I live in a small town with only one option for Montessori. my daughter is in the kindergarten program now, and the elementary program is part of the public school system. The school has some basic concepts, but is definitely not 'purist' by a long shot. My daughter turned 5 in November, so she is doing the kindergrgarden program, and I’m a bit concerned about how she is progressing. I am happy to let her learning come together in an organic way, I just feel like she made more progress with her letters and numbers last year. when I really sit down with her now- she can say her numbers up to 35, but can't write them, or recognize them if mixed up. she can sing the alphabet song, but can't tell me what half of the letters are when I point them out to her, no sight words at all. Her teacher seems to think that she is doing fine, and is right on track, but I’m not so sure. I'm not crazy about her teacher this year- she is a basic teacher with a Montessori training course, but I just don't find her reliable.
I feel like this is my fault for not being on top of what she is doing at school more this year, but pregnancy and illness and working- I just haven’t been focusing on her school work, so I’m a bit surprised when I realized where she was. With the grade 1 being in the public system with a little Montessori flavor, I don't think that she is at a point where she is even close to being ready.
I suppose I just wanted to check in and see where other kindergarten kids are midyear. I know they are all different, and I have no problem repeating kindergarten, I'm just struggling with trusting the method when I’m not trusting the teacher!
Together with DH 20 years, mom to a 5 year old daughter,
finally pg with #2 july 2/2011
You may want to find out more about their reading program. Our school closely follows montessori principles, except for their reading curriculum. They utilize 'words in color" ...so the kids are never really taught the "names" of the letters, which is really irrelevant to learning how to read. If their program is significantly different than what you were accustomed to, it may even be possible that what you are teaching your child at home could make her reading program delayed or even more confusing. Not that this is the case, but something to be wary of. We were taught (as parents) what to avoid doing with our kids (to avoid their confusion) and what to encourage doing (to aid their learning), simply because they taught so differently.
I think comparisons could be hard to decipher. Also, since montessori stressed writing over reading (if you can write it, you know it inside and out type of method), knowing how many other Kinders know how many sight words isnt really relevant to compare.
As for numbers, you may want to purchase some cuisinaire rods, as they are critical in exceling in the montessori math program.
Now, if you want to compare, here is where my daughter (who turns 5 this month) is at:
- Math: she can do the hundred board without issue. She can do the snake game. She can find 4,573 if given the number and told to go fetch this number of objects (eg 4 one thousand cubes, 5 hundred cubes, etc). Of course, she had to understand what a thousand was before she went to fetch it as well. By the end of the school year, she should be adding 4 digit numbers, dynamically. that being said, she's consistently been a year ahead of her "age" when it comes to math....so keep this with a grain of salt. Each child is different and since she was on par with some subjects but far ahead with others, this is why we chose montessori so she could continue to excel where she had the potential to do so.
- Reading: she has about 15 words down. These are not "sight" words, per se, since "words in color" doenst focus on sight words. She knows all of her short vowels. They seen some kids whiz through the reading program, while some just need a few more months to make those huge leaps of logic. I think she's right on par with her peer group.
- Writing: she clearly prefers upper case, but the school prefers teaching lower case. Lower case requires more hand control due to more curves and lighter touch than upper case. She knows all of her letters by name (she knew this when attending the VPK class last school year when she was 3/4). She currently writes letters that are consistently about 1/2-3/4", nothing smaller. I've noticed this shift a lot in the last semester. When she started this class, she was always writing her letters about 1" tall.
I must say that I'm glad that she is montessori for the reasons stated above. She is currently in the Pre-K class at montessori, and next fall (since she will be 5 this month and therefore eligible for kindy "status" in fall) she will be in the kinder class. Same classroom, same teacher, same lessons....but just allowing for that extra step to solidify her understanding of each.
So, I think you have to ask the teacher where progress is being made. I think you'd feel better knowing that. Maybe she is making a TON of progress in connecting a=b, and b=c, but because you havent witnessed her with a=c, you dont think she's excelled.
i think that my main problem is that it isn't a pure montessori environment. I know they have the cuisinaire rodsbut she has never used them. she doesn't know her letter sounds either, she just guesses. With all the research i did before we made this choice for her, I wanted to trust the method and that was the other reason we didn't do a lot of educating at home. we do the 'homework' that is sent home- but i'm not doing my own letter/number teaching with her. I want to let her learn in her way in her time, but I don't trust the teacher/school, and i'm scared that my the time she really shows her struggles, it will be hard to catch up. I know it is hard and pretty useless to compair in this environment, but i'm just at a loss, seeing her so behind her friends in non montessori, and struggling. thanks for sharing what your daughter is doing- it is light years ahead of mine, so it's helpful to me. I just wanted to have something to talk to the directress about. when the teacher is saying she is right on track and doing fine, but i don't agree, I wanted to have something bring to the table. our only other option is putting her in mainstream school, and with how she is strugling now, I think that would be worse.
Together with DH 20 years, mom to a 5 year old daughter,
finally pg with #2 july 2/2011
The beauty of Montessori is that it doesn't matter where any other K is as long as your child is able to follow her path and get things in her own time. So not reading in K would not be a big deal as long as she's in the process and she gets there when she is ready.
HOWEVER, it sounds like you are not sure this school is truly following Montessori and if it is not, they may not be giving her the tools to get there. So that COULD be a concern. She may be at her own place or she may not be getting what she needs. You'd really have to observe the school to figure that out.
Now, your K age is a little different than ours. My son is in K, but he's a full year older (turned 6 in November). From helping out in his K class with reading I can tell that a few of the kids are still working out all of their letter sounds. Most of them can get through BOB books, but not always easily. Many of the kids are reading at various levels from BOB books up to Magic Tree House/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory type books. It's a very wide range, as it should be. So, my son is reading about a level below chapter books right now. But again, he's on the older side for K. At this time last year, he was starting to read BOB books. He did know all of his letters and sounds, but just barely. He started Montessori last year and his previous school (and myself) was more focused on letter names. I didn't know to teach any other way. So, my 3 year old knows his letter sounds b/c he's been in Montessori since 2 and I learned to focus on that at home YK? So I read him an alphabet type book and I say the letter sounds now instead of names.
She's young for K IMO, so if you feel like she's going to need an extra year, give it to her.
My suggestion to you would be to call the school where she will go to 1st grade and see if you can speak with the teacher to find out what they will want her to know on the day she walks into first grade. Most states have core standards on their websites so you can look through and see how your child is measuring up and if you need to do more for her to get her to where she should be. You still have plenty of time to get her ready if she isn't exactly where she needs to be.
My daughter is in Montessori K and is reading on a second grade level, is doing multiplication and division in the thousands (Montessori starts with the high numbers and works down to low) and spends a lot of time working with the three year olds. Every child is different, just check your state standards and maybe speak with her next school for peace of mind.