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#31 of 67 Old 09-07-2004, 02:32 AM
 
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We are afraid of loosing money because of the tuition contract... if we pull him out,
We would be giving up our only money to buy montessori materials for him to use at will at home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
for those who pulled thier kids out, how did you get out of the tuition contract??????????????
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#32 of 67 Old 09-07-2004, 02:38 AM
 
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Does anyone else's school say that no-pullups, even for the first days, they said to bring three changes of clothes, that the other 2 yr 6 monthsolds would have accidents as well, isn't this degrading in a room with 2 1'2 - 6 year olds?
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#33 of 67 Old 09-08-2004, 01:25 AM
 
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Isn't the beauty of M letting the child develop at their own pace? The no pullups rule sounds a bit like forcing potty training. However, I do know that some M educators value "natural" materials (infants at the M school DS attends (he's almost 3) wear cloth diapers while in care of the school). I also think that sometimes M educators may think that parents can hinder their child by not allowing them the opportunity to potty learn. During the summer my son declared that he no longer wore diapers. We had no choice but to put him in underwear. We just sent lots of extra clothes. He didn't seem bothered by the accidents (we were!). His M teacher assured us that accidents are part of learning. We were somewhat relieved when he came home and reported that "Ben peed on the floor today". We thought "whew, he's not the only kid peeing on the floor". However, it was his choice not to wear underwear. I'm not sure if I could agree with the school's declaration. Are there any other parents you can talk to about this at the school?

Take care,

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#34 of 67 Old 09-08-2004, 01:34 AM
 
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We are afraid of loosing money because of the tuition contract...

Will they keep the money on hand in case you want to try again next year? At our school the money stays with the school but you can re-enroll at a later time if you withdraw early.

Is your son crying when you leave or later? Have you asked the director if you can stay? 2&1/2 seems very young to ask to enter a new place w/o their parent. Have you ever just gone into the room and sat quitely on the floor by the door? (I've done it). My personal rule is that my son doesn't cry without me or DH. Just like when he was an infant. If leaving him requires crying then I'm not leaving. One thing that helped us was saying I'll stay for 5 minutes and making sure that he was in a teachers arms when I left. I do think that part of this is transition but I don't think that transition should be miserable.

Take care,
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#35 of 67 Old 09-08-2004, 12:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by comet
One Montessori school I checked out made it very clear that parents were not allowed to come to the classroom, except perhaps once or twice a year. GADS! It was a colder atmosphere than I wanted, almost too quiet. When I visited the school, I had to sit in a chair in the corner turned to one side so as to not disrupt the children. I was told to not make direct eye contact with any child.
Haven't read the entire thread yet. Don't know much about M. But I am aware that some schools don't do things as she wanted.

Just wanted to comment on the above. Yeah, that's creepy.... but the benefit of not interrupting the kids during their own exploration (whether at home, outside, whatever) is that the kids are busy learning, deepening their learning experience, whatever it is. Though at home I am very guilty of interrupting.... he'll be at the sink making a huge mess - sorry you gotta stop. Or we are on our way out the door and he'll want to look at the bug outside.

But not making eye contact. That just sounds bizarre and extreme to me. You can still make eye contact, smile and just let the kid be, no?

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Originally Posted by alwayslearning2
I really wanted my 2 1/2 to have the opportunity that montessori provides, however I hate hate hate that you cann't stay in the room till they get acclimated and have to hand then to the teacher at the door. I think he will love the materials and learning from the other children, but after a week of pre-school "summer camp" he doesn't want to leave the house, he says he wants to stay home,
My spidey instincts tell me that it would be "pushing him too soon." I agree with Babyj.

Kleine Hexe's post just made me

I'm sure many of you already know that kids learn by PLAYING. That is their most important job!

Ooey Gooey.com (Lisa Murphy is a former day care provider / preschool teacher and lecturer on the importance of play. I highly recommend her books!)

Quote:
We believe that children have the right to...

