4 year old is struggling - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-06-2012, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son just turned 4 and has been in a Montessori preschool since April. I am a former Montessori elementary teacher so I thoroughly believe in the Montessori Method. I also feel very good about the school my DS is in. They are kind, patient and very professional. It is a small school with a very loving environment. That being said, my son is having a difficult time with some aspects of the school. He absolutely hates doing any kind of writing and seat work. He whines, argues and complains of "headaches" when it is time to do these activities. His teachers are unbelievably patient with him and will sit with him for a good 30 minutes after school is over in order to get him to finish. They speak so encouragingly and kindly to him in order to get him to complete his assignment and his reading and writing skills have improved ten-fold, but he still really dislikes to do it. I have spoken with both his teachers and the director and they all strongly believe this will change with time and maturity. I waiver between my faith in the method and my worry that my son is not enjoying his early school years and will start to resent education. He loves every other aspect of the school, his teachers and his classmates. We live in Japan, and there aren't really any other Montessori schools in our area.

I am torn between sticking with the school we are in and looking for something more play-based that my son would enjoy more.

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Old 08-06-2012, 06:53 PM
 
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I would go with something more play based. Four is very young to be expected to do any seat work, and definitely any writing. I know you believe in this approach but it may not be the best fit for your child.


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Old 08-06-2012, 07:14 PM
 
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Are you in Okinawa? My dd started Yochien at 3 and stayed until we left the island when she was 6. It was really hard for her at first. She didn't speak much Japanese and it was more structure than she had ever known. But after a little while she really flourished in that environment. She spoke Japanese really well and was so independent.

Are his Sense's really concerned that he isn't finishing his seat work so that you need to sit with him and make him do it? I would say, not to pull him out, but maybe step back from the teacher role yourself and just be more "mom" (we actually homeschool, so know that it feels weird for me to say that!) dd's Sense's were so kind and persistent, but never pushy or forceful. She was always allowed to work at her own pace, and as she adjusted, her pace caught up just fine smile.gif

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Old 08-07-2012, 01:35 AM
 
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I'm a little confused - doesn't he get to choose his own work? To me, it doesn't seem at all in line with Montessori principles to force a 4 year old to sit down and do seat work he isn't interested in. Is it possible to meet with your son's teachers and discuss modifying their expectations of your son? Different activities? There are a lot of activities in a Montessori classroom that build up the skills that are necessary for reading and writing indirectly and it sounds to me that these would be more suitable for your son at this time.

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Old 08-07-2012, 03:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by linn7799 View Post

I'm a little confused - doesn't he get to choose his own work? To me, it doesn't seem at all in line with Montessori principles to force a 4 year old to sit down and do seat work he isn't interested in
That's my thought as well.
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:59 PM
 
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Since the seat work is often working with smaller elements - writing letters, the small beads on the bank - is it possible he needs to have his vision checked? Here, my friend's doc said her son didn't need his eyes checked for another couple of years as he didn't typically display any problems...what we all thought might be a mild case of dyslexia was simply blurry elements that frustrated him to no end and made him dislike the tasks where the issue became apparent - counting of the beads, letter identification, etc.

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Old 09-01-2012, 09:27 PM
 
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Why are they doing required seat work?  That would be my first question to the directors.  You'll probably find it's to make the parents happy (which is why most people stray away from the Montessori Method).  They might not tell you that, but that might be the reason.

 

Push them and tell them you're paying for a Montessori experience and that is what your son should have.
 

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Old 09-04-2012, 08:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Babooshkas View Post

Since the seat work is often working with smaller elements - writing letters, the small beads on the bank - is it possible he needs to have his vision checked?

 

I think that this would be a really good thing to check.  My wife, whose vision has been terrible forever, was amazed when she was a little kid how different the world was when she got her first pair of glasses.  You might even be able to check and see how his visions is at home by asking him to recognize some letters or tell which way an arrow is pointing, etc.

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