Montessori.org—home of the Montessori Foundation, the International Montessori Council, and the Montessori Family Alliance—officially released The Montessori App on the iOS and Android app stores. This new app organizes all Montessori.org resources into one central spot. In addition to Montessori.org resources, this partnership also allows any Montessori school to have their own school-specific app within The Montessori App, making it a true one-stop-shop for any Montessori school’s community. Anyone can install the new app for free by searching for “montessori.org” on the app store.
The Foundation’s new mobile app allows anyone in the Montessori community to easily access all of Montessori.org’s information in a user-friendly, personalized way. This new home for everything Montessori is helpful for parents, teachers, school administrators, and anyone else interested in learning more about what Montessori has to offer. Folks can join the app to ask questions about Montessori, directly chat with members of the Montessori Foundation, discover upcoming events and webcasts, receive personalized messages about things happening in the Montessori community, and much more.
“It will be a very easy way for interested parents to put [Montessori resources] on their phone,” said Tim Seldin, founder and President of the Montessori Foundation and Chair of the IMC. “For no cost, they can get information about Montessori, they can check out Montessori schools, they can get a whole bunch of questions answered.” He emphasized that “amid the cacophony of noise about Montessori that’s out there,” one of the Foundation’s goals was to create a way to bring Montessori resources to parents through “something that they can use on a smartphone in that very short period of time that the average parent has to sit still, without their child tugging on their shirt.”
Building a mobile app wasn’t a new idea for Montessori.org. Seldin said that they had been very intrigued by the idea of having their own custom mobile app for Montessori.org resources for some time. “The reason why we didn't do it before—and we've really thought about this for a few years now—is the cost has been astronomical,” said Seldin. “I mean, we actually bought a do-it-yourself app maker, and it frankly never worked correctly. It was a giant pain in the neck.”
Seldin then met the founders of Onespot, a startup that empowers any school to have a custom, school-specific mobile app without needing to write a single line of code. Seldin said that when he started working with the Onespot founders, “we were able to get something up and running very quickly for the Foundation and the International Montessori Council and our marketplace. That's really complicated.” The Onespot platform was able to take that complicated system and make it simple. The platform is similar to website builders, like Squarespace or Wix, but for mobile apps. Complex organizations—like schools, businesses, non-profits, or even Montessori.org—can use Onespot to make custom, easy-to-use mobile apps. And because the platform was developed with scalable technology, the founders are able to keep the pricing incredibly affordable while still providing top-notch customer service. “It was just obvious to me that they were on to something,” said Seldin.
As this is the first iOS and Android mobile app of its kind, The Montessori App is exciting for the whole Montessori community worldwide. Montessori schools tend to use many online tools these days for communicating with parents about student progress or sharing other communications. This new app brings everything together in one place so parents don’t need to remember five or more different websites and download five or more different apps. This is the first app that deeply solves the community side of Montessori. “It’s like a Montessori super app,” said Samuel Buchanan, one of Onespot’s founders. “It’s a new home for all Montessori resources, and Montessori schools around the world are starting to move in.”
One of those first schools to get their own custom app created within The Montessori App is the Montessori Children’s School in Key West, Florida. “I like it because it kind of ties us into a bigger picture, so people see it’s not just our little school down here, there’s a bigger entity out there,” said Amy O’Connor, the Executive Director of the school. She added that if parents “want to grow more with Montessori, there’s all sorts of resources on Montessori.org—they can take parenting classes, they can check out other schools. I just think it gives more of a lift to substantiate what we’re doing here.”
Jessica Losardo, Director of Operations at the Children’s School, is also excited about the new app, saying that “should a parent consider Montessori, they can go to the Foundation and then they can actually research all the different schools to see how they compare to each other—what they’re doing similarly, what they’re doing differently—so that they kind of get a very well-rounded idea of what Montessori is if they don’t know that already.”
Having their own app within The Montessori App allows the Children’s School—as well as a growing number of other Montessori schools—to consolidate all their existing platforms and websites into one central spot on the device their community members use most: their phones. According to a recent TechCrunch article, people around the world now spend an average of 4–5 hours per day using mobile apps. And that number continues to rise, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Centralizing all their school-specific platforms has been tremendously helpful for the Children’s School. “I was starting to feel like we had a lot of places that we were asking parents to visit,” said O’Connor. “We use Montessori Compass, we use SchoolCues, we use a program called Clockify for parents to document their volunteer hours. And it just seems like a lot of apps.”
And they’re not the only ones feeling overwhelmed by the growing number of different apps and platforms that a school community needs to keep track of. Seldin, who has worked with hundreds of Montessori schools over the years, echoed the same sentiment, saying that “parents find it very frustrating to remember ‘how do I get access to where my child’s records are?’, or to Montessori Compass, or SchoolCues, or Google Classroom, or the calendar for the school, you name it. And even though all those things are on the website, it’s not easy to navigate on a smartphone.” He added that “as we end up with more and more online tools and more and more online ways of communicating, there’s really something to having one central place to collect it all.”
The Foundation launched The Montessori App to be exactly that—one spot for everything Montessori. And as Montessori schools around the world are continuing to join in with their own app inside The Montessori App, this unifying solution is spreading quickly to the whole Montessori community.
“All our work-related stuff is there. Or, for a parent, all their school-related stuff is right there”, said O’Connor. “I just think it just makes life easier. And when it’s easier for the parents, or the staff, or whatever, then they engage more with the school.”
You can learn more about this collaboration between the Montessori Foundation & Onespot, download The Montessori App, and see how your school can join into the platform by visiting www.MontessoriMobileApps.com.