I would like to start a private Montessori school, ideally going up to 8th grade and probably starting with kindergarten rather than preschool. I like and believe in the Montessori education system and I am clear about what I would like the school to offer families in terms of education, programs/activities, environment, etc.
I don't know what the revenue model is for a private school, how hard it is to hire and retain good teachers and staff, and how to navigate the regulatory requirements. I do have a good sense already about how to market the school (local events, local family magazines, networking, etc.) and how to maintain quality (training, parental feedback, classroom observation, etc.), so I'm less concerned about those aspects.
In my area of Southern California, I've seen a lot of private schools, including Montessori schools, fill up with pupils, so I presume there is high demand for this type of quality education but I don't know how well the schools do financially.
Are you pursuing a for-profit or non-profit model for your school? Do you have an education background? Are you certified to run Montessori school?
•Investigate the California Department of Education requirements for operating an educational institution.
•Investigate the requirements for the two accrediting bodies for Montessori: AMS <http://amshq.org/School-Resources/AMS-School-Accreditation> and AMI <http://amiusa.org/>. While not required, private schools are reputation-based and accreditation plays into your brand equity.
•Investigate the requirements for the regional independent school accrediting body. While not required, many Montessori schools struggle to keep enrollment through elementary and middle school as parents expectations shift to college preparation, which Montessori does not have strong brand recognition for, and adopt a academic rigor / progressive education model of education accredited by a regional independent schools association for credibility.
While starting with kindergarten frees you from the state early childhood childcare regulations, which can be onerous, it also cuts off your funnel. As a school brand, Montessori is precisely strongest at the very early ages, so you may have a challenge attracting families who already started their child with a Montessori school that has a preschool. Many Montessori school start with 18-month infant & parent programs.
I am a k-12 teacher in Massachusetts and I can give you some guidance in letting you know what you might encounter. All states have their own specific rules but the starting of a Montessori school is largely no different than starting any other private school. You would be looking a pretty big task ahead of you.
Overall, your biggest steps would be finding the market and going through the step to higher the staff and design the curriculum. Of course all of this can be done more easily with enough capital. Largely though, a Montessori school operates as a private school so you would be exempt from a lot of the governance and bureaucracy of local districts.
In California, you must register your school and depending on where your students come from, you may need to be certified from the California Department of Education. The other aspect to consider is hiring teachers. Because you are a private school, your teachers would be exempt from needing a teaching certificate. This would lower the overall cost of hiring teachers but you would be drawing from a less selective pool of candidates. The choice would be up to you. Private schools in California are also exempt from the usual attendance laws so that gives you flexibility in the days students would attend.
There is also items to consider or transportation, medical records, general record keepings, food/nutrition, and technology needs.
Certainly this is not an insurmountable task. Just a lot to consider when you are moving forward. For a more detailed list here is a link that may help: http://amshq.org/School-Resources/Starting-a-School/~/media/623BDCC896DC47B5B8E0D3DC57F834BE.ashx