Not sure about my DS's new school - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 06-27-2005, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son just started today at his first Montessori school and I didn't feel too good about it. They are accredited. But, they have 17 kids in the 15 month-3 year old program. They have four staff for the kids. Since today was the first day for a lot of the children, there were a lot of crying, clinging children at drop off and pick up. My son was the only one who did not cry, they said. That's good, but how much attention can he be getting? I saw staff carrying these crying children. It seemed chaotic to me, but it was also because all the parents drop off and pick up at the same time, and I know that can be chaotic. I visited mid-day and things seemed much calmer and my son was happy and playing outside. When I picked him up, though, he seemed bored and ready to go. Should I give this school a chance because almost all kids are brand new except three or four of them and some of the staff is also brand new today, or should I run away??
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#2 of 5 Old 06-28-2005, 12:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nessalq
My son just started today at his first Montessori school and I didn't feel too good about it. They are accredited. But, they have 17 kids in the 15 month-3 year old program. They have four staff for the kids. Since today was the first day for a lot of the children, there were a lot of crying, clinging children at drop off and pick up. My son was the only one who did not cry, they said. That's good, but how much attention can he be getting? I saw staff carrying these crying children. It seemed chaotic to me, but it was also because all the parents drop off and pick up at the same time, and I know that can be chaotic. I visited mid-day and things seemed much calmer and my son was happy and playing outside. When I picked him up, though, he seemed bored and ready to go. Should I give this school a chance because almost all kids are brand new except three or four of them and some of the staff is also brand new today, or should I run away??

Uh, wait a minute - do they have a real teacher in the classroom? Like, someone with a certificate? How many of the staff have been there for a while, how many are new? Is the school certified by anyone? I assume it's more of a daycare-type situation, as usually schools start at 2.9 mos, and not before. And the 2.9 year olds are in a classroom up to age 6.

In a well-functioning Montessori classroom - and I'm not sure whose idea it was to have a bunch of new children start all at once - there can be very few teachers to children, and there is lots of attention for everyone. But that's usually an established classroom.

Good signs - the teachers/assistants (?) are carrying around the children who are crying, helping them feel better. That's good. Four teachers for 17 children is a pretty high ratio, from what I've seen. And the fact that it was calm midday is good; and that your son was ready to go is pretty normal. It's not like after spending 6+ hours there he should be saying I wanna stay! Long hours at school can be challenging for little ones.
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#3 of 5 Old 06-28-2005, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for replying! Since it is June and it's summer camp, all 4 teachers to the 17 kids are only assistants. In the fall they have one certified Montessori teacher to each classroom and then the assistants. I didn't know that until the day he started, but I should have asked. The school just opened a few months ago, so that's why there are so many new children. Out of the 4, I know there's at least one new staff member. Luckily, my ds only goes for 3 and a half hours in the morning three days a week.
But I'm being a nervous mom anyway and I really am not sure about what is traditional in Montessori schools. I was surprised by the chaos, like I said before. The school is too new to have any kind of reputation. Do you think I made a mistake? Is feeling anxious like this normal?
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#4 of 5 Old 06-28-2005, 09:39 PM
 
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Heh, no I don't think you made a mistake - but welcome to the world of schooling! It never stops!

I would not expect the summer program to reflect a "normalized" Montessori classroom. It's probably a lot more like any other summer camp. Hopefully they're having fun painting, playing outside, singing songs, etc etc. I think that for such a short time that he's going everyday, nobody will be hurt unless the assistants you feel are truly incompetent. I think it's a good sign that they were carrying around children and comforting them.

I still think it's normal for him to want to leave after 3 hours. It might go back and forth. Do most of the other children leave then too, or is it more all-day type of care?

Did you meet with the director of the school? Do you feel comfortable with her?

A normal montessori classroom (in my opinion) should sound like a small beehive, bees being busy, children talking to each other & themselves. It's not crazy or chaotic, but it's also not deathly quiet. It will probably be hard to see what you think until Fall, and see how the classroom works by October or so.
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#5 of 5 Old 06-28-2005, 10:00 PM
 
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the toddler room has a higer volume than any other classroom as the child is just learning to module their voice.

on the first day and for the next 3 weeks is going to be hard the drop and pick up hours as the children learnd the rutine and freedom.
do however speak to the director tell her how you feel. It is possible the teacher can write a little note of how the day whent for your child.
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