1) long periods of uninterrupted free play time
2) adults who are acting as facilitators
3) freedom to explore with few restrictions
4) lots and lots of outdoor time
5) be engaged in experiences that are real
Alwayslearning2... ask about getting your money back. Maybe do a site search (google) on the art of negotiating. I think he's WAY TO YOUNG (every kid is different) to be left alone. He's making it crystal clear to you. You might end up like Vanessa... just pulling him out early.... and losing all chances to get any money back. But the instructors (if they are like Vanessa's) don't sound sympathetic because they are so dang dogmatic.

T I take my son to a play-based preschool. Very similar to Lisa Murphy's philosophies on the importance of play.

There is a multi-age class. DS started going when he was 3.5 (I would have put him in earlier, like 2.5, but I found out too late and there was a waiting list....) He's in a multi-age class - 3-5 year olds... and it's a HUGE class with 50 kids. THere are different play stations (art, science, books, blocks, cars, costumes, etc... ) and parents have to work 1 day a week. So there are 2 or 3 teachers a day, but the PARENTS are integral to making it work because 2 have to man each station. That's what I LOVE about it, because I am totally free to stay and observe. Parents are facilitators in play (handing kids materials they need) and really don't spend much time talking to them (just each other) and that's not even a stated rule!!!! Just a natural outcome. I this school! Best part, it's extremely affordable (like $300 for 2 months) because part of it is paid by the state.

BTW, it's only 9-12, not a full day. I think that's a good thing... my friend has her DD in a full day M program and her DD has had really bad meltdown's at home. I do think that some kids are too young (she's 3.5) for a full day. Being away from your loved ones (mom or dad) so young for so long can really get to a kid at the end of the day.

First school day was yesterday and they encouraged new and old parents to stay with the child the half day (so as not to overwhelm the new / old kids and parents can walk with their children in the classroom, discovering how the room / things works). Doesn't sound like M to me.

10 - boy
5.5 - girl
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#36 of 67 Old 11-18-2004, 05:53 PM
 
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I just pulled my 3 yr old son out of an AMI accredited Montessori school 2 days ago. He had been attending for over 2 months and here's my take on Montessori.
Its designed to fit a particular type of parent and many but not all children. The freedom and calm that is usually one's first impression of a Montessori classroom is a result of pretty inflexible training in behavior and exact methods of using materials. If you are the kind of parent who wants a 'well behaved' child and feels that Montessori is going to give him / her a head start towards a glorious academic future then you will love it. If, on the other hand, your primary goal is that your child feels secure, free to explore and to socialize then forget it!
The Montessori method does not accomodate for any soicalizing beyond a group time (where the kids sit down and listen and don't touch each other), Playground time and working together. Start horsing around when you are working and you are split up faster than you can blink! Helping each other with work is not encouraged and the teacher does not mediate child - child interactions.
My son is / was well adjusted secure and very curious when he joined this school. He was already reading and we figured Montessori would allow him to explore his interests.
Alarm bells should have started going off when we were told a week before the starting day that parents were not to enter the building for the first 30 days! So began the trauma of my son being hauled out of the car kicking and screaming every morning. Then began a barrage of complaints "he won't put his slippers on" "he won't use the toys correctly" "he's rough with the materials". further discussion revealed that he physically could not put his slippers on and had, at times, been made to sit in the entry to the room for up to half an hour until his slippers were on his feet. We replaced the slippers and requested that he get some assistance. The inappropriate use of toys involved stacking blocks 'incorrectly'. The tower only goes from largest to smallest. No making castles bridges or pretending that the blocks are cars. Furthermore, no pretending anything. And forget all about the temptation to bang two objects together to check out the noise they might make, you destructive creature!
Towards the end of this secretive month I actually got into the building unannounced since I was dropping off things for the classroom and, lo and behold, saw my son, who I had dropped off 5 mintues earlier, being yelled at (yes I mean yelled) for using a basket as a hat. His hand was pulled down onto a table and the teacher yelled full into his face. Suffice it to say we were concerned and the principal moved him to another room.
Now, of course, we were working on a 'problem child' who wouldn't cooperate and so I was encouraged to come in to help him for a few days. What do I find . . .Those blasted slippers are still getting no help (he needs to be self sufficient, I am told) he is not allowed to play with materials he is interested in until he has mastered the ability to use other materials that he is not interested in simply because there is an order to how you are allowed to use things in the classroom. Did it matter that I had a three year old who was reading fluently and starting to figure out basic math?? Not at all. He still had to figure out how to wash a table (a procedure that involves 10-12 exact steps to be followed) since that, they felt, would teach him to concentrate. My attempts to get him to socialise were treated as a secondary need. The few times that I tried to leave him alone in class for a while, I returned to find him removed from the class and sitting in the principals office. The final straw was when I came in, sat on the floor in the office to talk to him and he told me that he was not a good boy but was a bad boy instead. That was the end of it.
If you are thinking of a Montessori school for your child please research the school carefully and ask that you be allowed to observe the class in action for more than just a few minutes. Try and look beyond the serenity of the room to whether the children are interacting and seem happy. It was amazing how many times I saw children sitting next to some 'work' gazing off into space. The ratio in these classrooms is ridiculously off kilter. 2 teachers for 30 kids when you have a number of three year olds is ridiculous and, in my opinion, dangerous.
The Montessori mission is quite open about the things I've outlined above (well not the yelling . .. that was an individual teacher) but it is done in glowing terms as if that is the best way to teach a child about life.
I think this idea of a carline dropoff which more and more schools seem to insist on is absolutely insane. Which child, going away from his mother to strangers for the first time, needs to be pulled out of his car seat by someone he has no familiarity with?
Good luck!
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#37 of 67 Old 11-18-2004, 05:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alwayslearning2
We are afraid of loosing money because of the tuition contract... if we pull him out,
We would be giving up our only money to buy montessori materials for him to use at will at home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
for those who pulled thier kids out, how did you get out of the tuition contract??????????????
When we pulled out we said (quite rightly, I believe) that the school had not met our child's needs and was unable to provide him with the care he needed. We told them basically that it was a bad fit and that he was not suited to a Montessori style of education. Our school had a clause in the handbook that allowed them to ask you to remove a child if they feel that he is a bad fit to the school. So, we figured that what's sauce for the goose can be sauce for the gander. Perhaps we were lucky but it worked.
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#38 of 67 Old 11-19-2004, 06:52 PM
 
