It Can Take Time: Community Building and Microschools

This was my second year offering STEM activities in the summer for all ages at the local park. Last year, I held the event in hopes of setting the stage for students to come to my school. I only had two students sign up, and I did not have any students sign up for the school from that event. Still, I planned the heck out of it and gave those kids the best experience I could.

This year, I had hopes of drastically increasing the number of students in attendance. I ran the event with multiple time slots over the course of 5 days. I had 7 students sign up, and 2 of them are students who will be starting at the Eye and Brains STEM Center in July. Was it as big of an event as I was hoping for? No. Still, I am not discouraged by the numbers, and I know that I have provided a great experience for those kids who had the chance to take part.

Each day, I set up at the park and had a great time with the kids I had, and others were able to see that. I had two additional kids join for single sessions in the middle of the week. I also made connections with other families that visited the park, who are now aware of my existence in town. These connections may later lead to more kids coming to future events or even future enrollments in the school. Speaking of enrollments, I did manage to enroll one of the kids who came to the camp all week. Their parent saw the type of experience I was offering and decided it was the type of schooling they wanted for their child.

It can take time to build an audience that is looking for the different types of learning experiences that a microschool offers. I have been very blessed in the fact that my family has been able to manage without my teacher’s salary. I have worked odd jobs and invested a lot in putting my name out there. I know that even with school going into a year with seven students, it will not yet be possible for me to bring back my teacher’s salary, but that is alright. Just like when I didn’t fill my first camp, I am happy to keep giving those students I have the privilege of working with the best experience I can and to keep working to build my dream! It can take time, but if you can stick it out, I truly believe it will be worth it!

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