Tuesday morning I gave the first parent workshop of the school year. Two people attended. I understand the difficulty: between getting their children ready for school, taking them, going to work, picking them up, preparing dinner, bedtime routine, and household maintenance, parents lead very busy lives. Our workshops alternate monthly between 9 AM (like the day before yesterday) and 6:30 PM (the next is October 3). The idea of taking an hour (plus commute) for six attendances listening to the headmaster for a token reduction in tuition begs the question: is my valuable time worth it?
From a monetary standpoint the answer is probably “no”: $16.67 an hour isn’t that much in exchange for valuable time—unless you consider that the deduction is annual, for only the same six hours. A tuition reduction over three years is $50 per hour, and over six years is $100 per hour. Yes, I admit, you must endure listening to me drone on about Montessori. But I submit that $100 per hour is worth it. I hope you like my Montessori math.
I have an even better reason to attend these workshops. Before parents enroll their children I give a tour that lasts about an hour—hardly adequate for parents to get a feel for how Montessori operates and why. But unlike parents who choose traditional schooling for their children, Montessori parents are unlikely to be able to close their eyes and imagine easily the environment their children experience. This is because Montessori is so radically different. Montessori parents who have not yet attended the workshops get this point, but at the same time we so often find disconnects between the school environment and home environment that originate from a thin understanding of Montessori.
The school has an ulterior motive as well. We believe that the more parents understand the Montessori Method the more likely they are to make the sacrifices necessary to keep their children in the school. In this sense, the workshops are not only good for the school but also for the children who benefit from a Montessori education.
In the end, even if persuaded by my argument in this blog, some parents simply don’t have the time to attend the workshops. I’ve been struggling with this seemingly unsurmountable issue for some time. And as I prepared for the last workshop an idea struck me. Using technologies available to us now, I may be able to conduct some workshops in cyberspace: everybody stays home, and we meet in a chat room. Please drop me a line—firstname.lastname@example.org—and let me know what you think about this option.
By the way, these workshops are not just for parents of children enrolled in the school. I have happily welcomed parents interested in the idea of Montessori but needing more information before they enroll their children. If you, dear reader, know of someone who has an interest and needs information, please encourage them to let us know they’d like to attend—the schedule is on the calendar page of the web site.