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Saturday, November 17, 2007

I Found a School

After thinking through the kinds of things I would need to set up a school I got a little overwhelmed. I started searching the Internet for Montessori schools in my area. The ones that are really close to where I live have always come across as cold and unwilling to help my special needs children. We live in a suburb of a very large city, so I began searching that city. I found several schools so I checked each site to see where they were in relation to where I live and to see if they were searching for aides. I thought I might be able to be sponsored for training. On an impulse (or was it inspiration) I called one and made an appointment with the directress.

I also searched the Internet for ways I could get trained. I settled on three but was having difficulty choosing. The first way is through the Montessori training school that is about 30 miles away. It costs about $6,000 dollars to be fully trained and certified. The second is through Washing Montessori Teacher preparation. They have a video course that can be used to become fully trained. I started this course when I lived in Washington 15 years ago when I lived in Washington and worked with a Lady trained through them. I had to stop because I kept having children and couldn't spend time in our office typing up the notebook sheets they require. I think I could do it now. It costs about $2ooo-3000 when you include the air fairs that I would need. And I would need an approved school to be an intern but I would be fully certified and trained. The third way is the Internet course from the North American Montessori Center in Canada. It cost about $2000 but doesn't qualify for complete certification due to lack of an internship requirements.

I went to my appointment with the directress of the one Montessori school I called. She was very open to helping me set up something for children with Autism. Her experience is that Montessori is very helpful to these children. After talking for a long time we came to an agreement. She hired me as a substitute teacher. I could have been an aid, but I am not sure I am ready for that kind of commitment. It has only been 3 months since all of my children have been in full day school and I am still adjusting. After 20 years of having children at home I have had a hard time adjusting. I do not want to overwhelm myself. I do that way to easily. My husband would not like me working part time just yet. I have a lot of housework to catch up on and he has felt neglected for many years because I have been to weary to be available to him. Since I have found out I had allergies and have gotten on the proper medication, I feel great. He doesn't know how different and energetic I finally feel. In time that will change. (In other words, he has good reason to worry that I will be too tired for him.)

The directress highly recommended the online course so I plan on taking that. I asked for it for Christmas. DH was not happy with what I did, but he is pleased that it is substitute teaching and that someone else will be the administrator. I just have to figure out how to set this up.

I have been, once again, searching the Internet. My plan of action right now is:
Do the 3-6 year old Montessori training from the North American Montessori Center
Do a course recommended by Michelle Lane (Toronto Montessori School for Autism) on ABA
Save up for and bring Michelle Lane here to teach her course on using a combination of Montessori and ABA
Work toward getting this school certified by Michelle Lane (this will take time as the teachers need 3 years experience working with autistic children)

I am on my way!

Friday, November 2, 2007

What is the first step to take to my dream?

This is where I get stuck. I know what I want. I just don't know how to get there. I have been thinking all week about this.

I tried to create a to do list. This is what I came up with.

Funds:
Create a budget
start up
operating
Grant Proposal
Tuition (I don’t want but may be necessary)(for those who do not wish to volunteer)
Bank Account
Non-Profit Status
Charter school?
Independent?
Under local school district?
Crafts? By the students?
If doing farm selling produce?

People:
Trained teachers 1/age group and Class
Speech Therapist
Occupational Therapist
Physical Therapist
ABA specialist/trainer
Special education specialist
Director
Librarian
Grounds keeper
Janitor
Cafeteria people
Aids-3-5 per class and age group
Treasurer or financial officer
Fund raiser
Safety
Music Therapy
Publicity

Place:
Find a place
Insurance

Equipment:
I have a good list in a book.
Shelves
Stools
Tables
Chairs
Carpets
Sensorial
Language
Practical Life
Mathematics
Geography
Biology
History

Adult Training:
PT
OT
Speech
Montessori
RDI
A Mind at a Time
Evaluation
ABA
Montessori School for Autism

This is just a brain storm list. After looking at the NAMTA website they have a step by step procedure for opening a school. My main problem is training. I don't have it. Montessori teachers are in high demand. I might be able to hire someone if I had the funds.

Where do I start? This is where I get frustrated and seem to run into a wall. NAMTA says to do a study group. Where does the group come from?

Next they say to have a Parent Advisory Board. Once again, from where?

Incorporate - That I think I can do. I want it to be an NPO.

Okay, I have a step I can look into. Whew.

Another step I am looking into is training. Do I use the distance learning at North America Montessori Center, Montessori Teacher Preparation of Washington, or do I enroll in the local Montessori teacher training course? Where do I do my internship, or do I do an internship? I have spent several years assisting in a Montessori classroom, but that was a while ago.

Do I start with Montessori training, or do I work toward a Bachelor's degree first?

This is truly where my frustration begins.

Over the last week, as I have contemplated these things, I have done a lot of googling. I've checked the Montessori training, I've checked out local schools to maybe intern in, I've looked for on-line degrees and contemplated what degree I would try for. The obvious is education or special education. But at the same time I love music, so I am also contemplating music education and/or music therapy.

Decisions, decisions. This is probably why I have had a migraine the last 2 days.

So, what do I do? I haven't decided yet. I did contact one, somewhat local Montessori school about possible interning there. We will see where that leads.