Any truth to this? (Montessori kids behind academically) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 11-29-2005, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was talking to a friend today and I mentioned I was going to take a tour of the local Montessori, and she started telling me how all the kids she knows that have gone there were way behind when they started going to public middle/high school. She specifically mentioned math and said that they had to do alot of catching up. I was surprised because I thought Montessori was more rigorous than the public school curriculum. So what are your opinions, are Montessori students "behind" public school students? The one in our area is a charter, not private. Maybe it's just this school that is having a problem with adequate teaching? Well, any thoughts? Thanks.
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#2 of 20 Old 11-29-2005, 11:50 PM
 
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I think it is the exact opposite. Montessori children are generally way ahead of public school children. It is likely that a child could have a hard time transitioning into ps after montessori because the learning environment is so different. It goes both ways and this is why many montessori schools do not enroll children without previous montessori experience. They would have a lot of catching up to do. Because Montessori children are more advanced they will likely be bored with what is being taught in ps. I mean, if you are 5 and know the map of asia, are reading and writing, know geometrical shapes, etc, then traditional kindergarten activities such as learning to write your name would not be exciting. Montessori children are free to learn whatever interests them and in ps the teacher generally teaches everyone the same thing. In Montessori math is learned by doing concrete work instead of worksheets or textbooks so it may seem that they are behind but the truth is that they have learned math in a way that will help them out in real life situations.

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#3 of 20 Old 11-29-2005, 11:52 PM
 
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Not sure about the middle school program first hand............but I do know that the 3-6 children that graduate from a Montessori school are regularly well ahead of their kindergarten public school students. They are often able to do addition, subtraction, division, and math as well as read by kindergarten. They have better self directed motivation, independence, concentration and behavior.

I have talked with a few middle school montessori students and they have felt that their education was better than they could have received in thier local high school. Most of them upon graduation went directly into honors classes, IB programs, and boarding schools in other states.

Now having said this, these students were all attending a private montessori, which does have the ability to pick and choose students, although they seem to take everyone. A charter school does not have that choice. Possibly your charter school is a public school that has adopted the Montessori philosophy and way of teaching. This is great. The Montessori method should available to everyone not only those who can pay privately for it. Also Montessori schools are not out to create "geniuses" or the "smartest kids around" they are for teaching a love of learning.

So these students may not be the "smartest" kids around (based on some arbitrary testing), but I would venture to say they are probably doing better than they would have had they remained in the traditional school system.

Lastly, all Montessori schools are not the same, some better than others. Also they may serve different populations of students. Some of the children in that school may have been "put out" or "left" traditional schoo for various reasons and are now in this charter school that has adopted the Montessori philosophy in order to reach and teach these children, where traditional schools may have failed to reach and teach them.

OOPS one more thought, sometimes students have not gone through the younger years in Montessori and only entered the program in the later years. This creates a big handicap in having missed the sensitive periods for learning.

I would say if you are looking at a Montessori school for your child, check them all out, find the best one that fits your child. Trust your guts and watch your child to see if they are benefiting from the program. I looked at 5 Montessori school and they were all different, some private, some charter, some one-room in a public school etc etc.

Sorry for the long post............last suggestion, visit the charter school your friend spoke about, they can give you specifics on where the children are academically compared to the national tests, as well as where they went upon graduation. That will be a good indicator of what kind of student this school serves and thier curriculum.
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#4 of 20 Old 11-29-2005, 11:55 PM
 
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I worked at a Montessori for little kids when I was in college and thought it was wonderful. The kids were really interested in what they were learning and the teachers were very respectful of them and their needs. DH and I plan on sending our kids to one (if we can afford it when we have kids). I remember kids in highschool who had gone to Montessori being really bright and good critical thinkers.

If you're really concerned, maybe you can talk to someone at the highschools where the kids go after the Montessori you are considering.
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#5 of 20 Old 11-30-2005, 12:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the quick replies! DS wouldn't be going to this school any more than two years because I plan on homeschooling after I graduate from school and move to a bigger city. So this isn't a problem for me really. I was just so surprised to hear that because I assumed the opposite. I agree that what my friend witnessed was probably about the kids getting used to the different learning environment/teaching style and she interpreted that as the kid "not knowing math". Another thing I had heard about the school though from someone else is that the Montessori kids WERE going into the public high school way ahead and that the school decided to "dumb down" for lack of a better term, their curriculum because it was becoming a problem for these kids. (this Montessori is only for ages 4-14 btw and all the students go on to enter the public high school) So I'm getting alot of conflicting info Can't wait for my visit to get a better understanding of how they're doing things!
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#6 of 20 Old 12-02-2005, 11:41 PM
 
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My children (grades 4 and 6) have attended Montessori since preschool. They are doing work far ahead of those in our PS, especially in Math. Since our Montessori is a charter school, we must take state tests. Our children regularly test in the top 12 schools in the whole state of Florida. Three years ago we were actually ranked 1st in Math and 2nd in Language withing the state of Florida. It's always been my opinion that even a 'bad' Montessori school is far better than a 'good' public school.
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#7 of 20 Old 12-03-2005, 12:08 AM
 
