Starting A Montessori School: Part 3

Building the School

We finally have “permission” to start building: We got our septic, well, and building permits.

It took three months to get all of the permission slips. We needed to resubmit three times, nothing was actually changed from our initial submission, we just added more comments each time describing what the blueprints already said. Don’t get me started.

The building must be done by August, which is 5 months away. The permits took 300% longer than I expected, so I’m definitely anxious about the timeline they left us with- but we’re dealing with a private companies now and not a government bureaucracy, so I feel slightly hopeful.

We got the quote back from the builder. It’s at the top end of our budget, and it doesn’t include plumbing, electrical, HVAC, or any finishing. My husband and I have done a significant amount of remodeling, and he used to work in construction, so we feel confident in out ability to do those remaining things- except drywall.

We’re looking into our financing options and ways to pool our savings. As an aside, the building will be owned by us, it’s part of our house and farm, it will not be owned by my business. The school will pay rent, like it would at any other location, only that rent payment will go towards our mortgage, not someone else’s. It cuts both ways, we take on the benefits and the risks.


Ok, part of the fun of building and remodeling is the design. I want the barn to match the aesthetic of our home; we live in a Folk Victorian farmhouse built in 1900. That essentially means that we have simple, practical farmhouse layout, with charming architectural details. We have big windows, pocket doors, wide door trim, and tall baseboards.

I’ve been scrolling Pinterest like a madman pin, pin, pinning everything. (None of these pictures are my space. I ripped them from Pinterest, just ~*vibe with me*~)

Essentially, I don’t want the new space to feel like builder-grade new construction. It’s important to me that the school feels like a home and that it’s attractive. We’ll see.


Shelves: You need them. The materials need to be displayed and independently accessible to the students. Shelves do that better than anything else I can think of. But shelves are expensive, ranging from $250-$800 per shelf. My current plan is to use wall mounted shelves, which I think can get me 50ft of 40″ tall wall shelving for $1200. I can then buy a just a couple free standing shelves to divide the space up.

Tables and Chairs: The plan here is to hop on Craigslist and snag a couple free dining room sets. Our area always has a bunch of them.

Kitchen: I definitely want a full kitchen, but I don’t think I’ll be able to get one set up this year. If we can, I’ll get the unfinished cabinets from Lowe’s and paint them.

Bathroom: Must be ADA compatible, which means basically means large. I think I’ll DIY with vanity (we did that for my home and it came out great) using a dresser from Craigslist and modifying the drawers to accommodate plumbing.

Montessori Materials: I have just about everything already, I’m missing a few things like the tone bars and bells, but I feel good about this area. A retired Montessori friend is going to be donating all of his used classroom materials and books to the school, I’m incredibly grateful for the generous gift. I’ll also be making some more materials before opening, so look out for those in the shop.

The Shop & Blog

The Reading Program launch was a great success. I published the physical book through Amazon (which makes me a published author, how cool?!).

I also made the next set of cards for Interdependencies, “The Products of the Miner.” This has been a highly requested item and it was a nice break from the reading program.

I wrote a bunch of blog posts as well. Most of these were repurposed content from the book, or questions I got from Instagram.

Do you know someone who would find this interesting? Share it!

One Comment

  1. Beautiful. I am sure the children who enter your space will feel the beauty of Montessori straight away.

    Are there any small business grants or other avenues you can go down in terms of donations of materials etc.? It’s amazing that a retired Montessorian is donating classroom supplies for you, that must be a huge weight lifted.
    As for the bells, sigh, I wish this material wasn’t so expensive. In our school only one classroom has them because we cannot afford for every classroom to have them!

    I cannot wait to read the next post. I am so enthralled with your journey!

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