Starting Montessori this year? - share your stories! - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-05-2011, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thought I'd start a thread for parents whose children are starting Montessori this year.  Look forward to some of your stories, anecdotes and observations.  Nothing needs to be personal, just a bit of fun about the joys and adventure of sending a child to Montessori.

 

I'm Sandra - my 3 yo is Lindsey (single parent household, includes the little miss, a white cat named Armani and 3 illegal chickens, all named Emily dizzy.gif).  Lindsey's father lives 2 miles away - we are very amicable although he didn't drink the Montessori kool-aid.  ROTFLMAO.gif

 

This is Lindsey's first year at primary at a very nice Montessori school - factoring in the cost of Montessori v. daycare and the benefits, I was sold.  In fact, as I told the admissions director, I started "stalking" their school (i.e., reading the website) when Lindsey was about 6 weeks old.

 

I'm laughing at myself - For some reason I feel like I need to go out and clean the car (at least somewhat) as the school has a policy that we drop off the kids at the curb and the teacher's aid walks the kids to the door - they say it is less traumatic - assumption being that children leave their parents rather than the parents leave the children.  My daughter has been to the school several times and we're supposed to put colored paper in the back window of our car so they know which teacher's aid comes to your car.  Needless to say, Lindsey's side of the car is a disaster, even down to the stickers on the window and smudges on her window and there is probably something uneaten on the seat.

 

The school doesn't want primaries to have backpacks, but to use canvas bags - I found this deliciously horrendous orange striped Land's End bag at Sears (marked down to less than $10), rather than the cutesey school monogrammed bag.  I suspect no one will mistakenly take her bag.  I'm not even sure I need to write her name in this one.  That's one fun thing about a 3 year old - they don't embarrass easily.

 

http://www.stylelushblog.com/2011/05/the-perfect-carry-on-purse.html

 

We went to the "meet the teacher" session last week and I had to carry her crying away from the room - she didn't want to leave.  Which reminds me of the first visit last December (for early admission, she wasn't ready - she cried when leaving) and again in January or February for formal teacher evaluation (she cried when leaving). 

 

I almost laugh when I think - teacher's aid gets her out of the car and she screams and runs to the building:  "Yeahhhhhhhhhh, my Montessori" - later, after dismissal and they bring her to the car, will she scream - "nooooooooooooo, I want to stay!"

 

Are other new parents ready for the first day of school?

 

 

 

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Old 09-05-2011, 09:27 PM
 
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My son starts the toddler program tomorrow.  He is 2 (25 months).  Living on a mini farm in the Maine countryside with too many chickens one chicken watchdog and lots of wild critters.  We have a 25 minute drive to school.  I'm glad our school doesn't do the curb drop, my car is usually a pit.  Well it could be worse, but it's hard to keep up.  Our school encourages all siblings that come along for the ride (younger siblings that are not in school yet) to come into the school as well for dropoff and pickup.

 

We have the cutesy monogrammed school bag backpack.orngtongue.gif  Oops!  Slippers with son's name handstitched by moi, check, diapers & wipes, check, backup outfit, check, pictures for coathook and classroom, check, everything labeled, check.  Our first day is "student orientation" and it is only an hour long.  The next day begins our "phasing in" process, or as I think of it "detachment".  I'm not saying that in a negative way, I just have an hard time seeing another way.  I guess I could call it "allowing my son the freedom to learn and explore and trusting in others to care for him and for him to learn to trust those people too, plus ds makes new friends".  Everytime my son has gone to the school he does not want to leave, so he will be very happy, I think.  My hubby thinks he won't want to leave at pickup.  DS loves his lead teacher and wanted her to spend the day with us on my birthday last week!  Silly boy : )  I have to work on accepting all of this.


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Old 09-09-2011, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's been quite a week.  I dropped Lindsey off 3 days and her father dropped her off one day.  She bounded out of the car, hand in hand with the assistant teacher (they require/encourage curb drop off with a familiar teacher or teacher's aid to collect the child).  I'm fine with that as Lindsey has been in private daycare since she was 8 weeks old and understands the routine of multiple caretakers.

 

First day, I spent 1 1/2 hours in Starbucks with a couple of other parents from my daughter's class, getting to know each other, sharing stories, etc.  Picked her up - she was fine.  Next day - fine.  Thursday - Daddy, but he said it was fine.  This morning was special.  To stay with the routine, I dropped her off at the curb (different teacher, but Lindsey was oblivious - she just wanted to go to school)  - I think I mentioned earlier or in another thread about how she was dancing stark naked singing about going to Montessori - I almost cried).  After dropping her off, I went to the parents coffee hour - where new and old parents met, mingled.  I found a couple of my friends from earlier visits and we chatted a bit.

 

OK, chat is done, coffee consumed - now, for the real mission.  Another mother and I ventured down the hall, peeking in the 1-way view window at the class.  OMG - a brand new class of 3-5 year olds - every single child was calm, involved in a task.  Of course we're proudly pointing out:  Oh there's Lindsey, there's her daughter.  We watches for about 10 minutes, then I left, back to chat with other parents, returned - and Lindsey was at the SAME table doing another (or same task) - I couldn't tell because her back was to me.  A 3 year old staying on task for half an hour or more is awe-inspiring.

 

Now, for my next mission - I ambushed the Spanish teacher (they give primaries 2 weekly Spanish classes, that also include Spanish music and song).  My heart is melting - so, I talked to her for a few minutes about how I can best support learning Spanish at home.  She was thrilled at the enthusiasm and suggested a few techniques.  I'm going to ask her to email me and the other parents in the class the words for the week so I can put tags around the house or use those terms within context.  I know a little Spanish - but, hope Lindsey will become fully multi-lingual.  It's not a competitive, my child can learn best - but, more of attitude that speaking many languages (and learning cultures and perspectives) can only grow a person (even a 3 yo).

 

Off to Target, did a bit of shopping, cleaned out the car in the parking lot to kill time.  Picked up Lindsey at 11:45am, she said the day was fun, we chatted a bit about what she wanted to do - and when given the option of going home with me for the afternoon or going to the babysitter (who she has been with since 8 weeks old), she picked the babysitter.  I'm glad, since the babysitter is having Lindsey withdrawals and feels like she's losing her favorite little girl.

 

After this week - I can absolutely say that I've made the right decision for my little girl.  She is flourishing - even speaking in more complete sentences at the end of the week, she's happy, she has new friends, she has teachers who nurture and inspire her.

 

The only thing I worry about - and it's way too premature, is that my ex will balk at the money and want to send her to the public magnet school come Elementary level.  I am sure it is great, teachers are probably wonderful - but, Lindsey's school has won my heart (and wallet) for at least the next 3 years through end of Primary.  There forward - I'll do my best, but if I can afford it - I'm just in awe at an environment of caring and support where all the teachers will know all of the kids names, we get multiple update emails each week from the school.  Coming back from this feel-good environment, I can say - I'd probably forego food or air conditioning for my little one to stay in Montessori.  I hadn't realized it, but one of the other same-class mothers told me that this school is one of 3 with it's level of accredidation in NY.

 

How did everyone else's week go?

 

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Old 09-11-2011, 08:50 PM
 
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Our school has a different take on transitioning new toddler students, not sure if it is just the toddler program that does this or if the other class levels do too. Tues was student orientation, just one hour, all of the children and lots of parents.  DS loved it.  Wednesday was the first "real" day.  DS attends 8:30-11:45.  I stayed in the classroom sitting off to the side reading and observing for about an hour, then  let ds know I was going to the bathroom.  He was fine and when I came back I just peeked in the window to see how he was doing and he was off doing a task.  So, I just went to the school library for 45 min. and kept going back periodically to peek at ds.  He was doing great, but I felt the need to go back into the classroom since I did tell him I just going to the bathroom.  He was happy to see me and said "mama came back!  mama went to bathroom and she came back!"  He was happy and continued with tasks.  It was a rainy day so the children stayed inside during the time in which they would have spend 45-60 min. outside playing.  DS was aware of my presence, but was not clingy.  He was involved with the other children and multiple jobs.  He hugged one of his teachers on the first day.  He would not, however, allow them to help with his diaper.  So, I helped while the assistant "watched" so he could get used to her presence during this task.

 

Day two, Thurs, I stayed in the classroom until it was time to go outside.  DS was a bit more into me this day, but was not upset and was very into the jobs, children, and teachers.  It was a sunny day, so during the last 45 min of class the children played outside.  I did not go outside, just stayed inside and read and observed through the windows periodically.  DS did not ask for me or get upset.  Still had to help with diaper, but ds did allow assistant to help too.  Snack was my only real issue as I had a hard time watching my child, as well as other children, all who were hungry, have to wait for their turn at the snack table because only two children were allowed at a time.  My son is not forward when he is hungry, especially with new people and a new environment.  He did not tell either teacher that he was hungry so he was not put in priority to get a spot at the snack table when one opened up.  He also did not know the system and seem confounded that he could not eat, but other children could.  That was the hardest hour for me this week.  Finally after nearly an hour I had to speak up to the lead teacher to let her know that my son was hungry and had been hungry for some time, but was not forward in asking for food and was confused as to how the system worked.  He was not the only child this happened to and I did see several children sitting with snacks for 15 mins helping themselves to seconds, maybe even thirds and other children who did not know the system just going up to the food and taking some and eating it.  I talked with the lead after outdoor playtime about my son not being forward about food and not knowing the system.  Also mentioned the diaper situation as I can't bear to think of ds in a wet diaper for three hours because he is uncomfortable with the teachers changing it.