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My understanding is that AMI has the most strict (rigid?) interpretation of Montessori principles. There are no AMI-certified schools in my area, but even if there were, I would not choose one. AMS is a little bit less rigid; and, of course, most Montessori schools aren't accredited by either organization.

Not all Montessori schools are alike. Many are flexible about how they implement and interpret Montessori approaches. Doing your own homework about what you like/don't like about Montessori, visiting individual schools, and asking questions will help you determine how a school implements Montessori.
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#39 of 67 Old 11-26-2004, 06:53 PM
 
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I'm shocked to hear so many bad things about Montessori. I enrolled my son into a Montessori school 2 years ago. He's really sprouted a lot. At first I had my reservations. I didn't think that he would be able to focus during goal time. All the kids work on their individual goals, so from an outside perspective it looks kind of chaotic in the classroom. He had a hard time at first and wasn't completing his goals, but we stuck with it, and now he really enjoys being able to guide which direction his education goes. I really like that about Montessori.
As far as the play, and imagination goes, I would have to agree with some of the others, that it totally depends on the school. This year I took on the job as guide for the after-school program. I've really gotten to know the kids better, and the way things work in the classroom. I see no lack of creativity or imagination. These kids go on and on with stories, and imaginitive play.
I'm happy with Montessori, and so is my ds.
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#40 of 67 Old 11-27-2004, 09:04 PM
 
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I have to say, that the overwhelming majority of the negatives posted here, have not been our experience at all.

Just want to point out that most of these are problems with a particular school, and not necessarily a Montessori method issue.

Quote:
for those who pulled thier kids out, how did you get out of the tuition contract?
We pay month-to-month. We'll be moving shortly, and I've mentioned it to the director, and all he said was to remind him again when that time comes closer, so we can stop the automatic monthly payments. We just stop paying when she stops attending.

