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Our most popular course!

"This course was so informational. The ideas, resources, and the amount of experience represented were outstanding. I look forward to continuing to apply all the content learned and continuing to become the best Head of School possible."

Sherria Van Sparrentak

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

    1. Introduction

    Show Content
    • How the Montessori Foundation can help
    • Welcome to Building a World-Class Montessori School
    • Introductions - Part 1
    • Introductions - Part 2
    • Online Netiquette Part 1
    • Online Netiquette Part 2
    • Course Structure
    • A Note on Assignments
    • Discussion Forum
  • 02

    1.1. What is a World Class Montessori School?

    Show Content
    • Introduction to the Concept of a World Class Montessori School
    • Audio Talk About What Is A World - Class Montessori School
    • Turning Dreams into Reality
    • World-Class Montessori Schools Commitment to Excellence
    • Steps to Create a World Class Montessori School
    • Rhumb Line
    • Clarity is the Key to Success - Introduction
    • The Blind Men and the Elephant - Part 1
    • The Blind Men and the Elephant - Part 2
    • What is a Montessori School - Part 1
    • What is a Montessori School - Part 2
    • Beyond the Basics
    • Maria Montessori - A Historical Perspective
    • Basic Elements of the Montessori Approach
    • Timeless and Classical
    • The Many Faces of Montessori
    • Cookbook or Scientifically based?
    • What is Montessori?
    • Variations in Implementation Fidelity in Montessori Education
    • Unacceptable Compromise
    • What makes a private school different from other businesses?
    • Teacher Pupil Ratios
    • The Outcomes of a Montessori Education
    • Evaluating and Reporting on Student Progress in a Montessori School
    • The price we pay when we are not true to our core values.
    • Vision, Mission, Aims, and Value Statements
    • Discussion
  • 03

    1.2 Defining Your Identity.

    Show Content
    • Introduction: Defining Your Identity
    • Defining Your Identity - Video
    • Identifying Your Competition - Video
    • Clarity is the Key to Success - Introductory Activity
    • The Nine Areas of School Operation
    • The Nine Areas of School Operation - Video
    • The Montessori School Blueprint Model
    • Blue Print Retreat - Audio
    • Sample Blueprint
    • Assignments Overview
    • Assignment 1 - Your vision for your school
    • Assignment 1 Submission Instructions
    • Assignment 1 Submission.
    • Assignment 1 Complete
    • Assignment 2 - Your mission statement.
    • Assignment 2 Submission
    • Assignment 2 Complete
    • Assignment 3 - Operationalizing your school's values and principles on a daily basis.
    • Assignment 3 Submission
    • Discussion forum - Defining Your Identity
  • 04

    2. The Educational Program

    Show Content
    • Introduction: The Educational Program
    • Introduction: Communicating the Benefits of Your School's Program.
    • Introduction to Curriculum in Montessori Schools
    • The Three Streams of Montessori Curriculum
    • Curriculum Spiral
    • A Philosophy of Curriculum
    • Supporting Documents
  • 05

    2.1. Some Key Issues and Topics About Montessori Programs

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    • Introduction to the Montessori Scope and Sequence
    • Curriculum Scope and Sequence Documents
    • Areas of the Montessori Curriculum Introduction
    • Curriculum: Montessori Materials
    • Curriculum: The Exercises of Practical Life
    • Curriculum: Practical Life Skills in the Elementary Montessori Program
    • Curriculum: Cultural Studies
    • Curriculum: Teaching Peace
    • Curriculum: Making the Study of International Cultures Come Alive
    • Principles: The Uninterrupted Work
    • Integrating Principles and Practice Introduction
    • Workbooks and Worksheets
    • Principles: You Can't Hurry Love - The Montessori Approach to Homework.
    • Principles: Sample Individual Learning Plan Elementary
    • Principles: Specialist Teachers and Extra Lessons
    • Principles: The Role of Specialists
    • Principles: Work Plans in the Montessori 3 to 6 Class.
    • Principles: Getting the year off to a good start.\\VIDEO MISSING
    • The Field School Example Upper School Prospectus
  • 06

