Sunday, April 15, 2012

Montessori A to Z: F is for Fill the Chair

In an effort to bring Montessori to the masses, a few grassroots campaigns have been taking hold over the past several months. One of them is known as "Fill the Chair." It's request is simple. Invite people from your local community to come in and observe a Montessori classroom in action for thirty minutes. Go beyond prospective parents. Teach local doctors, lawyers, bankers and more about this exciting method of education. Let them see it in action for themselves. The word will spread and more people will show an interest.

The key is to have them actually sit inside the classroom. Some schools have some observation time on the other side of a window or from an observation room. That allows for a peek into what is going on. But when you actually fill a chair with a human being, that person is completely immersed into the Montessori environment. He can see and hear everything that is going on. He will feel a part of the classroom. And he will be even more amazed than he would be otherwise.

How do you entice them into your school? Simply ask. Start with current parents and ask them to invite their friends. Contact other schools in your area. Partner with local colleges and universities, med schools, etc. You will have plenty of opportunities to get people into your classrooms.

When they arrive, give them your "Rules of Observation." Invite them to take notes. Follow up immediately after their visit to answer their questions. It's that simple.

My school's new facility is located on a college campus. We already had contacts there, but are now even more accessible to the students. Our city has a medical school from which we draw med students. As we continue our capital campaign to fund our new facility and our future plans of expansion, we keep reaching out to the community.

How do you fill the chair at your school?

Get more information from the Fill the Chair page on Facebook.

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