Moving forward, I’m going to try really hard to update the blog every Monday (“Montessori Monday”). I hope to have interesting and illuminating content this year including:
- the new BC curriculum and how it affects Montessori
- Montessori materials posts
- Interviews with teachers and administrators
- book reviews
- a history of Montessori at the VSB
But first… I want to talk straight about Money.
You have all received your PAC Welcome packages and been asked for $250 per child. You might be wondering:
- why we ask for money at all?
- why we ask Montessori parents for more money than traditional parents?
- what we do with all that money?
I am going to break it down. If you have any questions at all about this post please feel free to ask in the comments or email me directly and I’ll try to illuminate.
Why do we ask for money at all?
Once upon a time we asked for a little bit of money so that our kids could get some ‘extras’, arts programs, club prizes, a nice grade 7 grad, extra library books, etc…. But over time, due to the chronic under-funding of our BC education system, we have started using that money to cover essentials such as:
- amounts to classrooms for supplies
- reading resource materials
- technology (iPads, laptops)
This year, the need for these things is so high that we have had to cancel the Artist in Residence program and reduce our library support.
Why do we ask Montessori parents for more money than traditional parents?
We ask traditional parents for $100 per child and Montessori parents for $250 per child. The first $100 of the Montessori parents donation goes to the same bucket as the $100 for traditional families. That leaves $150 per child ‘extra’ for Montessori.
The money that goes to the PAC benefits every student at the school. Montessori families do not receive any more of that money than anybody else. The extra money that is requested from Montessori goes only to the Montessori students.
When the Montessori program was started the parent advocates made an agreement with the VSB that the program not cost any more per student than the traditional stream. This means that all Montessori materials need to be purchased by the parents. And the materials are not cheap.
The entire golden bead entire set costs approximately $400. Granted, we don’t need to replace the golden beads every year but replacement costs for units, ten bars, and thousands cubes go from $2 to $35 and we may easily need to buy these every year.
And that is just one material – for a complete list of suggested materials for an Elementary classroom, please see this document. We want our classrooms to be functional and beautiful – the materials are critical but the furniture, shelving, rugs, wall art, and all other aesthetic considerations are important too.
The other piece that costs more is Professional Development for our amazing teachers.
What do we do with all that money?
PAC Money ($100)
Montessori Money ($150)
The donation is tax-deductible and if you want to give MORE you can and you can ear-mark that “more” to specific initiative (e.g., give money to the library, to your child’s classroom, to the technology initiative).
You can also give less. We recognize that not everyone can afford $250 per child and if you can’t we understand. But every little bit helps so we encourage you to give what you can. The amount is determined based on what we need as a whole. Currently, the parents of 50% of our kids donate. If we had 100% participation in the campaign the amount required per child would be less.
We run a number of other fundraisers during the year including the Lunar Celebration, Movie Night, and the Halloween Dance. If every family donated through the donation campaign we could run those events purely as community building and not as fundraisers.
If you are one of the families that donates every year, THANK YOU. If you’ve never donated before we encourage you to make this year your first year.
Finally, I would also gently remind all our families that the Maple Grove Montessori is a choice program. You chose to apply for the program and you chose to accept the spot. Now is your chance to choose to support it.