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#1 of 10 Old 02-14-2013, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am trying to decide whether or not to continue with Montessori next year.  DS started a few months shy of 3 years old this past fall.  The program is 5 days a week for 3 days.  He likes his teacher, likes the other kids, but always resists going there (in the car, or before we leave in the morning - once we are in the building he always practically runs in).  Since I think 5 days is really too much for a little guy, I usually let him skip one or two days a week.  He always seems very happy when he gets out of school, but I am never sure if that is because he had a good day, or because he is glad to be done and back with Mama.  When I ask him why he does not like school, he usually says that he just doens't like being away from me (although he spends two days a week with my sister and husband), or something like "they make me do so much work!  5 things every day!", or that they made him do the brown stairs again.  I always ask if he told them he does not want to do them, and he always says no.  I get the sense he is somewhat awed by his teachers still, althougth they are both very kind and warm ladies, and does not want to butt heads with them, but then is not happy when he goes along with whatever they suggested.  I have told him over and over that the philosophy of his school is that he can choose to do what he enjoys, and he always seems pleased, but nothing changes. Sometimes I think it might just be that he is looking for some explanation that he thinks will satisfy me. 

So I am confused and do not know what to think.  The teachers report that he is quite happy in class and progressign well, and liked by all the students.  But it really kills me when he wakes up first thing and asks if it is a school day, and then declares he does not want to go.  I feel there is something behind his reluctance that I have not figured out yet. 

And it is SO expensive! 

Any advice out there? 

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#2 of 10 Old 02-15-2013, 07:05 AM
 
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Can you observe his class, preferably without him realizing that you are present? You can get a lot more information and understanding of how he is managing while he is at school. 

 

How does he typically handle transitions from one activity to another? 

 

A lot of people have difficulty moving from one activity to the next, even if it's something they otherwise enjoy.

 

I'm taking a yoga class once a week. The instructor is awesome, probably the best I've every had. She pays close attention to positioning, gives wonderful feedback, and is pitching the class exactly to the level of the participants. The studio is beautiful, all hardwood, soft lighting, lovely decor. I can feel the benefits I'm getting. After the class is over, I'm rejuvenated. My flexibility and strength have improved. A nagging hip is settling down. Yet on class day, as the time approaches, I find myself whining (silently) that it's cold and I don't want to leave my comfy house, I don't want to put down the book I'm reading, I can't find my sports bra and leggings, I don't want to cram myself onto a bus at rush hour....you get the picture. My reluctance to get my butt out the door has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the class and everything to do with the fact that transitions are still tough for me even at this age. 

 

Regarding his school day, I think you are on the right track with encouraging him to choose his works. Have you tried to coach him by giving him some statements to make to his teachers (and possibly classmates, they may be influencing him too) about his choices? You can role play a few scenarios with him. Also let him observe you doing the same thing in different situations - confidently asserting your preferences when others are making suggestions. It might give him a little more confidence about asserting himself a little. 

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#3 of 10 Old 02-18-2013, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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They do have observation, but there is no way to do it without his knowledge. 

We did have a minor success on Friday - we finally got a book about the different materials (we coudl not remember what the brown stairs are) and looking through it he said how boring the brown stairs are.  I saw that hte next material for the same general theme was the red rods, and suggested he ask to do those instead when they offer the brown stairs.  He seemed reluctant to do so and said "I'm not ready for those", but after school he told me with much excitement that he had done the red rods (in addition to the stairs, but he didnt' seem to mind).  woohoo!

 

He does often have an inertia mindset of not changing activities.  If we ask if he wants to go somewhere he loves, he will often say 'yes, but not right now!'   I have been thinking about it, and I think that I also make it worse by getting pretty stressed out in the morning when we are getting ready to go.  We are often late, and the teachers have said it negatively impacts his day when we are because he does not get to chat with the other kids while hanging up coats etc, which then devolves into general discombobulation. But we are late because he drags his feet, and I seem to have little control on when we get there if I am not willing to force-feed him, hold him down for tooth-brushing, and wrestle him into the car, which I am not.  It does not matter if I wake him up earlier, set various reminder alarms, etc.  Somehow, we still get out the door at the same time.  Since I was 'called out' for it as it were, I think I have rushed him  alot more, and been much more stressed about it and grouchy in the morning, with absolutely no effect on our arrival time, which is still always either barely on time, or a few minutes late.   It seems likely that my stress is stressing him out and exacerbating the problem rather than solving it.  Sigh. 

We are on vacation this week.  Maybe next week I can try something different.  I think I need a new thread!  'Ideas for getting 3yo out the door in the a.m."

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#4 of 10 Old 03-06-2013, 11:03 PM
 
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My DD was just shy of 3 also when she started Montessori and she never really enjoyed it.  She made it through a year but I honestly feel like it was not fun for her.  It was too structured and just not fun.  She made some good friends, and that was the only thing that made it tolerable.  The next year we put her in a high quality play-based preschool and she was so much happier.  I would go with your instincts. I am glad I did.  