Quote:
One Montessori school I checked out made it very clear that parents were not allowed to come to the classroom, except perhaps once or twice a year.
Not how it is at my dd's school at all. Parents are encouraged to let their kids show them around in the early morning (but asked to head out by the first group time), and any time I've shown up early to pick up dd, I've hung out waiting for until dd finished whatever she was doing. It's never been discouraged. I just try to be quiet so as not to disturb others working. If ever I arrive during final circle time, I'm welcomed inside to watch.
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#41 of 67 Old 11-27-2004, 09:14 PM
 
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Wow, there's a whole post of negatives! I'm sorry you all went through that. This list here hasn't been our experience at all.


1. Inflexible schedule - they insisted my ds attend ft - it wasn't in their brochure or policy book so was sprung on me as a surprise two weeks into it.

Ours is Very flexible. They prefer students to be on time, but you choose full day or half day or 2 days or 3 or 4 or 5 days.

3. The teachers had obvious favorites in the class, the older kids who had been there longest. The older kids were ALWAYS used to demonstrate new work.

Not something I've seen. But the majority of my dd's class was pretty new when she started.

4. Poor supervision on the playground. No preventative measures for biting, hitting.

I've been pretty pleased with how the teachers have responded to the kiddie fights at our school. Dd even goes to them just when people aren't being nice, and I've liked pretty much every way the teachers here have handled it.

5. Pushing the independance thing a little too far. Ex: if you can't open your applesauce at lunch by yourself, you can't eat it. Not reading books to kids, telling them to look at the pictures and figure out for themself what is happening.

Wow. The teachers DEFINITELY help the kids open their things at lunch. Dd has even repeated at home during pretend games, "anyone who needs help opening lunch items, please raise your hand." And I've been present during story time before.

6. Teachers are not the warm fuzzy preschool teachers you imagine. The term directress is a good description. I think all preschoolers need a few hugs and reassurances now and then, not a prison work leader.

Dd's teachers have been fuzzy The new assistant teacher isn't as warm, but I think there's enough of a balance with the main teacher.

7. Bad judgement on the part of the director and teachers that included walking the kids 3 blocks along a busy 4-lane highway to the library for storytime.

Dang.

8. None of the good old fun stuff like fingerpainting and water play. Painting is done one way (use the sponge or flower to make a print) and water play consists of washing windows with water.

Dd does do a lot of art projects. At first, I was a little concerned that they didn't seem to require much creativity. But THEN, I decided that she didn't need that so much at school. Of course she can't get everything from school, and since we make sure to do plenty of creative play and art at home, this is one thing that I'm fine to have not fit my ideal for a school.
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#42 of 67 Old 12-04-2004, 11:48 PM
 
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whoa. one big fat ditto to umbrellas post. at our school, you have to go 5 days a week, earliest pick up time is at noon, but that's the only difference.

i'm sorry so many have had bad experiences.
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#43 of 67 Old 12-09-2004, 10:53 PM
 
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I've only read a few responses and I found most of what was said to not be true re: my daughter's montessori experience. She just started montessori this year and is in the kindergarten year and my daughter is still veryyyy imaginative. She always has been.

The proof is really in the pudding....I have yet to pick K up at school and not see a smile on her face. She LOOOOOOOVEs her school. She goes full-time which I was against in the beginning of the school year but she asked to go full-time. She wants to go. Every weekend, she asks when is it going to be Monday again.

She is learning sooo much. In just a short three months time, K has learned all the letter sounds, she is "pretending" to read to us, she writes her alphabet upper and lower case......most of these things she was doing before the school year, at least not at the level she is doing them now. We are going to the open house for the elementary program which combines 1st-3rd grade. Anyways, she currently has gym twice a week, music and spanish. She comes home every Friday with her week's worth of work and she is so proud of her work.

I can't say enough good things about Montessori. But we've only had a few months experience with M. I wonder what it will be like when K transfers to another school that is not M.

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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#44 of 67 Old 12-09-2004, 10:59 PM
 
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I just read some more of the replies and my daughter's school must be different. She has super nice teachers. She fell on the playground and she told me how ms. moore hugged her till she felt better and rubbed her boo-boo. Her teachers are always smiling and energetic. When we visited the school, I was allowed to speak to the children. In fact, a few of them whipped out their work to show me. I was even allowed to sit at the table while they did crafts.

