Montessori or Primrose for high spirited 2.8yo? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 03-30-2009, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS has been in an in-home daycare with about 8 other kids since he was 2mo. We dropped it from full time to part time to save $$ last year and he is at my Mom's 2 days a week.

DS is high spirited, needs a schedule and needs to know what is coming next (transitions seem to be hard for him). So I think he does well on a schedule. I wouldn't say he has sensory issues but he is sensitive to things. He is very curious about things and loves to explore. At daycare he tends to hit/push other kids esp. littler ones.

A Primose daycare/preschool is opening very close to our home. I hadn't planned on moving DS to a preschool but there are many things that appeal to us about Primrose:

1. Even if he doesn't have food issues I really like their allergen policy and the facility is completely nut free
2. They do not use time-outs, instead try and talk to the child
3. Outdoor playtime twice a day nearly all year round unless it is extremely cold or raining
4. NO TV! (I'm double checking this but didn't see any)
5. curriculum includes daily spanish, environmental, and all kinds of other stuff I can't remember
6. We can do part time
7. Prompting bathroom at regular intervals which he needs help with

I am also thinking of checking one or two Montessori's, just to make sure we look at all options. In your experience, would his personality type do better at Primrose or Montessori?

Just from what I wrote, how would Mont. compare to Primrose? Primrose 'looks' just like a regular daycare center with age groups separated.

What types of 'toy's does Mont. have? Primrose looked like mostly plastic. Is Mont. more 'natural'?

If Mont. doesn't have a well defined daily schedule that doesn't change much, I think that may not be best for DS.

Will Mont. even do part time?
thanks!!

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#2 of 8 Old 03-30-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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Do User Agreements allow a direct comparison of a specific school chain? I have specific knowledge of this school franchise, and I will try to be as objective as possible, but I will refer to it as P-school, just in case.

I looked strongly into the P-school in our area before I explored Montessori. My ds is also spirited and needs help with transitions. Here are my
observations:

1. At the Montessori we chose, I like that we pack his lunch. I did like P-school's nut-free policy and that they offered healthy snacks; however, I wanted the option of packing ds's lunch so that I knew the food going into his body. They did not offer that option at our P-school. This isn't "bad" - it's just my preference.

2. I did like the the P-school had more of a policy of redirection, but at ours, they did have kids sit at a table until they felt they could re-enter the group, and they also sent them to the "director's office" for big offenses like hitting. I wasn't super-keen on that. The Montessori we are at right now is a little time-out happy for my taste, but the one we are looking at for next year is much more into redirection, which makes me feel better.

3. I think the outdoor time varies from school to school with Montessori and other schools. He has outdoor time if it's nice enough, and on the really nice days they take extended time in the afternoons. The winters can be long, though. Our school may have been a little more conservative in the definition of "nice enough". I've observed our P-school to have canopies over the playgrounds, which probably allows them to go outside more often. I never noticed ds to have excess energy or become lethargic on the days they did not get the outdoor time during the winter.

4. In general, the Montessoris I looked at don't have tv. I think they said at ours that they might have one for short "educational" videos on occasion in the winter. I honestly don't think they've turned it on this year. Ds would certainly tell me!

5. The Montessori he is at now offeres Japanese, as well as Kindermusik-like music classes and a special tumbling class for gross motor movement. The one he will be at next year offers French, specialized music classes, dance, and art classes. They are both very environmental/animal/nature oriented. Primrose offered some nice philanthropic activities, but we do that at home and through church, also, so it's part of his life.

6. The Montessori we are at this year has a part-time program that fits our schedule. Others don't offer it, though.

7. DS potty-learned when he was at a different school like P-school, and they did a nice job there, as I'm sure P-school would too. Many 3-6 Montessoris require potty trained children, although I'm sure they prompt for the younger ones. I would guess that in the infant-toddler Montessori program the prompt at regular intervals. The potty learning piece can be an issue in most places because kids often can't progress to the next room until they are p-t'd, even if they are otherwise ready for the room. Ds's old school had an exception starting the year my ds turned 3 (thank goodness!), so even though it took ds a while to become reliable with potty, he wasn't stuck with the 2 year olds. Not sure what your P-school's or Montessoris' philosophies will be regarding that.

