what kids DON'T do well in a Montessori - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 08-15-2005, 11:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm new to this board, ds just started last week in a M 18-36mos class. He's still adjusting to it (he's only 22mos) and I'm still wondering if it's really going to be the right place for him.

I'm finding it hard to assess because I can't observe him in the classroom (no parents allowed, no observation mirror). I read with fascination the thread about what people didn't like about Montessori and it's helped me formulate me a great list of questions for his teacher and the head of school (e.g. how do they deal with a child using materials for purposes other than intended).

I have a slightly different but related question: Do those of you who have or have had kids in M schools have the sense that M methods work for a particular type of child and not for others?

e.g. Did any of you pull your child out of an otherwise good program because you felt there was a mismatch, and what was the mismatch? Or did you have a great experience for one child and not so great for another in the same school?

I would love to hear any comments. I've read quite a bit about Montessori and I thought before ds started that I knew what it was all about, but I'm realising more and more that it's all in the implementation of the ideas. I didn't know the right questions to ask when we looked around the school (though I generally like the teachers and head) so I want to get on top of it now before fall semester really starts (we're in summer program). I'm so glad to have found this board!
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#2 of 24 Old 08-16-2005, 12:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mavery
I'm finding it hard to assess because I can't observe him in the classroom (no parents allowed, no observation mirror).
I think that any school your child is attending should have an open door policy. I think that it is kind of unsettling that you can't peek in once in a while..

No other thoughts though, Dd1 attended a montessori school for 3 years and did great.

Good luck!

Mama to 14yo, 9yo, 7yo, and babe born 9/2012
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#3 of 24 Old 08-16-2005, 12:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I find it quite unsettling, and I think if I'd realised this before we signed up it would have been cause for hesitation. But like I said, I just didn't know the right questions to ask at the time.

I'm very conflicted about the situation. We have to have some childcare (I'm trying to write my PhD) and we were on the waiting list for a while and have paid a bunch of fees up front so I'm hesitant to pull him out unless I'm confident something's not going right. He talks enthusiastically about the activities he's doing, but we're still having a hard time with drop-off (and the school is quite inflexible on how it's handled) and I'm not entirely sure whether he's hyper and chatty when I pick him up because he had fun or because he's so relieved to see me. I can usually read him so well, but this is a major adjustment for him and so I expect things to change (e.g. we've seen some behavior changes at home) and I don't want to jump to conclusions about what's causing it.

Ack, it's so hard to know what to do.
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#4 of 24 Old 08-16-2005, 12:43 AM
 
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I wish I could help you better: my son's about to start Montessori as well, so we're kind of in the same boat. I can tell you that I have a neighbour who works as an administrator in one local Montessori we applied to, and she took her son out and left her daughter in. During primary, she says, it became clear that Montessori did not suit her boy because he did not like choosing and completing his own work. But her daughter is thriving there. So definitely it can suit some children less than others.

It does seem to be the case that this Montessori's policies do not sit comfortably with your style of parenting. Maybe you could ask for a meeting and talk with them about your concerns, then play it by ear, take your cue for what you should do from how they respond to you? Granted, some people are better with kids than adults, but if you don't like them and don't find they respect you and listen to you, then it seems fairly likely that your ds may be having the same experience.

Good luck with this decision, I know it's a tough one!
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#5 of 24 Old 08-16-2005, 12:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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addax, thanks for your comments. I'm glad someone has a "Montessori misfit" story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by addax
It does seem to be the case that this Montessori's policies do not sit comfortably with your style of parenting. Maybe you could ask for a meeting and talk with them about your concerns, then play it by ear, take your cue for what you should do from how they respond to you?
This is where I'm heading. I've already had meetings both with his teacher and with the head over the separation issue. I like them both and felt that they tried to be helpful, but that they were absolutely firm on the school's policies and that they were very sure that the policies were right, at least for most children most of the time.

