Established in 2014, Wildflower schools is an ecosystem of decentralized Montessori 1-2 room micro-schools that are teacher-led and offer child-centered learning environments to support children and families from diverse backgrounds. The model combines Montessori methods in one-room, neighborhood shopfronts with a focus on parent engagement, intentional student diversity, teacher empowerment and data-driven instruction.
Administrators are given support services for the schools, including administrative tools, financial resources, marketing support, technology, and coaching. The financial resources provided include startup grants, coupled with low-interest loans that do not require personal guarantees from the teacher-leaders. The financing is geared toward supporting the teacher-leaders with flexible and affordable debt so they can focus on providing quality education and administration.
Wildflower has 38 schools in the network in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Indiana, Rhode Island, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, New York City, Colorado, California and Puerto Rico. It plans to continue to expand in its current geographies and expects to open schools in Washington, D.C., over the next couple of years.
Impact: Sundrops Montessori
Sundrops emerged from collective visions of the management of the El Rancho Verde affordable housing development in San Jose — who wanted a Montessori school to serve the families in the community — and founding Teacher Leaders Helen and Encarna. Helen and Encarna jumped at the chance to open their school in the beautiful new space within a culturally and socioeconomically diverse community. Just within El Rancho Verde, there are 700 units, including many multigenerational immigrant families.
As immigrants to the U.S. themselves, Helen and Encarna are passionate about providing accessible, authentic Montessori education combined with nurturing and healthy family engagement. They both began their Montessori journey along with their young children.
Through COVID-19, they've felt fortunate to have achieved their license and opened during such uncertain times. They were one of the first schools in California to be licensed virtually during the pandemic. Sundrop is committed to equity and inclusion and offers a need-based flexible tuition program. It also partners with state funded childcare programs to help with the cost of tuition and accepts student transfers.
The Praxis commitment
Praxis Mutual Funds supports organizations such as Community Reinvestment Fund through investments in Calvert Impact, an impact-investing institution that helps people around the world through community development financing. It’s part of the Praxis commitment to place approximately 1% of each of its funds to benefit neighborhoods and individuals through community development investments.