Looking back, P-school is very academically regimented (ours, at least) and they pride themselves on being accellerated. I know ds could do the work, but I also felt like there was a lot of pressure. They seem scheduled at P-school, it's true - something like circle time, tables, outside, play, lunch, nap, outside, play. However, that's a lot of transitions, and if that's where your lo has difficulties, that's a lot of opportunities for breakdowns. Plus, I have to say, while I work in a related field and understand play-based learning, that time is really unstructured and is when my ds had the most problems at his old school (like P-school). In the end, I figured that he gets enough play-to-learn time at home and that a Montessori style was nice for learning.

DS is an independent style learner and has some perfectionistic tendencies. If he feels pressure to do something, he almost completely shuts down, and for him I ended up feeling like P-school would stress him out to "perform." Some kids do well in this atmosphere...my ds would not. At Montessori, they have work time throughout the morning (and in the afternoon, too, in many schools). Kids can spend as much time as they want on a particular work, usually, so there need not be as many transitions. They can explore the works, independently or with a partner. Usually, as long as they are respecting the work, they can become creative with the materials. They are not "toys" in our sense of the word today. Our Montessori does offer some natural, educational "toys" for afternoon time when the kids are waiting to be picked up, but it's not a free-for-all like in play-based centers. I like this because it keeps him calm and centered.

While he learned plenty at this previous school and would have learned a lot at P-school, I feel like he's learned how to be more self-driven with Montessori, without feeling the pressure of performance and without having to follow the curriculum of the class. He excels in reading and math and struggles more with the motor skills and writing. He can progress at his pace in these areas in Montessori, and they have matierials designed to help him do so.

I hope some of this helps guide your thoughts. The more I learned about Montessori, the more I realized it was right for my spirited ds. It's a big decision to find the right match for your lo's needs.
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#3 of 8 Old 03-30-2009, 08:40 PM
 
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I know nothing about Primrose. Rose did a great job explaining Montessori and her experiences with both schools. Let me answer some of the specific questions you had.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ophelia View Post

DS is high spirited, needs a schedule and needs to know what is coming next (transitions seem to be hard for him). So I think he does well on a schedule.
Like Rose said, there are few transitions. Make sure you talk to the school about that. There should be a long work period of a few hours that is uninterrupted. Talk to the school you are looking at to see if they do that.

Quote:
1. Even if he doesn't have food issues I really like their allergen policy and the facility is completely nut free
Nut free is pretty standard in the US.

Quote:
Just from what I wrote, how would Mont. compare to Primrose? Primrose 'looks' just like a regular daycare center with age groups separated.
Montessori will be 3 age groups together. In this case, 3-6.

Quote:
What types of 'toy's does Mont. have? Primrose looked like mostly plastic. Is Mont. more 'natural'?
http://www.nienhuis.com/shop/category_line.php?line=32 Take a look around. The different categories (Language, math, sensorial, etc.) are on the top of the page just under the banners.

Quote:
If Mont. doesn't have a well defined daily schedule that doesn't change much, I think that may not be best for DS.

Will Mont. even do part time?
thanks!!
Are you looking for a well defined schedule that doesn't change much or a schedule where he goes some days and not others?

If you're thinking half day, many of the Montessori schools I worked at and am familiar with have half day for 3-6. Few schools will let you go some days and not others, but they're out there. It's just more important to, as you said, have a more regular schedule so I'd recommend against that option.
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#4 of 8 Old 03-31-2009, 04:58 AM
 
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I wasn't familiar with primrose, so I googled it. It seems to be a large chain of franchised daycare centers. The website was somewhat vague about what goes on day to day.


Montessori is not a chain, but simply an educational philosophy. How true to the original design a given school is varies greatly. Some simply have a few materials like a pink tower, and don't follow the method very closely. Others stick blindly to every letter of the method with no flexibility. However, many are wonderful places that follow the philosophy of Dr Maria Montessori.

