Newbie with questions....switching from waldorf to montessori - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-17-2012, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone, here's our situation and a little background:

 

I come from a waldorf background which is not very popular around here. There's only like one waldorf school and it's kind of far from where we live. On the other hand we have a lot of montessori schools around here. Dh does not like waldorf much. He recently was talking to a friend that introduced him to montessori and he likes everything so far. Also unfortunately waldorf isn't working for our highly spirited ds.

 

So can anyone direct dh and I on what we should be reading to learn more, and when we visit the schools around here what should we look/ask for? Also is there something I should be doing with my kids at home? I have a three year old ds and a one and a half year old ds. Thanks in advance

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Old 02-17-2012, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone?? I apologize if my post is all over the place, I went to my library and checked out a couple books on montessori, I'm just trying to learn more about it so I can figure out what's best for ds1

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Old 02-18-2012, 02:56 PM
 
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Hi and welcome!

 

No experience with Waldorf, so I can't give you any specific advice on the transition from Waldorf to Montessori... but I thought I'd reply anyway, mostly just to say hi and welcome you to the Montessori forum.

 

If you haven't already come across it, I recommend the book How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way as a very accessible introduction to Montessori. It includes a lot of ideas of things you can do at home plus a short section on what to look for in a Montessori preschool/school.

 

There have also been quite a few threads here about "what to look for in a Montessori school" so it's definitely worth doing a search to get a better idea of what to look out for. We had a choice of two Montessori preschools for my son - one in our village and one in a neighbouring village (12 minute drive each way). We ended up going with the preschool in the neighbouring village... I don't think there was really a single deciding factor - I think it just made a better overall impression - the staff were friendly and knowledgeable, a lot of thought had clearly been put into the environment, kids seemed calm and happy, great outdoor play area, etc. It was also accrediated by Swedish Montessori association (yes, we live in Sweden) which the other one wasn't.

 

We have been really happy with our choice. One of the things that has impressed us the most has been the effort the staff have made to *really* get to know my son - his preferences, unique talents, sense of humor, etc. etc. The have always treated him very much as an individual which has meant a great deal.

 

Anyway, very best of luck with your preschool hunt! Really hope you find something that suits your family.

 

Cheers,

Caitlinn

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Old 02-19-2012, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for replying. If my son has an experience like your dd then I'll be so relieved and happy. I got the book and am waiting for it to come. Thanks again. :)

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Old 02-21-2012, 07:17 AM
 
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If a preschool wasn't working for my child, I'd try to figure out what the issues are and whether they are likely to recur in a different preschool. In other words, is it something about preschool or is it the Waldorf aspect? Some preschool concerns are likely to arise in any setting. Things like separation anxiety or social skills difficulties may be troublesome in any setting.  

 

Definitely read up about Montessori and their approach to child-led learning to see if the Montessori philosophy and method suit your family and your ds. Since you have a number of schools in your area, visit as many as you can. Even within Montessori, there can be a wide variation in how schools apply the Montessori approach. You may find some schools are more traditional than others. Some schools may not really be Montessori at all. When you visit, talk with the administrators and the teachers about what wasn't working for your child in his preschool and any other concerns you have.  Find out how they would manage the same issues. They may have some good ideas or it may be obvious that it isn't the right school for him, even if the Montessori part of it seems like it would fit. Good luck with your search. 

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Old 02-23-2012, 01:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's the thing. My dh has a problem with the anthroposophy aspect of it which is a big part of it. What is not working for us is the one aspect of Waldorf that emphasizes about having rhythms in the home and nurturing the early childhood years, so meaning that you (general) don't send your kids to school until the age of seven. There are a lot of ideas that you (again general) can do with your child until then but it doesn't encourage the introduction of early curriculum on the child. Don't get me wrong, I love all of that. My son on the other hand is a VERY high-spirited three yr. old. He has tons of energy, and begs to go to the park, and to play with other kids. He is not shy at all and loves to play with other kids, and learn new things. This will be his first time going to preschool.

 

So I don't  know how Montessori is, I'm reading about it, and I hope I can post my questions here. My dh is also reading about it with me and he likes what he is learning so far. I'm kind of torn about it, especially since I belong to a Waldorf group and I paid to go to a Waldorf conference this year that I was excited to go, but I have to find a compromise for my family. I'll be definitely checking the schools around here out. Thank you guys again for posting. :)

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Old 02-23-2012, 08:00 AM
 
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Okay, so if I understand, he hasn't actually attended a preschool yet, I didn't realize that. 

 

I'm not sure I'd completely rule out a Waldorf preschool at this stage. I admit that Waldorf wouldn't suit our family for some of the reasons you've identified. Overall, it seemed too rigid in beliefs and approach for our family. Montessori, with its child-led learning and holistic approach suited us much better. However, if you love Waldorf, it may be worthwhile to explore the Waldorf pre-school in your area. You may find that your concerns aren't insurmountable obstacles. I think some preschools don't emphasize the anthroposophy aspect, so that may not be a big issue. I had kids who wanted to explore reading and math and other academic activities at an early age, so again Waldorf wouldn't really suit them. However, I tend to agree that early academics aren't necessary. I just don't think they are damaging either, if the child wants to do them, and they should at least have the opportunity. The teachers may be very good at managing high spirits and providing lots of interesting, enjoyable activities even if they aren't introducing academics until later. I believe there is a lot of active, creative group play at Waldorf and it sounds like that might suit your ds. You would still have to decide whether traveling a long commute to the school was worthwhile. 

