Deciding between Waldorf & Montessori - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 03-24-2012, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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(x-posting on Waldorf forum)

My son will be 3.5 in the fall & will start preschool. We have been offered spots at both a Waldorf & a Montessori school. Both will have full prek-8th grade & we are hoping that we'll be choosing a school that will work for the long term. It's a really difficult choice because both schools seem lovely & it's impossible to be certain which will be the best for DS in the end.

My son has been attending Waldorf parent-child for about 1.5 years. I took him & now DH is the one to take him. I have a soft spot in my heart for Waldorf, I really do love it. But I'm hesitating to send him there for prek. DS loves going to his Waldorf "school" & his teachers seem to adore him. But DH reports that DS just plays the way he does at home & doesn't really engage with the toys & materials -- in other words, DH says he's bored a lot. This could be because he's currently the oldest in the classroom or because we don't have many Waldorf toys at home or because the P-C classes are just different (parents knitting while children chase yarn, as opposed to only playing with peers in prek). Or it's just not the best fit for our outgoing, spirited DS who is obsessed with real people & work (construction workers, firefighters, etc) his imagination is expansive & he loves Waldorf story time though.

DH & I have no philosophical problems with Waldorf. I have some reservations about the curriculum as the children get older (emphasizing mythology over history, etc). But it's totally fine with us that they don't teach reading until 7.

We think DS will do well in a Montessori environment. He visited with us & enjoyed looking at all the tools & materials. However, we are concerned about the lack of emphasis on the imagination. It's just not there. I think we could counter this by making our home environment more Waldorf-like. But it's still a concern. We're lucky that the Montessori school has a gym program & outdoor space, which is also important for us because DS needs that physical outlet.

The Montessori school is slightly more affordable for us & is walkable from our home - these are big draws. DH & I also don't know if we're prepared to commit to the Waldorf community - it seems to be a bigger commitment. (I'm more attracted to the idea of the Waldorf community than DH but I have the busier work schedule).

Reading this over, I think it seems like I'm trying to talk myself into Montessori. Maybe I am. But I'd still love insight from any parents who have also gone through this sort of decision or who can comment on som e of my concerns. Sorry it's so long!

Mama to my little busy bee. 

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#2 of 5 Old 03-29-2012, 08:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by t2009 View Post


Reading this over, I think it seems like I'm trying to talk myself into Montessori. Maybe I am. But I'd still love insight from any parents who have also gone through this sort of decision or who can comment on som e of my concerns. Sorry it's so long!

 

If you have to talk yourself into something, you are more likely to be unsatisfied after the fact. Those little concerns may start to overwhelm any of the positives that may be happening in the learning environment. If you can't enthusiastically commit to one kind of schooling and be supportive, you're more likely to be unable to live with whatever problems occur. And eventually, some kind of problem or issue will arise in school - that's just life. If you are already questioning the method or philosophy underlying the approach to problem-solving educational issues, you're less likely to "buy into" the solutions. Whatever choice you make, try to resolve any internal conflict about it once it's made. 

 

Our children thrived in Montessori. If you search previous threads in this subforum, you will find lots of discussion about Montessori, imagination and creativity. I'll just note that my own 2 children both went on to attend a performing arts high school, where they were granted entrance after auditioning against several hundred other applicants. Their imagination and creativity were not damaged by their Montessori education. I am fairly certain, though, that they would have been unhappy and discouraged in a preschool setting that didn't enthusiastically support their early academic explorations into reading, math and science and allow them to direct their own learning in those areas.

 

On a purely practical level, if you still aren't certain and want to try one school "on probation", then I'd investigate entrance criteria. If one school only accepted students at a certain age and didn't allow later entry, you might want to start there. That way, if you aren't happy and want to switch to the other school, you can. 

 

 

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#3 of 5 Old 04-03-2012, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

If you have to talk yourself into something, you are more likely to be unsatisfied after the fact. Those little concerns may start to overwhelm any of the positives that may be happening in the learning environment. If you can't enthusiastically commit to one kind of schooling and be supportive, you're more likely to be unable to live with whatever problems occur. And eventually, some kind of problem or issue will arise in school - that's just life. If you are already questioning the method or philosophy underlying the approach to problem-solving educational issues, you're less likely to "buy into" the solutions. Whatever choice you make, try to resolve any internal conflict about it once it's made. 

 

Our children thrived in Montessori. If you search previous threads in this subforum, you will find lots of discussion about Montessori, imagination and creativity. I'll just note that my own 2 children both went on to attend a performing arts high school, where they were granted entrance after auditioning against several hundred other applicants. Their imagination and creativity were not damaged by their Montessori education. I am fairly certain, though, that they would have been unhappy and discouraged in a preschool setting that didn't enthusiastically support their early academic explorations into reading, math and science and allow them to direct their own learning in those areas.

 

On a purely practical level, if you still aren't certain and want to try one school "on probation", then I'd investigate entrance criteria. If one school only accepted students at a certain age and didn't allow later entry, you might want to start there. That way, if you aren't happy and want to switch to the other school, you can. 

 

 


Thank you, ollyoxenfree. When I said I was trying to "talk myself into" Montessori, I think I more meant that I was trying to talk myself out of Waldorf... I don't know if that makes sense. But I really have an attachment to the idea of Waldorf. But when we visited/interviewed at the Montessori school, both DH & I walked out of there thinking that it would be a fantastic environment for DS & a great fit for our family, even with our reservations.

 

And it was great to hear your experience with imagination & creativity -- thank you so much for sharing your family's experience!

 

What you said (bolded) about going with the school that is stricter with admission, I think that's right on & ended up being the one we went with. 

 

I was amazed at how difficult it has been to imagine which environment DS would thrive best in. But in the end I actually think that the structure of Montessori & the opportunity it will give him to go "in depth" into a subject will suit him the best.

 


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#4 of 5 Old 04-19-2012, 09:18 PM
 
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We are having the same sort of talk over here. Our son is still young, but we are moving soon, and have been researching schools in our new city. And we were totally sold on waldorf, but now after lots of research we are both leaning towards montessori. Even though they don't push Art, and Imagination we feel like he will still get pleanty of that at . Just our thoughts. :) 


- Mom to Baby Mark (9/18/10) and 4 wonderful dogs!
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#5 of 5 Old 04-23-2012, 07:19 PM
 
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Sounds like you went with the montessori?  My son has been going to a montessori school for four years now and he's really loved it.  For me, that was by far the most important thing at this stage of things.  I hated school from the very beginning, and that didn't lead to a great outcome.  So I'm thrilled!  

 

Anyway...  I just wanted to say that the kids in my son's class do a lot of imaginative play in their down time at school, which they have a fair amount of.  It's not lead or structured in any way by the teachers, but I don't remember anything like what they do happening when I was in school.  For about a year and a half the kids all played this game they called SS Milo (named after my Milo! smile.gif) where they'd have some pretty sophisticated plots going.  It was funny because all of the kids would talk to their parents about it, I guess, and we'd often end up having these long involved conversations with other parents about what various kids had said about SS Milo.  It was very intriguing!  


Jayne, sewing up a storm mama to ds1 9/03, ds2 2/09, and 2 sweet furbabies.

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