 

Day three, Friday, I stayed in classroom the same as the day before, but did slip out to go the bathroom, ds let me go do that, but he did not want me to go to the library.  Snack time went so much better.  As soon as I came into the classroom that morning the lead let me know that they had made some changes with snack time.  They put a table for three instead of two at snack area and the assistant stayed with the children throughout snack time to ensure that each experienced the process of getting a snack for themselves and cleaning up after themselves.  Also, only two servings were allowed, which is what I had seen the day my dh and I visited last fall. This made a world of difference for all of the children. I think they may go back to the prior way once the children are comfortable (normalized), which is acceptable to me.  I can understand the theory of allowing a child to discover the snack area and help themselves when a space opens up at the table, but I had a hard time watching children struggle with this since we are talking about food and hunger.  My ds has a hard time communicating when he is hungry, I usually pick up on his hunger cues in advance.  I did not want to step on the teachers toes as I respect them and their work.  I am so happy that they discussed my concern and took it to heart and made some changes to make us comfortable.  During outside playtime, which was an hour long Friday, I left the school to do a bit of work and came back to a happy boy.  His only concerns while I was gone were expressed when he saw other moms picking up their children before I arrived.  Also, ds allowed the assistant to help with diaper and he actually peed standing up at the toilet.  The toilet is great because it is child size.  This weekend he has been making potty progress, going pee in a urinal in a public bathroom with daddy!  I know that seeing his peers helps a lot, so hopefully he will be more comfortable this week with the teachers helping him in the bathroom.  We saw one of his teachers at the grocery store today and loved that.  It is such a novelty for him to see people he knows at the grocery store.

 

So, all in all, a good week.  Looking forward to what the next week will bring and hoping that ds will be ok with me dropping him off by the end of the week.  I still can't believe we are at this stage in his childhood and my motherhood.


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Old 09-12-2011, 06:14 AM
 
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What a great idea for a thread - I'm very happy to join in.

I'm Caitlinn and my son, Luke, who will be 3 in January, started at a Montessori preschool about a month ago. I'm Australian, married to a Swede and living in Sweden - our son was born here.

I became interested in Montessori a little over a year ago - at first just from researching different parenting/educational approaches and then I started ordering and reading books about it. It made a lot of sense to me, and last spring I went around and looked a couple Montessori schools in our area. Found one we were really impressed with, put ourselves in the queue and was thrilled when we got a place a few months later for Luke to start mid-August.

The transition has gone brilliantly and really happy with our decision.

I had a bit of a shock on the first day - there was some miscommunication, and we thought Luke would be starting in the toddler section (two groups of 12 kids, much higher child/staff ratio) but it turned out they had decided to put him straight into the 3-5 classroom, which is *huge* - currently 34 kids with a max capacity of 40. And Luke is 6 months younger than the next youngest child (though this will change within a month or two, as they will be moving some children about Luke's age up from the toddler classroom soon). I knew he would be OK with the material but I wasn't so sure about the social aspect (although he does like playing with odler kids, this was a big group and an unfamiliar environment). Anyway, turned out there was no need for concern - Luke adapted really quickly and seemed to naturally find willing playmates a year or so older than him.

We also had a gradual phase-in transition period during the first two weeks. On the first day we went there for a visit of about an hour, with me there the whole time... then increasing the time by half an hour or so each day - with me spending a bit of time in their staff room as the week progressed. By the end of the first week, I was staying for about 10 minutes, leaving and coming back to pick him up just before lunch. At the start of the second weeek, he stayed for lunch - no problems there either.

At the end of the second week, there was a little hiccup when we introduced the gate drop-off - he really wanted me to go in with him. They open at 7.30, in their front yard - from 8.00 they can choose to go inside and there are 1-2 staff members inside to receive them and help them get their outside clothes, etc. off as necessary. At 8.30 everyone goes in. Our official time starts at 8.30, so Luke didn't get a chance to play outside, but had to go straight inside. Luckily the staff were flexible enough to accomodate him and, at their suggestion, we now get there at 8.10 (they don't even charge us for the extra time) Since we made that change and Luke gets to play outside for those few minutes when we get there, the drop-off has been really smooth.

The only problem now is when it's time to leave - though that's not such a horrible problem to have, it can be a little draining. Luke's hours current hours are 8.10-12.30 - which includes a little outside play, a work period from 8.30-11.15, circle time at 11.15 and lunch at 11.30. About 12.10, they go outside to play, and he's playing outside when I pick him up. We're allowed to stay in their yard until 1pm, as long as I supervise him after 12.30 - so he usually gets about 50 minutes or so - but it can be pretty hard to convince him that it's time to leave. I really like the half an hour I get to be there while their playing outside though - I can see Luke interacting with the other kids and the dynamics there - plus I often get to chat to one or more of the staff members who are outside with the kids.

From all reports (and from my observations the first few days), he really seems to love working with the materials. He currently seems drawn to the practical life area, which I think is great - every pick up I get reports that he has been peeling cucumber or grating carrots or grinding pepper or making plaster figurines. I was a bit taken aback today though - when one of the teachers reported he had cooked PASTA - I was thinking "ummm, hello!!! Doesn't that involve boiling water?!?! You do know that he's only 2 years and 8 months, don't you?!" But I managed to totally keep my cool - I figure that's one of the reasons we send him there - to give him opportunities he wouldn't get at home and to expand his view of what he's capable of doing. Still, I was pretty yikes.gif .

Sandra and happy*mama - I really enjoyed reading your stories, thanks for sharing them. I'm really glad your initial experiences of Montessori have also been so positive.

Caitlinn

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Old 09-12-2011, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow - today was the first FULL DAY (7:30 - 5:30).  Keep in mind Lindsey has been in 8+ hour babysitting/daycare since 8 weeks old so it's a change in intensity, but not duration.  Last night, we cleaned the house (she has to clean her toys off living room rug), set out her clothes for the morning, packed her lunch for today (she selected everything, with prompts of course).  In the car at 7:15am (${%*^P^&$Y$%Y^%Y^@$#% - I am not a morning person, but usually have business calls that start about 8 - 8:30 and I hate taking calls in the car) - I arrived at the school at 7:29 (early care starts at 7:30), few cars.  Here we go:  Up to back entrance, Primaries are not in gym, but segregated to special age-appropriate room, which is good.  Young girl, early 20's was there - and within 2 minutes there was a swarm of kids coming in so it's not like she's the only abandoned child.  Long day - this is the first day in many months that I've wondered how she did.  I left the office at 5pm (early for me, usually it's more like 5:15-5:30pm as my babysitter has always been pretty flexible, but this school charges $25 for each 15 minutes after 6 pm) and not knowing the traffic I wanted some buffer.  I got there about 5;30pm, so can estimate about a half hour.  I was so looking forward to seeing Lindsey and see how her day was - the first full official Montessori day.

 

I get to the primary room, lights are out and I'm looking around, trying not to panic when a helpful mother said - "oh, on sunny days, they're in the playground" - "phew" - went to the playground and about 30 feet from the gate, saw her screaming "Mommy!!!!!!!!!!!!", running across the playground.  I didn't have an ID, left purse in the car, but said:  "I think LIndsey can vouch for me" as I pick her hug and hug her tightly - the afternoon aide laughed and said:  "oh, she's so cute" and handed me some dirty socks.  My daughter has been barefoot from birth (even in January at 8 months old in the car, she'd remove her socks and I'd walk her into the babysitter in sub-zero weather with bare feet).  We switched from school shoes to regular shoes, identified all of the kids cubbies by the pictures and went home.  We're not strict about clothes or shoes, so I don't really care.

 

She didn't eat much, but that's fine - she varies.  I sent a note to stress - if she eats, great, if not, fine.  If she gets hungry, make her eat what I send.  Not to go on a soapbox, but I am  particular about her food (organic, no HFCS, etc., but I send a lot of seasonal food to choose from) as she did not inherit skinny parents.  I also think kids are like animals and intuitive eating is healthy.

 

I called her old babysitter when we got home, told Mary how wonderful the day was - she was delighted as she has been family for over 3 years.  Truth be told - Mary and Truman (retired couple), our babysitters have been more loving, close and attentive than her grandparents, so they're proxy (by heart).

 

Happy*mama - wow, what a week - I love your details.  We also had abbreviated schedules the first week - 1 1/2 hour the first day and increasing 1/2 hour each day.  Since Lindsey was primary and not a toddler, I think they had different rules.  Hard to imagine them leading a 2 yo from the car.  They had us come a week before class to meet the teacher and teacher's aid who collects the child from the car (we even have color tags on our cars with the child's name so they know which aide to send to which car in the beginning and the aide can greet the child by name the first day). 

 

Our school has a "mommy and me" program for toddlers where both are in the class, but they told me they thought Lindsey was a bit too old when she wasn't accepted as January admittance to Primary.  So, we waited until this week.  I think about your first agonizing post about whether to send him and am cheering that it went so well.  It sounds like you made the right choice for your little one.  I'm glad that you were part of the transition phase for him - for us, it was all or nothing and they better be potty trained (another aside, when I tried to enroll her for January, they said - potty trained is mandatory.  I made her walk around for a week without a diaper and no pants - well, whaddaya know.  She figured it out.

 

I'm glad you stood up for your son about the eating.  I will look for the same in our room to see if it's similar situation.  Knowing Lindsey, she'd say "heck with that, I'm eating and sit down and eat on the floor like she did in the morning care room and we had to push her to the side so she didn't block the door".  It was funny this morning, we walked in the door, she sat down in middle of doorway, opened her lunch bag to pull out a granola bar (like I don't feed her....puleeez....

 

Hi Catlinn and Luke - Welcome to the newbie Montessori thread.  He does sound young, but one advantage here, if it does well, he'll make it through all of the lessons and become a real leader in the 3-5 Primary class.  I was interested to read your post and was inspired by the consistency between schools between NY, Maine, Sweden.

