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IPFS News Link • Education: Private Secular Schools and Home School

How Microschool Networks Are Activating Education Entrepreneurs

•, Kerry McDonald

When Katelyn Shore opened the first Wildflower Montessori microschool in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2014, she hoped it would be the start of something big. The vision, introduced by Sep Kamvar at the MIT Media Lab, was to create an open-source network of intentionally small, storefront, neighborhood Montessori microschools that would offer the tools and technology to enable teacher-entrepreneurs across the country to launch their own microschools. Shore's school would be the prototype.

"When we began imagining what would be possible for opening the first Wildflower school, I was most inspired to create a small school where teachers were decision makers on what would be best for their school community (children and families), as we were the ones closest to the needs of our community," said Shore. "At the time, we dreamed of what could be possible within a larger network of microschools, but to see it happen and grow as it has is just incredible."

Today, the Wildflower Montessori network consists of more than 60 microschools across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including public charter microschools in Minneapolis, New York City and Washington, D.C. Most of the network's microschools focus on early childhood education, but some serve elementary and secondary school children.

Wildflower Montessori supports entrepreneurial, Montessori-trained teachers who want to open their own affiliated microschools. The non-profit Wildflower Foundation offers grants and low-interest loans to these startup founders, and connects them with the vast network of Wildflower Montessori educators who share resources, offer encouragement and provide advice and insights.