It is true that K goes in at the door. But it's circle time when I drop her off and all the kids are in the circle sharing their "news" and things from home and singing and talking about the weather and the date.

I feel I can approach any of her teachers at any time. They are all so enthusiastic.

Socially, K's no longer the shy little girl she once was. She has made many friends and even blew us away when she asked to sing at the town's christmas concert on stage in front of at least 100 people. It was the high school band too. Yep, I digress but socially she has finally blossomed.

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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#45 of 67 Old 01-04-2005, 01:46 AM
 
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I love Montessori. My oldest started at age 3 and thrived. Lots of practical life work (pouring, hammering, washing, preparing food), and allowed to use whatever works he was ready for. He did lots of geography and math work and has always excelled at what he does. By 3rd grade, he learned that it was his responsibility to organize and complete his work.

He graduated in the 8th grade, is now in high school (public), and transitioned beautifully. The teachers at other schools generally love Montessori kids, at least they do around here, and they come right out and tell my son so. Whoever said they don't transition well just prefers traditional teaching.

My next child also began at age 3 but I learned later it was too soon for him. I would wait a year if I had the chance again (which I did with a later child). We ended up having him repeat his kindergarten year. He has had learning problems, but with careful monitoring and extra help at school, he has overcome them and he is now in middle school, also thriving.

My third began as the perfect independent Montessori child but found that making choices was too stressful for him, as he is a perfectionist, and he has a lot of energy. They don't like that at Montessori. After six years there, he is now doing very well at a traditional school (transitioned well there, also and they love it that he helps the other kids with their work, as he's very good in math).

My littlest began at age four, having my second's shy personality. He needed to be home with me, still nursing at the time (and now actually--he's almost six). It was the right decision and he is a very serious student, loving his class.

My kids all got left at the classroom door. Can you imagine the chaos if all the parents came in the classroom? You have to leave at some point, why not the door? If the child won't go in, what the heck are you making them do it for? I have had resistant children and I have taken them home those days. I think that's okay. I have seen many parents sitting outside the door of the toddler class while their one-yr-old screams. I think that's horrible. Know that it is risky to sign a year contract for a small child who may not want to go. (There is tuition insurance for such purposes, although not full reimbursement).

You need to observe in the classroom, get recommendations and watch your child's response. While I certainly do not approve of unsympathetic teachers, I understand why they insist the parent leave the child at the door and let the teacher do their job. It's not necessarily the teacher's fault the child is having a difficult time separating from the parent (although obviously the child could be telling you something is wrong in the class--you should be able to sort that out if you watch carefully).

Ideally, Montessori classrooms are (or should be) run with basically the same method in the 3-6 year old class, since that is what Montessori was originally aimed at. The 1st-3rd I think is probably also pretty similar (we've been to two schools), at least in my experience, with the goal of having the children learn to be independent workers. The next level up is more teacher oriented at that point but may differ from school to school.

I love the way my kids can talk to adults on an equal level and how they love to learn. They have been provided wonderful opportunities and the teachers have shown trust in the child's ability to do things that I as a parent would not have thought they could do.

They have no homework until they are in 4th grade so they can play after school when they are in 1st-3rd grade, and I have had virtually no homework hassles when the time came. They also have been taught strong public speaking skills, and of course the teachers get to know them very well after having them for several years.

Drawbacks? As with any private school, there are those with a lot of money and sorry to say, but there is favoritism towards those who have it ( it is a business), and towards children of the teachers. Also, there really is not the accountability there is in public schools (I used to be convinced of the opposite) as far as if you have a complaint about a teacher--they will protect their own. You can complain your way right out of the school if you insult them. No school is perfect so be flexible.

Also, as with my one child, the structure in the early elementary gave him too much freedom to NOT choose to do work he felt he didn't understand or like. The teachers are not trained the way they are in the public schools to recognize learning problems/behavior problems, although some certainly do with experience, and I am mortified that they suggested medication for my child--something that he doesn't need in a traditional setting. Hopefully, in time he can learn to be an independent worker AFTER he gains some confidence. That said, I highly recommend checking Montessori out.
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#46 of 67 Old 01-10-2005, 11:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thyme
The one problem with Montessori is that anyone can use that name -- Maria Montessori didn't trademark or copyright or whatever, so anyone opening a school can call it a Montessori school even if the philosophies aren't even close to "Montessori."

