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so.. what's the bad stuff about montessory? - Page 2

post #21 of 66
check out http://www.pleasantvalleymontessori....d/schedule.htm

for what should be a typical day in a Children's House
post #22 of 66
ANother thing that stands out to me after comparing the new/improved Montessori school we are considering and the developmental school is the lack of new activities. The developmental school has lots of things scheduled like water play, pinata day, paper mache volcanos. The MOntessor has the same work out on the shelves day after day.
post #23 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by thyme
The one problem with Montessori is that anyone can use that name -- Maria Montessori didn't trademark or copyright or whatever, so anyone opening a school can call it a Montessori school even if the philosophies aren't even close to "Montessori."

You really have to research each individual school thoroughly. Anything anyone says here about Montessori may or may not hold true for your school. It makes it difficult to get good information.
I agree. Even Montessori International has a disclaimer on its website about individual schools having their own interpretation of Montessori philosophy. My son went to one well known and well established one. He was in the toddlers class and the school was beautiful. I should have observed a session I think. The director was very charming during the tour, the curriculum was great and the kids looked ok so I went for it. The teacher had unrealistic expectations from a 2 year old. She expected a VERY high level of attention span, focus, lack of interest in toys, she expected good communication skills and just imposssible levels of co operation from a child who has only just left home and started school !! She had the nerve to complain my son was too creative and active, full of pretend play !! I had him out of there in only 3 weeks ! Good riddance I say! I am a pediatric occupational therapist and I know my son is just fine for his age. It was horrible to hear someone blabber on about how active he is, with poor attention span etc etc, Puhleese! :
Anyhow, please do your homework before enrolling.
post #24 of 66

the local montessori school I looked at...

I looked into a local Montessori school, which says it is AMI, but I have some real problems with it and decided against it. On the plus side, it appeared to be real Montessori in terms of the equipment, furniture, etc.

But it is located right next to a huge highway right off the feeder, so the playground is dominated by highway noise.

In addition, they prohibit parents from coming into the classroom at any time, ever, for any reason, not even for drop off or pick up. The ratio is one adult for fourteen children! Yikes! I can barely manage with one adult for two children, believe me.

It is very expensive, around $550 a month for three hours a day five days a week, plus more for any extras. I calculated a bit and wondered why they were always fundraising so hard with tuition like that with the bad location and the poor ratio of teachers and students. Something fishy is up with that. They definitely didn't appear to be putting the money into beautifying the grounds.

There were things about it that I loved, but not enough to make the financial sacrifices that would be required to pull it off.
post #25 of 66
If parents are not allowed into the classroom, then I would have to say that this school is not a 'true' Montessori school. With rules like that, I would stay away, too!

As far a student/teacher ratio, 1/14 is pretty good, depending on the ages of the students. Alot of Montessori schools are as high as 1/20 and that's because the children work in small groups with self-directed materials. The teachers are in the classroom as guides for the children. And consider that in traditional public/private schools, the student/teacher ratio is as high as 1/30! My children are in an elementary, AMS Montessori school. There are about 23 students per classroom and each classroom has 1 teacher and 1 aid.

Location is important, but not as important as the school's ciriculum, teachers, staff and adherence to Montessori philosophy.
post #26 of 66
One Montessori school I checked out made it very clear that parents were not allowed to come to the classroom, except perhaps once or twice a year. GADS! It was a colder atmosphere than I wanted, almost too quiet. When I visited the school, I had to sit in a chair in the corner turned to one side so as to not disrupt the children. I was told to not make direct eye contact with any child. It felt so creepy to me.

The other Montessori school across town from this one was so much friendlier and looser, I liked it much better. Also, the 2nd one had a playground outside, whereas the first one didn't (big surprise, not). I'm sure my daughter will like the second one better than the first one. You really have to actually go and visit any school you're considering.
post #27 of 66
This may or may not be important to you, depending on your plans for after preschool. The private school my son will start soon will not accept students from a Montessori preschool because of the emphasis on self-directed work which does not, in their experience, transition well into a more typical classroom. As I said, may not matter to you. May or may not be true about the transition. But probably worth a quick thought about what you think you want to do post-preschool. If you are headed to public school or a different private school, you might want to ask their teachers about their opinions about the local school you are considering.
post #28 of 66
My son (age 2) goes to a Montessori school that has a toddler room for kids age 2-3. They are not certified AMS or AMI, but all of the head teachers have gone through Montessori training.

