I take what I know works that is Montessori, and add what is requested by parents and the child development community as a whole.
Like it has been said before, every school is different, every teacher is different, everyone comes to this table with different experiences and temperments, just like any other traditional preschool.
My school is not one of those pin-drop classrooms. We have toddlers, mostly 18m-36m of age. We do have materials on the shelves, and at circletime I do what I like to call 'job presentation', where each child will pick a activity off the shelf bring it to my rug, and I will show them how to play/learn from the activity. I find this helps them see how to play with it, also if it is something they do not play with, it helps re-peak the interest in that certain activity.
I change the environment/classroom every month so there is something new and exciting for the kids to play/work with. New books, new songs, new activities.
I encourage parents to stay as long as they want to, and I have an open door policy (state law in California). I let the parents know children will indeed act differently when their parents are around, and to keep this in mind during their observations.
We also allow the child their independant "me do it" mindset to do things on their own, however we are there to help as needed. We are also a 1-6 ratio 12 children total home-school environment.
There are some schools that are extremely strict, mine is not one of them. But like another message said on here, different parents are going to want different things for their child.
I just hope with all of the negative posts the overall belief is the theory that each Montessori school and each teacher brings their own beliefs and values to the mix, and to carefully screen a Montessori school as you would any other school you are considering.
Preschool was fine but elementry was a dissaster. It was everything school should not be.
I had my kids in preschool because I liked it, my mom had taught it, I went, etc, it suited us (and my ds's school was fantastic).
Here's the negitive...with the particular elementry school.
Lot's of m kids seemed to be hot housed. In the elementry school I found that they were not only going to school but also lots of outside academic classes through learning centers. They had mostly been to very strict ("true montessori") preschools and were ahead of their age requirements, thus the expectations were much higher.
Socially dd's school was weird as kids lived all over the place and they were always busy, there were few opportunities for the kids to get together. (Part of childhood, imho)
My dd likes to fit in, being slower or more creative, or not ready for multiplication at age 5 hurted her.
My dd needs lots direction, she got none. M teachers guide (if they are any good) but do not provide much strucure imho.
My dd needs reassurence, M is all about the individual so she got none... She likes stickers etc. M is more about personal satisfaction.
DD likes predictability (spelling at 9, math at 10 etc), in M it was do your work...
I found the kids, not just mine, lacked grounding in fundementals. ie) they're doing long division at 7 but don't know simple math facts at age 10.
After much distress I pulled dd from the system. She learned more in three months in a regular system than she did in all of gr 1 M.
Her self esteem improved tremendously. She stopped calling herself stupid and slow.
In my opinion M suits the child who is self motivated. When the child is motivated and the environment is calm and welcoming it can be a beuatiful thing. Think about how your kids is in other activities, what do they like. Dd excels in a really old fashioned environment, not one that would suit me, but it's not about me...
After reading through most of these threads, I'm sot sure I read any posts from folks who went to montessori, post preschool. I agree that it really depends on the child and the school, and for me, I THRIVED. I went to montessori until fourth grade, and then we moved to a small town with no montessori. The transition was horrible. And I think thats a major problem.
I was easily three years ahead of my peers in math and many more ahead in reading and writing skills. I had never seen a textbook, called any adult by their last name, and I had never had any homework. I adjusted poorly to group work, and my teachers did not like me. I could tell they thought I was precocious and wierd (I was). They refused to put me in the gifted program because my montessori did not give out letter grades. I was bored out of my skull, and very resentful of what I saw as the meaningless routines of public education.
I feel like the transition has to be managed very carefully. It was not, in my case, and for the first time I did not like school, and eventually grew to hate it.
I want to send my children to montessori, and hopefully we'll be able to find a suitable and possibly affordable alternative to public school post montessori elementary.
Thanks! This thread has given me a lot to think about.
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
in that they vary greatly from school to school.
A good friend of mine sent her daughter to a Montessori school where the children were taught to hold their hands behind their backs (in a very specific way) as they moved from one activity to another, or from one room to another.
I love Montessori, and know that many schools have really butchered the intent behind her theories and approaches. I'm sure that some of the schools are great experiences for some children, but I love fantasy and the world of the imagination. I love Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny and all of those other holidays that a creative mother can make so magical for her children, and I think that this makes childhood so incredibly special. I wonder if most Montessori schools discourage this type of fantasy.
We have decided to move ds to another school.
The guide doe snot seem to speak harshly as much now, however he still needs a guide who is "naturally" very gentle. I think he would challenge that type of teacher much less, as long as she also lets him know what is expected and re-directly him if he "takes a detour from productive development"
The school he is at has another classroom with a very nice guide who is a allows more freedom with materials ( trained in Washington, believes that it is Ok to make a fence with the color tablets, as long as not hurting anyone/ thing)
HOwever, it is in the same town as a power plant, which makes me very nervous.