You really have to research each individual school thoroughly. Anything anyone says here about Montessori may or may not hold true for your school. It makes it difficult to get good information.

Montessori schools, if they are true montessoris schools, are "governed" by a group that holds them to the true philosophies of Maria Montessori. AMI and AMS are the two training facilities that ensusre that Montessori schools are held up to standards. www.montessori-ami.org is the one organization that holds to the truest form of Montessori.


I am going to add on here as I can't hold back.
I for one LOVE Montessori and am so glad that our school holds so closely to the philosophies and goals of Maria Montessori. She was way ahead of her time.

I know many people have issues about the pretend issues. It was explained to me that children at young ages do think very concretely and pretend play is difficult for young children to understand, even though some understand it befor others. Pretend or fiction is introduced to the children as they can handle it. But what is so nice about having them look at things of nature rather than having show and tell or washing dishes for real, rather than pretending to play dress up is that they develop an awareness of their surroundings and an appreciation of the world in general. I'll stop here since I haven't read the posts that others have written.
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#47 of 67 Old 01-26-2005, 10:39 AM
 
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As I was reading through the posts, I started to wonder if dc's Montessori school was the only one like it. We love everything about it! Glad to see by the 3rd page, that there are others who had wonderful experiences at Montessori schools.


So sorry that others experienced all of that 'bad stuff'...I hope you have found a better place that you are happier with.

For those who are still seeking good Montessori education, move to Indianapolis...your're welcome at to our school.
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#48 of 67 Old 02-09-2005, 04:09 PM
 
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Hey, I'm new here.

My son is almost 4. He started preschool at our local Montessori school this fall. Although I like the Montessori philosophy and have heard of some really good schools, I have a few concerns about this particular school and teaching staff. There are two teachers that seem really caring and receptive to the children, but the other three do not. From the very first day, it seemed like the head teacher was more interested in maintaining a routine than in creating a comfortable environment for the children. My son had never been away from home before except in family care, so he was understandably anxious and nervous about me leaving him. The head teacher walked up and tried to take his hand to lead him into the classroom without even greeting him, and when he clung to me instead, she sighed exasperatedly and went back into the room. That should have been my first sign that this may not have been the school for us, but I tried to be understanding that everyone can have bad/irritable days. However, it seems like the little incidents just keep happening. A different teacher, who is also the owner of the school, seems to have a rough manner that is not conducive to being around small children. I have heard him speaking in harsh tones to certain children when there was no need to be so brusque. Yesterday, when I came to pick up my child, another little boy tried to walk outside (they were getting ready for playground time), and he grabbed him by the upper arm and pulled him back while verbally reprimanding him in harsh tones for trying to go outside. The other teacher in the classroom saw it but said nothing. Another time, as I was leaving with my son, an older child came up to the door to peek out, and a different teacher told him to "go away." It seems like in general, the atmosphere is rather cold and distant. The two teachers I really like are always gentle and caring with the children and seem to have way more cpmpassion than the other three, but they work mostly with the older children. I understand that the shcool encourages independence and such, but these teachers seem to get frustrated when the children don't know how to do things sometimes. My son keeps bringing the same artwork home from school on the days that he goes--construction papers with pre-cut shapes glued to them. I don't think the school ever has the children draw or paint during art time. On occasion, I have come to pick up my child and seen that there were children on the playground and the gate between the parking lot and playground was open. With only one or two teachers supervising the outside group at a time, that is so dangerous--the younger children could slip away unnoticed to the parking lot, and it's only a short distance from there to the road. I latched the gate and brought it to the teacher's attention, but it has happened several times. That kind of inattentiveness to critical details worries me greatly.

I am really confused and I am not sure what to make of all this, so I apologize if it is too long or rambly or just seems silly. If it was just one incident, that would be one thing, but all the small things added up make me feel that maybe this is not the school for us. I am thinking of talking to one of the nicer teachers and explaining my concerns, but I don't know if that will fix anything. Overall I just get a bad vibe, and I am thinking of switching my child to a conventional preschool next year (the only other option in my area). I am feeling very conflicted and disappointed right now. Do I have a right to be concerned?

