Starting a Microschool: The Essentials
on April 25, 2022
Like any venture, starting a microschool has a lot of moving parts, with many different aspects to consider, both from a business and educational perspective.
To help get the ball rolling, we’re going to outline and discuss the essential elements that should be in your builder’s toolkit when starting a microschool. From doing market research to setting a curriculum, let’s take a look at the different steps involved in starting a microschool and becoming part of the microschool movement.
See what your competitors are doing
There are many ways to design and start a microschool. Because this process can vary quite drastically, it’s wise to take a look at competitors and understand the model that they’re using.
Since each microschool is unique in terms of its size, its offering, its approach to education, and its organization, understanding how different microschools work is going to help you identify gaps in your own plan, and help you architect your program.
This isn’t to say that you should copy the structure of another microschool verbatim, but analyzing the competitive landscape can help you identify mechanisms that already work well and spot opportunities that other microschools are missing.
Decide on your school’s offering
Now that you have a better understanding of the competitive landscape, you can take the first step to develop your microschool.
This means deciding on what you want your microschool to achieve; in order words, your school’s mission and goals. Doing this will give you a clear target to aim toward in terms of what you want your school to accomplish, your teaching style, the type of curriculum you want to teach, and the students you want to enroll.
Important questions that you should ask yourself at this stage of microschool development include:
- Why do you want to start a microschool?
- Who do you want your students to be?
- What teaching approach will you take?
- What will a typical day at your microschool look like?
Design your learning environment
Next, decide on your learning environment. The final design of your learning environment is going to be shaped by a number of factors:
- How many students attend your microschool?
- Will it be a physical venue, a virtual classroom, or a mixture of both?
- If it is a physical location, where will you host it?
Since microschools can range in size from 15 all the way to 150 students, knowing ahead of time how many students you plan to teach will have a significant effect on the type of location you choose to teach at. 15 students can easily be taught in one room, while 150 would require several rooms or a much larger space. However, if you decide to teach digitally, then taking on 150 students isn’t a problem (providing you have the right school management software in place to facilitate them).
When considering physical locations, you have a lot of flexibility about where you would like to set up your microschool. Since microschools are by definition small, you can usually create one in a shared space such as a church, library, public school, or even a spare room in your own home.
Something you also want to take into account is your class schedule. The innate flexibility of microschooling means that you don’t have to operate in the same hours as traditional schools – you don’t even have to teach every day. With this flexibility and complete control of time, you can determine a schedule that works best for both you as a teacher and your students.
Develop your curriculum
One of the greatest advantages of microschools is freedom from traditional schooling paradigms when it comes to setting curricula.
This is arguably the most important decision when it comes to opening a microschool, and will affect all other aspects of your business.
Learners can be taught from a skills-based perspective, rather than a content-based one. This allows for the teaching of students based on their ability to perform a certain skill rather than simply memorizing content during an exam period.
Think about the base skills that you want your learners to develop. What subjects will best facilitate this? How advanced do you want your students to become in each discipline? Since it can take years for a student to become proficient in English, math, science, and art, for example, you need to have a continuous system of learning in place from the outset to make sure your students achieve these goals.
A good starting point is to plot a calendar and weigh it up against the volume of work that each skill or subject requires. This will give you an idea of how much learning needs to be done in order to accomplish a certain level of proficiency within
a given timeframe.
Start your microschool today
Like any business, starting a successful microschool requires a certain amount of planning, time, and resources.
From understanding the market to deciding exactly what you’d like your school to accomplish to ensuring that your school management system is functional and agile, there are many facets that have to be simultaneously executed effectively to ensure lift-off.
If you have any questions regarding setting up your microschool within a.school, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.