 

I must laugh - in a friendly way that the worst problems are that Luke wants to play more.  The stories sound so similar in many ways to my experiences, including the staff flexibility (that they adapt to your situation).

 

Please, let;s keep this thread going:

 

1)  Support one another and to ask questions

2)  Let other prospective Montessori parents know what it's like

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Old 09-15-2011, 04:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sbarr_NY View Post

I must laugh - in a friendly way that the worst problems are that Luke wants to play more.  The stories sound so similar in many ways to my experiences, including the staff flexibility (that they adapt to your situation).


smile.gif Agreed - really not such a bad problem to have. Even getting him to leave willingly is getting easier - though I often resort of reminding him of something fun we can do when we get home (I guess there's a fine line between bribing and giving him something to look foward to to ease the transition a little?!) It was just a little embarassing when I had to pick him up screaming every pick up - as the introductory info seemed to make quite a big deal of *not* carrying the child to help their sense of independence... Still, sometimes there comes a point where there's just no reasoning with a two and a half year old!

 

Things are still going well here - though a bit of a tough week at home as I've had a cold which has left me with pretty much no voice for the last few days - not so easy with a young child! When I picked him up yesterday, I was told that he had spent all morning working with "the letters" (I'm guessing the sandpaper letters) which he seemed really excited about. He's been interested in letters at home for a long time so I'm glad they've tapped into that interest.

 

I had a slightly awkward conversation in the playground with one of the assistents though - about potty training/learning. It wasn't that bad - just frustrating because I had almost lost my voice and couldn't communicate as well as I would have liked. Anyway, she came over to me and said very seriously that she needed to talk to me. I croaked that I had lost my voice, she said "No problem, you just have to listen." Ummm... OK. Then she continued in surprisingly serious tone, that it was time to start potty training, that they needed co-operation from home, that I had to bring in plenty of changes of clothes, that it's usually not big deal and that they get it within two weeks, that my son was very clever and that it shouldn't be a problem, and that if we didn't do it now, it could easily take until he's 5 eyesroll.gif... [A bit of background - we've tried quite a bit of toilet learning at home - we've had child toilet seats and potties available for almost a year - but haven't had so much success. His big problem is releasing urine on the toilet - he can stay dry for 2-3 hours and will usually sit on the toilet when I suggest it (doesn't suggest it himself) but has only managed to wee on the toilet 2 times, to my knowledge... I've tried to keep the whole process very much child-led and not stress about it. I encourage him to wear undies/training pants at home and even though he inevitably has an accident or asks for a nappy, that this is part of the learning process for him. I've actually been looking forward to getting help from the preschool and when he started, I agreed with his main teacher to let him settle in for a month or so until he feels comfortable enough with the staff to help him with the inevitable accidents.] Anyway, back to the conversation with the assistent - she said that they had started the training with a little girl (also new, the only other child in his section who doesn't use the toilet) and that she had been dry for an hour on the first day. I croakily explained that Luke's problem doesn't seem to be staying dry but releasing on the toilet. She said, no problem, we the kids very comfortable on the toilet, give them lots of attention and tell them "Now you're a *big boy* and *big boys* use the toilet, only *babies* use diapers."  I tried to be as diplomatic as I could - but spoke up and said that it wasn't my preferred approach - that if he continues to have a hard time releasing on the toilet, being told he's a "baby" is not particularly productive. I was very happy to bring lots of changes of pants/underpants and to continue my efforts at home - but I would prefer they took the approach of gentle encouragment rather than big production. At this point, she said said "Oh, so you've already tried this at home." I said "Yes!" And she said, in that case, let's wait for now and talk about it again with the other teachers next week when you're feeling better. Phew!

 

Well, I guess I needed to get that off my chest. I don't think it's going to be a problem as when I talked to Luke's main teacher about it previously, we seemed to be very much on the same wave length - though I can't deny I'm a teeny bit nervous about how he'll handle having accidents away from home. I guess it's just a matter of wait and see. I know a lot of preschools insist on kids being potty-trained first, so I'm glad at least that it's not a barrier for him attending - as he really is getting such a huge benefit from attending this school.

 

Sandra - that does sound like a long and full day for Lindsey - no wonder she was so happy to see you at pick-up. From what you've written, it sounds like she'll adapt very quickly though. Having to spend so many hours away from your little girl each day - it must be such a huge relief and comfort to have found such a wonderful place for her to spend that time. It's actually something that's been holding me back from seriously looking for a job and getting back into the work force - dreading having my son in fulltime care I wasn't 100% happy with. But now that he's doing so well in Montessori (his preschool offers full day care between 7.30 and 5.15) it's something I'm considering trying sooner rather than later.

 

Well, time now to pick my little guy up. smile.gif

 

Caitlinn

 

 

 

 

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Old 09-24-2011, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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End of week 3. Wow - let me reflect. I know without a doubt that my choice to send Lindsey to Montessori is the right one.

Due to work constraints, I dropped Lindsey off at early morning care about 7:30am. Friendly girl, familiar classroom.

Mornings - dropped her off about 7:30.
Evenings - pick up about 5:30 either from playground or classroom according to weather. She usually screams MOMMY!!!!! and RUNS across the playground for a big hug with everyone laughing and then Lindsey insists that she's sticky and needs a bubble bath. Yanno, she can have a bubble bath any day of the week. I don't care - low cost, fun, who cares.
Last week,she was chewing her food, swallowed and said: "Miss Nancy says I can't talk with food it my mouth" - I almost cried/swooned.
My ex and I attended parent night (I give him incredible credit for paying half of the tuition and playing the game even though he didn't drink the Montessori kool-aid) - he comments on how furnished the room is (and all I could say - you "ain't see nuthin' yet" - this is the second week and they bring out more each week.
The icing of the past couple of weeks was a phone call on Wednesday afternoon - "Hi, this is XX from XX school - you know, Lindsey has been a great eater for the past couple of weeks, but she didn't eat anything for lunch - not to worry you, but just wanted to let you know and she also told me that mommy said she doesn't have to eat if she doesn't want". I confirmed that she is an intuitive eater and that no healthy child with readily accessible food will starve. I personally think children are like animals and should eat according to physical cues).
Many emails throughout the week from teacher - weekly note, director - informational stuff from car seat safety to an anti-bullying presentation and someone else not to forget that pizza lunch doesn't start until next week.
The other icing (private grin) - I called my ex's work (we're very amicable) and his admin said: Oh yes, XX has been telling me how Lindsey counts in Spanish.

That was so reinforcing to me - he calls it overpriced daycare to my face, but amongst his colleagues, he brags about these things. Truth be told, it's not a power struggle - my little one will get the best early education possible, that's a non-negotiable for me and if it came to it, I'd pay full price without his support. But, I laugh a little bit when I hear second hand that the naysayer is crowing about his daughter's progress. He's proud - so regardless of what he says to me, I know he's deriving satisfaction over the fact that Lindsey is in possibly the best school in the region.

That's the schedule and events.

Now for Lindsey:

I ask her daily - how was your day and she responds back (very snotty): "I don't want to talk about it" (brattiness at age 3! hehehe)
I respond - well, can I ask questions and she responds back: "OK" (it's a game for us know, we know the routine)
We discuss who she ate lunch with (they are very specific that children continue to sit at the small table (for 4 to 6) until everyone is done and not just run off.
We discussed who her friends are
Each day I pick her up, we go to her cubby to get her canvas tote and she insists that we go from cubby to cubby - naming each student in the class (they have pictures of the kids in the cubbies) while the janitoress is laughing behind us since she's seen us do this probably 8 times, but I'll give my little one credit, she's persistent. And, now she knows the names of most of the kids rather than me reciting. I respect her desire for routine. Then when we are going down the stairs to the parking lot, she insists in counting the stairs in Spanish.

I don't want to sound like a religious zealot, but I do wish every child had the opportunity for such an education, to feel special. It's just so empowering for the child. I'm almost ready to start a savings fund for her children so they can benefit from a Montessori education, whether or not Lindsey can afford its. Now, how silly is that, to reflect on an education fund for the unborn children of a 3 yo child..
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:30 AM
 
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Sandra - sorry to have dropped the ball a little with this thread - I'd love to keep it going a little longer if possible. So glad to hear that your ex is getting onboard and that Lindsey is having such a great experience at preschool.

Luke and I have been hit with a series of colds during the last month or so. There's no rule about a child staying home just because they have a cold but I kept Luke home for a few periods of 2-3 days when he just didn't have the energy for preschool... The gate drop-offs have been a little up and down as a result, with morning pleas of "I'm too sick to go to preschool" becoming fairly common. He's been really hysterical at drop-off at handful of times, but when I call 20-30 minutes later, he's been fine. From all reports, the staff have been really patient and accomodating - even arranging for a teacher to stay outside and supervise just him until he was ready to go inside and join the others. And he always looks very comfortable and happy when I pick him up, even before he sees me, which gives me a lot of confidence.

Also the preschool teachers and I seem to be very much on the same page regarding the potty learning now. No production - just bring along underpants and spare pants and offer regularly. He's still not using the toilet and insists on a nappy in the morning... but the last two days, he's agreed to change into underpants just before lunch and has been dry until we get home, which is a period of about 2 1/2 hours (then, both days, he's had an accident within 10 minutes of arriving home, but it still seems like progress).

The week before last, they had a "drop-in" afternoon at the preschool from 1.30 - 4.30 pm. The kids are free to invite 1-2 guests, they bake bread and serve it to their guests and the kids show their guests around the preschool, both inside and outside. We invited my FIL and his partner, so it was a really good chance for them to find out more about Luke's preschool and Montessori in general. Both of my ILs and their respective partners spend quite a bit of time with Luke, so I think it's great if they're familiar with the approach and some of the reasons we've decided to send Luke there. They're having another one in November, and I'm hoping my MIL will be able to go to that one - she loves Luke to bits but is very un-Montessori in her approach... her natural impulse is to pick him up the minute he walks in her door and do absolutely everything for him... But she seems very positive to the *idea* of Luke going to Montessori, and knowing some of our preferences now, does make an effort with certain things (like letting him take his shoes off and letting him feed himself - yes, even up to 2 1/2  years old, this has been an issue) But anyway, hopefully visiting the preschool will give her a bit more understanding of what it's all about...

