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Montessori Mamas

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
who has children in Montessori schools either now, or in the past?

What has been your experience with it?
post #2 of 23
My son is in a school that started out as a Montessori school, but is now struggling to be a charter school. He is 9 y/o and in the third grade, but working on a 4th grade level. (The cut off for school here is Sept. and his birthday is in Oct.) The school still has many aspects of Montessori, but is not completely Montessori. They kids have stations all over the class for various subjects, work independently and collectively, choose their own work within a subject....

It is great for some kids, not so great for others. For my ds, it is a catch 22 - he needs to be able to work at his own pace (ahead of the crowd, if I may brag) but he really needs the structure of a public school - this is your desk, you need to stay in it and do your work, and the lack of choices in what work he does. When given choices, my ds is fickle... he will go back and forth until he is out of time and then the work is late! When given the opportunity to get up and walk around to choose the work, he will wander and check out what the other kids are doing, or fool around. He is very intelligent, but has no common sense, it seems. It is a struggle. We have spoken to the teacher and aide and asked that he be given as much structure as they can within the boundries of the class.

It seems to be helping a little, but if he doesn't realize that he needs to hold up his end, too, he will be going back to public school. I hate to do that b/c they will NOT work with him at his speed. He has to do what the class is doing - and we live in a predominately poor area, and the classes seem to be on the slower end of the educational scale. He would be bored to tears and getting into trouble all the time.

Another problem with this particular school is that for a time, it was labeled "Alternative" and quickly became a catch all for learning disabled kids. Kids with ADD, ADHD and Downs Syndrome. There are 15 kids in my ds's class, and of those, there is one with DS, 3 with ADD and 2 with ADHD. Then there are the kids who are just a little slower - not disabled, just struggling to get by. We chose this school because of its affiliation with a local university and the reputation it had earned as a Montessori school. Now we are questioning our decision. There is very little to choose from in this area. We are taking it one month at a time right now. In my opinion, the kids with severe learning disabilities are a huge distraction in the class. I feel my kid is not getting all that we are paying (so dearly) for. If the teacher needs to seperate herself from the class with these kids to give them one on one attention, it is taking away from my son. I could go on and on... but I won't.

I think, in theory, they are good schools. They really let the child explore and learn at their own pace and with hands on... but they (the school, teachers...) really need to be monitored closely.
post #3 of 23
Love it!! I don't know what I would have done without it. I'm seriously considering taking the training to become a Directress.
DD LOVES school, and is sad when she can't go to school.(weekends, holidays) Well see how she does when I tell her that there isn't any school for 5 days!(Turkey day)

Honestly, I wouldn't put my children in any other form of schooling. But I might be a bit biased !
post #4 of 23
My six year old started kindergarten at a K-8 public montessori school this fall. We love it! The approach is not as 'rigid' as I have heard montessori schools can be. The arts-infused curriculum allows kids to work at their own level. The school promotes mutual respect between all and self-directed learning in a peaceful environment in their mission statement, and it is obvious to us that they achieve that and more. Our son is truly blooming there.

What are your concerns/questions about montessori education? How old is your child? I found a lot of good general info. on the Montessori method from library books and the internet.
post #5 of 23
My 5 yo dd is in a great Montessori school right now, goes to high school and is used as an example for Montessori schools just starting up all over the nation. My only complaint, really, is the cost. $7,000 a year! And I have year old twins! Ackk!

She really loves it, and I really can't imagine her anywhere else. It can get rather elitist, though. It is THE school to put your children, whether or not you believe or live the Montessori theory or not.

Well, yuck, that's all complaints. Positives: she loves school, she knows a lot more about continents, etc than I ever did at her age or older, and loves learning new things. She's made friends and really blossomed this year, even though her teachers are all new. (She was there all last year, too).
post #6 of 23
My DS started at a public Montessori charter school this fall as a kindergartener. I'm really happy with the school for the most part. DS is excelling academically. He loves books and was reading within a month of the start of school. He's been wanting to learn for over a year but I just didn't seem to know the right steps to teach him. I love that all the kids work at their own level without any pressure. I also really like the multi-grade level classrooms.

