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so.. what's the bad stuff about montessory? - Page 3

post #41 of 66
Wow, there's a whole post of negatives! I'm sorry you all went through that. This list here hasn't been our experience at all.

1. Inflexible schedule - they insisted my ds attend ft - it wasn't in their brochure or policy book so was sprung on me as a surprise two weeks into it.

Ours is Very flexible. They prefer students to be on time, but you choose full day or half day or 2 days or 3 or 4 or 5 days.

3. The teachers had obvious favorites in the class, the older kids who had been there longest. The older kids were ALWAYS used to demonstrate new work.

Not something I've seen. But the majority of my dd's class was pretty new when she started.

4. Poor supervision on the playground. No preventative measures for biting, hitting.

I've been pretty pleased with how the teachers have responded to the kiddie fights at our school. Dd even goes to them just when people aren't being nice, and I've liked pretty much every way the teachers here have handled it.

5. Pushing the independance thing a little too far. Ex: if you can't open your applesauce at lunch by yourself, you can't eat it. Not reading books to kids, telling them to look at the pictures and figure out for themself what is happening.

Wow. The teachers DEFINITELY help the kids open their things at lunch. Dd has even repeated at home during pretend games, "anyone who needs help opening lunch items, please raise your hand." And I've been present during story time before.

6. Teachers are not the warm fuzzy preschool teachers you imagine. The term directress is a good description. I think all preschoolers need a few hugs and reassurances now and then, not a prison work leader.

Dd's teachers have been fuzzy The new assistant teacher isn't as warm, but I think there's enough of a balance with the main teacher.

7. Bad judgement on the part of the director and teachers that included walking the kids 3 blocks along a busy 4-lane highway to the library for storytime.


8. None of the good old fun stuff like fingerpainting and water play. Painting is done one way (use the sponge or flower to make a print) and water play consists of washing windows with water.

Dd does do a lot of art projects. At first, I was a little concerned that they didn't seem to require much creativity. But THEN, I decided that she didn't need that so much at school. Of course she can't get everything from school, and since we make sure to do plenty of creative play and art at home, this is one thing that I'm fine to have not fit my ideal for a school.
post #42 of 66
whoa. one big fat ditto to umbrellas post. at our school, you have to go 5 days a week, earliest pick up time is at noon, but that's the only difference.

i'm sorry so many have had bad experiences.
post #43 of 66
I've only read a few responses and I found most of what was said to not be true re: my daughter's montessori experience. She just started montessori this year and is in the kindergarten year and my daughter is still veryyyy imaginative. She always has been.

The proof is really in the pudding....I have yet to pick K up at school and not see a smile on her face. She LOOOOOOOVEs her school. She goes full-time which I was against in the beginning of the school year but she asked to go full-time. She wants to go. Every weekend, she asks when is it going to be Monday again.

She is learning sooo much. In just a short three months time, K has learned all the letter sounds, she is "pretending" to read to us, she writes her alphabet upper and lower case......most of these things she was doing before the school year, at least not at the level she is doing them now. We are going to the open house for the elementary program which combines 1st-3rd grade. Anyways, she currently has gym twice a week, music and spanish. She comes home every Friday with her week's worth of work and she is so proud of her work.

I can't say enough good things about Montessori. But we've only had a few months experience with M. I wonder what it will be like when K transfers to another school that is not M.
post #44 of 66
I just read some more of the replies and my daughter's school must be different. She has super nice teachers. She fell on the playground and she told me how ms. moore hugged her till she felt better and rubbed her boo-boo. Her teachers are always smiling and energetic. When we visited the school, I was allowed to speak to the children. In fact, a few of them whipped out their work to show me. I was even allowed to sit at the table while they did crafts.

It is true that K goes in at the door. But it's circle time when I drop her off and all the kids are in the circle sharing their "news" and things from home and singing and talking about the weather and the date.

