View Full Version : S/O of preschool thread...is Montessori not a good fit for some kids?
02-01-2012, 02:26 PM
We are in the process of evaulating preschools for DD1, who will turn 3 in the spring. I like the idea of Montessori as I've heard it teaches kids to be self-directed and self-motivated. My DH is very much a self-starter and I am not. I would like my kids to be as I think that it has really helped him in life.
We've looked at one Montessori school and are touring another on Monday. My main concerns (in general, not with the particular school) are:
1. DD is high energy and I'm worried that her spiritedness will not be a good fit in the montessori method. Will they be able to direct her energy toward something good? this is mainly stemming from a review i read on the school that said that the school is perfect for "stepford" children :47:
2. Both schools are 5 days a week. I was told that this is part of the Montessori method. Right now she is home with a nanny. For the one school (we really liked it), she will also have to stay for after school care as it's too far from our house and our nanny doesn't drive. She would be there from 9-6. In the school we're looking at on Monday, it's possible that the nanny could walk to pick her up but it's 1.3 miles each way and the way home is uphill.
I guess I'm worried about making such a big change - from home/park every day to school every day. Am I making too big a deal out of this?
02-01-2012, 02:37 PM
I have three very different kids and am really pleased with Montessori for each of them. The folks that don't like Montessori are very critical of the "stepford" nature, or the serenity, quiet and calm found in the classroom, or how a child can't do a work until he or she is ready for it, or how you have to do each work a certain way. I was loathe to do 5 days for my young three old. He was tired at first and maybe acted up at home a little, but it was fantastic for him.
What I love about Montessori: (1) the expectations are clear; (2) the children have a lot of fun in the class; (3) the independence and confidence which stems from that independence is amazing to watch as it develops; (4) tons of learning in a non academic/non worksheet kind of way.
I have some criticisms too; there is nothing perfect about any preschool. I just love the self regulation.
02-01-2012, 02:41 PM
My son went to a Montessori school and it was not a good fit. He is a very social kid and he also loves to "play" in the traditional sense. Trucks, blocks, etc.
Our particular Montessori (I know they are all different) didn't really honor those things in him. They did not like the kids to socialize and all the toys there were "practical life" things. I also believe the lead teacher wasn't a good fit for him. He is a really sweet and jovial kid and those weren't qualities that were encouraged there.
Anyhoo, for him it wasn't a good fit. He told me just the other day how he likes his new pre-school so much better b/c they have toys and he can play. I know the director also really loves and accepts his jovial nature.
So I think you need to evaluate the environment vs. your child's temprement.
02-01-2012, 02:51 PM
I have friends who love it some who don't. The ones who don't, have had experiences with other non-montessori preschools and feel that the parents are left in the dark about what really goes in the classroom. I think that a big issue is that a lot of montesorri preschools do not do as good of a job with parent communication (ie: a lot of them are the drop/pick up your kid at the curb style) compared to more traditional preschool programs.
We looked at a Montessori school for ds and did not think it would be a good fit for him. Ds is special needs. As a preschooler he needed substantial adult support to play with other children. His imaginative play skills were lacking. And he was very difficult to keep on task. We did not think Montessori offered support in the areas in which he was weak.
My niece attended Montessori and my SIL thought it was fabulous.
I am sure there is variation in schools and, of course, we didn't actually try Montessori for ds. So I can't say with absolute certainty that it would not have worked out for him, but our instinct was that it was a bad fit. (We love the Reggio school he attended.)
02-01-2012, 03:04 PM
I don't think it works for everyone. I have two different friends, at 2 different schools, and both were asked to move their sons! It was obviously was not a good fit for them. Both of these boys were pretty typical, and did fine at regular play based centers, but at that age (preschool) neither would fit the Montessori mold.
02-01-2012, 03:21 PM
My DS1 attended Montessori-style school when he was 3, 3 days a week from 9am-3pm.
