How do you evaluate your kids' progression? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 10-13-2010, 10:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Both my son and daughter just started at a montessori school in August....every week that passes, I'm more pleased with it. We selected this school because my DD finished VPK, but is not age-eligible for public kindergarden, so if we didn't send her to this school, she would essentially have to repeat her VPK program. I must say, I am pleased with everything so far.

For the most part, the students from this school (18months-8th grade) fair exceptionally well when they leave. The do standardized testing on occasion to gauge where they are; for example, they do the PSAT starting in 6th grade, again in 7th and again in 8th.

I realize that there are always a few students who transition and are deemed "behind" by the public or other private schools. I don't really expect this to be an issue, but I'd rather equip myself with some knowledge early on.

I want to understand what progress they are making compared with kids their age, whether that be in montessori or traditional. How does one do this without questioning the entire system?

My DD is 4, and she was just introduced to the decimal presentation tray. I suppose since she has been in the program for an entire 6 weeks, this is not bad....but how does she fare compared to other kids her age? How do I find that out? She's always excelled, and I want to know if that progression is stalling or moving forward.

Is there a "lesson sequence" or something else that I can refer to? I feel this is the only big question for me, and if I'm trying to critique her accomplishments, I don't exactly think its appropriate to ask the school

Any help/guidance would be appreciated. TIA!

DD5, DS3...Montessori since 8/2010
Bradenton, Florida
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#2 of 6 Old 10-13-2010, 10:31 PM
 
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Our teachers are very good about talking with us and telling us how the boys are progressing.

At this point, your daughter's age and being new to Montessori, I would step back for a bit. My DS1 started M last year at 4.5 and at first he did seem to be doing things that were a little easy for him, but they were important steps in the progression of Montessori and he went quickly through them and was ahead of many of the kids who had been there forever by the end of the year. My DS2 is only barely 3 and he's starting from the beginning and it's definitely a different experience.

If you look at your public school curriculum, you can get some idea of what they teach year by year and over time you'll see what your child is learning at school. Montessori is very child led, but *in general* I see that my son is well ahead of the expectations for his grade level in public school. Of course, our public school really concentrates on reading and math skills and Montessori introduces kids to SO much more at an early age...social studies, geography, science. It's impressive how much more he is exposed to and yet how much he can do in language and math as well. It's so much more well rounded. Of course, we are just in kindergarten

Mom to a 6 year old, a 3 year old, and a cuddly little newborn
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#3 of 6 Old 10-13-2010, 10:36 PM
 
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Montessori is non-competative and that's why the kids work so well together. There is no "comparing to peers"--they work on their own paths. Some child might be well into the 2nd or 3rd extension of the Pink Tower before 4 years old and another child might still be working on the first presentation but are already working on the moveable alphabet. In Montessori, all you can do is compare her to herself. There is a general "path" (for example, the pink tower is not generally presented to a 10 year old, and the snake game isn't generally presented to a 3 year old...), but each person's order will be different.

A good Montessori directress won't let her stall...he/she should always be offering your child new work or extensions based on her abilities and interests. Her path won't be the same as any of her peers because she'll have her own interests and focus.

Can you ask to observe her a couple times? At DS's montessori school, parents do an observation during the first half of the year and again towards the end of the year, each year, so you can see the progression. Also, we get a 3 page list of skills the teachers like to see develop during the 3 year cycle and they will get a "grade" of "not yet practicing", "practicing", or "developed" on it, and the teachers send it out twice a year--so by the end of the 3rd year, you have 6 columns for each skill showing the progression for each skill.

~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
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#4 of 6 Old 10-13-2010, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I cant help not comparing. As much as I try not to, its too ingrained in me...simply too competitive (which is an awful trait for a parent, I know). I think their teacher is fabulous. We were hoping to get them both into their language immersion class (and still can next year if we pay the deposit fast enough) which was one of the big attractions to the school in the first place, but I am actually considering keeping them both in her class for the full cycle. She is really that good.

Our public schools are deplorable, absolutely awful. The entire state of Florida is shameful, aside from a few "resort" areas. So, I can't really rely on them. And, most of her peers are in kindy now, since they were all in VPK together.

Again, I trust the teacher, but I'm also the type of parent that wants to be very involved, even if I can rarely go to school, aside from dropping them off at the crack of dawn due to my work schedule. So, understanding the progression and knowing that she's happy with it makes me feel more secure. And, the more I feel secure, the less I will stress my daughter out...over time

I do have the first parent-teacher conference next week, and I'm still trying to phrase what I'm looking for from her. Its simply hard to put it into context.

My son, on the other hand, is 3 and is enjoying the experience....for some reason, I have a lot less concern about him, even though he has never been as academically ahead as she is. Go figure.

DD5, DS3...Montessori since 8/2010
Bradenton, Florida
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#5 of 6 Old 10-14-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nanette0269 View Post
I cant help not comparing. As much as I try not to, its too ingrained in me...simply too competitive (which is an awful trait for a parent, I know).
Don't be too hard on yourself. Comparing these things shows you care. Comparing to other standards is one way of making sure you are making the right choice.

I might ramble here. So excuse me if I do. If I get confusing, just reply with question marks. Haha

The reality is to put these learning outcomes in perspective. They are what they are. They are one measurement of one part of what your child is. Let me give an analogy.

You go to an architect and ask him to design a sky scraper. A few days later, he comes to you with blueprints of the metal frame structure. Construction workers begin working on this. They have all the beams up. There is no plumbing, no toilets, heck....even no floor, ceiling, or wall anywhere. They come to you and say, "it is done!"

What?!

Why would that building be done? They only took care of one part.

Another analogy. You send your child to school. You send him or her there to learn. They learn how to count to 100 by the age of 4, they learn the names of the letters. They learn the colors. Suddenly, you realize they have no creativity to understand and conceptualize math. Can't read, and aren't artists. What good did learning the other stuff serve? I guess it's as much as the building. Without the foundation, the building would be nothing. But with only the foundation, the building is just metal taking up space. Without an educational foundation, children are not solidly based. But Montessori does not stop there. There are social relationships. There are personalities of the children. There is creativity. There is using ideas in a different way. There is building curiosity. Montessori builds all these things. It builds the whole building rather than just the state standards.


Quote:
Again, I trust the teacher, but I'm also the type of parent that wants to be very involved, even if I can rarely go to school, aside from dropping them off at the crack of dawn due to my work schedule. So, understanding the progression and knowing that she's happy with it makes me feel more secure. And, the more I feel secure, the less I will stress my daughter out...over time
You can look up state standards online. I'd offer to give you money if you find one that recommends learning what you said (place value of numbers into the thousands) to a 4 year old. Montessori is usually way beyond the state standards in most areas.

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I do have the first parent-teacher conference next week, and I'm still trying to phrase what I'm looking for from her. Its simply hard to put it into context.
Don't worry. Just approach the conference that you both want what is best for your kids and are working towards that.
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#6 of 6 Old 10-17-2010, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone...it really does make complete sense. As long as I know that she is progressing overall at a healthy rate, I will not worry...well, I'll minimize it I did check out the state school standards, and yes, I know she will be fine. I do hope that she gets up to her peers in the montessori skills soon, and I'm sure that this will happen soon enough.

DD5, DS3...Montessori since 8/2010
Bradenton, Florida
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