I'm considering enrolling my 2-year-old in a Montessori school this fall. I'm thinking 3 half-days a week. But what I'm wondering is, is 2 too young? Part of me thinks he is too young and another part of me thinks he could benefit from it. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
- topicMontessoritagged by System, 8/15/11
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Our Child's Education: Our Decision To Make, Not Yours
Last edited: 8/21/13
Montessori for a 2-year-old?
I might... there are a few things to consider... Firstly, I would spend a day observing the class your son would be in. Ask if you would be welcome to help out in the classroom if your son was a student. Be careful and check out the school. I know in some states a school can claim they are Montessori without really following the Method. There shouldn't be any worksheets!! lol Read about their curriculum and you will get an idea about his readiness. MM is in my experience very developmentally appropriate since it's child driven. Also, consider how well your child responds to separation from you and how well he interacts with others. What about potty training?
I don't have any experience with my own kids, but I have friends w (older) kids in Montessori and they love it. I am a former elementary school teacher and I've done a lot of reading about MM. I would love to have my kids in Montessori. Ultimately you have to feel comfortable w the environment your child will be in.
My dd started Montessori at 2 1/2, and it worked well for her. We talked with the teacher, then met with her twice before dd started the school. For one of those times, dd came with us, explored the classroom and spent time with the teacher so she felt comfortable with her and with the space before starting. We also would observe regularly (through a one-way mirror they had set up).
DD started a just over 2. She has a lot of issues with separation anxiety so that certainly was (and still is) an issue. That being said she loves the environment there and has at least one good friend already who she's already asked if she can have over.
Here's what I'd consider too:
What classroom would he be in? Would he be in with the 0-3 year olds or in the 3-6 year olds?
Will he be a young or older 2?
How does he deal with separation anxiety?
Does the school time work with his nap/eating schedule?
Have you talked with the teachers, do you have a good feel from them?
What are your long term plans with him? Would you want him to stay there up to K or beyond?
I think 3 days a week, half days shouldn't be too much for a 2 year old. DD's school is all day (DH and I both work so we chose this over a daycare because the school goes all the way up to 8th grade and she'd have a wider range of kids to interact with) and even though she complains about going A LOT in the morning, she's always very happy at the end of the day and is chatting away about playing with her friends and whatever excitement happened.
Did you have in particular concerns about him or were just wondering if 2 was too young? Feel free to ask any questions you have about our experience...
Thanks, everyone. I'm mostly worried about how he will handle the separation b/c he has never been away from me before. But I think visiting the classroom and meeting the teacher can help to ease the transition. I haven't contacted the school yet, but when I do I'll ask if we can do that.
Separation anxiety is a tough issue. It's not only the children that suffer from it; parents, especially mothers, suffer too. I'm doing an internship in a toddler class this year, and I've witnessed the separations. Plus I have gone through it with my own child at (22 months) this year. Every child is different. Some children take it very hard and others seem to adjust quickly. Even though it's hard, we have to go through it at some point.
Doing it gradually (the three days a week) seems like it might be a nice option. I strongly believe in saying goodbye to the child before leaving (as opposed to sneaking out). It can be really hard, but the child needs to be able to trust that you're not going to disappear at any moment. I also try to be confident in my leaving, giving lots of hugs and kisses, and telling my son, "I'll be back." I also try to be positive - tell him to have fun, etc. I don't sneak out, but I also don't linger too long either.
Talk to the school/teacher about how they handle separation anxiety. Do they allow you to stay in the classroom for the first few days for a longer period of time (if that's what you want)? How do they comfort the child? What do they think is the best way to handle the first few days/week. Do they allow special comfort things like stuffed animals in the beginning? I've heard that pictures of the family can help too. What do they say when a child is asking for Mommy? Observe the class as much as you can to see if the adults in the class are respectful of the children and how they handle different situations. (That said, I didn't do all that with my child, although I did take him to visit a few times with the two of us before starting and eased him in a little for two weeks before going full-time - and I cried the first couple of days just like he did.)
Thanks! We visited the school last week, and he loved it. I even left him in the classroom while I saw the rest of the school and he did great! I also believe in always saying goodbye. I feel like sneaking out is being decietful and is way worse. But he didn't even seem to mind when I left, and the teacher said he did really well playing with the other kids. He was only in the classroom for about 10 minutes, but it made me feel much better, and really put my fears at ease.
My DD started in a Montessory kindergarten hear a few months after she turned 1.
We had a full two weeks to see if it would work out, with either of us being present for the whole of the stay (8 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon) and taking part in all the activities. We started slipping out of a cup of tea in the teachers room starting day 4 or so, with longer growing intervalls until we returned. She adjusted just fine and made "playmates" quickly and took to the teachers too.
DD started at a Montessori program at 18 months, full day, after staying home with me for her whole life prior to that. I took a job and she was there M-F from about 8 am to about 3 pm. She never looked back. Never had a clingy goodbye, never cried, etc. When I quit working about 8 months later, we kept her in 3 mornings a week. She loved it. She just turned 3 and we're not sending her this year, though. I personally don't think preschool is necessary but it was a good experience and I learned so much about the Montessori method. In fact, I have several books on MM checked out from the library right now, and we're in the process of setting up a Montessori nursery for the new baby.
It largely depended on the kid. Ours was hungry for new experiences, we could tell. She'd be engaged and interested with anything new, but with anything she was already familiar with it was hard to keep her interested for more than a few minutes. And during the trial period, she took to kindergarten like a duck to water. We were totally ready to pull her out again if she didn't cope, but after just a short while (when we dropped her at the play-room and then stayed in the teachers room (close by, ready to come if she needed us)) when we came for her, she'd come to us, say "hi" and would then run off to play again.
She WAS inquisitve, but we weren't certain either on how she'd react to a whole roomfull of "new" kids and adults. Thankfully, with the kindergarten we picked, they were pretty easygoing. Basically, they told us to bring her by, so we could see if it worked out for everybody involved and if it didn't to just give it another try a few months later. For us, it did work out first time round, but we would have pulled out again if it hadn't. ^_^
We'd have been equally comfortable if she hadn't.
Basically, we brought her to kindergarten because we felt she'd develop better if she had contact with a wide variety of other kids and adults.
Here in Germany, we have a saying "It takes a village to raise a child" (...isn't that an anglo-american saying too?).
Humans are social creatures and as such they need to hone and test their social skills.
Parents can serve as "practice partners" for social skills, but only up to a point, since their reactions and character only show a narrow spectrum of what a growing child will encounter "out there".
Ours reached that point at one year of age, others might do so sooner or later. ^_^
My older DS stayed home with gma ( I worked) while he was two and started Montessori right after his 3rd bday. I'm pregnant now, and now that I know the school and the teachers, I'm thinking this baby will just start at 2, half days. One thing we did to help transisitoin , was the teacher invited us to stop by the classroom a few times after the kids had left for the day so he could get used to her and the room at first.
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