It was not a good fit for him. He is very high energy and has a lot of imagination (enough to distract the teachers) and he didn't understand why he couldn't just play with the things he wanted to play with (like the trucks and trains). Also, he is not really that interactive with other kids and with the Montessori style of having all the kids of different ages in one room together, there would be like 35+ kids in one place and I think it was too much for him.
I also didn't care for the way the teachers communicated. They prided themselves on sending home a written sheet describing what the students had done that day, it always painted a rosy picture, they learned about this letter, they did this craft, etc. But then I would be hauled in at pick-up to have a "meeting" with the teachers and they would go into all these things my son had done wrong and what were we going to do about them, but they would wait weeks to tell me this stuff. And it became clear they weren't too happy about him being there. Like I would bring him in the morning and they would say "You're going to be a good boy today, aren't you?" or something, it really bothered me. My nanny also would do pickups and she asked me why the teachers were always complaining.
Long story short, they basically told me not to bring him back the next year. They said they thought he would do better in a structure with fewer kids in one room. With some trepidation and few options, I enrolled him in the free public PreK. He still had some issues but the teacher was MUCH better for him. She genuinely liked him and enjoyed him and his quirks, and tried to work with them rather than just kind of labeling him and not dealing with it. The class had 15 children, all within a year of his age, and 2 full-time teachers. He mentioned to me that he missed his old preschool, but only because the new one didn't have trains to play with. Vs, he misses his PreK now because he really misses his teachers, who he loves.
FWIW, my son did not do the aftercare at the Montessori preschool, but when I was dragged in for my "meetings" I saw it in action and was surprised that even though there were like only 6-8 kids there, they were still doing the "stations"--like cycling the kids through and everything. I mean, school's over, there's 6 kids, why can't they just play?
Plenty of people loved the school and it worked for their children. My younger son would probably have been fine there, but I refused to send another kid there after my experience with DS1. My neighbor's son also went there for a year, they also had issues and enrolled him elsewhere the next year.
02-01-2012, 03:28 PM
I attended a Montessori for 9 years, and worked as an aide in one for 2. I always assumed that I'd send my own child(ren) there. Now that I have DS, I realize that Montessori is not for everyone. We didn't even consider it for him. He's in a Reggio school and it's a much better fit. He'll be starting "traditional" kindy in the Fall at our local public which has a highly rated immersion program.
02-01-2012, 03:54 PM
We actually looked into Montessori for our youngest, who is very active, busy, and borderline spirited:p I was looking for a 5 day program that would keep her engaged. Because when she isn't engaged she starts looking for stuff to do, and gets into trouble. I *think* she would probably do well, IF they could teach her not to invade other kids' space and just barrel over and grab whatever "work" struck her fancy. But we decided to send her to the public preschool, where they are used to all sorts of kids.
Montessori wouldn't have been a good fit for our 2nd DD, who needed speech services, and is also a little spacey and tends to wander. While she would enjoy the "work" at Montessori, she would be the type to lock into 1-2 types of work and want to do it over and over.
Our oldest went to the Montessori summer camp and did great. But she was not ready for a 5 day program when I was looking at preschools, so I sent her somewhere else.
02-01-2012, 04:08 PM
DD is in a half-day Montessori program. It is a great fit for her. She was in a full day Reggio program prior to this fall, and the new school is a better fit for her. In our case, the Reggio program had preschool class sizes that were every bit as large as the Montessori, but things were much louder and chaotic, and she felt overwhelmed. I also think changing from full day to half day has been postive for my daughter.
She is both very active and spirited AND shy with strangers, and enjoys active play and activities that require longer term concentration. She is very proud of the new lessons that she is working on, and proud to participate and help out around the house. I like that there are no worksheets and no homework. While there are volunteer opportunities, parents are not present in the classroom often. Some people might not like this; it does not bother me.
Most good programs will allow you to do an observation before you would enroll your son. I would highly recommend that. Not all Montessori schools are the same, and seeing the classroom in action might really help you to know if it is a good fit for your son.
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