He's only been there 5 weeks, but we are having a really good experience. I especially wanted to add something about the imagination issue -- my DS has become incredibly imaginative since he started there. He is all the time pretending to be different people, animals, objects, etc., and to hold different animals in his hands and pet them, etc. Maybe this is naturally for his age, I don't know, but it seemed to really take off after he started at the school.

And at the school itself I don't know exactly how they encourage imaginitive play or not, but they do have toys for pretend play such as toy kitchens with food, dolls, dressup clothes, etc.

I never knew there was an issue about Montessori schools discouraging imaginative play before I read it here, but I would simply ask the teachers and director about that issue when you visit the school(s) you are considering.
post #29 of 66
I had my DS in a M school for a week and took him out. When I wanted to observet he classroom I too had to sit in a corner and not interact. I was told they have an open door policy which to me means I can enter the classroom and see my child when I like. That's what it meant at the daycare I worked at before I had children. After I enrolled my DS I found out that this open door policy was not what I thought. I was not allowed to enter the classroom not even to pick him up at the end of the day. His first day he was afraid and wanted me to go in with him. The director reluctantly complied but I had to sit in the corner again. The next day my DS walked in willing by himself. The third day all hell broke loose. He screamed and cried. I walked him to the room and the teacher stopped me at the door and said she would take him in and I was to leave. "It's important to let the child know he can not manipulate you" she said to me.

I would hang around and watch him throught the window (tinted so he couldn't see me) and he often sat by himself. It made me sad that the teachers did not really try to talk to him. I know my son needs time and space to warm up but it was like he was being ignored. After seeing him sitting by himself on the playground for 10 minutes I decided to take him home since there was only 15 minutes left of his day. I walked out onto the playground (which I wasn't supposed to do) and tried talking to the teacher. I asked her if he interacted, had fun, played with the kids. I wanted to know if he *enjoyed* being there. She told me they don't call it "playing" they call it "work." Now I know all about the philosophy and jazz...I learned all about child development from my days of teaching. I wanted to know if my son was having a good time. I didn't need a lecture. When I started to leave with him the teacher told me "it was ok if I left with him now because the day was almost over." Well, I hadn't asked her permission to leave with *my* child! I was very unhappy with her condescending attitude and inability to tell me how my child was doing and if he was enjoying himself.

I actually took him back the next day. I don't know why. The way parents were supposed to drop off kids was to pull up in the car and a teacher came and got the child out. I can see the practicality of this. My son started screaming when the lady opened the door. He was unbuckled and he jumped into my lap in the driver's seat. He was clinging to me screaming and crying and the woman was actually trying to pry him off me! I almost punched her in the face. I told her to let him go. She looked confused and said that I wasn't really allowed to take him to the classroom. I told her she was not taking him. I sat there thinking about it all. I decided we weren't ready for this. My son was not ready for school and I did not like the school. We never went back.

I started to think more about the real life structure the school had. I don't want my son to think he can't try an activity before he's been "shown" how to do it. I want him to learn to use his imagination and to be creative. I want his problem solving skills to develop. I do not see that happening at the school I tried.

Very sour taste in mouth from that school. Now I'm seriously consifering homeschooling.
post #30 of 66

HELP! deciding to pull him from montessori?????

I really wanted my 2 1/2 to have the opportunity that montessori provides, however I hate hate hate that you cann't stay in the room till they get acclimated and have to hand then to the teacher at the door. I think he will love the materials and learning from the other children, but after a week of pre-school "summer camp" he doesn't want to leave the house, he says he wants to stay home,
is this just a transition, or am i scarring him pushing him to de-attatch from me before he is ready. he is still nursing co-sleeping
post #31 of 66

how did you get out of the tuition contract? please respond soon!!!!!!!!

