no 3 hour work block in public montessori? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 08-20-2010, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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My daughter just started her K year in a public montessori school. She is in the normal mixed age class (3-6), but i just got the daily schedule home today and it seems, well...not very montessori. Maybe my expectations are not meshing with the reality of the public school version of montessori.

They start the day with a large group time, but then the schedule had about 30 mins or this, 45 mins for that, an hour and a half for reading, 30 mins for art, etc. So, it seems like the kids are constantly interrupted in their work and told to move on to another activity or lesson.

What is your experience with this?
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#2 of 9 Old 08-21-2010, 07:31 AM
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no experience with this, but is the school AMI/AMS accredited? I thought the whole point of Montessori was the 3 hour work block.


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#3 of 9 Old 08-21-2010, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
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They are an AMS "affiliate"? Hmmm, makes me wonder. You know, this school does have a wonderful reputation and i really want Montessori for my daughters elementary years. But, i wonder if her teacher's lack of experience (this is her second year at the school and she is still working on her M certification) has something to do with it.

I am just disappointed because M was my first choice for my daughter. She is gifted and i could have put her in a full time gifted K, but i decided to go with M instead. Now, i worry that she will stagnate this year. She already told me she didn't like being told what to do all day.

I hate to make myself the problem parent, and i am sure i am not going to change the teachers mind about her schedule. But, gosh, this does not bode well for the year.
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#4 of 9 Old 08-21-2010, 10:59 AM
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Hmm... we've been at M schools where they have around a 2 hour work cycle instead of a 3 hour one and it worked out fine for the younger kids (although I know it's not technically the real Montessori plan). But we've never had to deal with every half hour being scheduled-- that would concern me as well. You could talk to the teacher and just ask about it... maybe that's just the plan for the first few weeks of school to get the kids used to working independently, and maybe she will be gradually lengthening the work block? I definitely think it's worth inquiring about to the teacher and/or administration.
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#5 of 9 Old 08-21-2010, 11:43 AM
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I'm guessing that the direction to move is done to satisfy the state requirements. If it is a public school, then the school has to satisfy the state and meet a certain scope and sequence. This may be this schools approach. Perhaps you can ask the teacher to allow your daughter to select what she wants to do, as long as she does something of each subject within a week?

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#6 of 9 Old 08-21-2010, 02:13 PM
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My son just started in the lower elementary at a public school Montessori. I see a lot of disruption there too. They are interrupted for specials, recess, assemblies, etc. and it seems like they schedule times for different subjects. I'm extremely disappointed. Talking to a friend at a different school, they try to stay closer to the M philosophy than where we are. I think in a public, you get a lot of people who don't know anything about M and don't mind.

I would think that standards would be different in the primary 3-6 classroom (meaning not as rigid as for the elemenatry). They are not working to meet state standards at that age. I'd ask the teacher about it and see if you can come to a compromise about what your daughter can select and letting her become absorbed in it.
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#7 of 9 Old 08-21-2010, 06:43 PM
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A perfectly uninterrupted work cycle is often impossible in order to stay within state guidelines. For example, here in NJ pre-schools are required to have outdoor recess (weather permitting) every couple of hours to keep their license. Obviously, it is impossible to have a full work cycle unless it rains.

What you are describing sounds very over the top though. It sounds like a lot of interruption. It is hard to stay focused if one is being invited to do something else constantly. I get the feeling that your DD isn't feeling invited though. Any extra activities during a work cycle should be by invitation, not required (though as I mentioned sometimes the state makes requirements.)

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#8 of 9 Old 08-22-2010, 08:03 AM
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We are at a public M school and all classes have an uninterrupted three hour work cycle - three year olds through middle school.
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#9 of 9 Old 09-13-2010, 03:00 PM
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At our public Montessori, the prek/K classes are 3 hour days, so a 3 hour cycle just isn't possible. And they have to provide lunch during that time, too. If the K students want to eat lunch at school, they at least get there before school starts so they have more work time in the classroom. But then the K students have to go elsewhere for PE and music, so they do get interrupted. The Montessori school is housed with a traditional school, so they share the extra curricular teachers.

However, the teachers are aware of this, and they do try their best to have as much uninterrupted work time as possible, for instance scheduling extra curriculars for a time that is not right in the middle of a work period. And when they do work, the students are able to choose what they want, and there certainly aren't scheduled "subject" times. All the teachers I've talked to at the various grade levels have been pretty up-front about modifications they've had to make in order to accommodate state standards, and I'm confident they do it in a way that is as "Montessori-ish" as possible.

State standards are usually specific about "what" has to be taught... but not "how" or what kind of schedule there needs to be.

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