I feel I can approach any of her teachers at any time. They are all so enthusiastic.

Socially, K's no longer the shy little girl she once was. She has made many friends and even blew us away when she asked to sing at the town's christmas concert on stage in front of at least 100 people. It was the high school band too. Yep, I digress but socially she has finally blossomed.
post #45 of 66

Montessori for 11 years and still going strong

I love Montessori. My oldest started at age 3 and thrived. Lots of practical life work (pouring, hammering, washing, preparing food), and allowed to use whatever works he was ready for. He did lots of geography and math work and has always excelled at what he does. By 3rd grade, he learned that it was his responsibility to organize and complete his work.

He graduated in the 8th grade, is now in high school (public), and transitioned beautifully. The teachers at other schools generally love Montessori kids, at least they do around here, and they come right out and tell my son so. Whoever said they don't transition well just prefers traditional teaching.

My next child also began at age 3 but I learned later it was too soon for him. I would wait a year if I had the chance again (which I did with a later child). We ended up having him repeat his kindergarten year. He has had learning problems, but with careful monitoring and extra help at school, he has overcome them and he is now in middle school, also thriving.

My third began as the perfect independent Montessori child but found that making choices was too stressful for him, as he is a perfectionist, and he has a lot of energy. They don't like that at Montessori. After six years there, he is now doing very well at a traditional school (transitioned well there, also and they love it that he helps the other kids with their work, as he's very good in math).

My littlest began at age four, having my second's shy personality. He needed to be home with me, still nursing at the time (and now actually--he's almost six). It was the right decision and he is a very serious student, loving his class.

My kids all got left at the classroom door. Can you imagine the chaos if all the parents came in the classroom? You have to leave at some point, why not the door? If the child won't go in, what the heck are you making them do it for? I have had resistant children and I have taken them home those days. I think that's okay. I have seen many parents sitting outside the door of the toddler class while their one-yr-old screams. I think that's horrible. Know that it is risky to sign a year contract for a small child who may not want to go. (There is tuition insurance for such purposes, although not full reimbursement).

You need to observe in the classroom, get recommendations and watch your child's response. While I certainly do not approve of unsympathetic teachers, I understand why they insist the parent leave the child at the door and let the teacher do their job. It's not necessarily the teacher's fault the child is having a difficult time separating from the parent (although obviously the child could be telling you something is wrong in the class--you should be able to sort that out if you watch carefully).

Ideally, Montessori classrooms are (or should be) run with basically the same method in the 3-6 year old class, since that is what Montessori was originally aimed at. The 1st-3rd I think is probably also pretty similar (we've been to two schools), at least in my experience, with the goal of having the children learn to be independent workers. The next level up is more teacher oriented at that point but may differ from school to school.

I love the way my kids can talk to adults on an equal level and how they love to learn. They have been provided wonderful opportunities and the teachers have shown trust in the child's ability to do things that I as a parent would not have thought they could do.

They have no homework until they are in 4th grade so they can play after school when they are in 1st-3rd grade, and I have had virtually no homework hassles when the time came. They also have been taught strong public speaking skills, and of course the teachers get to know them very well after having them for several years.

Drawbacks? As with any private school, there are those with a lot of money and sorry to say, but there is favoritism towards those who have it ( it is a business), and towards children of the teachers. Also, there really is not the accountability there is in public schools (I used to be convinced of the opposite) as far as if you have a complaint about a teacher--they will protect their own. You can complain your way right out of the school if you insult them. No school is perfect so be flexible.

Also, as with my one child, the structure in the early elementary gave him too much freedom to NOT choose to do work he felt he didn't understand or like. The teachers are not trained the way they are in the public schools to recognize learning problems/behavior problems, although some certainly do with experience, and I am mortified that they suggested medication for my child--something that he doesn't need in a traditional setting. Hopefully, in time he can learn to be an independent worker AFTER he gains some confidence. That said, I highly recommend checking Montessori out.
post #46 of 66

Just check to see what type of school the Montessori school is:

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.

