My son 4 and will be going into kindergarden soon. Im really confused as to which direction i should go. should i send him to montessori elementary or to regular elementary. he is currently in montesorri and im happy with it, but thinking about the long run i want him to be ready for IB. would montessori elementary prepare him for it or would regular elementary school be better?
Hi there. As a parent of three elementary aged Montessori children (they attend Villa di Maria Montessori school in Saint Louis) I would strongly urge you to keep your child in an authentic Montessori environment as long as you can, if you can afford it. My girls, now in "grades" one, three and four are as curious, as eager to learn as ever. My third grader is reading a book called "FableHaven", a book written for the early teenage years. I mention this to provide an example of the reading abilities, among many others, that she has developed in Montessori school. At the same time, and more importantly she and her sisters LOVE to learn and thus will always WANT to learn. These qualities are what will drive them to continue to seek their potential, success and ultimately happiness. The article below is a good one that you might consider. In addition, the second link provides numerous articles and testimonials as to why you might consider keeping your child in an "authentic" Montessori program. I say "authentic" because not since the name "montessori" cannot be trademarked, any school can call themselves a Montessori school, yet not practice or know the least bit about Montessori. AMI (begun by Dr. Maria Montessori herself) and AMS are two accrediting organizations that ensure that the core montessori principles are generally being practiced.
Very best of luck to you and your decision!
I would also recommend keeping your child in the Montessori school, at the very least through the end of Kindergarten. Longer, if you can afford it, and have a school that continues past the primary cycle.
Montessori classrooms are multi-age, and the primary class is ages 3-6. This includes Kindergarten. The importance of keeping children in Montessori through the full 3 year cycle is extremely important. My DD just turned 5, she will be a kindergartner next year. The 4 year olds in her classroom can't wait to be the big kids in the classroom. The role of the kindergartner in the Montessori classroom gives children the experience of being in a leadership role, and helps reinforce their sense of autonomy and self-confidence.
Plus, the Montessori method is cumulative, the Kindergarten year builds on what kids learned in previous years. They spend 2 years preparing to be the class leaders. Sharing what they know with the younger kids in the class helps reinforce what they know and helps them both socially and academically.
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There are a lot of positive aspects to the Montessori method and many have already been mentioned. There's the self-directed learning that fosters enthusiasm and motivation. The multi-age classrooms where respect is encouraged and independence is developed, If your child is already enrolled, you are probably already familiar with the benefits of a Montessori education. I think a good Montessori school would provide a fine foundation for IB studies.
If I was choosing between any specific two schools, though, I would visit them both and ask a lot of questions of the staff and parents. I would try to assess school culture, get some insight into the administration's educational philosophy and size up the teachers a little. I would also consider other factors, such as tuition costs, transportation issues, impact on extra-curricular activities and any other family issues that may exist. In short, I'd try to figure out which school feels like the best fit overall for my child and for our family.
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