The other school is 2 grand more per year and farther away, not AMI but the guides seem to have a balance between kindsness and structure.
what to do.
You have to check them out....
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 134 We are in our 8th year at our montessori school. It is true that anyone can use the name Montessori, but you can't say you are AMS, AMI, etc. if you haven't been certified through them.
Our school is AMS, and it's a great mixture. We are a Montessori school, following montessori principals, but there are other interests included.
The real life vs. imaginary was never an issue. It's never even been discussed within the realm of montessori principals at our school. My kids got/get plenty of playtime and plenty of opportunities to express themselves through their imagination.
Currently my boys are in 3rd and 5th grade, and will continue Montessori through 8th grade. If we are lucky enough to somehow get a montessori HS in this area, they will attend that as well.
You know the saying "It takes a village to raise a child"? I consider our school part of my village!
I was a Montessori student my whole life up until 8th grade because they didn't offer a Montessori high school in my city. I will help you on understanding your concerns with the program based on my experience. I loved Montessori, and highly recommend it… Take it from me who has a 3.88 GPA.
First of all, Montessori is NOT for just slow learners, and it's NOT just for smart people. In every single classroom I've been in, there's been a mix of both, just like in a traditional classroom.
There is NEVER bullying between the difference in grade levels being in one classroom. In the classroom, everyone becomes very accepting of each other and just don't care. The closest thing to bullying that I've ever encountered happened in 7th grade, and a traditional girl just switched to Montessori. She was so used to getting her way by saying nasty things to others, but stopped after a couple months when she realized that it won't get her anywhere. Everyone is so close to each other, I felt like everyone was part of my family. If you compare it to traditional, there was so much discrimination between freshman.
About being with the same teacher for 3 years - It really does depend on what teacher you have, just like in traditional. One teacher can be a jerk and another can be your best friend. I've had both. One of my teachers I could not stand, so I just switched teachers.
About the little to no homework issue - When I left montessori and went to high school, I have to admit that I did have to study more than usual; the traditional people had the exact same experience. After about a month or two, I got used to the homework.
Be open-minded about Montessori. I know that many traditional teachers hated Montessori kids because they didn't understand Montessori. When people don't understand something, they usually don't like it.
Hope this helps!
I agree with the others that all schools are different. I adore the school my DD is in. The negatives posted so far do not apply. Parents are welcome any time. They do ask after the initial transition that kids be permitted to enter the classroom and put their things away alone, but more for the responsibility and because parents can be disruptive at that time of day. Not an issue at other times of day. I pick my daughter up early sometimes or have lunch with her or just pop in to read a book to the class and all of those are welcome. The classroom is not so quiet as to be sterile, though I have seen those schools when touring. It is not chaotic either. They have regular toys in the aftercare room and outside (Mr Potato Head, puppet theater, Legos, dolls, etc in the aftercare room and tricycles and toy food and such outside). They do a lot of art and music. They change some of the work out every couple of months as they start a section on the solar system or dinosaurs, and also they rotate through continents and have work related to them.
Still, some of it is just in where your priorities lie. My DD has ADHD so I am all about outdoor time for her. Another mother left the school because she felt like they didn't have enough emphasis on academics. I feel like that's ok in a primary class. Another mom didn't like the school because they let her son be independent in the bathroom when he wanted (and he wanted) and sometimes he had marks on his underwear because no one wiped for him. She also wanted to know how many bites of food he ate every day and how many times he went to the bathroom. That's more in line with a daycare center, not a Montessori. At least, not in my experience. So if you're a mom who needs that level of communication, you may not be happy.
Montessori Schools are not part of franchise and therefore there are no strict rules set that every Montessori School has to follow. Yes, most Montessori schools are members of American Montessori Society (AMS), but not all. You do not need to be member of AMS to carry the name Montessori School and even among the Montessori schools that are members there still will be very different.
You can go to any Montessori School's web-site and it will be showing similar information (example Gold Material Montessori School), such as uninterrupted 3 hour work period, classroom's materials, different areas. Still it is the implementation of these principles that makes a big difference.
I've visited number of Montessori Schools and can assure you they are extremely different. I saw something very structures where children working quietly and at the same time seems to be very happy and saw opposite when the children seems to be moving extremely chaotically and looks like the teachers do not know what is going on in the classroom, still kids are happy.
Montessori is amazing educational approach that proven over time to show superior results, but it is really depends on the school and teachers that are working in the school.