Confused about montessori - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 6 Old 02-03-2005, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello. I am new to this board. But it looks like a good source of info and I could really use some : ) I have a daughter in montessori program, she has been there for almost two years. I didn't know much about the Montesorri program coming into it. All I knew is that I felt comfortable and safe with the people that worked there. So I am not sure if this is typical montessori practice or not. But this is my question. I have been very happy with the program until recently when me daughter, now 4.5, started doing Multiplication!! After a year and a half of great reports, now I am starting to hear that she is having problems paying attention and getting into trouble. I am also worried that she doesn't seem to enjoy it as much and she really dreads doing paperwork. Is it crazy that my 4 year old is learning multiplication? I am worried that she will feel like she can't do it, but in reality it isn't something that she would typically be doing anyway. I don't want her to feell discouraged about doing something so difficult. But I also don't want to encourage her to give up on something b/c it is hard. I am also worried that when she goes to Kind this fall (our mont program is only pre-k) that she will be so far ahead that she will be bored and get into a pattern of acting up bc she is not challenged. is it typical in most other Mont schools that children are doing such difficult math at such and early age? Any ideas of how I can talk to the teacher about the possibility of slowing down without feeling like I am holding her back?
I really don't talk to anyone who is also in Mont. Our program is the only one in town and is quite small. I have always felt good about having her in the program and telling others about it. But now people are reacting like my daughter is getting pushed way to hard. However, all of the other parents I know have their kids in daycares that do not focus on school at all.
Thanks for any feedback or reassurance!!!
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#2 of 6 Old 02-03-2005, 06:24 PM
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I think that might me normal for Montessori. The little girl (3yo) I babysit is in Montessori and her mom was telling about how her teacher was worried because she wasn't learning her states like the other kids. ??? It seems nuts to me, to expect a 3yo to learn their states. I mean, if they learn them, fine. But to be worried that they're not? That's nutty. Same goes for multiplication!
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#3 of 6 Old 02-03-2005, 08:00 PM
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I am a Montessori teacher and perhaps can offer some insights.

First, no one should be "making" your child do multiplication. It is true that four year olds in Montessori schools frequently do multiplication, but it should not be something that requires writing. There is a "game" that presents the concept of multiplication with the golden bead material (representing units, tens, hundreds, and thousands) in an active way in a small group setting. Presented this way it is not difficult at all, but is fun.

As with all work in the children's house (the class for children 2 1/2 to 6 years old) the child should *choose* their activities, never be forced or coerced.

If she doesn't like "paperwork" it is because very few four year olds do. Writing presents its own challenges and should not be coupled with the beginning math activities whose goal is facilitating an *experience*, not require mastery or written evidence. If she is already up to activities that do have writing (these would not be beginning activities) and she likes the activity but not the writing then she could be paired with a child who can write. There are other ways to work with a reluctant writer, but basically, if it is the writing that is discouraging her then there are ways to help indirectly (sewing activities, for example, or metal inset drawing, etc.). If it is that she doesn't like to be told to do multiplication, well, I guess I can't blame her. I love multiplication but don't like being told what to do, either!
Perhaps the teacher needs to present it again after a break of a few weeks. Sometimes the child is just not interested in what we present. Perhaps she wants to work in a different area for a while.

Please visit to see what a typical day is like.

If you are wondering why we present multiplication at all to the children at this age, it is because if presented in the right way the children *love* it and develop a deep understanding of the concept. It is a game, a form of mental gymnastics. But, it should always be their choice.

I want to be clear that I am not criticizing your child's school or saying that the teacher is "making" her do things. I am not there and don't know. I just want to offer some possibilities.

Why doesn't your school go through the kindergarten year? That is very unusual.

As far as being bored in kindergarten, there will be a lot of new things for your child to do there even if the "academic" stuff has already been mastered by her.

Good luck and feel free to pm me with questions.

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#4 of 6 Old 02-05-2005, 04:17 PM
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Nevermind...Ellen said it better!
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#5 of 6 Old 02-05-2005, 04:23 PM
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Montessori is great in theory. Maria Montessori came up with the school and her ideas are great, Ellen explained a lot about them. The problem with Montessori schools is that any school can claim to be montessori, but not actually follow the montessori ideals and principals. If you google Maria Montessori, you'll find a lot of info about how a program 'should' look.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#6 of 6 Old 02-08-2005, 12:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for your considerate and thoughtful reply!! I am feeling much better about it. I have been doing a lot of research about it and I am starting to understand the concept much better. It has helped me to feel more confident about it and feel more able to discuss it with her teacher. Like I said it is so hard bc I am not around many other peole who go to Montessori, so they all kind of gasp at the idea of multiplication, just got me feeling somewhat insecure. And I misstated, the program DOES have a kindergarten, however, we are looking into other possibilities. Again, I thank you so much for your insight!! I really appreciate it and look forward to talking more in the future!! Thanks
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