There are more than 4,000 Montessori schools in the U.S. Many offer only kindergarten and elementary school programs, but some have programs that extend through high school. Most Montessori schools are privately owned. However, there is a growing number of charter schools. Funding for Montessori schools can be obtained from various sources and organizations. The type of funding that the school is eligible for often depends on its type, such as private or charter.
There are several organizations in the U.S. and worldwide that aim to promote Montessori education. These often offer various funding opportunities for Montessori schools and programs.
American Montessori Society offers several types of funding opportunities for schools and teachers. For instance, there are Teacher Education Scholarships to fund aspiring Montessori teachers, as well as Montessori education research funding available in the form of Dissertation awards for graduate-level research into Montessori education. Its Ursula Thrush Peace Seed Grant helps fund "projects that promote peace education." There are several available mini-grants that fund research whose aim is to further improve and “bring fresh insight to Montessori education.”
On the federal level, start your search for funding at the Office of Innovation and Improvement, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education. Its stated mission is to invest in innovative educational programs and approaches, and it has 25 different grant programs to realize that. For instance, Charter Schools Program Developer Grants fund the opening of new charter schools or the expansion of existing ones. They offer on average $200,000 per school each year. In addition, they offer several educator development programs as well as innovation in education research grants.
Other Sources of Funding for Montessori Schools
In addition to federal funding and grants from Montessori organizations, it's worth looking for other types of available funds. For instance, the Brady Education Foundation funds research and programs that further its mission “to close the opportunity gap between children living in under-resourced and/or under-represented communities and other children.” It has funded several Montessori research projects over the last few years.
Depending on the project your school needs funding for, you might be able to get grants from a number of less obvious sources. For instance, if you need funding for a new school garden, Kids Gardening has a number of grants available for both public and private schools to help students learn about plants.
Pay attention to organizations, both local and national, with a mission that fits your school, and you will find that there is no shortage of funding opportunities.
Tanya Mozias Slavin is a former academic and language teacher. She writes articles about education and linguistic technology, and has published in the Washington Post, Fast Company, CBC and other places. Find her at www.tanyamoziasslavin.com