Public School Montessorian Article

Recently, I had the opportunity of being interviewed by Dennis Shapiro of the quarterly newsletter Public School Montessorian. Their current fall issue has a special section on Montessori and the internet, and they felt like my store fit into that topic very nicely.

This publication is sent to every public and private Montessori school in the United States, so many of you may receive it within the next few days (it’s on page 19). For those of you who don’t receive Public School Montessorian, here is the article in its entirety. Enjoy!

    Children in Montessori environments all over the world are using materials designed by Lori Bourne. That’s no small feat considering her company, Montessori for Everyone, did not exist until a year and a half ago and resides entirely inside her computer. No warehouse. No storefront. No shelves for inventory. And a delivery time measured in hours—rather than days or weeks—with no shipping cost.

    Lori designed about 140 different sets of materials, turned them into PDF files, and markets those files through eBay and her own internet site. While many of them are nomenclature cards common to Montessori environments, many others are materials that are exclusive to her business.

    After making the purchase over the internet, the teacher can download the full-color files, print them on a color printer, laminate them and be ready to go. The materials are primarily for language, math, art, music, history, and science work for 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12 classrooms.

    Prices range from less than $4 for many individual items to $39.99 for a set of files containing Pink, Blue, and Green Series materials. A full set of vertebrate nomenclature cards sells for $24.99. She sells a copy of every item in her collection for $329 and will ship it for free anywhere in the world on a CD-ROM.

    If teachers want to share within a school, she has no qualms. It’s OK to print multiple copies as needed,” she said. “I have a disclaimer stating the purchaser will not resell it. I haven’t had a problem with that.”

    Lori began selling Pink, Blue, and Green Series spelling cards on eBay two years ago. “I figured maybe I could sell some materials. I didn’t know. I went into it with lots of hopes and dreams, not knowing what would happen. It was an experiment. Would people purchase files instead of printed materials?”

    She listed her language materials and within minutes got her answer: they would. Within a few months, she became an eBay PowerSeller with more than $1,000 in sales for three consecutive months. She officially started Montessori for Everyone in June of 2005.

    In reference to her websites, she says, “It’s been a real learning process. In the beginning, I knew nothing about html [web design]. Now I do much of that stuff myself. It’s been a real education for me.” She does credit her husband, whom she describes as a “computer genius”, for helping her through some of the technical challenges.

    Her initial experience with Montessori was working as an assistant in a 3-6 classroom. After that, she took the elementary Montessori training at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, IL and taught for several years in a suburban school.

    When her son was born in 2000, she opted to stay home with him. Currently she is homeschooling her son, now six, and her daughter who is 2 ½ years old.

    In addition to customers all across the United States and Canada, she sells to teachers and parents in England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, China, and Italy. They find their way to her site, put items in an electronic shipping cart, and within a few hours they have PDF files they can print.

    She said she plans to make another 50 items as time allows. “It’s been incredible,” she said. “I’ve met wonderful Montessorians from all over the world.”