**Edited to add that these problems are mostly not montessori-curriculum specific, so I hope this is ok to post here**
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#49 of 67 Old 02-09-2005, 05:57 PM
 
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I would definitely recommend that you talk to one of the nicer teachers about your concerns. Tell her, that this is causing you to consider moving your child to a conventional school. Also, express that you don't want to cause any uproar among the staff, that maybe your issues could be resolved in a non-accusitive manner. If things don't change within a couple of weeks...move. Have you considered the option of a home daycare? I chose to not send my older ds to preschool, because I was so happy with his day care provider that ran it in her home. She had a really open attitude toward learning, nutrition, and children's needs. I don't think that preschool is all that necessary, unless it's a really good environment and it fits your child and their needs.

Is this a certified Montessori school? It doesn't sound like it, by the way you described the art. Precut shapes is not Montessori.

Hope you find the right answer. Let us know how it goes.
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#50 of 67 Old 02-09-2005, 06:02 PM
 
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This sounds to me less like a problem with Montessori, and more like a problem with this particular school. I would have a real problem with the harshness and impatience!
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#51 of 67 Old 02-10-2005, 03:12 PM
 
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I love the montessori philosophy, it' s seems that intrinsic learning is what will tryly help to prepare children for learning at a later age.

For us the owner/ head teacher is very kind, however the teacher if the room my 3 yr old is in has grabbed his arm ( at parent night) and regularly speaks harshly to the children.
At my meeting with her, she lectured me and didn't listen to my suggestions, although she said warlier that she was open to suggestions, she was completely on the defensive.
When I asked her yesterday when a good time for a meeting would be, she said to waint untill parent conferences in March, but I don't want my son in a place where he is getting yelled at, I am serching for other schools, but so far no dice.
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#52 of 67 Old 02-10-2005, 04:18 PM
 
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Jenee,
I am so sorry to read about your problems with your son's school. I agree with some of the other posts that say this sounds like a problem with the individual teacher/school rather than the Montessori philosophy. I am a certified Montessori teacher and have worked in early childhood education for eight years in both a Montessori school and regular mainstream preschool. I can tell you from experience that schools are staffed by a variety of people. Some of these are dedicated to enriching the lives of young children. They are warm, loving, enthusiastic teachers. Others are less than kind, can be cold and are probably in the wrong field. I would recommend to you to seek out a teacher, not a school, who's reputation is great; one who is highly sought after and recommended by parents you know and like. IMO, These first years of schooling are crucial for your son. This is when he will develop, if allowed, a love of learning that will stay with him for life.
I want to stress to all of the parents reading this: If you ever see a teacher use harsh language and "grab" a child (unless it is to prevent him from harming himself or others) please go tell the director immediately. This is totally inappropriate. Maria Montessori stressed that in early childhood children are especially self-conscious and sensitive and we must never do anything to belittle them or make them feel as if they are bad.
I am now a SAHM to my ds. I look forward to starting my own school in a few years. I want to give children a place where they can be free to explore anything they find interesting without fear of criticism. This is my interpretation of the Montessori philosophy. If a child wants to put a basket on his head, fine. I'll show him what it is for and know that eventually he will use it for its intended purpose, once he is sure it is not also a hat. My school will happen to be guided by Montessori principles, but that is not what will make it a good school. Remember this when choosing a school for your child. Montessori, Waldorf, etc.- it is not the title that matters but the character, training and experience of the teachers that really counts.
I wish your son the best in his journey of learning!
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#53 of 67 Old 02-10-2005, 06:13 PM
 
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Cian'sMama: I really enjoyed reading your post. I love the way you worded your interpretation of Montessori.
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#54 of 67 Old 02-13-2005, 07:40 PM
 
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Cian'smama, i am also a trained Montessori teacher, and was about to post something so similar to what you said.

