DS is 4, will be 5 in August. He currently attends a play-based co-op, but I am thinking about Montessori for Kindergarten through middle school for him. I am very familiar with Montessori, I went to a Montessori school as a kid, and I have spent a lot of time in different classrooms & schools over the years. I found a school that I really love, that I think is the most true to the philosophy in our area.
My question though, is if Montessori is a good fit for DS. He, as his current teachers describle him, "lives in a world of imagination", and doesn't like to come out of that world to 'work'. He is happiest playing with his friends (he is and always has been incredibly social) and telling stories, or playing elaborate pretend scenarios. I have serious concerns that in a Montessori environment he would be limited in his ability to socialize, or engage in imaginary play. Part of me also feels like it would be a good fit for him in a way, because it would encourage him to come out of that world, and learn more structure, and how to focus on, and complete a task.
I guess I just wonder, when you chose Montessori, did you choose it because of your child's nature, and did you know it would be a good fit? Or do you think every child can be successful within the environment? Do you think there is enough room for imagination in Montessori?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts! :)
Does he have focus? If this is a skill that he is lacking, montessori will ABSOLUTELY help develop this. He will also learn respect for others' work and space. About 3 hours each day would focus on these two skills, during a normal day. But, in my opinion, for a child to do well in elementary school, these definitely need these skills. Imagination and creativity is great, but if it interferes with a teacher's ability to communicate and disrupts the class (in any school setting), this is not a good thing.
I choose Montessori because of the peaceful atmosphere, the amazing philosophies, language the guides use and the intention in everything they do. I was put off by the traditional preschools lack of white space on the walls and the chaotic feeling I experienced. I also knew that my daughter would love it there and she walked in at 3 and was immediately at home.
A good guide will be able to channel his sociability into work and games until he is ready to focus. They will also encourage him to use his imagination to create books, art, even math work/projects that are interesting to him.
I think most children would thrive in a Montessori environment, but that it also depends on what the home is like and if it will support what is happening there. My same daughter would love, love a Waldorf experience, but it is so far from our lifestyle, etc. that we aren't sending her there. We actually pulled her from the public primary school that is 6 blocks away and put her in elementary Montessori that is a 35 minute drive away—we missed it so much.
Once he gets to lower elementary, there is more of a social atmosphere, but most of them will have the solid foundation of a Children's House within them.
Good luck! I say go for it and be your child's best advocate.