    2.2. Student Assessment, Record Keeping and Progress Reports

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    • Record keeping
    • Why we don't have grades and Basic Expectations for Advancement to the Next Level.
    • Introduction to Recording, Assessment & Reporting
    • Portfolios
    • Montessori Portfolios
    • Supporting Documents
  • 07

    2.3. Adding Value

    Show Content
    • Introduction
    • Enriching and Extending your Program
    • Talent Education and Montessori
    • Sports and the Montessori Way
    • What about nature study?
    • Theatre Games
    • Enriching and Extending your Program - Supporting Documents
    • Will you offer a summer program?
    • Summer Camps
    • Full Day Montessori: Various Articles Regarding Full-Day Montessori and Mealtimes
    • Assignment 1: Three Streams of Curriculum
    • Assignment 1: The Three Streams of Montessori Curriculum Submission
    • Assignment 2: Curriculum Guide and Tracking Student Progress
    • Assignment 2: Curriculum Guide and Tracking Student Progress Submission
    • Assignment 3: Planning your School's Approach to Program Evaluation
    • Assignment 3: Planning your School's Approach to Program Evaluation Submission
    • Additional Documents and Resources
    • Discussion forum - The Educational Program
  • 08

    3. People and Resources - Introduction

    Show Content
    • Structure of this Part
  • 09

    3.1 The Admissions Process - Finding the Right Families

    Show Content
    • A School is Nothing But People
    • Sample Initial Family Conference Form
  • 10

    3.1.1. Recruitement

    Show Content
    • The Admissions Process
    • Three Steps in the Admissions Process
    • Three steps in the Admissions Process Document
    • Admissions Flowchart
    • Making the Phone Ring - Part 1
    • Making the Phone Ring - Part 2
    • Why Answering Machines are Bad for Business
    • Admissions Step 1 - Differentiating Your School
    • Montessori Mythology Regarding Admissions
    • Core Values, Recruitement, and Admissions
    • Make Time to Talk
    • Admissions Weekly Open House
    • Functions of the Admissions Director
    • Sample Open House Invitation
    • Next Steps After a First Visit
    • Communicating Expectations to Parents
  • 11

    3.1.2. Making Admission Decisions

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    • Part 1. Is the Parent a Good Fit?
    • Part 2. Is the Parent a Good Fit?
    • Part 3. Is the Parent a Good Fit?
    • Making Admission Decisions
    • Great Parents or Parents to Avoid
    • Admitting Older Children
    • Select and Retain the Right Parents
    • Get To Know Them: Sample Student Visit Reports
    • Your Right To Say No.
    • Get To Know Them: Sample Information Sheet - Toddler
    • Enrollment Agreements and Parent-School Covenants
    • Admissions Decisions: Collected Articles
    • Old Videos
  • 12

    3.1.3. Tuition, Financial Aid, and Scholarships

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    • Introduction
    • Thoughts on Tuition
    • Enrollmment Agreements and Structuring Tuition and Payments
    • Advantages of Third-Party Financial Aid Services
    • Supporting Documentation
  • 13

    3.1.4. Orienting New Families

    Show Content
    • Greeting New Families
    • Ambassador Parents in the Admissions and Community Building Process - Part 1
    • Ambassador Parents - Part 2
    • Sample Welcome Letter
    • Home Visitations and Phasing in New Children
    • Home Visits "The Key to a Great Beginning'
    • Onboarding Parents - Bringing New Families Into The School
  • 14

    3.1.5 Sample Documents Relating to Recruitement

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    • Introduction
    • Sample Documents
    • Parent Handbooks and Curriculum Guides
  • 15

    3.1.6. Attrition and Helping Parents Decide to Stay

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    • Introduction
    • Attrition is not Inevitable
    • A Montessori Child Can Never Be Replaced - Seldin
    • Practical Public Relations
    • Why Parents Tend Not to Stay with Our Schools.
    • You can never replace a Montessori Child - Waters
    • Means by Which Parents Judge Quality
    • How to use an attrition chart to track enrollment.
  • 16

    3.1.7 Assignments

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    • Assignment 1a
    • Assignment 1a. Use this page to upload your answers to Section A
    • Assignment 1b. Use this page to upload your answers to Section B
  • 17