We are afraid of loosing money because of the tuition contract... if we pull him out,
We would be giving up our only money to buy montessori materials for him to use at will at home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
for those who pulled thier kids out, how did you get out of the tuition contract??????????????
post #32 of 66

montessori forced- cotton underwear

Does anyone else's school say that no-pullups, even for the first days, they said to bring three changes of clothes, that the other 2 yr 6 monthsolds would have accidents as well, isn't this degrading in a room with 2 1'2 - 6 year olds?
post #33 of 66
Isn't the beauty of M letting the child develop at their own pace? The no pullups rule sounds a bit like forcing potty training. However, I do know that some M educators value "natural" materials (infants at the M school DS attends (he's almost 3) wear cloth diapers while in care of the school). I also think that sometimes M educators may think that parents can hinder their child by not allowing them the opportunity to potty learn. During the summer my son declared that he no longer wore diapers. We had no choice but to put him in underwear. We just sent lots of extra clothes. He didn't seem bothered by the accidents (we were!). His M teacher assured us that accidents are part of learning. We were somewhat relieved when he came home and reported that "Ben peed on the floor today". We thought "whew, he's not the only kid peeing on the floor". However, it was his choice not to wear underwear. I'm not sure if I could agree with the school's declaration. Are there any other parents you can talk to about this at the school?

Take care,

b
post #34 of 66
We are afraid of loosing money because of the tuition contract...

Will they keep the money on hand in case you want to try again next year? At our school the money stays with the school but you can re-enroll at a later time if you withdraw early.

Is your son crying when you leave or later? Have you asked the director if you can stay? 2&1/2 seems very young to ask to enter a new place w/o their parent. Have you ever just gone into the room and sat quitely on the floor by the door? (I've done it). My personal rule is that my son doesn't cry without me or DH. Just like when he was an infant. If leaving him requires crying then I'm not leaving. One thing that helped us was saying I'll stay for 5 minutes and making sure that he was in a teachers arms when I left. I do think that part of this is transition but I don't think that transition should be miserable.

Take care,
b
post #35 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by comet
One Montessori school I checked out made it very clear that parents were not allowed to come to the classroom, except perhaps once or twice a year. GADS! It was a colder atmosphere than I wanted, almost too quiet. When I visited the school, I had to sit in a chair in the corner turned to one side so as to not disrupt the children. I was told to not make direct eye contact with any child.
Haven't read the entire thread yet. Don't know much about M. But I am aware that some schools don't do things as she wanted.

Just wanted to comment on the above. Yeah, that's creepy.... but the benefit of not interrupting the kids during their own exploration (whether at home, outside, whatever) is that the kids are busy learning, deepening their learning experience, whatever it is. Though at home I am very guilty of interrupting.... he'll be at the sink making a huge mess - sorry you gotta stop. Or we are on our way out the door and he'll want to look at the bug outside.

But not making eye contact. That just sounds bizarre and extreme to me. You can still make eye contact, smile and just let the kid be, no?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alwayslearning2
I really wanted my 2 1/2 to have the opportunity that montessori provides, however I hate hate hate that you cann't stay in the room till they get acclimated and have to hand then to the teacher at the door. I think he will love the materials and learning from the other children, but after a week of pre-school "summer camp" he doesn't want to leave the house, he says he wants to stay home,
My spidey instincts tell me that it would be "pushing him too soon." I agree with Babyj.

Kleine Hexe's post just made me

I'm sure many of you already know that kids learn by PLAYING. That is their most important job!

Ooey Gooey.com (Lisa Murphy is a former day care provider / preschool teacher and lecturer on the importance of play. I highly recommend her books!)

Quote:
We believe that children have the right to...

1) long periods of uninterrupted free play time
2) adults who are acting as facilitators
3) freedom to explore with few restrictions
4) lots and lots of outdoor time
5) be engaged in experiences that are real
Alwayslearning2... ask about getting your money back. Maybe do a site search (google) on the art of negotiating. I think he's WAY TO YOUNG (every kid is different) to be left alone. He's making it crystal clear to you. You might end up like Vanessa... just pulling him out early.... and losing all chances to get any money back. But the instructors (if they are like Vanessa's) don't sound sympathetic because they are so dang dogmatic.

