My two yr old is enrolled to start Montessori in August. (She's an average 2 year old and is probably a little advanced in language and math. Very independent. Shy but warms up and loves to make new friends.) She'll be just shy of 3 yrs old when school starts. I feel hesitant to send her because the 5 day a week schedule seems like a huge adjustment for such a little girl. She's just been at home with me her whole life and we've only done library classes and Kindermusik. I've never left her anywhere. We have a very casual schedule and never have to rush off to be anywhere but we'll suddenly be finding ourself rushing through breakfastm, hair, brushing teeth, getting dressed, etc to get out of the door by 8:15 and I worry it's going to be stressful for her day in and day out...or maybe kids this age just get used to it? Should I wait and start her a couple months later when she's actually 3 or will it be a little awkward to be the new kid who doesn't get the structure and sees everyone else being friends but doesn't know anybody? As a former teacher, I've seen kids struggle with that and I always feel badly for them even though they eventually get over it. I just don't want MY daughter to have to go through it, ya know? At least not at 2! Maybe this is all silly and really my hesitation is just that I'm gonna miss her terribly.
I would definitely wait maybe even until next year except that our local Montessori is REALLY good and we plan to move soon to a bigger city and she probably won't ever have the opportunity to go to Montessori school after this year. The price where we're moving is triple what we're going to be paying here and we're already making big sacrifices to afford this cheaper school.
What are your experiences or thoughts with older 2's or very young 3's starting Montessori 5 days a week?
Personally I wouldn't send her at all. DS went to Montessori 5 days a week this past year and we are taking him out. It turned out to be a bad experience for all of us. I was hesitant to send him 5 days but I thought it should be fine since other people were doing it. I wish I had gone with my instinct. The strict Montessori school (AMI) we sent DS to was very rigid with the rules and very structured. Maybe DS is immature for his age, but he had a really hard time with it.
Also, Montessori is really meant as an experience that lasts for several years at least. The point of the multi-age grouping is so the child will have the experience of being the youngest child and then move up to being the oldest child. The youngest children will be taught by the older children and then begin to teach the younger children as they get older. I wouldn't plan to send her to a Montessori school for just one year. That's just my ten cents...
My dd started her montessori preschool right after just turning 3 (I think they wouldn't have started her in the 3 y/o class being 2 months away as your dd is. . .but I'm not sure. They did also have a separate toddler class actually, so that may have been part of their reason.).
She did really well for the first few weeks, then had a period of time when going there was kinda hard for her (but ultimately she did like it there and came home happy and having enjoyed her day), then made closer friends at school and really loved it. I did end up just going with the regular schedule through her hard times, but for her I don't think an adjustment would have made it any easier. There were other kids who I know had their parent sit to observe/be in the classroom sometimes while getting used to the school. I know our school would have been flexible with that or a shorter day of some kind, if it would have helped our dd).
Kids new to the school had a whole week there, for only 2 hours (not 3) without the other children to get used to it a bit. If your school doesn't do that, you could propose it, or something like it for your child for 1-2 weeks, to ease more into a full schedule.
If it's no big deal to start in 1-2 months instead, I couldn't see it being a problem in a montessori classroom (as it might in a traditional schooled classroom).