My husband and I are also going to our first biannual working day at the preschool on Saturday... A good chance for us to contribute to the school and meet some more parents (they provide an informal lunch, so seems like there's a social component too)

I had one of my own "really glad I sent him to Montessori" moments today... When I picked him up, I asked one of his teachers which work he had chosen today (similar problem you have with Lindsey - not so easy to get that information directly from Luke) and she said he had been shown the number rods. I was a little surprised as I had been told that they don't usually start in the mathematics area until about 4... but she said that as Luke was counting everything in the classroom, it seemed like the right time. Luke came up to us and his teacher brought up the number rods with him and asked "How big is the 10?" He stretched his arms out as much as he could. "And how big is the 1?" He held his hands about 10cm apart. "And what about the 3?" And he pulled his hands apart a little further with about the right distance between them - a huge grin on his face the whole time. So cool! I knew he liked counting but had no idea he would pick up the concept of relating number to actual quanities that quickly. I love that they see my son's potential and help him shine.

Cheers,
Caitlinn

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Old 10-12-2011, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Catlinn, first I want to adopt Luke.  Also, Happymama - Post another picture!!  Such cuties!! Not to offend, I know many people are very cautious, but now I'm curious what your darlings look like.

 

Me - I am beyond awed at the impact of Lindsey being in Montessori.  I have backups for weather and holidays, and for 2 recent holidays, and Lindsey's babysitter/caretaker (since she was 8 weeks old) is GLOATING over Lindsey's progress.  Granted Lindsey is her pet, but I do believe she's seeing some maturation (including learning Spanish, speaking in full sentences, etc.)

 

At home - UNREAL - my favorite anecdote:  I forget the situation, but I didn't notice Lindsey had her hand up, walked by, so she announced:  "my hand is up" or the time she "announced" - Miss "N" says I can't talk with food in my mouth I almost had to suppress my laughter.

 

Even more funny, she insist on:  "Morning Meeting" every night (equivalent to "Circle Time") - I'm the student and she mimics her teacher:  "Hello, how are you, nice to see you (insert name), what do i have in my hand?

 

Maybe Lindsey is smart, maybe it's the education - but, so many people are wow'd by the progress, I want to gloat, but I just smile and say:  I'm biased, I love her.  I tend to take a moderate view (a la "not to entice the spirits").

 

OMG - where do I start - definitely a long day for her - 7:30 to 5:30, but she's acclimated to that pace of life.  I envy some of the mothers who told me they pick up their children at lunch - but, then I must count my blessings that I am able to work at a job where I can afford this school.  We're usually out the door about 7:15-7:20 to get there at 7:30.  Everyone is so friendly and smiles, greets, teachers, aides, students, parents.  I have to rush from work and drive a half hour to go pick her up by about 5:30pm.  She screams Mommy!!!!!!! at the top of her lungs and runs across the playground or after care room so enthusiastically that people laugh at her - it's not a scream of desperation, but of a happy child that is happy that her mommy is picking her up.  energy.gifInvariably the aftercare aides tell me that her socks are packed away in her lunch bag - the minute she gets to aftercare (inside or outside) she takes off her socks, but will put her shoes back on since they cannot go barefoot at school.  Now it's a running joke - I arrive and don't ask:  How was my darling's day - but:  "Where are her socks?".  Trust me, I don't care where her socks are, it's a running joke.

 

She knows the entire class by heart - shares anectodes about the different children, who did what - who isn't participating in Pizza Friday, etc.  We STILL recite EVERY child's name/picture and cubby.  I tell ya, if she does this at the age of 10, I'll probably leave her at school and tell her to hitchhike, but it's a nice closure to her day where she can recite the names of the people who are becoming important to her.

 

So far, I haven't heard about any of the lessons, other than weekly newsletters from her teacher - about how they're learning about the ocean or other such topics.  She "doesn't want to talk about it" - but, with gentle Q&A, she explains how the children rotate who they eat with, must stay at the table until everyone is done eating - she now calls her blanket a "work mat" - OMG.

 

I cannot imagine describing it other than - I have put my beloved child in a wonderful school, that I implicitly trust the pedagogy (esp. in light of my values and Lindsey's personality).

 

Things that were unheard of when I grew up - weekly emails from school about upcoming events or recommended seminars.  I just have to recognize - this is a temporary Utopia - we are extraordinarily fortunate to be located here, able to afford *arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh* an established Montessori school with happy children, engaged parents, no behavior problems.  I apologize for any inappropriate comments or interpretations, but I'm just so grateful that my 3 yo is in a positive environment with engaged students, engaged parents, engaged teachers.  I grew up in such an environment so take it for granted, but realize our little Utopias are not the real world.

 

Next weekend the school has an awesome event - where the parents rotate from Primary, LE, UE, first hand witness and understand the teaching style with teachers from the school conducting class.  I attended Math last winter and it was awe-inspiring.  This weekend is language.  I've invited Lindsey's old babysitter and my ex.  Can you imagine going to a Montessori class, sitting in a tiny chair and observing a teacher explain a lesson.  Priceless.

 

Parent/Teacher conference is end of the month - I'll ask what she's done, but her smiles, eloquence, adherence to putting shoes in cubby, manners, everything.

 

Yes, ladies - I drank the kool-aid and it tastes great.  Hopefully within a week or so, I can start sharing some more contextual information - but, with a happy 3 yo that insists on counting the number of steps in Spanish - I'm just happy she's there.  :)

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Old 10-23-2011, 01:09 AM
 
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I would love to join in on this conversation, but I'm simply too exhausted to tell our story tonight sleepytime.gif.

My ds just turned 4 and he started Montessori this September. I am having very mixed feelings about it, though I wonder how much of it is my own feeling of alienation due to the school's policies. I enjoyed reading your stories and will be back to join in with my own experience as soon as I get a chance to sit and do some typing in earnest :). 

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Old 10-24-2011, 02:02 AM
 
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Manzanita Pixie - would love to hear your story when you have a chance to post.

 

I relate to what you said about feeling alienating by your son's school's policies. Luke's preschool has a gate drop-off policy. While I certainly understand the reasoning behind it (there are currently 37 children in my son's class, and having all the parents come inside in the morning would be a pretty disruptive start to the day for the kids) it did take quite a while for Luke to get used to... I've also found it a bit difficult not to have more details of how Luke spends his time there (though this isn't just a Montessori issue - I guess I'm just more curious now that Luke goes to Montessori, about how he's working, which activities he's choosing and so on)... It's not that the teachers are secretive about this - it's just again, that there are 37 children in the class, and giving a complete daily account to each parent just isn't feasible. It's also not so easy to find this out from Luke and I want to avoid interrogating him at every pick up if I can. What I try to do, when I pick him up, is to casually ask one of the teachers or assistents what Luke did that morning... I don't always get a very detailed answer but it's usually enough to start a conversation with Luke in a more natural way ie. "Your teacher told me that you had fun working with the letters this morning...."

 

Luke's preschool has quite a few things in place to include parents - regular parent meetings every second month, afternoon drop-ins every second month, individual parent-teacher conferences twice a year (which the flexibility of scheduling more if needed) and even the possibility of observing the morning work period (this does need to be booked in advance as they want max. one outside observer in the classroom at a time)... I think these things are all great - but it's still the daily contact that I feel is the most important. 

 

Still, after all is said and done, the very best of judge of any school has to be whether (after an intial period of adjustment) you see your child thriving... And I can honestly say that Luke is thriving at his preschool - so that reason, I'm really glad we choose Montessori.

 

Cheers,

Caitlinn

 

ETA: I thought of one more thing I've done to encourage Luke to talk about his preschool - last month, they had a class photo taken which I put in a protective pocket and put up on our fridge. Quite often, he will stop and look at it and point out names of the other kids. If he's telling me a story and mentions one of the other children by name, I often take him over and ask him to point the child out (after waiting for him to finish his story, of course). I've been able to put quite a lot of names to faces this way - they also have photos with names abover their hooks so I can double check if necessary.

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Old 10-24-2011, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Manzanita - welcome to our little group of first year Montessorians, climb aboard the Montessori roller coaster!  Sorry to hear about concerns with the school's policy.  Ours is definitely "drop 'em off at the curb and drive off" during regular drop off hours unless we bring them early or late, but at first they made sure the greeter was a familiar teacher's aide.  My little one dealt well with it, but she's been in daycare since 8 weeks so she's acclimated to the concept of goodbye.  I do have to admit one, one time we were running late and I was the last car in the queue and the aide was walking with 2 students towards the front door and I unbuckled Lindsey and told her to catch up with "Miss A" - so she was running up the sidewalk with her school "tote bag" AND her lunch and I wasn't sure if I should laugh, cheer or cry.  Laugh at the sight, cheer at her effort or cry that I sent her on her own at the age of 3.  She made it, so I cheered, but had she stumbled, I'd have stopped the car in the road to make sure she was OK.

 

Caitlinn - I hadn't realized it was such a large class, Lindsey's is only 22 children.  I'm also curious/frustrated - I ask each day (now it's a running game):  "so how was your day?"  "I don't want to talk about it"....okayyyyyyyyyyyy.... "who did you eat lunch with?" - and then she starts jabbering away with who she ate lunch with, who sat on her finger, what they did in morning meeting.  I know she doesn't like the open ended question by now, so I sort of do it just to tease her a bit.  I've not heard many specifics about the lessons - but, I do know the "good morning song" and "end of day song".  Later this week, we have parent conference, so I'll report back.

