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Old 02-05-2012, 08:18 AM
 
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Just thought I would post a quick update... Overall, things are going really well. Luke turned 3 on January 6! He was well-celebrated with a couple family parties (my in-laws are divorced) and a small kiddie party (5 children) which we hosted at home. All went well. He also had a celebration at preschool, complete with his own little book (one page per year) which was read out to the class as he held onto a model earth and walked around the sun - I didn't get to see that, of course, but by all reports, it was a lot of fun.

 

Then in mid-January, I went from Sweden to Australia for a 12 day trip for my sister's wedding. My husband, H, took the time off work and took over my daily routine with Luke. Well, in actual fact they were quite a bit busier than Luke and I usually are, as a lot of our friends heard that I was going out of town and invited H&L over for playdates, etc. I actually don't think think they had a single afternoon free in the end... But it went really well (the longest I had been away before was 1 night - so we weren't really sure how Luke would handle it) and H felt that having that time as primary caregiver was a really valuable experience.

 

Happy Mama - hope your DS's period of aggression was just a short phase and that's he's fitting in and enjoying his time in the Montessori program.

 

Sandra - great to hear that Lindsey's doing so well and that she's able to transfer so much of what she's learning in Montessori to her everyday life. I think the same is starting to happen with Luke as well - though sometimes I'm afraid I can still be too quick to jump to negative conclusions about his behavior (see story below). Making an effort to get better at this though!

 

Just one quick Montessori story before I finish... I picked Luke up from preschool on Thursday and he was outside playing as usual. When I arrived he was busy filling up a bucket with sand, which was in itself no small feat as the sandpit was largely frozen and covered with snow. After filling this bucket, he proceeds to empty it right in the middle of a path. Well, my immediate reaction is to start grumbling... but before I have a chance, Luke swiftly walks off and gets a broom and sweeps all the sand up! I guess that should teach me to have a bit more faith in the Montessori method. wink1.gif

 

Hope you're all having a great weekend.

 

Cheers,

Caitlinn

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Old 02-17-2012, 07:36 AM
 
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Hi everyone.  I would like to join as well.  Our son is 31 months and I am a SAHM. 

 

I have been reading about Montessori since our son was born and know this is a good fit.  Our family toured a Montessori program yesterday and our son really enjoyed the classroom and children.  This school is within an elementary school that was built a long time ago, heavy doors, old lighting, etc.  Reminded me of elementary schools I went to.  How are your schools?  My son was extremely interested, so we feel this is a natural progression for him.  He would be in a 3 hour class in the AM.  Our home is set up for him similar to a style like school. 

 

So... why am I sitting here at 5 in the morning not being able to sleep?  And I apologize for my post being all over the place... mecry.gif

 

I have a few fears, naturally which I am not sure if they come from natural reasons and honestly my own triggers from elementary school.  I still think our LO is pretty little and I just do not want any traumatic events to occur, which I know that every parent does not want.  It just seemed so busy with all the other elementary kids around.  Lots of parents.  Not a small venue if you can see the picture.  Maybe I need to find a smaller venue.

 

Our son has not spent more than 8 hours from us.  Those hours were spent with my husband's mother and my own mother.  He is an attached little one but enjoys playing on his own or with friends.  He has spent time with a family we are very close to for an hour while my husband and I went and visited a friend, which went over very well.... yey!

 

We moved to an area 6 months ago where there is not many children his age.  Our past town had many events for socialization.  In the sticks now, here for my husbands work.  We commute 1 hr to see friends that he has known since birth a couple times a month (spoke about above).  We also travel 20 mins twice a week for a toddler drop in play time at a rec center with folks we do not know.  So, school would be a great place for him. 

 

I left the school yesterday happy and excited for him because he fit in like a glove and enjoyed the play spaces.  He actually sat at a desk and said it was his office.  Cracked us up. 

 

So.. talking to him last night.  I asked him what he liked about the school.  Good conversation.  At the end though, he said that he wanted me to stay with him in the classroom.  No problem there, but I got the idea from the teacher that wasn't cool.  I explained to her our attachment and she replied with "maybe just an hour at first, you go get a coffee".  Which is great because I really need the down time but not at his expense.  KWIM?  I plan on emailing her today to ask if I can stay a little like PP's have said.  He is able to start next week if we decide too.

 

I feel like this is happening so fast!  Excited and freaked at the same time!  Sorry... I will have my head together better for my next posts hopefully!!!

 

Andrea

 

 

 


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Old 02-17-2012, 09:18 AM
 
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Ok... so I am sure that just by typing all that out a bit ago and speaking with my husband when he woke, I have somewhat answered a few of my concerns redface.gif

 

I spent my AM before everyone was awake and found a couple small Montessori schools that just seem more along the lines I feel comfortable with!

 

Calling this AM to schedule a couple of looksies.

 

 


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Old 02-19-2012, 01:25 AM
 
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Hi Andrea!