Since Montessoris vary greatly, I will talk about one DS attends mostly and one we visited a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ophelia View Post
1. Even if he doesn't have food issues I really like their allergen policy and the facility is completely nut free
DS's school is a nut free school. This is pretty standard in our area. Parents do take turns bringing in the snack once a month at DS's school. One of the schools we visited, had the snack provided; they only served fresh organic fruits and cheese : (saddly we couldn't afford that school.)
Quote:
2. They do not use time-outs, instead try and talk to the child
Though sitting in a quiet (but not isolated) spot to calm down for a length of time determined by the student is part of the M philosophy, I have never seen it used at DS's school. I have seen teachers holding upset children, and the director walking with and talking to upset stundents. When DS has had issues with behavior, the teacher talks to me about it and asks me if I can try to figure out what's going on by talking to DS at home.
Quote:
3. Outdoor playtime twice a day nearly all year round unless it is extremely cold or raining
All schools we considered had outdoor playtimes, it is actually state mandated that they get an outdoor playtime (weather permitting,) either once or twice a day deppending on how many hours a child is in school/daycare.
Quote:
4. NO TV! (I'm double checking this but didn't see any)
No schools we looked at had TVs.
Quote:
5. curriculum includes daily spanish, environmental, and all kinds of other stuff I can't remember
This varies a lot from school to school, one we looked at offered Japanese, another offered french and dance, etc, etc.

Environmental issues are to a certain extent an integeral part of a M class. There are usually animals and plants right in the room.
Quote:
6. We can do part time
Schedual flexibility will vary from school to school. It will also depend on if it is primarily a preschool that happens to offer morningcare and aftercare, or if it is primarialy a daycare facility that has some preschool curriculumn thrown in. We needed a preschool, not daycare, so that is what we mostly looked for. Most of the school let you choose half days, and some allowed 3 day/week.
Quote:
7. Prompting bathroom at regular intervals which he needs help with
This also varied a lot. DS's school will do diapers, prompting, whatever. Only one school we looked at insisted on total independence, many were willing to help with early potty learning, but didn't meet state regulation for changing diapers.

Quote:
What types of 'toy's does Mont. have? Primrose looked like mostly plastic. Is Mont. more 'natural'?
M schools don't have "toys," they have "materials" or "works." Basically they are focused purposeful toys. Beads that a child does math with, dishes full of stuff to pour, child sized cleaning equipment, puzzles to do, things to sort or classify or clean, etc, etc.

Most of it is natural wood, metal, glass and pottery. Sometimes schools do have some plastic, like the real glass decimal bead cost 3x as much as the plastic ones, but they tend to strive towards natural when ever possible.

At DS school they offer aftercare, which we use occasionally, and they do have toys then sometimes. However, they aren't ever blinky noisey type toys. They have legos and wooden trains. Though on more than one occassion (which when you consider DS only goes two or three times a month is a lot) when I picked up DS, a student was doing one of the lessons instead of playing legos.

Quote:
If Mont. doesn't have a well defined daily schedule that doesn't change much, I think that may not be best for DS.
That is up to your DS. Somedays DS goes along with the schedual, others he skips circle time and works. In M schools students have a fair amount of autonomy, so they can either set a routine of their own, or choose to do different things each day. (Though for practical reasons outside play time at DS's school isn't an optional part of the day.)

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
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#5 of 8 Old 03-31-2009, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your replies!!
Quote:
Looking back, P-school is very academically regimented (ours, at least) and they pride themselves on being accellerated. I know ds could do the work, but I also felt like there was a lot of pressure. They seem scheduled at P-school, it's true - something like circle time, tables, outside, play, lunch, nap, outside, play. However, that's a lot of transitions, and if that's where your lo has difficulties, that's a lot of opportunities for breakdowns.
This did concern me when I saw all the academic stuff and full schedule. I did tell the staff it seemed overwhelming but they seemed to think it was not. I will definitely tour a Mont. school or two in our area and see what we think. I wasn't even sure if I wanted DS in a 'preschool' because curriculum like that seems to be pushing them to excel, excel, excel. Learning of course is not a bad thing, but kids are only this little once let them be kids too.