 

I LOVE your story about the school picture - not sure if I mentioned it earlier, but Lindsey goes to after-care and I pick her up about 5:30 and she's always screaming and running for a hug - and then INSISTING we go to the cubbies so she can tell me who each student is - I swear, I know the kids in her class by heart, according to the order of their cubbies.  That might be fun to get a full school picture, or at least one of the class.

 

Now we have "morning meeting/circle time" every night where me, 2 tedddy bears, one doll marked up with ball point pen and a few other odd characters all participate - and heaven forbid I forget that my name is "Nate" or "Ben" or "XX" - and no, I'm not allowed to go to the bathroom because morning meeting is not finished.  *snort*  Granted, while my bladder is aching, I'm laughing at the experience of my 3 year old leading "morning meeting/circle time".

 

Happymama - how's your little man doing?  :)

 

Sandra

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Old 10-25-2011, 02:46 PM
 
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Well, my entire story is a long one, so I'll try to pare it down a bit. First off, when I first contacted them last April about enrolling him for the fall, I got a huge runaround, and weeks of referring me back and forth between people, before I got any answers. Their communication skills (to me) seem very lacking. Part of it I felt was fairly discriminatory - because I was asking about whether they were able to accept partial tuition payment from DHS. I am a full time student and a single parent, so I qualify for some childcare assistance from DHS, and I'll take whatever I can get! Anyway, I felt sort of blown off, though that might have just been my own interpretation since I feel kind of embarrassed about receiving public assistance. Well, fast forward to the application process - they turned him down, and said they didn't have room to enroll him. I was very frustrated that they sent me on such a goose chase if they didn't have open spots. I called them to find out if there was a possibility a spot would open up, since I paid the application fee, and didn't want to pay more application fees (this was June at this point) to apply for other Montessori schools in the area. The woman I talked to was an assistant teacher in the primary classroom, and said "Why was he turned down? We have spots available." I was splat.gifand sked why they said there wasn't room for him in that case. Evidently, they only looked at his birth year (2007) and assumed he was already 4, though he would actually be 3 when he started, and turn 4 in September ( a few weeks ago). They only wanted to accept younger kids. So I finally got him in. 

 

Then my issues with the school began....they have 2 primary classrooms, and he is in the smaller one (15 kids). The classroom is an add-on to the original school and does not have all the cool resources the large one has (kitchen area, role play area, puppet stage, etc). The big classroom of 22 kids has WAY more work stations and a much nicer environment (mostly wooden and natural) whereas the small classroom is a sort of bland white room with shelves for the work stations. His teacher is new to the school (but has 20+ yrs of Montessori teaching), and she is older and a bit more formal than I would like. My son is an only child and is very shy. Though he's been in daycare since age 2, he has a hard time handling goodbyes and is very uncomfortable with new people. His previous daycare provider was very nurturing, and of course, over the course of 2 years, he really bonded with her. His new school hasn't offered that kind of welcoming nurturing environment for him and he resists going. It's been quite a transition for him. His teacher gives him a formal handshake to greet him (which I think is stiff and weird, but maybe that's just me). The teacher in the other classroom is more of an earth Mama hippie lady, way more laid back and full of smiles. I think he would be far better in the other classroom, but they (supposedly) have no open spots and discourage the kids moving to another classroom. 

 

A few of things I have had a hard time with: On his birthday, which was about 2 weeks after school started, I told his teacher in the morning when I dropped him off that it was his birthday and he was 4 today. Later that day, when I picked him up, I mentioned his bday to the (different) afternoon teacher, and she had no idea that it was his bday. No one said Happy Birthday to him or did anything to recognize it. Ok, so I realized school had just started and I didn't expect them to make a big deal, but it would have been nice had someone at least said "Happy Birthday" to him. I asked him if anyone wished him a happy bday during the day and he said no. Fast forward to parent night (about 2 weeks later), and we're sitting around in the classroom, and the teacher tells all the parents "Please let us know if a birthday falls on the weekend, because we like to make a really big deal for birthdays, and we celebrate with the kids. We like for the parents to make a special poster with pictures of their kids, etc, etc..." All of this great stuff they do to help celebrate a child's milestones - they didn't do ANYTHING for my son. They never mentioned it to me, they never told me about it beforehand, they didn't check kid's birthdays at the beginning of the month to see who had a bday coming up and let me know what they did for bdays. I really felt like my son got shafted, and I can guarantee he will notice when other kids have birthday celebrations, and he will feel bad when he realizes he didn't get the same kind of attention. 

 

Then there is the constant lack of communication overall. I have no idea what he's doing in the classroom. I have asked him and I get the standard "I dont know." I tried to engage his teacher and ask what work stations he seems most interested in, and she doesn't seem to know. He seems to get shuffled aside for the most part. The first time I brought him in early, during the "before-care" hours, I brought him into the room (it's a different room than his classroom) and no one even greeted him. No "Hi! How are you this morning?" So far I have just felt that essentially he has not felt welcomed. Neither have I, for the most part. None of the other parents have been friendly toward me and I feel like I am treading in an elite world where my son and I are not really welcomed. Thats the basis for now, but I will return later when I have more time :) Thanks for listening to my rant/frustration. There are other Montessori schools, but none close to our home, and this one is close and right on my way to campus, so the convenience factor is huge. 

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Old 10-25-2011, 06:01 PM
 
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It has been great to read all of your posts.  Thank you for sharing.  I feel so fortunate to be able to send our son to a Montessori school and am very happy with our school as they are very compassionate.

 

Manzanita Pixie , the teachers in my son's class also do the handshake when he is leaving, but they are not formal about it.  It's a way to get the child's attention, look them in the eye, and physically acknowledge the goodbye.  I'm sorry to hear that you feel alienated and that your son missed out on having a birthday celebration.  Maybe you could talk with the lead teacher and set up a day soon to acknowledge his birthday since he did not get that.  Our school does birthday celebrations too.  Summertime birthdays are acknowledged at the end of the year.  You said that the weekend birthdays are acknowledged, so they should be able to do a celebration for you son retroactively.  Bring up your concerns about his feelings.  I know that when I had some concerns I began to have doubts about the school, but as soon as I brought them to the lead teacher's attention and she responded so positively, I felt even better than I ever had about the classroom and about sending my son to the school.  So, you may feel some relief when you talk about your concerns with the lead teacher.  A good teacher will take your concerns to heart because they have your child's best interest in mind.

 

A lot has happened since my last post over a month ago!  Soon after my last post my son came down with a bad cold that brought on croup and his first ear infection.  He did not go to school that week, which would have been his 4th week.  The first week was transition (he attends W-TH-F mornings) so I was there most of that time.  The second week went well with him happy to be going to school and ok with me leaving after a few minutes.  The third week, however, was not easy.  He did not want me to leave and I noticed a little pushiness and a fib from the teachers to coerce him to come into the classroom.  I won't go into specifics, but what I saw and heard was enough to make me think about it often during the following week when he was out sick.  I contacted the lead teacher regarding my concerns and she was very receptive.  The issues I had were relatively small, so I really felt a little uncomfortable bringing them to her attention because I really respect her and the assistant.    Everything was handled with concern and the next day when ds returned from his sick week off he was so happy to be there (he had been asking to go during that week off) and the way that he was allowed to enter the classroom at his own pace and find an interest was perfect.  He was fine with me leaving right away and since then he has had super days every day. He LOVES it.  In fact he wants to go on Mon & Tues as well!  I'm thinking about it, not sure if he is really ready, but it is probably more that I don't feel ready, yet I do feel he would do wonderful going 5 days.  He now stays for lunch as well.  When he started I picked him up before lunch because that was the normal pick up time, but we live so far from the school that he needed to eat lunch before driving home or he would fall asleep and then not have a long nap because he was hungry.  So I arranged for him to stay for lunch, which he loves and wanted to do any from about the second week.  He would sit down with the kids who stayed for lunch, but I would have to convince him to leave with me.  Now, I pick him up and he falls asleep on the way home with a full belly.  He seems to find comfort in that "oh, mommy's going to go to work and I'm going to school" (his words).  He'll say this before going to sleep.  He talks about school, his friends, and his teachers everyday.  I am so happy that he is happy and that he is learning to be more independent and improving his social skills as well as experiencing activities that he was not at home, plus he loves the routine.  Five days (half days) is in our future, not sure how soon though. 

 

 


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Old 10-26-2011, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh Manzanita - that really sounds demoralizing....Kudos for being a full-time student yet still trying to enroll your son. 

 

I cringe at the thought of you getting the runaround like that - something doesn't smell right.  I hope it's not deliberate and you can open the channels of communication.

 

Re:  the room being bland, ours was in the beginning deliberately sparse so as not to overwhelm the children.  Short anecdote - I tried to get my daughter into school in January, at 2 y 9 mo (they had an opening), but they felt she was too immature for join an established class mid year. (they were concerned she'd be too impulsive and alienated by a group of kids who already had the routine down pat)  I remember the room where they did her evaluation was filled with treasures and she was so excited, like a whirling dervish, crying and sobbing when we left the school - and then her room last month was very sparse by comparison.  Their approach is to start with an almost empty slate and gradually introduce more material as time progresses. 

 

When you compare the 2 rooms, were they both Primary or was one Lower Elementary.  I'd hate to think of inequalities of same level rooms.  Oops, I just read back - sounds like the other room is the byproduct of an established teacher.  Still, the rooms should be somewhat equivalent.

