Montessori Education Week - Press Releases

Sample: Advanced News Release
[on School Letterhead]
For More information - Contact Name:                                                             Telephone:                    

For Immediate Release
 
(School Name ) Readies for National Celebration
 
Students and staff members at      [School Name]     ,      [Address]   , are busier than ever this week as they put final touches on a series of special events planned for the week long observance and celebration of Montessori Education Week, February      (Insert date)   . [School Name]    will be joining more than 5,000 Montessori schools across the U.S. and around the world, including over 200 sponsored by public school districts.  The school is inviting members of the    [City Name]    community to come take a firsthand look at the child-centered, individualized approach developed almost 100 years ago by Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman physician in Italy.
"The Montessori system may be one of the best-kept secrets in education," says school head     [Name]   .  "We believe all parents should know about this education option, and paying us a visit during this special celebration will give them a good opportunity to find out."  To schedule a visit or obtain information,    [Name]     advises parents to contact the school office at     [telephone]   .  Montessori Education Week is an annual event designed to promote increased awareness and respect for all children, our most precious natural resource,    [Name]    explains.     [School Name]    will celebrate this special week with    [list your Montessori Education Week events]   .

 Parents and professionals alike claim that the Montessori approach is on the cutting edge of today's school reform movement, which identifies >innovations, that have been part of Montessori classrooms since 1907.  Multi-age groupings, a rich and extensive curriculum implemented with hands-on materials, cross-discipline learning, and care of the global environment are just a few of these innovative characteristics, according to    [Name]   , all in a school setting with a "family atmosphere."  From their original early childhood classes for ages 3 through 6, many Montessori school have now expanded to serve infants, toddlers, elementary, and middle school children, with a few continuing through high school.

A Press Package for Your School

 
Although these suggestions basically are intended to aid your promotion of Montessori Education Week, many of the strategies can work for your school throughout the year.
 

Step 1: Get Organized

Get Help!  Planning special activities for Montessori Education Week can’t be done “solo” by the school head or director, so the first step is to involve your school staff and parent support group in deciding what the school wants and is able to take on.  Invite your helpers to participate in the planning at a 1-hour, after-school coffee well in advance of THE WEEK.  Keep the meeting moving and on-track.

Make a Plan.  At your planning meeting, investigate the ideas for celebration included in this booklet.  Brainstorm about other things your school could do that are out-of-the-ordinary.  Then make your decisions in the form of a “Plan for Montessori Education Week,” perhaps with a special activity taking place each day.  Many of these activities can be implemented in a simple way, without requiring great time and effort, but are still effective in sharing your school with your own and the broader community.  Make sure your plan includes for each activity:

  1. a list of the preparations or tasks necessary
  2. who will be responsible for getting each job done
  3. a volunteer coordinator who will check to make sure everything is ready for each special event

Publicity.  A “publicity person” or small group should be organized to develop the press packet and contact list and make arrangement for publicity placement.  If one person is to be responsible for this job, that person truly must commit to developing the necessary time to it.

 

Step 2: Meet the Media  - Tasks for the “Publicity Person(s)”

Remember their purpose.  The mandate of the media is to inform and entertain its audiences.  The media looks for “news” - meaning what’s new and will bypass anything else.  If your press packet suggests that news will be made at your Montessori Education Week events, the media will be interested.  If no fresh, new angle is suggested, your chances of securing effective medial coverage will diminish.  Media are responsive to their audiences.  Moral of this story: consider the audience of your local press when developing your topics.

Develop your contact list.  Identify your geographic area’s newspaper, magazines (if any), and radio and TV stations.  Then telephone them to obtain:

for publication: name and address for the education editor

for broadcast media: news and public service directors, and specifications for PSAs (Public Service Announcements)

Develop your “Press Package.”  The IAME Montessori Education Week Committee suggests that a well prepared advance press package contains:

  • Advance press release on Montessori Education Week and activities you are planning (many ideas and suggestions listed in this booklet)
  • Brief history of your school (to be written / approved by school head)
  • Brief biography of Maria Montessori
  • Brief factsheet on Montessori education
  • (for publications)  Black-and-white glossy photo (of school, children working, etc.)
  • (for broadcast media) Scripts for 10-, 30- and 60-second spot announcements as preferred by the radio / TV station 
  • Copies of articles (from other publications) about your school and / or informational excerpts from your Newsletters
  • Tip sheet on Montessori principles (include a quote sheet from Montessori)
  • List of subjects your school head or staff can be called upon to give information / opinion about as a qualified expert

Pave the way for your press releases with a telephone call.

Follow up with another call prior to each event you consider newsworthy.

 Find out whether the newspaper (or TV station) can send a photographer to cover the event.  If not, arrange for someone in your school community to take photographs and have the film developed immediately (or create a “photo op” in advance of the event itself, so photos can be printed and all ready to go when the time comes).  Local newspapers will be much more interested in printing a story about your school if a photo of local people comes with it (identify all who appear in the photo by name and city of residence).

Ask how soon after the event your materials should be submitted to be considered for publication in the education section.  Then send or deliver your follow-up story and photo as soon as the event has taken place (the same day, if at all possible).

Develop your community outreach program throughout the year.

  • Find opportunities to interact with the community outside your school.  Cultivate a “friends of the school” group by adding education editors and other key persons to your newsletter mailing list.  Place copies of your school brochure with your Chamber of Commerce and in the offices of pediatricians and realtors.  Form your own “speaker’s bureau” of school staff members and offer to share your expertise on a variety of education-orientated issues with service organizations and other local groups which are always interested in a good presentation.  Participate in education-oriented fairs at your local high schools and colleges.
  • Create opportunities to bring community members into your school.  Call or write the education departments at your local colleges / universities about placing student teachers in your school.  You probably invite parents in to talk about their careers with the children, but you can also survey nearby businesses and neighborhood residents to locate individuals willing to come in and share their career, hobbies, or special interest.