 

This is the Montessori subforum, though, and you've asked about Montessori. You mention that your ds has trouble with the concept of rhythms. I wonder if the routine built into a Montessori preschool day - the 3-hour work cycles - will be an issue for him. Since he should be allowed to choose his works and move between activity centres, perhaps it won't be a problem. It is something to discuss when you visit the schools. 

 

 

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Old 02-23-2012, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah he hasn't started preschool yet. What I like about Montessori so far is the child-led learning and the freedom that he'd have. .I definitely agree that academics shouldn't be pushed too early but at the same time it's not damaging if the child wants to learn. I have to admit that rhythm for me is the hardest part of waldorf and I'm constantly working on it in my house. 

 

So far I think the main problem here is the long drive. Gas is extremely expensive where I live and the school is like forty minutes away. Then there's like two montessori schools down the road from where I live. (Of course I'd be willing to make the drive down if we end up really liking the school). More importantly though is seeing how my son acts. He gets bored really easily. Our playgroup is like once a month so the kids don't get overstimulated. By the time playgroup is over he doesn't want to leave. He does loves to read and draw and knows half of the letters of the alphabet in English, we're bilingual which I guess makes things more difficult for him. He's just now starting to form sentences in English though he understands both languages very well and we've always read to him.

 

So like I mentioned before I love waldorf. I'm a very tranquil person and waldorf seemed to suit our lifestyle fine until now. My dh is totally the opposite and was exactly like ds1 very high spirited. He's been to a couple of waldorf activities and just didn't like them at all, he actually got into a discussion with someone in one of these activities about the antroposophy aspect of it, and that just made up his mind that he didn't like it at all. Ds1 has the same personality as dh. I've seen ds thrive in group settings. I think whether he attends a waldorf school, or montessori or just public, he'd have to learn some sort of structure. For example putting the toy he was playing with away before playing with the next one, washing his hands before eating and little things like that. We're always working with him on those things at home anyway. 

 

My other question is how would a montessori school handle lunches? Ds is a very picky eater, and I know in waldorf they put a huge emphasis on food. So like the kids prepare their food and then eat it, and then they'd clean up sort of thing. I mean I would just like for him to see and sit down with other kids while they eat so that he could maybe miraculously copy them lol. I'm really excited because I just got a copy of the book that the pp mentioned above. My dh and I are going to start reading it. 

 

Anyway thanks for posting and for answering all of my questions. 

 

 

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Old 02-24-2012, 07:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRmama View Post

My other question is how would a montessori school handle lunches? Ds is a very picky eater, and I know in waldorf they put a huge emphasis on food. So like the kids prepare their food and then eat it, and then they'd clean up sort of thing. I mean I would just like for him to see and sit down with other kids while they eat so that he could maybe miraculously copy them lol. I'm really excited because I just got a copy of the book that the pp mentioned above. My dh and I are going to start reading it. 

 

 

 

The children helped prepare mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack for themselves and their classmates. They were also responsible for cleaning up, wiping tables, etc. 

 

I think lunches vary with different schools. My kids always brought a packed lunch, but some schools may offer a lunch program.  With packed lunches, the Montessori schools (my kids attended a few in different cities as we moved around) consistently asked that all containers and utensils be sized and structured so the children could manage them independently. They also asked that for garbageless lunches - cloth napkins, reusable containers and utensils etc. 

 

The schools also encouraged healthy meals and snacks. Snack was often fruit or cheese and crackers or veggies and hummus, that sort of thing. 

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Old 02-25-2012, 09:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRmama View Post

 

So I don't  know how Montessori is, I'm reading about it, and I hope I can post my questions here. My dh is also reading about it with me and he likes what he is learning so far. I'm kind of torn about it, especially since I belong to a Waldorf group and I paid to go to a Waldorf conference this year that I was excited to go, but I have to find a compromise for my family. I'll be definitely checking the schools around here out. Thank you guys again for posting. :)



My take on Waldorf is, it really, really, really depends on the child. Waldorf is a very particular sort of learning environment that I think works best with children whose temperaments are suited to it. I would go with your instincts and put your child where he needs to be, and not necessarily where you want him to be. I myself am probably going to end up with one child at a Montessori and one at a Waldorf, for that very reason. My oldest is reality- and goal-oriented and very independent, which makes Montessori a better fit for him. My youngest is dreamy, patient, has more tolerance for fantasy and is more interested in participating with his peer group, which means Waldorf might be a more nurturing environment for him. 

 

Ultimately, I want my kids to have a positive learning experience that suits their individual needs. 

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