Montessori schools, if they are true montessoris schools, are "governed" by a group that holds them to the true philosophies of Maria Montessori. AMI and AMS are the two training facilities that ensusre that Montessori schools are held up to standards. www.montessori-ami.org is the one organization that holds to the truest form of Montessori.

I am going to add on here as I can't hold back.
I for one LOVE Montessori and am so glad that our school holds so closely to the philosophies and goals of Maria Montessori. She was way ahead of her time.

I know many people have issues about the pretend issues. It was explained to me that children at young ages do think very concretely and pretend play is difficult for young children to understand, even though some understand it befor others. Pretend or fiction is introduced to the children as they can handle it. But what is so nice about having them look at things of nature rather than having show and tell or washing dishes for real, rather than pretending to play dress up is that they develop an awareness of their surroundings and an appreciation of the world in general. I'll stop here since I haven't read the posts that others have written.
post #47 of 66
As I was reading through the posts, I started to wonder if dc's Montessori school was the only one like it. We love everything about it! Glad to see by the 3rd page, that there are others who had wonderful experiences at Montessori schools.

So sorry that others experienced all of that 'bad stuff'...I hope you have found a better place that you are happier with.

For those who are still seeking good Montessori education, move to Indianapolis...your're welcome at to our school.
post #48 of 66

concerns about my son's Montessori school

Hey, I'm new here.

My son is almost 4. He started preschool at our local Montessori school this fall. Although I like the Montessori philosophy and have heard of some really good schools, I have a few concerns about this particular school and teaching staff. There are two teachers that seem really caring and receptive to the children, but the other three do not. From the very first day, it seemed like the head teacher was more interested in maintaining a routine than in creating a comfortable environment for the children. My son had never been away from home before except in family care, so he was understandably anxious and nervous about me leaving him. The head teacher walked up and tried to take his hand to lead him into the classroom without even greeting him, and when he clung to me instead, she sighed exasperatedly and went back into the room. That should have been my first sign that this may not have been the school for us, but I tried to be understanding that everyone can have bad/irritable days. However, it seems like the little incidents just keep happening. A different teacher, who is also the owner of the school, seems to have a rough manner that is not conducive to being around small children. I have heard him speaking in harsh tones to certain children when there was no need to be so brusque. Yesterday, when I came to pick up my child, another little boy tried to walk outside (they were getting ready for playground time), and he grabbed him by the upper arm and pulled him back while verbally reprimanding him in harsh tones for trying to go outside. The other teacher in the classroom saw it but said nothing. Another time, as I was leaving with my son, an older child came up to the door to peek out, and a different teacher told him to "go away." It seems like in general, the atmosphere is rather cold and distant. The two teachers I really like are always gentle and caring with the children and seem to have way more cpmpassion than the other three, but they work mostly with the older children. I understand that the shcool encourages independence and such, but these teachers seem to get frustrated when the children don't know how to do things sometimes. My son keeps bringing the same artwork home from school on the days that he goes--construction papers with pre-cut shapes glued to them. I don't think the school ever has the children draw or paint during art time. On occasion, I have come to pick up my child and seen that there were children on the playground and the gate between the parking lot and playground was open. With only one or two teachers supervising the outside group at a time, that is so dangerous--the younger children could slip away unnoticed to the parking lot, and it's only a short distance from there to the road. I latched the gate and brought it to the teacher's attention, but it has happened several times. That kind of inattentiveness to critical details worries me greatly.

I am really confused and I am not sure what to make of all this, so I apologize if it is too long or rambly or just seems silly. If it was just one incident, that would be one thing, but all the small things added up make me feel that maybe this is not the school for us. I am thinking of talking to one of the nicer teachers and explaining my concerns, but I don't know if that will fix anything. Overall I just get a bad vibe, and I am thinking of switching my child to a conventional preschool next year (the only other option in my area). I am feeling very conflicted and disappointed right now. Do I have a right to be concerned?

