School
    • World class Montessori
    • World class Montessori schools – A commitment to excellence
    • Steps to create a school that works
    • Environment Assessment Early Childhood
    • The Blind Men and the Elephant
    • Maria Montessori - A Historical Perspective
    • Basic elements of the Montessori approach
    • Timeless and classical
    • What is Montessori
    • Is it Montessori
    • Montessori: A Cookbook or a Scientifically-based Approach
    • Variations in Implementation Fidelity in Montessori Education
    • What makes a private school different from other businesses
    • Montessori Teacher Pupil Ratios
    • 1.2 Beyond the basics
    • Financial Aid Policy
    • Some Thoughts About Tuition
    • How Many Students Do You Want to Enroll?
    • Thoughts on Using Passenger Vans
    • The Outcomes of a Montessori Education
    • What is a Montessori school 1
    • What is a montessori school 2
    • Clarity is the Key to Success
    • Rhumb line
    • Seldin Caldwell 2012 Reporting ML
    • The Price We Pay When We Are Not True To Our Core Values
    • Sample Business Plan
    • Vision, Mission, Aims Statements
    • Unacceptable Compromise - How Montessori Schools Lose Their Way
    • 2.2 Blueprint model
    • Sample Parent conference notes
    • Caldwell 2011 Review lens on outdoor ML
  • 03

    The Admissions Process - Finding the Right Families

    Show Content
    • A school is nothing but people
    • Admissions Next Steps After a First Visit
    • Sample Intial Family conference form
    • Admissions Weekly Open House
    • Three steps in the enrollment process
    • Ambassador Parents in the Admissions and Community Building Process
    • BWCMS Enrollment Agreements and Parent-School Covenants
  • 04

    Legalities and finances

    Show Content
    • A Sample Financial Projection
    • Compile a SWOT Analysis for Your School
    • The Puzzle
    • Sample Letter Holding a Family to a School Contract
    • Financial Planning for Montessori Schools: Making it all add up
    • Permission for use of photographs for promotional material for the XYZ Montessori School
    • Why you should consider going non-profit
    • Discussion Forum - Legalities and Finances
    • Types of Legal Structures for Schools
    • Why you should consider going non-profit
    • How Many Students
    • Developing Your Business Plan
    • Sample Business Plan
    • Business Plan
    • Business of Montessori Audio
    • Seldin Making it All Add Up
    • Teacher Pupil Ratio
    • Reflections on Finances
    • Competitive Analysis Table
    • Business of Montessori powerpoint
    • Costs to Establish a New School
    • Setting Tuition
    • More Thoughts About Tuition
    • Some Thoughts About Tuition
    • Financial Aid Policy
    • Financial Projection
    • Prioritizing - Materials or Marketing?
    • NAIS Financial Aid
    • Risk Management
    • Using Passenger Vans
    • Permission for use of photographs for promotional material for the XYZ Montessori School
    • Non-refundable Tuition Deposits
    • SWOT Analysis for Your School
    • Compile a SWOT Analysis
    • Optional Additional Resources
    • Should you offer a sliding scale tuition plan?
  • 05

    Defining Your Identity

    Show Content
    • Video: Clarity is the Key to Success
    • Clarity is the Key to Success - Introductory Activity
    • Clarity is the Key to Success
    • Unacceptable Compromise How Many Montessori Schools Lost Their Way
    • Rhumb Line
    • The Price We Pay When We are Not True to Our Core Values
    • Defining Your Identity
    • Clarity is the Key to Success
    • Vision, Mission and Values Statements
    • Vision, Mission and Values Statements
    • A School is Nothing but People
    • The Nine Areas of School Operation
    • Video: Nine Areas of a School's Operations
    • Graphic: The Nine Areas of School Operations
    • The Montessori School Blueprint Model
    • The Montessori School Blueprint Model
    • Sample Blueprint
    • Blueprint Retreat - Introductory Remarks
    • Assignments
    • Drafting your mission statement: New School
    • Your school's mission statement: Existing School
    • Your vision for your school
    • Operationalizing your school's values and principles on a daily basis
    • Mission statement assignment
    • Discussion forum - Defining Your Identity
  • 06