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#5 of 10 Old 03-07-2013, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think we have also resolved another issue, which was hanging up his jacket.  For some reason he was always opposed to doing this, or even trying to do it, and as the other kids learned how, I think it was really stressing him out.  But it was really more a mental block about zipping it than anything else.  Last week he had started asking me to ask the teachers to help him with it, which eventually resulted in his teacher emailing me to make sure that I know that they always help him as long as he tries once first.  Emailing back and forth we began to realize what a big deal it is for him, so his Daddy worked with him this weekend, and he was SO EXCITED to get to school and show his teachers how he can do it on his own now. 

 

We also started last week really working on having easier mornings.  I started letting him watch 'kipper' episodes in the morning while I am getting breakfast ready and doing my other morning chores.  Then I turn it off when we still have half an hour before we leave, and tell him he can watch one more if we get totally ready in the next 15 minutes.  I sort of HATE using TV of all things as a motivator, but he really loves it and I have not come up with anything else.  He likes books too, but they are not enough to get him to brush his teeth without whining and stalling.  And Kipper at least is low key and pleasant as far as kid programs go.  We have not been late in the two weeks we have been doing this, and I think the reduction in my stress is having the desired effect.

 

I still have not decided whether to keep with it next year, but at least the present is improving greatly.

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#6 of 10 Old 04-11-2013, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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SO MUCH FOR THAT! Shortly after my last post, I got his pre-teacher-meeting report, and it said that he has decreased in confidence and independece since he began last fall, and every section of the report mentioned how the lack of those was interferring with his ability to work at his potential.  I nearly pulled him out right then and there, but by the end of the meeting I decided it is only two more months and might still be salvagable.  Shortly after that, he was sick for a few days leading up to vacation, so that now he has been out two whole weeks, and is seriously resisting going back.  I am not willing to force him to go against his will, so he has only gone one day this week.  Today we actually got all the way to the door of class, and asked the teacher if he could have a buddy to work with so he wouldn't feel so lonely there (missing Mama is the main reason he does not want to go).  She said they don't do things that way, and after he hid behind me and nearly started crying, we left.  I suspect she didn't realize that was going to be a deal breaker, but why be so rigid?  All of the other children like him, and several of his best friends woudl have loved to be able to work with him for the day. 

I feel very overwrought about the whole thing.  It has been a disaster for my parenting, and all the while I thought there was some benefit when in fact, it was causing him to regress.  

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#7 of 10 Old 04-11-2013, 10:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ma Cactus View Post

I feel very overwrought about the whole thing.  It has been a disaster for my parenting, and all the while I thought there was some benefit when in fact, it was causing him to regress.  

 

I understand why you feel that way you feel but it sounds like you thought you were making the best educational decision for your DS based on the information you had at the time. As soon as you knew for certain it was not a good fit and was not about to be a good fit any time soon, you got him out. Children are resilient and your DS will most likely recover from the experience soon with your love and support. Don't beat yourself up. No one makes perfect decision every single time. 

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#8 of 10 Old 04-14-2013, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I understand why you feel that way you feel but it sounds like you thought you were making the best educational decision for your DS based on the information you had at the time. As soon as you knew for certain it was not a good fit and was not about to be a good fit any time soon, you got him out. Children are resilient and your DS will most likely recover from the experience soon with your love and support. Don't beat yourself up. No one makes perfect decision every single time. 

I didn't mean so much that I regret the decision to send him there, as that in the seven months we have tried to keep up with it, he has resisted going continuously and we wound up in a battle of wills over it.  In the stress of trying to get out the door every day, I did not emerge in top Mama form, but resorted to a variety of strategies I did not believe I condone, culminating in bribery with TV.  We do not even own a TV I hate it so much!   Netflix is the bane of my existence.  So I basically feel like I wound up not only selling my soul to the devil, but for cheap.  KWIM?

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#9 of 10 Old 04-15-2013, 09:25 PM
 
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I do know what you mean. I don't like resorting to bribes, threats, etc with DD at all and we've always tried to get DD to understand what's going on and help her make good decisions on her own. However, we had a toilet-related situation and we got to the point where we HAD to do something so we resorted to using a point system and we phased it out as fast as we could. When SIL heard about this, she lectured us for 30+ minutes not just once but twice because she thought we were being lazy/bad parents for doing something we (and apparently she) did not believe in. I think we all want to be a certain type of parents but sometimes, we've got to do what we might not want to do help our children. I actually think you were being a good mom by trying to come with a solution that was outside your comfort zone. 

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#10 of 10 Old 04-16-2013, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Nenegoose thank you.  I had not thought of it that way and it is surprising to what extent one can self-flaggelate when you just keep turning things over in your own head and finding yourself culpable whichever way you look at it.  I am so glad it was you commenting here and not your SIL!

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