 

The Birthday fiasco bothers me - they made a great deal of Birthday Walk and so forth - I haven't seen it, but it's intended to be quite special for the children.  I think what bothers me the most is the lack of regard for an oversight, if that is what it is.  I would have imagined that the teacher could have made a big event of it - pretending that she gets a phone call, or something the day after - saying:  "Oh Gosh - thank you for telling ....everyone gather around - we have a special surprise!!"  I agree with Happymama - bring it up.

 

Now on our side - Lindsey was out all last week - she started with a fever, then coughing - and finally Friday was a Teacher Enrichment Day.  Over the weekend, a nice Fall Festival at the school with face painting, arts and crafts, haunted house.  I was actually quite impressed that the little school with only 225 or so students was able to pull it off.  I did some volunteering, but hope to get more involved in the future.  This week was picture week - fingers crossed, hope the picture goes well - made sure to go for haircut last night.  Friday is teacher conference - I'm really looking forward to it to better understand what she is doing in terms of lessons and material.  Morning Meeting - yep, she has that down pat, even with the same singsong tone to greet everyone.  I have to take a different student's name each and she lines up dolls and stuffed animals, gives them all names from the class.

 

We're still in it for the long days - pretty much 7:30 - 5:30, but she's enjoying it and seems to have a bit more stamina than the start of the school year.

 

More on or after Friday's parent conference....

 

All the best to each of your and your little ones...

 

Sandra

 

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Old 10-27-2011, 04:03 AM
 
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I'm just about to head out the door to go pick up my son... so I will write a longer reply later when I get a chance.

 

I just wanted to quickly say - Gosh, Manzanita Pixie, it sounds like your problems with the school go way beyond the normal "hard to get details of your son's day" issues. I agree with the Sandra and Happy Mama - some of the things you describe are really unacceptable. So sorry you've had to go through that.

 

Happy Mama - wonderful to read you update about how well things are working out for your son at his school.

 

Sending lots of warm wishes and hugs to my fellow Montessori mamas - will write a longer reply when I get a chance, maybe even later today.

 

Cheers,

Caitlinn

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Old 10-28-2011, 02:01 AM
 
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Manzanita Pixie - I'm really sorry to hear that you and your son have having such a difficult time. I think both the issue around your son's birthday and your son not being greeted/made to feel welcome are both really serious and IMO definitely warrant bringing up with your son's teacher. Our experience has been very different - we have been made to feel welcome from the first day my son and I came in for a visit. This would be a real dealbreaker for me - I wouldn't hesitate to pull him out if I didn't feel the school was welcoming (though I realize this is a luxury that not everyone has) The way birthdays are celebrated was explained to us from the beginning - we were actually asked to bring along a photo of my son on his first day which was put up on their "birthday wall" - a display with the sun and earth and all the kids photos arranged in the order of their birthdays... We're expected to make a bithday book for our son (I guess a similar idea to the birthday posters), with a page for each year of his life - but were reassured that they had sample books we take home for inspiration... The only possible *partial* excuse I can think of is that your son's teacher, being new, wasn't familiar herself with the school's birthday customs - but that would only excuse that you weren't told about specific stuff like the birthday poster, and would in no way excuse the fact that your son received no celebration at all... It must have been a huge disappointment for both you and your son - I really hope the teacher takes this seriously and finds a way to make it up to your son.

Sandra - yes, there are 37 children in my son's primary class! Actually the max capacity is 40, which they plan to reach by the end of the year as three children from the baby/toddler room will be moving up in the next 4-6 weeks. When my son started, there were 34 children in the class and at 2 years 7 months, he was the youngest by at least 5 months! (he was the only child not to have turned 3) Their general policy is to stagger the introduction of new children over the fall (10 or so places become available in Aug each year as the oldest children in the group move on to elementary) - basically so they can give each child extra attention during the settling in period... Apparently they have even gone over the 40 child limit in the past, when there was child from their toddler room that was ready for the transition to the primary classroom a little early... So yes, it's a big class!!! They have a lot of room though - two large classrooms, a dining room and a huge area outside (plus a smaller outside area in the front where they do morning drop-offs) so it never feels crowded. There are 4 teachers and 2 assistants in my son's class (one of the assistants is still training but the others all certified Montessori teachers/assistant)

It's a pretty small school though as they only have one class at each level - 24 in the toddler room  (though they do split this group into 2 groups of 12 for mealtime/storytime/naptime) 40 in my son's class and currently 73 in the elementary program (split between the 6-9 and 9-12 classrooms)...

We also visited the Montessori preschool in our little village (the preschool we ended up choosing is in a larger town, though still only a 10 minute drive away) and their setup is more as you describe - I think there were two toddler groups or 12-14 children and 2 primary classes with 20-25 children in each. That wasn't really anything that affected our decision though - we simple got a better overall impression of the preschool we chose.

Happy Mama - So wonderful that your son loves his preschool so much!! Also, how reassuring for you that your concerns were taken seriously and resolved. I also love that my son set his own pace and choose the things he finds interesting.

Anyway, a little update on us. Mostly good - Luke's reluctance at drop-off has completely disappeared... now, I get a cheerful "bye-bye, mamma!" and he runs off to play with the other children. It's really wonderful - even though I knew he was fine after 10-15 minutes (because I would usually call and check!), the tears and sad faces at drop-off still to some extent set the emotional tone of the morning for me, and I would often carry around a sort of vague uneasiness until I went to pick him up. It's just so nice to leave with smiles on both our faces.

He's also really happy when I pick him up - I had a wonderful pick up yesterday, actually. There were maybe a dozen kids congregated in a particular area of the playground, as it happened blocking the tricycle path, and Luke was on a tricylce, very focused and trying to navigate his way through without crashing into anyone... He had his back to me and didn't see me. Anyway, some of the other kids noticed me and tried to get Luke's attention "Luke, Luke, look, your mamma's here!" After a few seconds, there was a chorus of the dozen or so kids trying to get Luke's attention "Luke! Luke! Your mamma!" Luke was completely oblivious to this for about 30 seconds or so, then turned around and gave me the hugest smile and shouted "Mamma!" Such a sweet and friendly welcome!

And as a quick aside, the toilet learning which I brought up earlier, has really clicked now. He is wearing regular underwear and using the toilet both at preschool and home, for the most part independently. A reluctance to use unfamiliar toilets is still a bit of a problem when we're out and about - but he's made an amazing amount of progress so I'm sure the rest will come. We were optimistically hoping that once Luke made the decision to start using the toilet, it would all fall into place, and that's very much what has happened. Yay!

A couple not so good bits of news... On Wednesday morning when I was dropping Luke off, I saw two 4 or 5 year old boys teasing a 3 year old boy. They were in a little play area behind some bushes, out of view of the teachers, and when we walked past I heard them repeating everything the three year old said. For example, the three year old "Stop repeating what I say", the older boys mocked him "Stop repeating what I say". "Don't do that!" "Don't do that!" At that point, I made my presence known and they stopped. Of course, I told one of the teachers what had happened and she went over to talk to the boys. I know this isn't unusual stuff for kids of this age but it actually shocked me to see it taking place at my son's preschool. I'm really grateful the staff take it seriously.

The other sad bit of news is that we just found out that one of Luke's teachers will be leaving the school next month. He likes all his teachers, but I would say the teacher that is leaving is his favorite. She is the one that was our main contact during the transition period and really helped him settle in. He is one of two teachers that Luke hugs when he says goodbye. I'm glad that he has been going to the preschool for a while now so he's had a chance to bond with the other staff too - still, it is pretty sad news for us. They have talked about her leaving with the kids but Luke doesn't really seem to have taken it in yet. Hope it doesn't hit him too hard.

Anyway, that's our news for now.

Best wishes to you and your little ones!
Caitlinn

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Old 11-28-2011, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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*poke poke* - Ladies, how are things going?  No gender bias, if there are awesome Montessori daddies - join the club.

 

I'll summarize our latest stuff:  Wonderful holiday "Autumn" festival - volunteered with one booth while my ex took Lindsey around.  We (both) also attended parent/child night where the parent observed what child was learning.  ummmmm, yes, parent chatted a bit while children looked at their lists of activities and tries to explain/demonstrate.  Quite interesting and almost humbles me at my early education.

 

I must laugh a bit - I developed a real affinity for 3 (sets of) parents that I met during primary induction in September - while we either attended the orientation or drank coffee during the 1 1/2 hour of the first day of class.  I laugh a bit - my daughter seems to also have an affinity for the same children - not sure if it's that she likes them or I ask.

 

Recent events - parent teacher conference - their only concern was verbal - Lindsey doesn't verbalize letters she has trouble with  - ghost = goat (imagine my confusion during Halloween prep).  No, she wasn't a ghost/goat - but another cute costume, but that is another story.

 

I will say something that I hope isn't inappropriate - but, donating to Lindsey's school was the first time I've ever donated to an academic institution - not my high school, college, grad school - My freaking daughter's pre-school!  Not a lot - but, this is the first time I've really believed in an institution such that I'd donate money.

 

Classes seem to go well - I tend to get a drawing each day but my intrinsic faith in the method overrides anything she brings home.  She still insists on naming each student in the class by picture in cubby.  Janitoresss, other parents - all laugh at us - this is X, this is X2, this is X3.  Nutcase, Lindsey now knows most of kids in order by their cubbies.

 

Parents are so nice - birthday invitations, etc.  Aides and teacher know her by name - heck, the office admin greeted ME by name (huh???) when I stopped by to pay for school pics.  Reminds me of the dog park where everyone only knows the name of the dog or kid.  ROTFLMAO.gif

 

 

 

 

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Old 12-01-2011, 01:03 AM
 
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Doing well here... well except that Luke has been sick far too often this fall and as a result has missed out on quite a bit of preschool (I'm starting to think I need to get him a plastic bubble to walk around in to give us a break from all these nasty germs wink1.gif). Still super happy with the preschool though - the staff are truly wonderful and Luke is really thriving there.

