My son recently started attending a brand new Montessori school. He is a spirited, stubborn 4 year old who loves to learn but can also be a challenge. My concern is with the way his school is handling his behavior which is basically by calling me to pick him up and now indicating to me that I need to pick him up early. In my opinion the things he is doing are not out of the ordinary for a 4 year old. For example, yesterday he would not clean up his lunch area. This has been a common problem. I went in to get him and told him to clean up so we could leave. The teacher stood over him, arms crossed pointing out each thing he had to do next. (There's a paper on the floor, cheerio over there, etc) Then after he cleaned his place mat she actually held it up to the light and pointed out a spot that was still wet that he needed to dry. I was mortified and could totally understand his rebellion at this point.
All you teachers out there please give some feedback. When I indicated that I thought this was something they could handle they said that they could not make him listen and he needed to be still. His other problems are running up and down the halls-some times he goes under the tables. He is not an angel by any means but he also works for long periods and is very smart. The whole tone struck me as very negative and not Montessori. My daughter completed 3 years and another school and is wonderful. DS spent one year at that school and we switched because his teacher left and I wanted him to be in extended day. Any advice would be appreciated. I don't want to get into an argument with the teachers but I am really concerned. Thanks in advance.
That definitely sounds like an issue with the school. My DS goes to a Montessori school and has autism, with plenty of behavior problems. In the 3 years he's gone, I've only had to pick him up once for behavior issues. The rest of the time, they're able to handle it using a combination of natural consequences and having him write up a behavior management plan. One example of natural consequences is if he hit a child, his teacher would have him go get an ice pack for a child, listen to the child talk about why it hurt to be hit, and then the teacher would say "it looks like you're having trouble respecting other people's bodies. I will need you to stay close to me now so that I can make sure that you are acting in a safe way with the other children." (They do that with the typical kids too. Basically, if you hurt your friends, the natural consequence of that is that your friends don't feel safe around you and you need to take a break from playing with them.) The behavior management plan is a plan that talks about what the child did, why the child did it (in his own words), and what that child needs to do so that it doesn't happen again.
Is there another teacher he could be with? It sounds like this teacher has already created a power struggle that isn't likely to be resolved easily. Her reaction sounds extremely un-Montessori. My ds is also very spirited. He can be impulsive and a handful, but I've only had to pick him up from school once - and that was really my call and more of a consequence for unsafe behavior, rather than a "I can't handle him" reason. AllyRae had some good examples of more Montessori discipline.