It is often as if each classroom within a school is an island operating independently. if you go check out a school and obseve only one class, you may get a huge shock if your dc ends up in a different classroom. Ask to observe every classroom in a school and you will see what i mean.

i always had a noisy goofy class but we had fun. other teachers emphasized silence. i once knew a teacher that gave kids time outs for *talking*. and parents would request this classroom!!!! you coul hear a pin drop.
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#55 of 67 Old 02-21-2005, 08:19 PM
 
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about my kids' montessori school - i have only read one book on montessori teaching, and i just realized that i have based a lot of what i understand montessori 'is' just on the experience of our school and the one book!

i interviewed several schools before i picked the one my kids attend, and i felt different things about them, some good, some bad, but the one i picked i thought really epitomized montessori philosophy as i understand it. but now i also wonder how much is just the luck of finding teachers who are really dedicated to the philosophy but also sensitive to the kids' needs. so now i am really feeling a lot of appreciation for what they are doing.

but as for criticisms, i have one that is more of an observation - our school is crazy expensive, and like a lot of moms i am struggling with the idea of 2 kids tuition for the next 10 years. hell, i'm struggling with the idea of next month's tuition, let's be honest!

but my criticism is how many schools are able to keep older kids. our school goes up to age 12, but the elementary class is so much smaller than the 3-6 year old class. and i have a sense that this happens to a lot of montessori schools - the preschool program is a lot more popular than the older kids program, because people either can't afford it or they think of montessori as a pre-school, not for the longer term.

so i personally would love to see my kids attend longer, all the way to age 12, but i don't know how i feel about paying big bucks for an elementary class of like 20 kids age 6 to 12, vs. a larger school where there is more social interaction.
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#56 of 67 Old 02-21-2005, 09:33 PM
 
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Fortunately, at my sons Montessori school, there is no tuition, it's a charter school. Another thing, I like is that it goes up to age 16. A lot of people around where I live are into non-public-school methods of learning.
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#57 of 67 Old 02-22-2005, 04:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by placenta

so i personally would love to see my kids attend longer, all the way to age 12, but i don't know how i feel about paying big bucks for an elementary class of like 20 kids age 6 to 12, vs. a larger school where there is more social interaction.
Wow--am I understanding right? Your school has just one classroom for 6-12, rather than a 6-9 and a 9-12? i haven't heard of that arrangement before.

I'm also in Northern CA and we also have a charter Montessori school, but right now it only goes up to age 12 (grade 8).
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#58 of 67 Old 02-22-2005, 04:27 AM
 
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sorry - that was confusing, it's AGE 3-6 in the class my son is in, and age 6-12 in the elementary class. i live in north oakland, and i don't know of any charter montessori schools around here - i WISH there was one!
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#59 of 67 Old 02-22-2005, 05:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by placenta
sorry - that was confusing, it's AGE 3-6 in the class my son is in, and age 6-12 in the elementary class. i live in north oakland, and i don't know of any charter montessori schools around here - i WISH there was one!
Oh, sorry--my post was confusing as well! :LOL

I meant ages, too. From what I understand, the standard Montessori class age divisions are 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12. i had never heard of a class that had ages 6-12 all together. That seems like a really big range, to me.
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#60 of 67 Old 02-22-2005, 05:58 AM
 
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Thanks, women, for the really great, constructive talk...I've been dealing with ds having rsv, very stressful. Just caught up on this thread and wanted to add to the chatter:

Placenta:Thank you for giving credit to the work early childhood teachers do. I have worked as a lifeguard, waitstaff, nanny, farm hand, stock exchange runnner and preschool teacher...and now i am a sahm. By far the most exhausting job has been teaching a class of kids. It is a job that requires limitless patience and energy. To all of the parents with of preschoolers out there: understand that it really is the teacher and not the school that counts. I also want to add to what kaydee said about a 9-12 class being an unusual concept in montessori. Sounds odd to me. Always be skeptical when kids don't stay with a school.

A thought on montessori from 3-12:

http://www.montessori.org/enews/barb...ra_walters.htm

In response to the posts on charter schools,I live in a rural area and we are lucky to have a fine montessori preschool . The problem is that, after preschool, we only have a charter montessori school. This is a nice idea, a long time coming, but in practice gives some "lucky" lottery-winners a montessori elementary school, and the other kids get the sub-par "regular" education. This doesn't seem equal to me.

Light to all-

Molly
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