    School Facilities

    Show Content
    • Planning facilities
    • Montessori Facilities Discussion Forum
    • What You Need To Know About Facilities For a Montessori School Part 1
    • What You Need To Know About Facilities For a Montessori School Part 2
    • A home for children - preparing a Montessori environment (1)
    • Gallagher campus design
    • A home for children - preparing a Montessori environment
    • Leasing or Buying a New Facility
    • Facilities : Leasing - Getting a First Right of Refusal
    • Build Your Own Building
    • Gallagher campus design
    • Design Guidelines for Montessori Schools (Thesis)
    • Montessori classroom design
    • Research into floor space requirements
    • Buying and Converting an Existing Facility
    • Leasing a Facility 1_04
  • 07

    The Educational Program

    Show Content
    • The three streams of Montessori curriculum
    • The Montessori Materials
    • Seldin 2007 Uninterrupted workcycle ML
    • mont curric spiral
    • Caldwell 2013 Understanding curriculum ML
    • A Philosophy of Curriculum
    • The Exercises of Practical Life
    • Practical Life Skills in the Elementary Montessori Program
    • Cultural Studies
    • 2002 Peace Resource
    • Making the Study of International Cultures Come Alive
    • Caldwell 2013 workbooks ML
    • You can’t hurry love - A Montessori approach to homework
    • Work plans in the Montessori 3 – 6 class
    • Seldin Individual learning plan elementary
    • long why we dont have grades
    • Portfolios of Student Work
    • Montessori Compass ML 2012 Dec
    • Seldin 2013 Testing_ML
    • Sample Summer Camp Program
    • sample camp brochure
    • 19_Why_is_it_important_to_attend_5_days_per_week
    • Sample 2week studio schedule
    • Educational_program Chapter 2001 (1)
    • Educational_program Chapter 2001
    • The integrated Montessori Curricululm 2001
    • Seldin The role of curriculum 2001
    • Seldin A sequence for feedback and accountability 2001
    • A Philosophy of Curriculum
    • Sample Study Guide
    • Seldin A sequence for feedback 3 to 6 2001
    • Zimmers Case for Montessori IB
    • Basic expectations for advancement 2001
    • Understanding Curriculum
    • Living History in the Upper Elementary Program
    • field_school_upper_school_overview
    • A Sample Internship Policy
    • Farkes Kingsley TC
    • Curriculum in Montessori Schools
    • The 3 Streams of Montessori Curriculum
    • Curriculum Spiral
    • Introduction of Montessori Scope and Sequence
    • Curriculum Scope and Sequence
    • Drinkell Scope and Sequence
    • Areas of the Montessori Curriculum
    • The Exercises of the Practical Life
    • Practical Life Skills in the Elementary Montessori Program
    • Video: Sensorial Materials - External Resource
    • Cultural Studies
    • Teaching Peace
    • Making the Study of International Cultures Come Alive
    • ** Cosmic Curriculum
    • Drinkell 2012 Scope and Sequence
    • Integrating Principles and Practice
    • The Uninterrupted Workcycle
    • You Can't Hurry Love - Montessori Approach to Homework
    • Workbooks and Worksheets
    • Sample: Individual Learning Plan Elementary
    • Specialist Teachers and Extra Lessons
    • The Role of Specialists
    • Work Plans in the Montessori 3-6 Class
    • Getting the Year Off to a Good Start
    • Recording, Assessment and Reporting
    • Observation
    • Evaluating and Reporting on Student Progress
    • Sample Elementary Conference Forms NGS
    • Sample Parent Conference Notes
    • Sample Initial Family Conference Form
    • Sample Conference Forms
    • Sample Report Cards
    • Portfolios
    • Navigating the Classroom with Montessori Compass
    • Testing
    • Adding Value
    • Enriching and Extending Your Program
    • Theatre Games
    • Sample Camp Brochure
    • Summer Camp
    • Sample Summer Camp Program
    • Full Day Montessori and Meals
    • Various articles i.r.o. full day Montessori & mealtimes
    • Why is it Important to attend 5 days per a week
    • Rethinking School Lunch
    • Kindred Cooking Collection
    • Assignments
    • Three Streams of Curriculum
    • Planning your school's approach to program evaluation
    • Curriculum guide and tracking student progress
    • Sample 2 Week Studio Schedule
    • Educational Program Forum
    • Why we don't have grades
    • The Montessori Way - by Tim Seldin and Dr. Paul Epstein
  • 08

    Educational Program Optional Resources

    Show Content
    • Some Words of Advice on Purchasing Materials
    • Basic Recommended Montessori Materials Elemenary 2001
    • The languages of food & Reggio Emelia
  • 09

    What is a World Class Montessori School?

