Strengthening Your Community at Your Montessori School this Holiday Season
November and December present several opportunities for Montessori schools to connect with families, utilize parenting education, and create stronger and more unified communities!
It is a time that represents the holiday season for several cultures. For schools in the United States, it represents a time to be giving and grateful, and it is a time of year where parents can create traditions and memories with their children. Montessori schools can use this time to create their own traditions and events. As the holiday season also means more time spent at home, schools can use this time of year to offer parenting support so that families can make the most of their child's Montessori education during their time at home!
Let’s explore some ways that your school can utilize this time to strengthen your community and help parents bring Montessori philosophy into their homes during such a joyful (yet stressful) time of year!
Use Your Blog to Be a Thought Leader This Holiday Season!
No matter what time of year it is, your school should represent thought leadership for child development and parenting. A blog is a great place to offer your words of wisdom to families who want to learn more about Montessori. The great thing about this time of year is that blog topic ideas will be plentiful and you will be able to write relevant content (and lots of information that parents are Googling to find answers for)!
So... What are some great and strategic blog topics for you to include on your Montessori blog this time of year? Here are 5 ideas to get you started!
1. “Gift Guide for the Montessori Child”
There are so many reasons why this is a fantastic blog post to include in your school blog! First, it allows you to explain the developmental needs of the child and elaborate on why certain gifts will serve those needs during different developmental phases. It is a blog that can include several different age groups. It is also content that solves a problem for the reader (which is really the ultimate goal of a good blog)! Instead of parents using the internet for toys to buy for their kids, they are getting that information directly from your school, a source that they trust. Lastly... it is a great blog for SEO because it is extremely relevant for this time of year and parents, grandparents, and family members are looking for ideas.
2. “Parenting Tips to Help You Get Through Winter Break with Love and Kindness”
While the holiday season is a wonderful time for families, it can also be charged with stress, tantrums, and defiance. Many parents may still have work commitments even when schools are closed, so parenting can become a bit of a juggling act. Writing a blog that offers some advice for how parents can help make their child feel loved, included, and independent during this time of year can be a huge help!
3. “Talking to Your Children About Gratitude”
The holidays present many great opportunities to practice Grace and Courtesy! Children will be spending more time with their families creating traditions that they will carry with them throughout their lives. It is a great time to talk about how families can practice giving thanks. Touch on how parents can discuss the concept of gratitude with their children. For a primary child, that might mean saying please and thank you, and for an elementary student, it might look like lessons in acts of kindness in their community and beyond.
4. “Opportunities for Independence During The Holidays”
As children will be spending more time at home during fall and winter break, it is great to discuss what sorts of opportunities parents can create for their children to feel confident and independent in the home. For a Toddler or primary aged child, it may look like assisting in food prep and creating flower arrangements for family meals. For elementary and middle school aged children, perhaps they can get involved in creating holiday menus or planning any winter break trips.
5. “Yes, It Is Still Okay to Discipline During the Holidays”
Some parents might feel guilty sticking to house rules during the holidays. Share with them that it is okay to say no and remain firm! Share some tips on disciplining during family events, outings, and trips. That is the sort of advice that will make all the difference for guides as well when children return to school from winter break, so it is a win win!
Establish Events to Benefit Your Community!
What events look like has changed a lot during the last two years... but there are still so many creative ways to establish events and traditions that can bring your community closer together. Events are important because they can:
- Help to involve parents more with school life.
- Serve as fundraising opportunities for non-profit schools.
- Provide content opportunities (pictures and videos for your social media, blog, and website).
- Educate parents and allow them to participate in their child's education.
- Allow students, parents, and teachers to celebrate moments together.
Whether your school celebrates the holiday season through religious holidays, celebrations of nature, lessons of gratitude, cross-cultural studies, or any other way, events can play a huge part in establishing a healthier and stronger community.
So... what are some things you should consider when planning school events this time of year?
1. Plan and Promote: Make sure all of your annual events are planned out far in the future so you can include them in your annual calendar. Parents lead busy lives and many will have to take time off work to participate in any functions, so timeliness is key. When it comes to promoting the event in school newsletters and social media, initial announcements should be made one month before the actual event to give parents ample time and reminders to mark their calendars and get involved! Have teachers remind parents of upcoming events during carpool and offer physical invitations as well. Canva can be super helpful when it comes to creating posts and invitations for holiday events, so keep that in mind if you need to render something that looks beautiful quickly.
2. Recognize Families that Participate: As a school leader, you probably already know which families are truly making the best out of your school mission. It is so important to thank families for participating and helping to make your school events so successful. This is an opportunity to make families feel like valued members of your school community.
3. Consider Parent Only Events: Consider including one parent event in your holiday calendar so that parents can come together and socialize! Perhaps it can be a small virtual event such as a coffee break, a virtual wine and cheese night, or even a casual parenting session. It can be great to just get parents together so that they can socialize and get to know other community members.
4. Remember, Events Can Always Be Fundraising Opportunities: Even if it is something small like a mini silent auction, it is great to include some sort of fundraising opportunity for holiday events. It is, after all, a time for giving and helping others!
Celebrate Your Staff Too!
Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in making sure that students and families in our community have great memories to build on during the holiday season, that we don't prioritize thanking our staff!
Your guides might be doing extra work during this time of year decorating their classrooms for events, staying after hours to make sure everything goes smoothly, and still having to worry about doing extra work at home to make sure their own families have a great holiday as well! Thanking your staff and making them feel valued will strengthen your community, whether it's:
- A simple thank you card
- A holiday bonus
- A gift card to their favorite restaurant or store
- A staff holiday dinner
There are many ways to make your staff feel valued and special for all that they do!
Ultimately, there are so many ways that you can utilize the holidays to strengthen your Montessori school community. We hope that this provided some ideas for your school!
If you want to connect with other Montessori school leaders and discuss various community strategies, you can join our Facebook Group, Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and check out our Montessori Leadership forum and resources on Montessori Thrive!
Have a great Holiday Season!