**Edited to add that these problems are mostly not montessori-curriculum specific, so I hope this is ok to post here**
post #49 of 66
I would definitely recommend that you talk to one of the nicer teachers about your concerns. Tell her, that this is causing you to consider moving your child to a conventional school. Also, express that you don't want to cause any uproar among the staff, that maybe your issues could be resolved in a non-accusitive manner. If things don't change within a couple of weeks...move. Have you considered the option of a home daycare? I chose to not send my older ds to preschool, because I was so happy with his day care provider that ran it in her home. She had a really open attitude toward learning, nutrition, and children's needs. I don't think that preschool is all that necessary, unless it's a really good environment and it fits your child and their needs.

Is this a certified Montessori school? It doesn't sound like it, by the way you described the art. Precut shapes is not Montessori.

Hope you find the right answer. Let us know how it goes.
post #50 of 66
This sounds to me less like a problem with Montessori, and more like a problem with this particular school. I would have a real problem with the harshness and impatience!
post #51 of 66

similar situation, arm grabbing and harsh language

I love the montessori philosophy, it' s seems that intrinsic learning is what will tryly help to prepare children for learning at a later age.

For us the owner/ head teacher is very kind, however the teacher if the room my 3 yr old is in has grabbed his arm ( at parent night) and regularly speaks harshly to the children.
At my meeting with her, she lectured me and didn't listen to my suggestions, although she said warlier that she was open to suggestions, she was completely on the defensive.
When I asked her yesterday when a good time for a meeting would be, she said to waint untill parent conferences in March, but I don't want my son in a place where he is getting yelled at, I am serching for other schools, but so far no dice.
post #52 of 66
I am so sorry to read about your problems with your son's school. I agree with some of the other posts that say this sounds like a problem with the individual teacher/school rather than the Montessori philosophy. I am a certified Montessori teacher and have worked in early childhood education for eight years in both a Montessori school and regular mainstream preschool. I can tell you from experience that schools are staffed by a variety of people. Some of these are dedicated to enriching the lives of young children. They are warm, loving, enthusiastic teachers. Others are less than kind, can be cold and are probably in the wrong field. I would recommend to you to seek out a teacher, not a school, who's reputation is great; one who is highly sought after and recommended by parents you know and like. IMO, These first years of schooling are crucial for your son. This is when he will develop, if allowed, a love of learning that will stay with him for life.
I want to stress to all of the parents reading this: If you ever see a teacher use harsh language and "grab" a child (unless it is to prevent him from harming himself or others) please go tell the director immediately. This is totally inappropriate. Maria Montessori stressed that in early childhood children are especially self-conscious and sensitive and we must never do anything to belittle them or make them feel as if they are bad.
I am now a SAHM to my ds. I look forward to starting my own school in a few years. I want to give children a place where they can be free to explore anything they find interesting without fear of criticism. This is my interpretation of the Montessori philosophy. If a child wants to put a basket on his head, fine. I'll show him what it is for and know that eventually he will use it for its intended purpose, once he is sure it is not also a hat. My school will happen to be guided by Montessori principles, but that is not what will make it a good school. Remember this when choosing a school for your child. Montessori, Waldorf, etc.- it is not the title that matters but the character, training and experience of the teachers that really counts.
I wish your son the best in his journey of learning!
post #53 of 66
Cian'sMama: I really enjoyed reading your post. I love the way you worded your interpretation of Montessori.
post #54 of 66
Cian'smama, i am also a trained Montessori teacher, and was about to post something so similar to what you said.