I'm absolutely confident that it's a good and caring school with great staff, which is why we signed up - just not sure, as you say, that it fits my parenting style and my ds's needs. So I'm going to be asking for another meeting with the teacher and the head of school......
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#6 of 24 Old 08-17-2005, 04:22 AM
 
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I agree that it is very odd and frankly a bit alarming that they do not allow parental obsveration. At my sons' preschool (2 different ones in different cities) they preferred that parents booked a day to visit, just to avoid having too many extra adults in the rooms, but parents were aloways welcome to observe. We had to sit on a certain chair to be as unobtrusive as possible, but if we were apporached by children , by all means we could interact with them at their initiative. Usually, the children just wanted to make coffee for us and serve it as well. At my sons' grade school, we were actively encouraged to come and observe when there were students working before apllying for a place at the school. We are always welcome to observe and are even welcome to come to work with the class if we have special expertise or something interesting to share.
So actually, when I read you post, I thought not so much about whether or not there are certain children for whom Montessori isn't a good fit, but more about whether there are certain schools which may not be so appropirate. Unfortunately just becasue it is Montesori doesn't mean it is good--just as it is with any shcool. SO much depends on the staff and the rules of the school. But if you feel uncomfortable, you have every right to pursue and I think you have a right to observe.
Just to add--in my sons' classes, there are all sorts of kids--quiet, energetic, studious, artistic, nature-loving, distracted, etc. I am constantly amazed at how a ghood staff can work to help each child progress in his/her own way and at his/her own pace.
Good luck.
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#7 of 24 Old 08-17-2005, 10:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Bee. It's becoming pretty clear to me that my son IS suited to Montessori, at least for now. He loves the activities he does and getting to do things for himself.

I'm trying to come to terms with the absolute parent separation from classroom. I understand the school's reasoning (and also that they were prevented from having one-way glass, which I know other places do, by fire regulations) even though I don't like it.

It's for sure not the way I would have chosen to get him used to the place, but I'm hopeful that he will settle in soon (and in the meantime there's nothing in his behaviour that tells me he's not coping with it). The staff at his school are very gentle and seem to really connect with the children, too, so I don't have worries about the school as a whole - just a difference of opinion on this one issue.
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#8 of 24 Old 08-18-2005, 05:20 AM
 
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Hi Mavery--yes, if you feel the staff is good,and your son seems happy, that is most important. Maybe there are several of you parents who share this view that you would like to observe sometimes. Maybe you could get together and present an idea for how observations may work for the class--say one morning each week and that the parents sign up and sit in one chair quietly so as not to disturb the children? Just a thought. I know I have really enjoyed observing my sons and seeing how the staff work with the children. At all of our Montessori schools we have had a parent-teacher board to air just these sorts of questions.

(I can't believe all the typos in my last post! Hope you could read it anyway!)
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#9 of 24 Old 08-18-2005, 05:28 AM
 
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Quote:
the thread about what people didn't like about Montessori
Anyone know where to find this?
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#10 of 24 Old 08-18-2005, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is it (I hope):
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=199376
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#11 of 24 Old 08-27-2005, 01:17 AM
 
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Thanks for this thread. My very challenging older son is starting M-school in Septemeber. DH and I are a bit anxious about the whole thing.
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#12 of 24 Old 08-27-2005, 01:25 AM
 
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I have a good friend who recently pulled her child out of a Montessori school. She said her child was not self-motivated enough to choose and do her daily "work" there.
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#13 of 24 Old 08-29-2005, 04:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by philomom
I have a good friend who recently pulled her child out of a Montessori school. She said her child was not self-motivated enough to choose and do her daily "work" there.
Unfortunately I would think that is more a reflection on the school than the child or the pedagogics. In a good Montessori school, the children are observed often enough and the teacher has personal one-on-one contact enough with each child to make sure no one is slipping by without getting anything done.
That said, I do think you have to be careful not to compare what a Montessori child is getting done with a traditionally schooled child is getting done, because the Montessori child will be doing different things at different times. I find that many things my sons do take more time (compared to their cousins in a traditional school) because they do them more thoroughly and at a pace that suits my sons. They also may have a period of intense work in one subject area and then get back to other areas--although they are expected to do some math and language every week.
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#14 of 24 Old 08-29-2005, 09:38 PM
 
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Welcome Mavery. I'm glad the subforum has been helpful to you.

 
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#15 of 24 Old 08-30-2005, 10:59 PM
 
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Many Montessori teachers prefer that parents of young (under 4) children stay out of the room for the first month because of separation issues -basically, if you were in the room, your child would probably attach himself to your leg or "show off" and do things we would normally not permit in the classroom (climb on tables, run, throw things). It's a shame they don't have observation rooms. We also get firm on things like separation because parents tend to, understandably, want to calm their crying child, but unfortunately, it's US, the parent (my son is currently next door to my room with the toddlers, I have this problem some mornings too), causing the child to cry. Typically crying stops 2-3minutes (or seconds) after mom leaves, because we "redirect" them out of dramatic tears and into play ("work").