I have had moments of wondering if I made the right choice when I discovered there was also a public Waldorf charter school a couple towns over. Montessori is very academic for kindergarteners whereas Waldorf really promotes play and expanding the imagination in the early graders. I do wish he had more play time at school.

I can tell you that Montessori schools vary drastically by where they are. My niece went to a private Montessori kindergarten last year and they were quite unhappy. She was basically allowed to do whatever she wanted. She studied geography all year, but no math or reading. In our school they have choice but also have to get to all the subjects during the week.
post #7 of 23

I am an ex-montessori student....

and it worked for me!! I always had problems in public school growing up. In Gr. 7 (I was in Holland), they start highschool. We had to take these tests to see what level hs we would attend. Well, I scored well below average. My parents put me into this Montessori style school (same phillosophy, different name) and I flourished. I finally got top grades and loved going to school. It was really too bad that we moved to Canada that following year, because that was the first time, I loved to learn.

I cannot afford to put my children in Montessori school. I think my ds is perfect Montessori material. He was on the waiting list for the public Montessori school in our area, but when they called, he had already started in the French Immersion program in a new school (Gr. 1). I didn't want to pull him out and switch him again.
post #8 of 23

we are

I love Montessori and my dd does to. This is her third year attending. She just turned 5. I think there is a huge misunderstanding of Montessori and I also think there are a lot of bad examples of it out there. Montessori is anything BUT ridgid. I think a parent needs to do a lot of research on different methods before choosing a school for there child. I also believe Montessori is for every child but not for every parent. I am totally biased though cause I'm a Montessori teacher.
The important think to look for when searching for a Montessori school is to ask if it is AMI -Association Montessori International- That is the 'Real' thing. Or at lease if your childs teacher was trained AMI. Anyone can open a 'Montessori' school and put whatever they want on the shelves.
post #9 of 23
You said it Briar!!
post #10 of 23
post #11 of 23
My boys have been in two different Montessori schools, and we love the philosophy. It's fun and stimulating and cheerful and self-directed, and demands a high level of connection between children and teachers. My third-grader is thriving; he loves making a plan for himself at the beginning of the week, and having control over his education. He is so positive about going to school, and we really like the respect the environment fosters--the children treat each other with a lot of respect.

We have also tried Waldorf, and liked it for little ones, but my oldest came home every day saying that he was bored. He seemed to genuinely feel that there was not enough stimulation.
post #12 of 23
Our daughter has been in Montessori for 2 years, since she was about 2 1/2. We love it because of the philosophy of giving children freedom within a clear structure...allowing for independent thought and creativity, but reinforcing a need to be interested in something. We had her in another type of pedagogical system called "High Scope" when she was an infant until she was 2 when we had to move. High Scope is just like Montessori with a few differences not noticeable to the "average eye". Between High Scope and Montessori, we had her in a traditional day care and have regretted it to this day. The rooms were noisy and disorganized with kids crying and jumping all over the place...UGH. We worry we did permanent damage to her, but we know in reality likely not...

My only regret about Montessori is the high cost, but we feel we gave our daughter a great foundation so she is very prepared to start kindergarten next year in a public school! If money was no object (unfortunately it IS...!) we'd have her in Montessori until she was done with high school...

post #13 of 23
I have three children currently attending a private Montessori school. They love it and so do I!

Please do your homework and find the best Montessori school you can. They vary greatly in quality. There is one Montessori school closer to my home, but I know a woman who went there to check it out and found toddlers watching Men in Black (the movie) with the teachers.

My children are thriving...and I wonder what to do with them when it's time for fourth grade...right now the school is pre-K through third grade.

Negatives: It's expensive! But worth it.

Our is a parent co-op and we are very involved in the school.