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#6 of 8 Old 04-02-2009, 02:48 PM
 
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What I love about M is that my 5 year old son is soooo academically advanced compared to his non-M peers, and yet, he hasn't been "pushed." There are no worksheets, no drill-n-kill, no state standards to enforce, yet he has learned so much. The classroom is filled with interesting materials like maps, animals, real food and cooking materials, beads and blocks, different languages, real musical instruments, all available for "work" when he is interested and at his pace. He's just been playing and having fun with his friends, and in the process (and due to the preparation of the environment) has managed to learn to read, do multiplication and division, studied all the continents and many countries, count to a thousand+, speak a little Chinese, sew, sing, and study ancient Greece. Yet, you wouldn't say it is a really "academic" classroom if you visited. You'd see kids working in little groups, excitedly moving around the room, finishing projects, singing and dancing, working in the garden, helping the little kids, cooking and knitting, . . . .but learning so much in the process.
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#7 of 8 Old 04-03-2009, 03:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ophelia View Post
Thanks for your replies!!

This did concern me when I saw all the academic stuff and full schedule. I did tell the staff it seemed overwhelming but they seemed to think it was not. I will definitely tour a Mont. school or two in our area and see what we think. I wasn't even sure if I wanted DS in a 'preschool' because curriculum like that seems to be pushing them to excel, excel, excel. Learning of course is not a bad thing, but kids are only this little once let them be kids too.
In this case you definitely should consider Montessori. The philosophy is very much about moving at your own pace, and the first year or so the kids are encouraged to do work that is fairly non-academic. DD spent the first 6 months doing things like sorting puff-balls, moving things with spoons, completing puzzles, and so on.

Our school offers part time as either 4 mornings or 4 afternoons a week; you cannot just pick and choose days.

It is predictable in that the activities happen in the same order every day, except outdoor play which only happens when the weather is acceptable. DD has sensory issues and some trouble with transitions, but she has not had issues with the schedule at school.

Our school has no TVs at all, and no plastic toys that I can think of except the pieces in the blue word boards for the older kids. Kids are supposed to be PT before entering school, which DD was, but I'm sure they would prompt if necessary. They do have all the kids bring an extra set of clothes "just in case".

I don't think our school is officially nut-free but they do pay attention to food issues as I know they had a gluten-allergy kid last year and had arranged special snacks in that kid's room all year. Snacks offered are typically some type of crackers and some type of fruit, varying each week, and water. The kids serve themselves.

Erin, mom to DD (1/06) and DS (10/09)
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#8 of 8 Old 02-18-2013, 10:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ophelia View Post

DS has been in an in-home daycare with about 8 other kids since he was 2mo. We dropped it from full time to part time to save $$ last year and he is at my Mom's 2 days a week.

DS is high spirited, needs a schedule and needs to know what is coming next (transitions seem to be hard for him). So I think he does well on a schedule. I wouldn't say he has sensory issues but he is sensitive to things. He is very curious about things and loves to explore. At daycare he tends to hit/push other kids esp. littler ones.

A Primose daycare/preschool is opening very close to our home. I hadn't planned on moving DS to a preschool but there are many things that appeal to us about Primrose:

1. Even if he doesn't have food issues I really like their allergen policy and the facility is completely nut free
2. They do not use time-outs, instead try and talk to the child
3. Outdoor playtime twice a day nearly all year round unless it is extremely cold or raining
4. NO TV! (I'm double checking this but didn't see any)
5. curriculum includes daily spanish, environmental, and all kinds of other stuff I can't remember
6. We can do part time
7. Prompting bathroom at regular intervals which he needs help with

I am also thinking of checking one or two Montessori's, just to make sure we look at all options. In your experience, would his personality type do better at Primrose or Montessori?

Just from what I wrote, how would Mont. compare to Primrose? Primrose 'looks' just like a regular daycare center with age groups separated.

What types of 'toy's does Mont. have? Primrose looked like mostly plastic. Is Mont. more 'natural'?

If Mont. doesn't have a well defined daily schedule that doesn't change much, I think that may not be best for DS.

Will Mont. even do part time?
thanks!!

Ophelia,

 

So, what did you decide for your 2.8 year old? We have been sending our son to the 'Home' Montessori and we are debating if we should instead be taking him to Primrose in order to get into the Elementary School Mode?

 

We have a 2.8 year old right now.

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