    3.2. Facilities

    Show Content
    • The Importance of the Environment
    • 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
    • Considering the Pros and Cons of Limitations on Future Growth
    • Should you lease or buy?
    • Building Your Own Building.
    • Buying and Converting an Existing Facility
    • Leasing a Facility.
    • Facilities: A Case Study.
    • Facilities: A Second Case Study.
    • Additional Content on Facilities
    • Additional Content on Outdoor Spaces
    • Purchasing Montessori Materials
    • The Prepared Environment
    • Additional Content on Equipping the Classroom
  • 18

    3.2. Assignments

    Show Content
    • Facilites Worksheet
  • 19

    3.3 Faculty and Staff

    Show Content
    • Finding the Right Teachers - Video
    • The Costs of Hiring a Montessori Teacher
    • Tim's Thoughts on Staffing and Finances
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Talent Development
    • What Google Can Teach Montessori Schools.
    • Branching Out While Remaining Firmly Rooted
    • Orienting New Teachers and Staff Part 1
    • Orienting Teachers and Staff Part 2
    • The Head of School
    • The Montessori Faculty
    • Hiring, Salaries, and Benefits
    • Professional Development, Collegial Support & Mentoring
    • Professional Development, Collegial Support & Mentoring - Sample Documents and Worksheets
    • When Staff Members Move On
    • Additional Sample Documents - Staffing
  • 20

    3.3. Assignments

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    • Assignments
    • Discussion
  • 21

    4.1. Clarifying Your School's Place in the Market

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    • What makes your school different from other schools in your area?
    • Strategic Marketing
    • Defining Your Identity
    • Identifying Your Competition
    • What are you selling parents?
    • Sell or Search for the Perfect Match?
    • We don't need to advertise.
    • Brochures
    • Initial Marketing Marterial
    • Articles About Marketing
    • Video: 21st Century Marketing
    • Websites and Online Marketing Video 1
    • Websites and Online Marketing Video 2
    • Sample Marketing Materials
    • Additional Marketing Material
    • Sample Television Adverts
    • Discussion
  • 22

    4.1. Assignments

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    • Assess These Logos.
    • Who is your primary competition?
    • Marketing and Admissions Assignment
  • 23

    4.2.Governance: The Board of Trustees

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    • Role of the Board of Trustees
    • Parents who are on the board. Video 1
    • Parents who are on the board. Video 2.
    • Using External Consultants for Strategic Planning
    • Relationship Between the Board and Parents and Staff.
    • Board Meetings
    • Board of Trustees Size and Terms of Service
    • Board of Trustees - Standing Committees
    • The Relationship Between the Board
    • Providing the Board with Leadership
    • How the board evaluates the Head of School.
    • Documents Pertaining to this Section
    • Archive: Who do boards work for?
    • Board Course: Welcome
    • Video 1: Introductions to Board Course
    • Video 2: Introduction to Non-Profit Boards
    • Video 3: What Makes You a Montessori School?
    • Video 4: Some Differences Between Montessori Schools and Most Businesses
  • 24

    4.2. Assignment

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    • Board Responsibilty
  • 25

    4.3. How Montessori School Administrators Lead

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    • Instructional Leadership
    • The SMART method of goal setting
  • 26

    4.4. Building School Community

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    • 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
    • Supporting Documentation
    • Discussion
  • 27

    5.1. Legal Structures

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    • Introduction
    • Legal Structure Public Charter Schools Part 1
    • Legal Structure Public Charter Schools part 2
    • Supporting Documents - Legal Structures
  • 28

    5.2 Your Business Plan

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    • Developing Your Business Plan - Part 1
    • Developing Your Business Plan - Part 2
    • Supporting Material
  • 29

    5.3. Financial Matters, Fundraising, and Securing Funding

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    • A Break-Even Analysis Lesson and Calculation Tool From The Harvard Business School
    • Audio Resources
    • A Note on Tuition, Financial Aid, and Scholarships.
    • Supporting Documentation
  • 30

    5.4. Risk Management

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    • Documentation //NEEDS MORE CONTEXT
    • Discussion
  • 31

    5. Assignments

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    • Compile a SWOT Analysis
    • Business Plan //NEEDS WORK
  • 32


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