T I take my son to a play-based preschool. Very similar to Lisa Murphy's philosophies on the importance of play.

There is a multi-age class. DS started going when he was 3.5 (I would have put him in earlier, like 2.5, but I found out too late and there was a waiting list....) He's in a multi-age class - 3-5 year olds... and it's a HUGE class with 50 kids. THere are different play stations (art, science, books, blocks, cars, costumes, etc... ) and parents have to work 1 day a week. So there are 2 or 3 teachers a day, but the PARENTS are integral to making it work because 2 have to man each station. That's what I LOVE about it, because I am totally free to stay and observe. Parents are facilitators in play (handing kids materials they need) and really don't spend much time talking to them (just each other) and that's not even a stated rule!!!! Just a natural outcome. I this school! Best part, it's extremely affordable (like $300 for 2 months) because part of it is paid by the state.

BTW, it's only 9-12, not a full day. I think that's a good thing... my friend has her DD in a full day M program and her DD has had really bad meltdown's at home. I do think that some kids are too young (she's 3.5) for a full day. Being away from your loved ones (mom or dad) so young for so long can really get to a kid at the end of the day.

First school day was yesterday and they encouraged new and old parents to stay with the child the half day (so as not to overwhelm the new / old kids and parents can walk with their children in the classroom, discovering how the room / things works). Doesn't sound like M to me.
post #36 of 66

a lot of what they call the good stuff . . .

I just pulled my 3 yr old son out of an AMI accredited Montessori school 2 days ago. He had been attending for over 2 months and here's my take on Montessori.
Its designed to fit a particular type of parent and many but not all children. The freedom and calm that is usually one's first impression of a Montessori classroom is a result of pretty inflexible training in behavior and exact methods of using materials. If you are the kind of parent who wants a 'well behaved' child and feels that Montessori is going to give him / her a head start towards a glorious academic future then you will love it. If, on the other hand, your primary goal is that your child feels secure, free to explore and to socialize then forget it!
The Montessori method does not accomodate for any soicalizing beyond a group time (where the kids sit down and listen and don't touch each other), Playground time and working together. Start horsing around when you are working and you are split up faster than you can blink! Helping each other with work is not encouraged and the teacher does not mediate child - child interactions.
My son is / was well adjusted secure and very curious when he joined this school. He was already reading and we figured Montessori would allow him to explore his interests.
Alarm bells should have started going off when we were told a week before the starting day that parents were not to enter the building for the first 30 days! So began the trauma of my son being hauled out of the car kicking and screaming every morning. Then began a barrage of complaints "he won't put his slippers on" "he won't use the toys correctly" "he's rough with the materials". further discussion revealed that he physically could not put his slippers on and had, at times, been made to sit in the entry to the room for up to half an hour until his slippers were on his feet. We replaced the slippers and requested that he get some assistance. The inappropriate use of toys involved stacking blocks 'incorrectly'. The tower only goes from largest to smallest. No making castles bridges or pretending that the blocks are cars. Furthermore, no pretending anything. And forget all about the temptation to bang two objects together to check out the noise they might make, you destructive creature!
Towards the end of this secretive month I actually got into the building unannounced since I was dropping off things for the classroom and, lo and behold, saw my son, who I had dropped off 5 mintues earlier, being yelled at (yes I mean yelled) for using a basket as a hat. His hand was pulled down onto a table and the teacher yelled full into his face. Suffice it to say we were concerned and the principal moved him to another room.
Now, of course, we were working on a 'problem child' who wouldn't cooperate and so I was encouraged to come in to help him for a few days. What do I find . . .Those blasted slippers are still getting no help (he needs to be self sufficient, I am told) he is not allowed to play with materials he is interested in until he has mastered the ability to use other materials that he is not interested in simply because there is an order to how you are allowed to use things in the classroom. Did it matter that I had a three year old who was reading fluently and starting to figure out basic math?? Not at all. He still had to figure out how to wash a table (a procedure that involves 10-12 exact steps to be followed) since that, they felt, would teach him to concentrate. My attempts to get him to socialise were treated as a secondary need. The few times that I tried to leave him alone in class for a while, I returned to find him removed from the class and sitting in the principals office. The final straw was when I came in, sat on the floor in the office to talk to him and he told me that he was not a good boy but was a bad boy instead. That was the end of it.
If you are thinking of a Montessori school for your child please research the school carefully and ask that you be allowed to observe the class in action for more than just a few minutes. Try and look beyond the serenity of the room to whether the children are interacting and seem happy. It was amazing how many times I saw children sitting next to some 'work' gazing off into space. The ratio in these classrooms is ridiculously off kilter. 2 teachers for 30 kids when you have a number of three year olds is ridiculous and, in my opinion, dangerous.
The Montessori mission is quite open about the things I've outlined above (well not the yelling . .. that was an individual teacher) but it is done in glowing terms as if that is the best way to teach a child about life.
I think this idea of a carline dropoff which more and more schools seem to insist on is absolutely insane. Which child, going away from his mother to strangers for the first time, needs to be pulled out of his car seat by someone he has no familiarity with?
Good luck!
post #37 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by alwayslearning2
We are afraid of loosing money because of the tuition contract... if we pull him out,
We would be giving up our only money to buy montessori materials for him to use at will at home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
for those who pulled thier kids out, how did you get out of the tuition contract??????????????
When we pulled out we said (quite rightly, I believe) that the school had not met our child's needs and was unable to provide him with the care he needed. We told them basically that it was a bad fit and that he was not suited to a Montessori style of education. Our school had a clause in the handbook that allowed them to ask you to remove a child if they feel that he is a bad fit to the school. So, we figured that what's sauce for the goose can be sauce for the gander. Perhaps we were lucky but it worked.
post #38 of 66
My understanding is that AMI has the most strict (rigid?) interpretation of Montessori principles. There are no AMI-certified schools in my area, but even if there were, I would not choose one. AMS is a little bit less rigid; and, of course, most Montessori schools aren't accredited by either organization.