    Show Content
    • Seldin Some thoughts on Adolescents
    • Caldwell 2011 Children of the Earth Namma Bhoomi ML
    • Dessert Garden Middle School
  • 10

    Faculty and Staff

    Show Content
    • What is Montessori?
    • Seldin_2013_Specialists_ML
    • The Role of Specialists CCMA
    • Talent Development
    • Finding the Right Teachers
    • The Costs of hiring a Montessori teacher
    • Finding The Right Teachers
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • What Google can teach Montessori schools
    • Branching out while remaining firmly rooted
    • Orienting new teachers and staff
    • Orienting new teachers and staff
  • 11

    Clarifying Your School's Place in the Market

    Show Content
    • Video: Defining Your Identity
    • Benefits of Montessori Education
    • Beyond the Basics: What Children Really Get Out of Montessori
    • The Outcomes of Montessori Education
    • Video: Identifying Your Competition
    • Competitive Analysis Table
  • 12


    Show Content
    • A sense of timeless beauty 2001
    • A Home for Children - Preparing a Montessori Environment
    • Facilities Worksheet
    • Planning Your Facilities
    • Innovative Pedagogy
    • Leasing or Buying the First Right of Refusal
    • Facilities Part 1
    • Facilities Part 2
    • Facilities -Considering the pros and cons of limitations on future growth
    • Facilities Buy and Convert and Existing Facility
    • Facilities Leasing a Facility
    • Facilities - Leasing with a first right of refusal
    • Facilities - Design and Build Your Own Facilities
    • Facilities - A case study of one school
    • Facilities -Another Case study
  • 13

    Facilities and Classroom Design Optional Resources

    Show Content
    • Seldin Classroom Design
    • Master Classroom
    • Spaces for Children
    • Kopko Physical Environment
    • The Architecture of early childhood
    • Design Share - Language of School Design
    • Environment Assessment Early Childhood
    • Design Share - Brain Based Learning
    • Earthplay - Rusty Keeler
    • Creating Outdoor Spaces
    • Natural Playgrounds - Ron King
    • Designing an Outdoor Environment
    • Book Review: Lens on Outdoor Learning
    • Top 10 Mistakes in Design of Playgrounds & Children's Outdoor Environments
  • 14


    Show Content
    • A Break-Even Analysis Lesson and Calculation Tool From The Harvard Business School
  • 15

    Educational Program - Setting Up Montessori Classrooms

    Show Content
    • Video: The prepared environment
    • The Montessori Materials - Means for Development
    • Equipping the Classroom
    • Why the Materials are Important
    • What Belongs in a Montessori Primary Classroom?
    • Basic Recommended Montessori Materials Elementary
    • How Important are the Montessori Materials
    • Some Words of Advice on Purchasing Materials
    • Purchasing Montessori Materials
  • 16

    Recruitment - Making the Phone Ring

    Show Content
    • Marketing Continued
  • 17

    Governance The Board of Trustees

    Show Content
    • Role of the Board of Trustees
  • 18

    Montessori Public Charter Schools

    Show Content
    • Legal Structure Public Charter Schools Part 1
    • Legal Structure Public Charter Schools part 2
  • 19

    Building School Community

    Show Content
    • Greeting New Families
    • Parent Teacher Communication
    • Teacher Attitudes on Parenting
    • Parent Teacher Organizations
    • Parent Volunteerism
    • Creating a Collaborative Community 1
    • Creating a Collaborative Community 2
    • Creating a Collaborative Community 3
  • 20

    Student Assessment, RecordKeeping, and Progress Reporting

    Show Content
    • BWCMS Record keeping
  • 21

    How Montessori School Administrators Lead

    Show Content
    • Instructional Leadership
    • The SMART method of goal setting

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