It is often as if each classroom within a school is an island operating independently. if you go check out a school and obseve only one class, you may get a huge shock if your dc ends up in a different classroom. Ask to observe every classroom in a school and you will see what i mean.

i always had a noisy goofy class but we had fun. other teachers emphasized silence. i once knew a teacher that gave kids time outs for *talking*. and parents would request this classroom!!!! you coul hear a pin drop.
post #55 of 66

interesting! i just realized something

about my kids' montessori school - i have only read one book on montessori teaching, and i just realized that i have based a lot of what i understand montessori 'is' just on the experience of our school and the one book!

i interviewed several schools before i picked the one my kids attend, and i felt different things about them, some good, some bad, but the one i picked i thought really epitomized montessori philosophy as i understand it. but now i also wonder how much is just the luck of finding teachers who are really dedicated to the philosophy but also sensitive to the kids' needs. so now i am really feeling a lot of appreciation for what they are doing.

but as for criticisms, i have one that is more of an observation - our school is crazy expensive, and like a lot of moms i am struggling with the idea of 2 kids tuition for the next 10 years. hell, i'm struggling with the idea of next month's tuition, let's be honest!

but my criticism is how many schools are able to keep older kids. our school goes up to age 12, but the elementary class is so much smaller than the 3-6 year old class. and i have a sense that this happens to a lot of montessori schools - the preschool program is a lot more popular than the older kids program, because people either can't afford it or they think of montessori as a pre-school, not for the longer term.

so i personally would love to see my kids attend longer, all the way to age 12, but i don't know how i feel about paying big bucks for an elementary class of like 20 kids age 6 to 12, vs. a larger school where there is more social interaction.
post #56 of 66
Fortunately, at my sons Montessori school, there is no tuition, it's a charter school. Another thing, I like is that it goes up to age 16. A lot of people around where I live are into non-public-school methods of learning.
post #57 of 66
Originally Posted by placenta

so i personally would love to see my kids attend longer, all the way to age 12, but i don't know how i feel about paying big bucks for an elementary class of like 20 kids age 6 to 12, vs. a larger school where there is more social interaction.
Wow--am I understanding right? Your school has just one classroom for 6-12, rather than a 6-9 and a 9-12? i haven't heard of that arrangement before.

I'm also in Northern CA and we also have a charter Montessori school, but right now it only goes up to age 12 (grade 8).
post #58 of 66

oh - not grades

sorry - that was confusing, it's AGE 3-6 in the class my son is in, and age 6-12 in the elementary class. i live in north oakland, and i don't know of any charter montessori schools around here - i WISH there was one!
post #59 of 66
Originally Posted by placenta
sorry - that was confusing, it's AGE 3-6 in the class my son is in, and age 6-12 in the elementary class. i live in north oakland, and i don't know of any charter montessori schools around here - i WISH there was one!
Oh, sorry--my post was confusing as well! :LOL

I meant ages, too. From what I understand, the standard Montessori class age divisions are 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12. i had never heard of a class that had ages 6-12 all together. That seems like a really big range, to me.
post #60 of 66
Thanks, women, for the really great, constructive talk...I've been dealing with ds having rsv, very stressful. Just caught up on this thread and wanted to add to the chatter:

Placenta:Thank you for giving credit to the work early childhood teachers do. I have worked as a lifeguard, waitstaff, nanny, farm hand, stock exchange runnner and preschool teacher...and now i am a sahm. By far the most exhausting job has been teaching a class of kids. It is a job that requires limitless patience and energy. To all of the parents with of preschoolers out there: understand that it really is the teacher and not the school that counts. I also want to add to what kaydee said about a 9-12 class being an unusual concept in montessori. Sounds odd to me. Always be skeptical when kids don't stay with a school.

A thought on montessori from 3-12:


In response to the posts on charter schools,I live in a rural area and we are lucky to have a fine montessori preschool . The problem is that, after preschool, we only have a charter montessori school. This is a nice idea, a long time coming, but in practice gives some "lucky" lottery-winners a montessori elementary school, and the other kids get the sub-par "regular" education. This doesn't seem equal to me.

Light to all-

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