Eight Essential Elements Of A Montessori Information Packet
Do you have a detailed information packet available to prospective families who are looking into your school? It is a great way to allow prospectives to learn more about Montessori directly from you, answer some questions they might be asking, and help them to do their own research. Most importantly; having an easily accessible and thorough information packet gives prospective parents a great first impression!
What is an information packet and at what stage of the admissions process should parents be able to access it?
Traditionally, an information packet is a physical packet or folder of documents that offers essential information to parents who have demonstrated interest in your school. Although the purpose remains the same, these days the “packet” often takes the form of a PDF document or a collection of PDF documents. The benefit of a PDF format is that you can include links to your website for more information.
The packet should include information about your school’s mission, your programs, tuition, admissions process, and Montessori philosophy. In summary: it should answer questions that prospective parents will have, introduce them to your school’s programs, and teach them a bit about Montessori! In this blog, we dive into eight essential elements of your admissions packet!
As for when to offer this to parents: There is no one answer because prospective parents are all approaching your school at different points in their school search. It's best to have an information packet ready to go for any stage of the admissions process. You can:
- Have an introductory information packet on your home page as a lead generator
- Include it in the confirmation email when parents schedule a tour with your school
- Have it printed out and ready to go during the in-person tour
- Offer them at community events, open houses, or any place where you are meeting prospective families
What Should It Include?
Every school’s information packet will look unique and have different information, but here is a guide to help you if you aren’t quite sure what you should include.
Start Off With A Letter!
In many cases, parents will be accessing your information packet before speaking to someone at your school. It is great to start off with a personal letter to prospective families. You can summarize what is included in the information packet and add a note about your goals, your programs, and your appreciation for being considered by this prospective parent or family. This letter should be signed by the Admissions Director or Head of School.
Your School Profile
Including a profile of your school provides a quick reference for parents who appreciate information at their fingertips. A school profile is typically a one or two page document that is updated every year. It may include your mission statement, the number of students enrolled, the ages and grades of your programs, the number of faculty and staff, your accreditations, and your school’s history and location. Include why and when your school was founded and by whom, how it is organized and governed, and any other special aspects of your school. A brief summary of Montessori education is also very helpful here. It’s important to keep this to one or two pages in a reference format, so that parents don’t feel overwhelmed. Think of it as your school at-a-glance.
This is the “meat” of the information packet! Describe your programs and be very clear about age ranges. Be sure to include details of your programs such as after-school care, half-day programs, full-day programs, and summer or winter programs. Include your program hours and a school calendar as well. This information is important because parents will want to know if your programs will meet their schedule needs.
In this section, you can also expand on the Montessori environment. Introduce Montessori’s ideas on the prepared environment and what steps your school takes to ensure the classroom environments are of the highest standards.
Include detailed information on the curriculum provided in each program. Prospective parents what to know what they are investing in! You don’t have to discuss each individual material the child will be using, but be sure to summarize what subjects and concepts the child will be learning. You can break it down by area of study such as practical life, sensorial, language, mathematics, culture/history, and social activities.
How Montessori Is Different
If there is one question prospective parents ask most, it’s probably “How is Montessori Different From Conventional Education?” Consider including a document that addresses this question in some detail and includes a comparison chart such as this one from AMI.
If Your School Is Accredited, Talk About It!
Prospective parents may not know about Montessori accreditation, so make sure to include this information if your school holds an AMI, AMS, or other Montessori accreditation. Touch upon what is required from a school in order to be recognized and how the accreditation ensures that the quality of Montessori education. This helps parents understand more about Montessori and it can help your school stand out.
Include a step-by-step guide on how to apply to your school. Provide details on each stage, how long it may take, and what to expect. Make it very clear so that parents know exactly what they need to do to take the next step to enroll their child. Be sure to include your contact information so they can reach out if they have any questions about the process. Depending on when you provide the admissions packet, you may also include an enrollment application (or a link to one).
Tuition & Payment Information
To parents, this will most likely be the most important thing to see from the information packet. It may have even been the reason that they requested to get more information about your school. Parents need to know if they will be able to afford your programs. Include tuition information for each program and discuss any discounts you may offer (such as sibling discounts), payment options, and financial aid. Break down all of the charges that parents can expect during the application and enrollment process and be as transparent as possible.
If you use a system to send out invoices, talk about it. It is great to highlight how you make it easier for parents to make payments.
Testimonials are a great way to wrap up your information packet. Prospective parents are looking for social proof during their search for the right school. Include stories from families and students who have experienced being a part of your school community. Include a picture if you can, state what program and what year(s) that student or family were a part of your community.
Information packets can play a big role in your Montessori Marketing plan! Make sure that the information is always up to date, accurate, and thorough. An added note: it is important to make sure the documents are well-designed, align with your school’s branding, and include beautiful and high-quality images of your school. You have one chance at a professional first impression!
Consider talking to Montessori Marketing experts to get further inspired on what you can do to improve your school’s marketing process. Check out Nido Marketing, the only marketing agency created by Montessorians, for Montessorians. We also have graphic design services that can help you create beautiful information packets and other specialized documents!
Also, if you don't have time to create an information packet from scratch, check out our resource collection on Montessori Thrive! We have several resources and templates available for you to download and use for your Montessori school.
Finally, if there is anything else you include in your school’s information packet, comment below! We always welcome new ideas and innovation in the Montessori space. You can also exchange ideas and find support amongst other Montessori leaders and administrators in our Facebook Group. We’d love to connect with you there!