 

A huge welcome to this this thread! And thanks for sharing your experiences... I'm sure you've probably read the rest of this thread but I'll give a quick introduction in any case. My name is Caitlinn, I'm an Australian and live in Sweden with my Swedish husband and our son, Luke. Luke turned 3 last month and started Montessori last August at 2 years 7 months. He attends Mon-Thurs 8-12.45. We've been very happy with his preschool - its proven to be a really great fit. The only thing that's really been negative is how often my son gets sick - ear infections, eye infections, nasty colds, etc. I can't remember the last time he went to preschool for 2 straight weeks without staying home sick - very glad that preschool is subsidized here, so we're not paying a fortune for it when my son has to stay home so much. My son's pretty much always been like that though - getting sick far too regularly in the colder half of the year - so I can't really blame the preschool for that. In the past at least, it has gotten better in the warmer months, which should be on their way soon!

 

My son also enjoyed our first visit to his preschool, dived right into the activities and asked to go back several times before he actually started last August. It sounds really promising that your DS was immediately attracted to the activities like that.

 

About the staying in the classroom... well, I can tell you how that works here though I think the Swedish system in general is a little different from other places and of course, there would be some variation from school to school. Here, there is a introductory period where a parent attends with the child, typically lasting about 2 weeks though this depends on the child. The first day, the child and parent come in for a visit of about an hour. My son's classroom has 4 teachers, 2 assistants and up to 40 kids (37 when he started) - each child is assigned a primary contact teacher during this transition period, who shows the child around and stays with them as much a necessary during this period. There is only one introduction going on at a time, so the child gets a lot of one-on-one attention.  The parent and child come in together for the first week, for about half an hour longer each day. After the first day, the parent sits on an observation chair, available to the child but not involved in the activities in any way. I found it very interesting to sit there and watch, not just my son but the other kids too... Then during the second week, the parent spends increasing amounts of time in the teacher's coffee room (making sure the child is comfortable first and being very clear about when they are going and coming back - no sneaking out). By this time, my son was pretty absorbed in everything and it went really well. We did talk about the process before he started so he knew that I would only be there in the beginning and that after the introductory period, we would be "saying goodbye at the gate". Yes, they have a gate drop-off and that's where we hit a bit of bump in the whole process. Even though he knew it was coming, Luke did NOT like the gate drop-off.... and there was crying and a lot of "I want mamma to stay!" at that point. The staff did a lot to accomodate him - they pushed his start time back so that there would be fewer kids when we arrived (less overwhelming) and he'd get some time to play outside before going in. One of the staff members would stay outside every morning with him for a while, while he played, until he felt ready to go inside and join the others. After a while, it did get better and is fine now, though I admit, it was tough for a while and not at all a fun way to start those days. When I picked him up though - talking to both my son and the staff - it was very clear that he was enjoying his experience there a lot, so we kept going and I'm glad we did.

 

Parent contact during the morning work session *is* limited - the reason for this is to create a calm environment for the kids. You can observe the class, but you have to book and they limit it to one outside observer at a time (so you can't do it while another child is starting, for example) to limit the disruptions to the kids. Every month or two, they host a parent drop-in though, in the afternoon - each child can have a max of 2 guests who they show around and do activities with. There are also regular parent meetings and education nights. Also, when I pick my son up he is playing outside, and I'm welcome to stay with him for a little while, which gives me a chance to see him interact with the other kids and chat to the staff on a daily basis. The staff pretty much always volunteer stories about his morning, so I'm pretty happy with the daily contact in general.

 

Anyway, a big welcome! Gotta run now but very best of luck with your hunt for a great preschool for your son! Look forward to hearing your updates. smile.gif

 

Cheers,

Caitlinn

 

 

 

 

 

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Old 02-21-2012, 07:40 AM
 
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Thank you Caitlinn for the warm welcome. 

 

It is amazing the different dynamics in schools.  The one we just visited only has 17 kiddos in the AM class with 2 teachers.  I found and contacted a couple smaller, home based schools but was not too happy with their responses.  I think I am leaning towards the first one we visited.  I emailed the teacher this AM and asked how she felt about me hanging out to be sure my LO is cozy.  Will see what she suggests. 

 

Will be in touch with updates.  Thank you for the support!


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Old 02-22-2012, 09:10 AM
 
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OK.  I emailed the teacher about me hanging out for the first session and this is the reply I received. 

 

Hi Andrea,

Thank you for the email. Glad to hear on the days you have chosen. Will you be continuing the same days next year?
As for having parents in the classroom I always recommend not to because if you start to stay in the class at the beginning every child will think my mom or dad will always stay. The separation will take longer so what I do recommend which I did mention before is the gradual entry for 1 hour at first and then continue to 2 hours unless he adjusts faster.
His first day can be this Thursday at 9am. Are we still doing the am class?

Regards,

Teacher's name

 

OK... So I completely understand the logic.  I get it.  I am not digging that she will not allow me to be sure he is comfortable.  To me that is a red flag, right?  I am on the fence of wondering if I am smothering him, which I do not think I am, just understanding his need.  We are ready for him to start school and I am really ready for a break but not at his expense, KWIM? 

 

Thinking we are moving on to another. 