 

We have our first parent-teacher conference scheduled for Monday morning - and have filled in a 3 page questionnaire in preparation... Found a few of the "how do you view your child's skills/progress in area X" type questions a bit tricky as Luke is our first and only child so it's hard to know exactly what expectations are appropriate for an almost 3 year old. Certainly no concerns in the academic areas (if anything - I think we could use some tips on how to keep up with him smile.gif) but his social skills are a bit harder to judge. He's very extroverted and keen to play with other kids but often just pushes his way straight in without trying to work out what the unofficial "rules" of the play are - which of course if not always appreciated by the other kids... but I'm guessing this is not so unusual for his age. He's also extremely sensitive to being told off - yesterday he cried after being "told off" for not clearing his place after lunch, and it took about 5 minutes before one of the teachers was able to comfort him and he stopped crying. Luckily the staff seem to have plenty of patience for this... Anyway, it will be really interesting to hear what his teacher has to say on Monday...

 

Also got our first birthday party invitation for Saturday week - am probably looking forward to it as much as Luke is (I've told him about it, of course, and put the invitation up on the fridge) Should be a good chance to meet some of the other parents socially and see how the kids get along in a different setting.

 

Sandra - so happy there's such a friendly feeling a Lindsey's school - it does sound like a fantastic place.

 

Cheers,

Caitlinn

 

ETA: I actually had a bit of a aha-moment (or duh!-monent, depending on your point of view) when writing this post and thinking about it afterwards. For some reason, I've never really thought about it in these terms before, but the idea that Luke is both extroverted *and* highly sensitive really explains a LOT. He's such a clear extrovert - energized and happy being around and interacting with other people and hugely resistant to spending any time alone. But he's also sooo sensitive - picks up on the slightest change in mood, can be very clingy in unfamiliar situations and completely loses it if he gets reprimanded by an adult, or pushed by another child, feels excluded in some way etc. etc. Not such an easy combo to manage, when I think about it like that. Am now *really* looking forward to hearing Luke's teacher's input on Monday.

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Old 12-01-2011, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Caitlinn - Welcome to the world of colds!  In that respect, I was fortunate - ever since Lindsey was 8 weeks old, she was at a babysitter who'd accept any of her kids with anything short of bubonic plague, so she was fortunate to grow up with pretty hefty immune system.  Now her school requires 24 hours no fever.  Last month, she developed low grade fever and green snots, sneezing and coughing - first day, we stayed home, second day, I had to go to work, our babysitter took her. even though she was sick and had another 2 yo and two 1 yo (I was VERY specific to ask up front how the other parents felt).  In fact, when Lindsey was a baby past the 6 month period and there were other sick children, I was actually pleased with the situation.  This year - in October, she got the first series of colds in the class, so due to lots of extenuating circumstances, she was out most of the week.  Since then, nada - I'm hoping she got through her bout of common cold now so that later in the year, she'll be able to weather them a bit easier.

 

 We're pretty much 30 second rule (at home) people so there is little she hasn't encountered in the house or in the yard.  In fact, I think the fact you're introducing him at this age to a broader environment will help his immune system over time.  I'm embarrassed to even mention where she dropped a piece of granola bar and picked it up and popped in her mouth.  OK - we're friendly here....it was a public bathroom at our local food co-op.  I almost had heart failure and said - "Lindsey, when we drop food in public places, we do not pick them up and eat them".  Our home kitchen is fine, our yard is fine - but, NOT in a public bathroom.  Sigh.... she survived, but I'm still a bit squeamish at the memory.  Ugh!

 

If I recall, Luke is in a toddler program, right?  Your post really hit home with me.  To put some context - I was offered chance to submit Lindsey (MID-YEAR, January 2011) to a Primary class (age 3-5) when she would have been 2 y 9 mo because of an open space.  Based on observation, school said she would not be a good fit, because of some of the things that you mentioned.  Some examples - they didn't want to integrate energetic (stubborn) < 3 yo into a smoothly working class where she might be told not to barge into activities when other child had the routine established through either maturity, experience or repeitition.  My question here - Is Luke's enthusiasm a result of his age and is he being held to the standard of a primary program rather than toddlers.  OMG - the difference between Lindsey last December and today - 2  to 3 - HUGE.  I personally think the rules in a toddler program should not be the same for a primary program.

 

Ask the teacher,  is Luke's behavior appropriate for his age.  I would say that 2 yo (and even later) are in a more parallel than interactive stage - meaning, 2 kids may do the same activity side by side, but not interact.  Maybe Luke's social nature surpasses his judgement - yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh!  I'd rather a social and impulsive 2 yo than shy and withdrawn.  He's a 2 year old.  And yes, 2 year olds barge into many situations, including mommy on the potty holding cameras.  That's another story.  HA!  What is it about me and bathroom stories????

 

You mentioned a key phrase:  UNOFFICIAL RULES - what the heck?  Do you recall being 2 you and sensitive to UNOFFICIAL RULES.  Puleeeeeez.  I would suggest that if there are opportunities for redirection, this would be great chance to teacher to calmly walk over and say:  Luke, let's ask if we can join this activity or time to wait.  I do NOT think all 2 yo are intuitively socially aware to subtle cues - and if this is a toddler program, this MUST be taken into consideration.  If a 2 yo is not responding to unofficial rules, I say it is up to the teacher to make them explicit.  Not saying official, but gentle intervention with statements like:  "we clean the table when we're done with lunch", "we ask if we can join activities".  Sure, he can be help to a high standard of etiquette, but, he darn well deserves the chance to be given the chance to respond to gentle etiquette cues.

 

Please note - I am a HUUUUUUUUUGE advocate of Montessori etiquette and rules - it's amazing.  But, a toddler program should also reflect the maturity and capabilities of the student.  Lindesy's PRIMARY class has a couple of shy 2 yo that do fine.  She would have probably been a disaster if they accepted her last January, but at our parent teacher conference, the only concern was possible language issues, like lisp and skipping letter she can't pronounce.  Other than that, her Spanish teacher always stops me when she sees me to say how attentive she is - everyone knows her by name.  Had she gone to primary at 2'9" - I doubt she would have been so well-received.  That's my main point - if Luke is < 3, he's in a toddler class, the expectations should be according to age and reasonable maturity.

 

Look forward to hearing about the parent conference....

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Old 12-02-2011, 08:05 AM
 
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Sandra - thanks for all your input, has certainly given me lots to think about. smile.gif

 

Unfortunately, we're no newbies to the world of colds. Luke has been a cold magnet since birth, pretty much... And he certainly had more than his fair share even before he started any out of home care (he was at a half day play based preschool from about 21 months). The rules for keeping them home from his current preschool seem pretty standard: 24 hours after a fever, 48 hours after stomach flu (the stomach flu here is *brutal* - I had it last year and certainly understand this policy) and there's also a general guildline that the child needs to have enough energy to participate in the regular activities. The last few months, it's been mostly ear infections (=fever) and eye infections... I called about the eye infection and they advised to keep him home on the basis that it's very infectious and its pretty impossible to prevent kids his age from rubbing their eyes... Luckily it's not such a huge inconvience for us to keep him home - just a shame that he's been missing out on lots of fun stuff at preschool.

 

I think you've probably confused us with HappyMama re. being in a toddler/primary classroom. Luke went straight into the 3-6 classroom at 2 years 7 months, which was actually a bit of surprise for us as we were expecting him to start out in the toddler group. So the social issues I described are really only in reference with Luke wanting to join in the play with older kids but not really knowing how... And it wouldn't really be an issue at all, if it wasn't for the fact that Luke really *wants* to play with these older kids and is really sensitive to the rejection he receives when his attempts at joining in fail. I guess "unwritten rules" was a poor choice of words... Maybe an example would work better - Last week I went to pick him up and he was watching two older boys (4-5 years old) playing in the sandpit. The two boys each had a tip truck and spade and were digging out some sort of construction. After a while, with out saying anything or making eye contact, he walks up to one of the boys, takes his truck and tips out the sand. Then he looks up at the boy, who replies "No, Luke!" and snatches the truck from him. Then Luke comes over to me, sobbing, and explains that he just wants to play with the trucks too. So I guess it is very much a case of his social nature surpassing his judgement (and his sensitivity making the results a bit harder to deal with). And while I don't think there's anything *wrong* exactly, my hope is that by discussing this with his teacher on Monday, we can come up with some strategies to make these type of situations a bit easier on him... And yeah, I'm thinking along the same lines as you, just some gentle redirection and guidance.

 

I also wanted to note that I don't think I've ever heard any of the staff say anything critical about Luke's social skills, or anything else for that matter. Even when they mention incidents like where he cried for 5 minutes about being reprimanded for not clearing up after lunch, if was more like "We're sorry, we forgot momentarily how sensitive he is to that sort of thing - but don't worry, he's fine now and we'll be sure to use a gentler approach next time." He seems to be the boy who can do no wrong, well as far as his teachers are concerned.

 

Anway, will let you know how our meeting goes. Have a great weekend!

Cheers,

Caitlinn

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Old 12-02-2011, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Caitlinn - sorry he's a cold magnet.  Knock on wood - we're lucky so far!  We have similar rules at school - that's why I'm eternally grateful to Lindsey's old babysitter - who is a permanent standby in case of sickness or school closures due to snow (happens quite a bit here in upstate New York and parents panic when schools close and don't have backup for the kids).  Now if she's really sick (I think twice in past 3 years), I do stay home with her, but she's rarely too sick for her old babysitter and J (her boyfriend - see below).  I'm just imagining the day that I don't even bother to call babysitter on snow day to check, drive to her house and she's gone.  *total panic* - I'm so fortunate and grateful to have equivalent of a "grandma" type to take her on a moment's notice.  Funny thing here - babysitter watches quite a bit of TV, so I gave her Lindsey's school name and if they said there was a school closing, she could expect me.