Good luck to you!

post #14 of 23
robynberkley--our oldest was also taught with the High Scope method for a year, it's the method HeadStart uses! But the same thing applies here as to Motessori, without a well-trained teacher and the proper affiliation, it's just not worth its weight in salt.
Thank Goodness for our earned income credit, as this is how we have been able to afford a Montessori education for our boys. Our oldest hated school after one year in a public school, but when we switched him to Montessori, to repeat Kindergarten (also a good choice on our part), he flourished. He needs the structure and the multi-age classrooms have taught him tolerance for his younger brothers (since he's the youngest this year). Ds2 started pre-school this year and hates the fact it's only 1/2 day. The teachers are kind, patient and the school insists upon a certain level of parent activeness, in fact, we received someone else's scholarship $$$$ this year b/c we were more active than they in the school (committees, etc...) last year, all b/c they would rather have us there than someone else who's not as involved.
We applied to create a Charter School this fall and are currently waiting for the final say, but we are very hopeful...
And I agree that Montessori is definately for all children, but not for all parents.
post #15 of 23
My daughter was at a great Montessori school for five years....From nursery to first grade. We pulled her out this year because she was not thriving in her first grade class. For Kaitlyn, the environment was a huge change from the primary level of the 3-5 year olds. There was no art available in the room for the children. As a matter of fact, the only thing they had available for the children to use was colored pencils. Kaitlyn was expected to take out a folder of work that was specific just for her, and spend a solid hour working alone. She really struggled with this, and did not excel in the 6-8 year old, lower elementary room. We looked into Waldorf for her when we pulled her out, but found that the public school here in town offered a richer environment for Kaitlyn's learning style. I must say that I keep in touch with several of the families that have their children in the Montessori school, and their children are thriving. I suppose that either it is a good for fit for your child, or it isn't. One will never know, unless they try. Heaven knows, if a child was going to succeed in Montessori, it would have been a child like Kaitlyn, who had been there from the start. It was the only style of education that she knew....and even so, it did not work for her.
post #16 of 23
Sorry...I haven't been back to this site in a while sunmountain! Yes, I agree, without a properly trained teacher, highscope or montessori can be totally messed up. You have to be well-trained to do it right, especially when you have a mixed age classroom. Fortunately we were blessed with two outstanding schools.

I think the lesson to take away from this is that you must find a learning environment that suites your child best. Some children need more structure than others...some have difficulties working independent. Be an educated consumer and know your child and what THEY need to be successful. A friend of mine is on the board of a very progressive school in the Madison WI area and yet he doesn't send his son there because he knows that his son would not thrive in that environment...his son has a bit of an attention problem and the school reinforces a lot of working independently. I respect his decision a lot.

That being said...I still swear by Montessori!!! At least for our daughter!!!

post #17 of 23
My five year old just started in a Montessori school this year. I was a little concerned because most of his peers have been in the school since age three, and I hoped he wouldnt feel behind everyone else. He has BLOSSOMED in just a few months!! He loves school, has great pride in his work, and expresses great joy with each new skill he masters. It is expensive, but it is worth every penny, as far as I am concerned. Montessori seems to me to be the ideal blend of structure and freedom.
post #18 of 23

I ove Montessori!!

I used to work at a LOVELY Montessori School (Peace Montessori) for a while. I fell in love with each and every one of the children!
post #19 of 23


My 4 3/4 dd goes to the Montessori Preschool here in town from 11:30-4:00 Mon-Fri. My dh and I love it and so does she. It has tons of art to do and the art projects (differnt medias and different themes) are always changing. There is lots of science (which is dds favorite), math, and reading things to do as well. The teachers are great! I love the philosophy behind Montessori. I have heard from time to time people and the kids not liking the Montessori system (in different areas- my town and other places), but I believe that is solely based on the individual and the school. I think that some Montessori school's are not as good as others, it depends on the teachers and their "take" on the Montessori philosophy. Originally I wanted to home school both dds, but it is challanging to do when you have a child that doesn't want to be homeschooled and thrives in the right school enviroment. DD #2 also loves Montessori- all though she is only 20 1/2 mo old she loves to hang out for awhile (with me) when we drop off and pick up her sister from school. When she is old enough she too will go to Montessori. I plan on keeping dd#1 in Montessori through the hightest grade level they offer, 5th grade I think.

post #20 of 23
Are there any Mass. Montessori Moms out there?
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