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mustard 06-05-2014 12:45 PM

Dilemma: established vs. starter Montessori for Elementary?
I have 2 kids, each finishing their 3rd year in the UE and LE classes. The direction of the school we are at has shifted dramatically over the past several years: it has moved into an attractive new building located in an affluent neighborhood in the burbs. It has been replacing the experienced teachers with newer, less-experienced ones; there has also been a high turnover in staff. It has been accepting quite a few new students with behavioral issues and no Montessori background (and this has changed the dynamics in some classrooms). The parent board, which used to be chosen via election, is now a self-selecting entity. Board meetings which used to be open are now restricted only to board members. We just learned that another teacher has been let go, which means that both of my kids will have new, unexperienced guides next year.

There is another starter Montessori in town that has some teachers that were let go from the current school--all of these teachers are experienced (14+ years). The elementary classes are small and have mostly transfers from public school. There is a greater socioeconomic mix of families, and as a starter school, there are fewer funds at the moment for extracurriculars such as art and PE.

Trying to decide between (1) staying at current school with its deteriorating administrative situation, high turnover (yet my kids are familiar with the classrooms, have access to extracurriculars, and have friends) or (2) moving to this other school with smaller classes but experienced teachers. The cost for both schools would be about the same. The distance is about the same. Both kids are quite self-directed.

Anyone have suggestions?
Thanks in advance!

t2009 06-08-2014 08:06 AM

Hi there,

This sounds like a very tough situation to be in. You say that the teachers at the current school are less experienced, but you don't mention the quality of their teaching. Is this something you can learn or look into? Maybe you can schedule a time to meet with the teacher who will be in the classroom next year? Also, are there assistants in the rooms? If there are & they will be the same, that might provide some consistency.

And it sounds like unless the children at the "new" school (with the experienced teachers) are coming from public Montessori schools, you will still have the issue of having children in the classroom with no Montessori experience. So that factor might be a wash.

Gotta run, but some thoughts.

farmermomma 06-08-2014 08:11 PM

I'd lean towards the one with experienced teachers. The high turnover is not a good sign. That school may not last anyway. Then still more change.

montessoriparent 06-10-2014 08:07 AM

Selecting Montessori school
Hi, not all Montessori schools are real montessori schools as almost any school can claim that title. Go for registered/accredited/associated school. There is also a good list of questions and observations when selecting M school: plus directory (few listings):

mustard 06-11-2014 07:49 PM

Can anyone comment on the extent to which having kids with just a year of Montessori experience is problematic? If the kids are relatively well-behaved but their main weakness is having difficulty choosing their own work, will this greatly affect my older kids who are pretty self-driven?

Also, is it better to transition a child into public middle school at 6th grade (which means missing the 3rd year of the upper el cycle), or stay for that 3rd year in Montessori?

Palington 09-03-2014 08:35 AM

mustard, your current school sounds very much like ours! Would you mind connecting offline?

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