 

Sounds like Luke is doing great for being so young in a primary program.  I remembered he was < 3 but wasn't sure if toddler or primary program.  He has quite a stretch!  :)  We tried to enroll, but were not considered a good fit in January when she would be the youngest and everyone knew each other and  the routine - that's what hit home with me - esp. with your comment about the trucks - it's hard to understand those types of social cues at 2 and I can easily imagine 4/5 yo not wanting a  2 1/2 yo playing.  :(  Kids can be pretty tough - and in some ways, I can see how (younger) Montessori students may be less tolerant of a faux pas - they've learned the rules, they've perfected the routine, but haven't learned empathy - which comes at a later age.  Not as a complaint about Montessori, but more that the "totality of program" is so important.  Might be that other 4-5 yo are welcoming, say:  "what the heck, come play", but a Montessori primary who's just barely learning the rules of etiquette sees things more "black/white" perspective and that it's not polite to jump in and play.  Thank you - this has given ME food for thought.  Lindsey is pretty polite but I'll be on the watch for acceptance and inclusion - rather than "just following the rules".  I  won't digress here - but, that seems like an interesting topic for another thread.

 

All - please, not a criticism of Montessori, but I could see how a child might become rigid to the Montessori rules that are absent elsewhere.

 

In light of the true Montessori philosophy, it still should be child-led, so I'm sure you'll have good opportunities for discussion with the teachers.  But, given his younger age - they need to adapt accordingly.  How can they best accommodate his maturity and abilities and interest.  I'm almost inclined to save this exact thread and set a reminder to ask you in 2-3 years how Luke is enjoying life as an "oldtimer" - and say:  Pssst - Caitlinn - remember when Luke was the "baby of the class?  Now what??)

 

It really sounds like social nature exceeding judgment - which makes total sense factoring in age. No condemnation here - 2 yo judgment is different than 3,4.5 - the pace the evolve at this age is amazing - and that fact that his social nature exceeds his decorum is awesome!

 

I am mentally comparing him with Lindsey's boyfriend (from old babysitter) - I love love love him - he's 2 y 9 m right now and energetic, enthusiastic and barges through life.  I can easily imagine him trying to join some older boys and being upset at being reprimanded.  I'm actually having a bit of trouble imagining "J" even surviving a Montessori day - so I'm quite impressed at Luke.  Sounds like he's right at the cusp between toddler and primary - and probably good opportunity for him to stretch a bit.

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Quick update: Monday's parent-teacher conference was cancelled because the teacher was sick. Will hopefully be able to reschedule it for next week and will let you know how it goes.

 

Unfortunately I got a call mid-morning Monday to come and pick up Luke as he had a low grade fever and tummy pains. He had a fever last night so is home again today too. He's been OK today though so hopefully will get to go tomorrow. Really hope so.

 

 

 

Cheers, Caitlinn

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Hope Luke feels better - look forward to the conference outcome - my guess, they'll be gloating about him!  :)

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Well, Luke was back today and no phone calls, so I assume it went well (just about to leave and pick him up) Parent-teacher conference rescheduled for Monday - fingers crossed we can all stay well until then. smile.gif

 

Cheers,

Caitlinn

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Old 12-17-2011, 08:53 AM
 
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Well, it's been a busy week so I haven't had the chance to update until now... but we did have our parent teacher conference on Monday. It was a very interesting discussion that went on for almost 2 hours yes.gif Truth be told, my husband and I probably did 3/4 of the talking but there was definitely some helpful feedback from his teacher's side. His language, math and fine motor all seem to be a year or so ahead of average at the moment - and they are more than happy to continue letting him set the pace and presenting him with more advanced material as he is ready for it. There certainly don't seem to be any hang-ups about certain materials only being suitable for a particular age, which is reassuring.

Social skills - well, in summary - "normal"... His teacher didn't see any problem at all - that his social skills are just fine for an almost 3 year old and that he will work out all the finer social graces in time. Apparently, he's very good at not interupting or disturbing other children during the morning work period, so the type of issue I described seems to only happen outside in the playground, where I guess the rules are just that bit more ambigious...  And they are aware that he's more sensitive than average but, again, don't see it as a problem, just something to be aware of. She did have a couple of suggestions, if we wanted to give him more opportunities to practice social skills - arrange more 1-on-1 playdates and perhaps enrol him in a group activity like a music/dance class, but she didn't feel that either of these were strictly necessary.

The other thing we talked about was Luke's constant need for attention at home (ie. he rarely plays by himself, always wants to be involved in what we're doing, etc.) Unsurprisingly, he doesn't seem to have this issue at all at preschool - in fact, she said he pretty much always chooses work and completes the work cycle completely independently. Still, she took the issue quite seriously and said she would ask some of the other staff who had children Luke's age, if they had encountered similar issues at home and how they dealt with them (This teacher has a daughter but he daughter is about 18 months)... Unfortunately, Luke was sick Wed/Thurs, so I haven't had a chance yet to follow up on that part of the conversation.

Anyway, very positive experience... Encouraged that our son's teachers take such a genuine interest in him, his development and working with us as parents to provide him with the best experience possible.

Cheers,
Caitlinn

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Old 12-28-2011, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Phew, climbing back from the land of travel and hospitals - we're finally home after me spending 9 days in Germany, including a  hospital stay and then (with little one) a visit to the cousins for a week in Arizona.

 

I think my little one's semester ended well although I was not able to pick her up - she's become quite the Montessori poster child - so many things that I'd ordinarily say:  OMG, do you believe (child) said that - and now I've been through the semester, now it's a continual reinforcement that I'm glad she is attending her Montessori school.  She's truly a different child than even 4 months ago.  Everything from visiting cousins, to traveling in airports - I could see the Montessori influence from observations, rules, how things are done and truly, if there was a behavior that wasn't ideal - I was able to gently ask:  "is this how you do it in school?" - essentially, it was like "reset" button, she thought about it, reverted back to a more courteous and mindful child.  Many things I would have previously "wow'd in other kids", now I calmly accept that my child is a combination of Montessori and her home.  Truly, no regrets.

 

While I will not die wealthy, even close - there's something in me that wants to leave any money to her school - that I might create a better world by enabling a few more children to benefit from such an education.  I have never donated to any other school until my daughter's school this year, but, there is something in me that wants to encourage this background as the foundation for a better society.  :)

 

I wonder if I'll ever become that old cat lady leaving a million dollars to my daughter's Montessori school.  Hope so, minus the cats - one is enough!  Now to find the million dollars.

 

Caitlinn, happy*mama, other Sandra - hope all is well with you - I look forward to the stories of your little ones.

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Old 01-06-2012, 06:47 PM
 
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Our first year of Montessori is going well.  DS loves it and all his friends and teachers, so much so that we have gone from 3 mornings/wk to four.  We also added lunchtime to his day.  The only issue we have had is dealing with periods of aggression on my son's part.  It has seemed to be mostly uninitiated by obvious outside influences, but may be that he is very curious to the reactions of people when he hurts someone.  He has not harmed anyone seriously, but definitely enough to make me worry.  We tried talking with him about how it makes us feel and how others feel when they get hurt, but it just seemed to add to his curiosity, which fueled more incidents.  Our latest strategy is to not talk about it or make an issue about it.  He has not talked about harming anyone since our new approach, nor has he had any incidents, but a couple of days more and I will know if this really is working.  As for the Montessori program....we love it!  A caring, safe environment, setup for independent learning and socialization.  Creativity is allowed.  Love our school!


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Old 01-11-2012, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Glad to hear your first year is going well, despite the aggression.  Is the behavior home/friends only or also at school?

 

I found that school behavior sets the gold standard.  No interruptions, waiting, hand on the arm to get an adult's attention, etc.  I'm  grateful that I've seen the school, know the routine so when Lindsey's behavior isn't appropriate, I can easily fall back on:  "is that how you do it at school".  That "reset button" is so invaluable and allows me the opportunity to be consistent with school.

 

I'm laughing in hindsight, about getting off the plane last month - where she announced in a very loud voice - I need to wait, that's the line leader - pointing to someone ahead of us.  Several people within hearing laughed.

 

But, there's something about Montessori - in which consistency, self-direction, manners, thinking, reasoning, etc. are so integral to school which complements life that I'm feeling almost humbled - wanting to tell other parents - get your child in before it's too late.  I don't see a delineation between education and child - but, that the child is a product of the education as well as her home environment and nature - essentially an organic mix of influences.

 

I'm feeling almost superstitious and territorial about her education - I try not to (except in bouts of over-analyzing) but I wonder how she'd behave if she attended a different, more chaotic school. There's something in me that is clinging to this school, loving the orderliness, the predictability, the lessons, the material - that I want her to stay there for as long as she can (maybe until age 30!)  While Lindsey has always been a wonderful, open, self-sufficient girl - her education shows daily (from pretend morning meeting, to mannerisms, to phrases) - so cool!

 

Last anecdote - I pick Lindsey up after work, so she has a long day - we have a routine of going to her cubby to get her "school bag" and she reads the name/picture of 20+ students in her class.  Earlier this week, she wanted to go into her classroom, which was dark.  So, we went in and she went around, explaining all of the materials, which ones she has done, which ones are for the kindergarteners (5 yo), etc. - it was her private "show and tell" to Mommy.  I could sense the pride - "oh wait, let me show you this" - we probably spent 10 minutes in the room going through all of the materials, talking about different activities.  It was just so nice that a 3 yo wanted to drag Mommy back to her classroom at 5:30 pm (dark outside) and share what she does.

 

Look forward to more updates from everyone....  :)

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