As far as kids not doing well in Montessori, I've suggested children leave for the following reasons:

1) I've asked several times that the parents seek additional help for SEVERE behaviorial problems with the parents completely refusing to acknowledge the existence of a behavior problem (as in, strangling other children, endangering other children, throwing furniture).

2) Parents were totally uninterested in all things Montessori, no interest in helping their child to be "independent", child had really erratic attendance (would often arrive just in time for nap!)

Children with ADHD have a reputation for doing poorly in Montessori, but then, ADHD children have reputation for doing poorly in most classroom settings, so I find it hard to take that seriously.

I do find that children who want to "do it themselves" and are naturally curious are more likely to have parents who are happy with the program.
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#16 of 24 Old 08-31-2005, 05:17 AM
 
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Great to hear from a teacher, montessorimama.
But wouldn't you agree that the reasons you listed may be the same reasons any preschool teacher or schoolteacher may ask for a child to be removed from a program? I have worked as a traditional preschool teacher and I would think those reasons (behaviour problems and uninterested parents/erratic schedules) would have warranted a parent conference or removal. So I don't know if they sound like a bad match for Montessori as much as a problem within the family.
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#17 of 24 Old 09-03-2005, 07:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mavery
addax, thanks for your comments. I'm glad someone has a "Montessori misfit" story.



This is where I'm heading. I've already had meetings both with his teacher and with the head over the separation issue. I like them both and felt that they tried to be helpful, but that they were absolutely firm on the school's policies and that they were very sure that the policies were right, at least for most children most of the time.

I'm absolutely confident that it's a good and caring school with great staff, which is why we signed up - just not sure, as you say, that it fits my parenting style and my ds's needs. So I'm going to be asking for another meeting with the teacher and the head of school......
I hear you and it is not right. I'm sure you are paying a hefty tutition and I feel no one has the right to tell you you can't check up on your child. If I were in your shoes I would tell the director in charge of the school that this concerns you because you feel the staff has something to hide by not allowing you to see your child. There is no law in this country permitting you to do this. I would show up anyway unannounced and if someone tries to stop you I would threaten to call the police and report the school is keeping you from seeing your child. The administrator at my son's school mentioned that I could check on my son at anytime but if I wanted to observe the classroom I would have to arrange that. If I want to observe the classroom I'm just showing up. I don't care what she saids. The worst you could see in the classroom is the staff goofing off. The kid could not be doing anything at all. Not engaging in any activities. If these montessori schools have such a strict policies regarding visiting the classrooms they should set up a one way mirror in the classroom accomodating unannounced visits and accomodating the staff. I think this is all bullshit. Excuse my language.
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#18 of 24 Old 09-04-2005, 07:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by East Coast Lady
I hear you and it is not right. I'm sure you are paying a hefty tutition and I feel no one has the right to tell you you can't check up on your child. If I were in your shoes I would tell the director in charge of the school that this concerns you because you feel the staff has something to hide by not allowing you to see your child. There is no law in this country permitting you to do this. I would show up anyway unannounced and if someone tries to stop you I would threaten to call the police and report the school is keeping you from seeing your child. The administrator at my son's school mentioned that I could check on my son at anytime but if I wanted to observe the classroom I would have to arrange that. If I want to observe the classroom I'm just showing up. I don't care what she saids. The worst you could see in the classroom is the staff goofing off. The kid could not be doing anything at all. Not engaging in any activities. If these montessori schools have such a strict policies regarding visiting the classrooms they should set up a one way mirror in the classroom accomodating unannounced visits and accomodating the staff. I think this is all bullshit. Excuse my language.


Whoa...please note that stating "if these Montessori schools have such strict policies regarding visiting the classrooms..." indicates that you believe ALL Montessori schools have such policies. I don't know if anyone else had this experience except Mavery--and she was rightly concerned. I do know that I have NEVER been to a Montessori preschool or school that did not have an open door policy for parents or at least a one way mirror for observing (that was only in one preschool I visited in San Diego). Any preschool or school, Montessori or not, may ask you to restrict your visits in the beginning as the child may have a harder time adjusting to the classroom if he is hanging onto mom's leg. I have taught preschool, K, 1st, and 2nd in traditional schools and cannot say I would have been super happy to have had all the parents observing the first few weeks as it would have been hard for the children. But once everyone was settled in--I welcomed participation or observation. And this is exactly as it has always been at each of my children's Montessori preschools and school. Parents are welcomed and encouraged to visit.
Just to clarify for you, east coast lady, that restriction of observation is not a Montessori-specific problem, but rather a problem with that one particular school.
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#19 of 24 Old 09-05-2005, 07:48 PM
 
