I have a little boy about to be 3 years old in July. We are attachment parents, so I'm looking for a school that has a bent toward taking each child's individual needs into account. I know every parent thinks their child is special or different, so this probably sounds arrogant at best, but my son truly is noticeably different than the other kids in his My Gym class or his little music class. Parents and instructors comment on his personality all the time. There are no social or learning disorders or autism issues...he's just introverted, a thinker, a processor, very sensitive, definitely high needs, and much slower to act than other kids. He observes everything and takes a while to warm up to others. But he's as healthy and kind and well-behaved as can be. These traits just don't fit with the way these little classes work that I take him to each week. Everything is so fast-paced, loud, geared toward extroverted children.
All that said: I desperately want to get him into a Montessori school. I've researched Montessori since my pregnancy with him, so I've been sold on Montessori for a while. Before I began picking up on his personality traits, Montessori was a luxury, but now that I know my son, it feels like more of a necessity. I cannot fathom sending him to just any preschool...I just know he would be mislabeled and that he would flounder in those environments.
However, Montessori in our area is upwards of $6000/year for a 2- or 3-days/week schedule. We simply cannot afford that.
So, enough set-up: what are options for families in our situation who want/need a Montessori start for our children but simply can't afford it?
Thank you for your insights!
I sympathize with you and I wish I had some magical solution to offer.
Do the Montessori programs in your area offer any kind of financial assistance? Do you have skills that you could offer in return for decreased tuition? It's worth asking.
I'd incorporate Montessori into your homelife if you haven't already done so (you probably have, so I apologize if that suggestion isn't too helpful).
If a Montessori school is truly out of reach, then I would look for a school and teachers who understand and work well with your DS, whether it's a Montessori program or not. You may find a schools with a child-directed approach and a classroom ambience that suits him. Smaller co-op programs might offer something suitable. Perhaps you could find a few like-minded families and set something up yourself. Finally, perhaps the answer is that he isn't quite ready yet for a formal program, at least not any kind offered in your area, and he needs a little more time before attending school.
Good luck, I wish there was some other solution. It's really unfortunate that there aren't more public Montessori programs.
I agree with Ollyoxenfree re. inquiring about tuition assistance. Many of the more expensive schools in our area (Montessori or not) offer some sort of assistance.
Another thought... What is your (& your partners', if you have one) work situation? If one of you is home, could you finde some part-time work during the days your LO would be at school to help cover tuition? Or babysit (or other child-friendly job) when your LO is home?
DH is basically going to be working part-time so that we can afford to send DS to a Montessori school next year. We figure that if that will help cover tuition (& if we can budget to live within my salary alone) then we can make it work.
Also, not sure how many choices you have in your area, but I actually found in my search that I was pulled toward the smaller (& more affordable) Montessori schools in our area over the bigger (& more expensive) ones.
Mama to my little busy bee.