How is your business involved with the community you serve?
A school is one of the businesses where community building seems a natural extension of our work. We see our business as impacting a series of communities that begins with our staff, the children in our care, and the families we serve. With our parent community we do informal check-ins, occasional home visits, six regular home-school events and still charge 20-40% less than comparable schools. And in an industry where minimum wage is often the standard and benefits are not always offered, we offer salaries between 10-20% higher than most other schools and benefits such as paid vacation, sick leave, health care premium support, a professional development subsidy, free child-care for full time teachers and a discount for part timers.
Maria Montessori believed, as do we, that anyone doing this work is serving the world at large. For us, the community we serve extends to any parent or child we can reach. We are lucky to work with some of the most well educated and dedicated parents on the planet and we’ve been able to take the lessons learned at Wedgwood Montessori and carry them to families with fewer resources. In the last 15 years, I have volunteered to do everything from designing and implementing a hands-on, child-focused cultural immersion program for first generation and adoptive Ethiopian families in Seattle’s Rainier Valley to designing and implementing a hands-on, child-focused Ethiopian Village for the Northwest Folklife Festival. I have also initiated Parent Education programs in Seattle as well as at an AIDS orphanage in Ethiopia.