Not all Montessori schools are alike. Many are flexible about how they implement and interpret Montessori approaches. Doing your own homework about what you like/don't like about Montessori, visiting individual schools, and asking questions will help you determine how a school implements Montessori.
post #39 of 66
I'm shocked to hear so many bad things about Montessori. I enrolled my son into a Montessori school 2 years ago. He's really sprouted a lot. At first I had my reservations. I didn't think that he would be able to focus during goal time. All the kids work on their individual goals, so from an outside perspective it looks kind of chaotic in the classroom. He had a hard time at first and wasn't completing his goals, but we stuck with it, and now he really enjoys being able to guide which direction his education goes. I really like that about Montessori.
As far as the play, and imagination goes, I would have to agree with some of the others, that it totally depends on the school. This year I took on the job as guide for the after-school program. I've really gotten to know the kids better, and the way things work in the classroom. I see no lack of creativity or imagination. These kids go on and on with stories, and imaginitive play.
I'm happy with Montessori, and so is my ds.
post #40 of 66
I have to say, that the overwhelming majority of the negatives posted here, have not been our experience at all.

Just want to point out that most of these are problems with a particular school, and not necessarily a Montessori method issue.

Quote:
for those who pulled thier kids out, how did you get out of the tuition contract?
We pay month-to-month. We'll be moving shortly, and I've mentioned it to the director, and all he said was to remind him again when that time comes closer, so we can stop the automatic monthly payments. We just stop paying when she stops attending.

Quote:
One Montessori school I checked out made it very clear that parents were not allowed to come to the classroom, except perhaps once or twice a year.
Not how it is at my dd's school at all. Parents are encouraged to let their kids show them around in the early morning (but asked to head out by the first group time), and any time I've shown up early to pick up dd, I've hung out waiting for until dd finished whatever she was doing. It's never been discouraged. I just try to be quiet so as not to disturb others working. If ever I arrive during final circle time, I'm welcomed inside to watch.
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