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Old 02-22-2012, 09:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenwillow View Post

OK... So I completely understand the logic.  I get it.  I am not digging that she will not allow me to be sure he is comfortable.  To me that is a red flag, right?  I am on the fence of wondering if I am smothering him, which I do not think I am, just understanding his need.  We are ready for him to start school and I am really ready for a break but not at his expense, KWIM?


greensad.gif I agree with you, not such an encouraging reply. While I understand her argument, I can't agree with it. I wouldn't have felt comfortable either leaving my son alone, essentially with a group of strangers, from day 1. He definitely would have freaked and I don't blame him.

 

Quote:
because if you start to stay in the class at the beginning every child will think my mom or dad will always stay

I guess this is the crux of her argument. It depends a bit on how verbal the child is, but I think typically this is something you can explain to a 2 1/2 to 3 year old. I made it very clear to my son that I would only be there in the beginning, pointed out that the other kids parents weren't there, explained how we would do the drop off, etc.  So I prepared him the best I could. Yes, he still objected when it was time to start dropping him off at the gate like the other kids BUT by this time, he had been given enough one-on-one attention by the staff that they had started to form attachments with him and could comfort him in my absence. The staff were no longer strangers at this point - he had started even discussing them by name at home. This made a HUGE difference to my comfort level about the whole situation.

 

Thanks for the update. Crossing my fingers you find a school you are comfortable with for your DS!

Cheers,
Caitlinn

 

 

 

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Old 03-14-2012, 12:44 PM
 
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Hi Moms,

 

My son is 2 years 10 months and he just started this week in a transitional preschool class, 3 mornings a week.  Most of the kids started in September and had to be 2 1/2 at that time, but there are at least 2 who started later and are younger than he is.  The class has about 20 kids, 2 teachers and 1 assistant teacher.  He has never been to a babysitter or daycare. 

 

They allowed me to attend with him for a full morning last week to introduce him to the class.  He was a bit clingy, and we were a little distracting to the other children, but it wasn't too bad.  I did my best to stay out of the way, but he needed contact pretty often.  I really enjoyed being inside the room to observe the children and teachers.

 

Monday was his first day on his own.  I stayed the entire class to watch from the 2-way observation window.  I did the same yesterday.  He has been doing well, but I can tell that he's nervous and uncomfortable.  He cried a couple times yesterday, and the teachers did a good job calming him down without making a scene or allowing him to really get going. 

 

Today was the first time he cried before going in.  Once morning meeting started, he had calmed down and started to get comfortable.  I peeled myself away from the observation window today and left for about an hour and a half.  He was in a great mood when I picked him up.

 

I'm very pleased with the teachers and the children in his class.  And they have a nice facility with a wonderful playground.  So far, that is his favorite part.

 

He'll be going to a traditional 3-6 classroom this fall for 5 days a week, so i'm glad that he'll get this early foundation.  And some of these kids will go over to the new school as well.

 

So, all is well for now!  We'll see how Monday goes...

 

edited to add:

 

By the way, I love getting to observe through the 2-way glass.  I have loved watching these teachers and kids interact and work.  Yesterday in second meeting, the children each were allowed to get in front of the group to perform something if they wanted.  My son didn't do anything, of course, but many of the other children got up to jump or spin around or sing a song and I know their parents would have loved to have seen it.  It's so cool to get a secret glimpse into their day like this.  I'm feeling a little addicted to it, but I'm sure I'll be able to let go eventually.  I'm sure the observation room will be packed the first day of school in the fall.


-Kathy First time Mom to Son F, born April 30, 2009.
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenwillow View Post

OK.  I emailed the teacher about me hanging out for the first session and this is the reply I received. 

 

Hi Andrea,

Thank you for the email. Glad to hear on the days you have chosen. Will you be continuing the same days next year?
As for having parents in the classroom I always recommend not to because if you start to stay in the class at the beginning every child will think my mom or dad will always stay. The separation will take longer so what I do recommend which I did mention before is the gradual entry for 1 hour at first and then continue to 2 hours unless he adjusts faster.
His first day can be this Thursday at 9am. Are we still doing the am class?

Regards,

Teacher's name

 

OK... So I completely understand the logic.  I get it.  I am not digging that she will not allow me to be sure he is comfortable.  To me that is a red flag, right?  I am on the fence of wondering if I am smothering him, which I do not think I am, just understanding his need.  We are ready for him to start school and I am really ready for a break but not at his expense, KWIM? 

 

Thinking we are moving on to another. 



Like I posted above, my son's school allowed me to go with him for an entire day.  He did tell me today and yesterday and he wanted me to go in with him.  I explained that they were very kind to allow us both to go last week, but that the class isn't for parents, just children.  I asked him if the other kids' parents were there, and he said no and seemed to agree that it was better without parents.

 

I think your teacher's suggestion of starting with just an hour is a good one, too.  I would have been OK with that.  I'm sure he will get a lot of attention from the teachers during that hour.  My son's teachers have given him plenty of time and attention helping him acclimate.  I have been amazed at how well they can help so many children in individual fashions.

 


-Kathy First time Mom to Son F, born April 30, 2009.
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