Hello! I could use some feedback from other parents with their children in Montessori, or Montessori teachers (any on here?). My daughter just turned 5 and she is in a Montessori preschool; this is her third year there. She attended twice a week (full-days) for two years, and has been attending three full-days this year. She has always enjoyed attending, though the first 3-4 months involved a long transition because she was young and not napping at school. Her old teacher, who we very much loved, left this school year and she has a new teacher.
So, the time has come to make a permanent decision on whether she will continue at Montessori or attend the local school, a good STEM magnet school. My husband and I weighed the options and decided to continue Montessori, however, she might not be able to attend, as enrollment is on a lottery system after preschool, so I had to also enroll her in the STEM school just in case. I did tell her this, and- here is the rub- she said she would like to go to a new school. Now, she likes adventure and new things, so part of her reaction is just this. HOWEVER, she also said that she "wants all the kids to do the same works, and have teacher lessons" because she walks around all day at school and "doesn't find a work". She talked about not being able to do "challenging works" and just wandering the classroom every day.
She is a bright, curious, and independent child, but she loves traditional children activities they might do at school, like singing group songs, crafts, learning lessons from teachers. I am very worried she isn't being challenged or excited by the works and lessons in Montessori classroom. I am looking for any feedback or discussion that might help me process this! I have emailed her teacher and asked for a conference, too. Our main goals, as her parents are that she is engaged in her learning, happy and comfortable in her school environment, and that her natural curiosity, independence and extroversion are allowed to shine.
Is it possible that after 3 years, as she approaches the end of the Casa program, she feels she has exhausted the materials in the class? It sounds like the materials and the works may be a little too familiar to her at this point. If she hasn't had a tour of the elementary school and observed some of their work, I would ask the directress for an opportunity. She may be more interested when she sees some of the new and different lessons in the elementary classes.
I would definitely discuss her lack of engagement and struggle to find some challenge with the directress. The directress may help her find new work to try or may bring in some work from the elementary class if she is ready for it.
Possibly, it wouldn't hurt for her to observe the STEM school during a lengthy visit - a day or even more. If it is taught along traditional lines, with everyone sitting at desks for much of the day, she may find that it is not as exciting as she imagines. She may realize that she prefers the independence and freedom she has at the Montessori school. This may not work if the STEM school does a little PR/marketing by providing some fun and interesting activities during the visit.
As a teacher, I've seen my share of third-year students experiencing what your daughter is going through. It sounds to me like she's "second planing", or moving into a new level of development in which she's ready for different challenges. This is not out of the ordinary, but you should certainly bring her comments to the teacher's attention because sometimes children don't communicate their viewpoint to the teacher. She might be able to engage her in more book-oriented research and can also coordinate group activities among other 5-6 year olds from other classrooms who are going through the same thing.
In reality, the materials in the Primary (Children's House) classroom are designed to challenge children as old as 7-8, but this requires that the teacher be familiar with the extensions, and not all teachers are. :(
I agree with the PP, if you can take your daughter for a one-day visit to the public school, she might realize that it's not everything she imagines. I often got visited by ex-students who told me their first grade teacher wouldn't let them write cursive, do multiplication, choose what to work with, etc.
Thank you so much for your feedback. I did talk to her teacher, who did not seem concerned, but offered no ideas to engage my daughter in her learning again. As a matter of fact, she told me not all children are appropriate for Montessori school. . She did not clarify whether my daughter is or is not "appropriate". She did tell me that she recently told the class that they should be grateful they are in a school that lets the kids pick their "work" because other schools don't. I think this put pressure on my daughter and is perhaps why she wanted to go to a "school that all the kids do the same works". That sounded easier to her, especially as she is moving out of sensory/ fine motor skills works and into reading/math works.
The idea of "second planning" rings true to me. My daughter has certainly NOT mastered all of the works, but seems stalled a bit on moving forward from the ones she has mastered to the next level. She is nervous about anything having to do with reading, and at home we use print letters to work on phonics, and so the cursive letters are another stumbling block. The previous posters' thoughts helped me come up with some ideas. I asked her teacher to start a "workplan" with my daughter like the kindergartners do, and show her a reading work that I thought would interest her. I have also been talking about the exciting new features she will get to enjoy as a kindergartner like P.E. and helping the younger students. Then I spent time with my daughter after school in her classroom, and she taught me to do some works. She loved that and got very excited about it, so I hope it reinvigorates her! Thanks for your help.
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Loving mama to Aden (8/5/2010) and DSD (15).