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As far as observation......it is ENCOURAGED by all M-schools. Possibly what you encountered was the "normalizing period" that M-schools adopt. After the first 1-2 weeks of school the M-school ask that the parents not stay and visit with thier child within the classroom for about 6 weeks. Of course if your child is having separation issues this can be adapted too.
This period is necessary to help accimate and warm in the children at the very beginning of the year. It is to be a non-stressful time for the kids, and truth be told, the parents do add (unknowingly) an added level of stress to their child. The child can finely tune into a parents anxiety.
After this normalizing period, parents are encourage to visit any time, unannounced.
Main thing, ask questions, get reasons, follow your intuition for the needs of your child.

As for the question on children who may not benefit from a M-school environment. Possibly those children who need to be "directed". There is a high level of free movement and freedom of choice in an M-school. So if a child is needing a high level of direction and unable to be safe in a free movement enviroment this would need to be looked at.
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#20 of 24 Old 09-10-2005, 01:48 AM
 
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I have been wondering the same thing as OP. We are in a sort of different situation - we are Americans living in Taiwan and want our kids in Chinese-language preschool (as opposed to English-language schools that many kids here go to). The only options for this, then, are the Montessori preschool or the highly-academic-oriented preschool. Of course we chose M.

My son (just turned 4) is very attached to me, quite sensitive, needs loads of encouragement and is not self-directed. We do a lot of work at home on building his confidence, it is really painful to see your child like this. He's been in M school since 2 y 10 mo and has never seemed to like it. He is sad at drop-off, happy to return home and always says he doesn't want to go to any school at all.

I pulled him out for the summer and put him in a local preschool to see how he liked it. Turns out he LOVED it. There, they had English classes, math classes, art classes, toy day and story hour. And loads of PAPER WORK! Agh! He came home every day with these workbook exercises he was doing. I hated that part. There were only 4 kids in his class and he was kind of the ring-leader (and naughty and I didn't approve of the way the teacher yelled). Also, the teacher said right in front of him that she was surprised that I thought his art was good, b/c she thinks his art didn't measure up. (sorry, but this is a common story here)

I think he had more confidence in the non-M school, but obviously, it's not the best situation for him. I've got him back in M for the fall and his first day was really rough - crying. My heart is so torn. Should I stick with it in the belief that in the long run, M is good for building his self-confidence? Or is it possible that he just not suited to it?
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#21 of 24 Old 09-10-2005, 02:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ramona_quimby

I think he had more confidence in the non-M school, but obviously, it's not the best situation for him. I've got him back in M for the fall and his first day was really rough - crying. My heart is so torn. Should I stick with it in the belief that in the long run, M is good for building his self-confidence? Or is it possible that he just not suited to it?
It could be that he's not suited to this school? Those teachers? The children don't do much for him?
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#22 of 24 Old 09-11-2005, 07:23 AM
 
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I sympathize with you. That would be very hard if you want something for your child but something is going wrong somewere. I also wonder, could it be the children there or even one or two children whom he doesn't like or has a problem with? or the staff? Sometimes other factors can play a part--how long it takes to get to this school or the food offered or the playground or the noise level, etc. Did he like the other school because there was English offered (I am assuming he in English-speaking)? Did the other school have his friends? Have you observed him at the M-school to get a feel for his days there?
Good luck in figuring this out.
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#23 of 24 Old 05-14-2014, 09:48 PM
 
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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! 3b63d1616c5dfcf29f8a7a031aaa7cad.gif

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#24 of 24 Old 06-20-2014, 09:30 PM
 
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"Do those of you who have or have had kids in M schools have the sense that M methods work for a particular type of child and not for others?"

I went to Montessori and my son is going to Montessori. I feel the methods can work for any child but not every parent or teacher.

From what I've seen, the children it doesn't work for were either
-in a poor program (Montessori-esque, not really Montessori) with teachers who didn't fully grasp the method or who had underlying
doubts
OR
-the child's parent(s) didn't fully understand/appreciate the method and undermined/contradicted the method.
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