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<OOPS one more thought, sometimes students have not gone through the younger years in Montessori and only entered the program in the later years. This creates a big handicap in having missed the sensitive periods for learning.>

Could you please explain this more? I am wondering because my son just turned 7 when he started Montessori. He came from Waldorf with no academics at all. I find Montessori suits him but I am interested in what you mean by handicap. Are you saying if a child does not do Montessori from the start it is better not to do it at all?
Just concerned,

Lorraine
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#8 of 20 Old 12-03-2005, 12:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jalilah
<OOPS one more thought, sometimes students have not gone through the younger years in Montessori and only entered the program in the later years. This creates a big handicap in having missed the sensitive periods for learning.>

Could you please explain this more? I am wondering because my son just turned 7 when he started Montessori. He came from Waldorf with no academics at all. I find Montessori suits him but I am interested in what you mean by handicap. Are you saying if a child does not do Montessori from the start it is better not to do it at all?
Just concerned,

Lorraine

I think starting montessori at age 7 is better than never starting. I think that he do be just fine, and have no problem performing the work that the other children do. If he were to have come from a traditional public school then he would have to adapt to the different learning environment. If a child is used to sitting at a desk and taking direction from a teacher, doing worksheets, textbooks etc. then it is a huge difference to be in an environment structured so that he can choose what he would like to work with and teach himself.

A 7 yr old child who's been in Montessori from the time they were 3 has mastered the materials and work in the 3-6 environment. If they come from outside then it just means they are missing that piece. Children adapt quickly and I think all children would benefit from a Montessori education whether they start at age 18 months or 8 yrs old.

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#9 of 20 Old 12-03-2005, 12:54 AM
 
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I thought I should post here because my dd age 13, went to a Waldorf school for what should have been the first grade (Waldorf 2nd year kindergarden). After she began complaining of unbearable boredom, we pulled her out and tried what was suppose to be an "exellent" public school, where she was physically threatened in the girl's bathroom by her fellow students, who then went without reprimand. We decided to try AMI Montessori Elementary. She was, by definition, a late starter, even though she had attended a Montessori preschool. She has thrived in this AMI Montessori setting and any handicap that she experienced by joining later (third grade) was quickly overcome. She has tested in the 95 percentile ever since, and is now in the eighth grade (Erdkinder) program- the last year offered. I know that many other students from public and Waldorf, have joined her class later, and are happy that they did, even though there was a lot of catching up to do. I am of the firm belief that some AMI Montessori is better that none.

Best wishes to you, and I hope this helps with you with your decision about Montessori for your child.
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#10 of 20 Old 12-03-2005, 03:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by momtoDNJ
I think starting montessori at age 7 is better than never starting. I think that he do be just fine, and have no problem performing the work that the other children do. If he were to have come from a traditional public school then he would have to adapt to the different learning environment. If a child is used to sitting at a desk and taking direction from a teacher, doing worksheets, textbooks etc. then it is a huge difference to be in an environment structured so that he can choose what he would like to work with and teach himself.

A 7 yr old child who's been in Montessori from the time they were 3 has mastered the materials and work in the 3-6 environment. If they come from outside then it just means they are missing that piece. Children adapt quickly and I think all children would benefit from a Montessori education whether they start at age 18 months or 8 yrs old.
I agree with the above post.

And I did not mean a handicap as in a "disability" or anything. Just as the previous post said, some of the children that start in age 3-6 or 6-9 will have learned all the "montessori ways of learning" and will not have to make a larger adjustment from traditional schooling. And I truly was directing that a newly entering High School student to the Montessori environment and not a young 7 year old. A seven year old will do just fine and be assisted by the other children as well.
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#11 of 20 Old 12-04-2005, 05:56 PM
 
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[QUOTE=E.V. Lowi]I thought I should post here because my dd age 13, went to a Waldorf school for what should have been the first grade (Waldorf 2nd year kindergarden). After she began complaining of unbearable boredom, we pulled her out and tried what was suppose to be an "exellent" public school, where she was physically threatened in the girl's bathroom by her fellow students, who then went without reprimand. We decided to try AMI Montessori Elementary. She was, by definition, a late starter, even though she had attended a Montessori preschool. She has thrived in this AMI Montessori setting and any handicap that she experienced by joining later (third grade) was quickly overcome. She has tested in the 95 percentile ever since, and is now in the eighth grade (Erdkinder) program- the last year offered. I know that many other students from public and Waldorf, have joined her class later, and are happy that they did, even though there was a lot of catching up to do. I am of the firm belief that some AMI Montessori is better that none.>

Thanks for sharing your story!
Thanks to all of you who explained.
When I read the word "handicaped"I freaked out.
Montessori seems right but I am senitive after our Waldorf expereince to make a mistake for our son again.
Lorraine
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#12 of 20 Old 12-04-2005, 06:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by OhTheThinks.....
Isome of the children that start in age 3-6 or 6-9 will have learned all the "montessori ways of learning" and will not have to make a larger adjustment from traditional schooling.
I have limited experience with this, having known only two children, (so I am not an expert) but I noticed something in common in those two children, who had attended two different Montessori schools in two different decades, and were subsequently attending public schools. Both of them seemed to have a tough time adapting to public schools, and they seemed to need to really go inside of themselves to try to place the ways to think about things in the new system. The framework shift seemed to be challenging. At first I thought I agreed with the quote above, and now I think I am bouncing off of it, with my experience. Not sure if this is helpful, and I am trying to make sense of this myself, which perhaps requires a larger sample size, but I was concerned about the similarities between those who children I knew.
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#13 of 20 Old 12-05-2005, 06:20 PM
 
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I do agree that it is difficult for the Montessori educated child to adjust to PS, but not because of the academic aspects, but because they are not used to the numbing and dumbing down behaviors that PS children learn from the beginning. Because the Montessori educated child is left with a natural curiosity, and enthusiasum for learning intact, they have to be careful that they tone it down so they are not singled out as freaks. In saying this, I do not want to disparage any PB school teacher that is doing the very best that they can, under terrible circumstances beyond their control. But I don't believe that the government has the best interests of my child at heart.
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#14 of 20 Old 12-15-2005, 03:20 AM
 
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I had a similar experience when I told an acquaintance that we were sending our ds to a Montessori preschool this year. She said "Oh! Are you *sure* about that? My Mom taught public school 4th grade for years, and every Montessori student she taught was so far behind. They couldn't concentrate at all!"

Knowing this person, I definitely took her statement with a grain of salt! I already know that we have different views about education/child-raising.

For me, her mother's judgement on M student just speaks to the warped expectations of many PS's. Kids are supposed to sit quietly and do as they are told. School work isn't meant to be interesting, you're just supposed to get it done!

As a Suzuki teacher, the two groups of students that I most enjoy teaching are my Montessori and homeschool bunch. This acquaintance was also horrified by my intentions to homeschool after Montessori preschool.

Another more recent story . . . a friend whose ds is in the same room with my ds was looking around for a closer, more affordable preschool. She called the Catholic preschool in her neighborhood. The director there stated that my friend's ds would have to repeat preschool since he doesn't write his numbers and letters. Never mind all of the in-depth units he has studied - he'll have to catch up on his worksheets. Argh.
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#15 of 20 Old 12-15-2005, 07:07 PM
 
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I'm sort of just invading...
My dh went to montesorri and so did my best friend. They were both always very ahead in public school- especially in math. (actually my dh had problems with boredom in public school and horrible teachers and ended up in a private school for elementary school after first grade). They went to two totally seperate montesorri schools in different states.
This, and my dh's ravings about his memories of m. school convinced me that my child will go to montesorri, and I will be trying to learn about the principles to apply it at home too.
I donno if this helps at all.. :P

Kelly, mama to DD energy.gif : (3-30-06) and DS bouncy.gif 7/28/09) ....and gummi, due 3-30-13! (large sch....praying.gif)

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#16 of 20 Old 01-06-2006, 02:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebethmom
I had a similar experience when I told an acquaintance that we were sending our ds to a Montessori preschool this year. She said "Oh! Are you *sure* about that? My Mom taught public school 4th grade for years, and every Montessori student she taught was so far behind. They couldn't concentrate at all!"

.
I also consider in these kinds of stories, these were kids who left Montessori by 4th grade. Not the ones who happily continued their Montessori studies. It's like hearing about a forgeien country from a person who chose to not live there anymore rather than from someone who loves it.
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#17 of 20 Old 01-07-2006, 05:29 AM
 
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my almost six year old is in montissori kindergarden but is in an advanced montissori math program nearing almost third grade math skills. : :
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#18 of 20 Old 01-07-2006, 04:23 PM
 
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I had a similar experience when I told an acquaintance that we were sending our ds to a Montessori preschool this year. She said "Oh! Are you *sure* about that? My Mom taught public school 4th grade for years, and every Montessori student she taught was so far behind. They couldn't concentrate at all!"
I left Montessori by 4th grade, was basically "unschooled" for two years with no schooling whatsoever, and entered public school in 6th grade testing at 12th grade reading level, 10th grade math. I think that that a teacher might have thought the same thing about me - because I was freaking bored and didn't understand either the attitudes in class (sullen compliance, no excitement) or the lack of challenge. So I'd read other books in class, pass notes, get in trouble.

Let's put it this way - if a child is interested, in a Montessori they can learn the parts of speech at age five (nouns, verbs, adjectives, subject, object, participles..etc). This what was covered in sixth grade. The geometry lessons in my public HS were some of the exact same work I'd done in M preschool (geometric solids, metal insets) and elementary. We learned evolution in first year of elementary (big bang theory) and studied the periods (trilobites are fascinating to little kids). Same in public HS...

Now, if they're not interested, no big whoop - and I suppose a child could theoretically enter 4th grade "behind" by not being interested in ANY work going on in a Montessori classroom (math, reading, writing, art, geo, history, etc.), because the teacher won't pressure. But I find this highly unlikely.
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#19 of 20 Old 01-11-2006, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thought I'd give an update since I just had my tour of the school. It seems like a really good Montessori and is pretty in line with what you'd expect from a "true" Montessori even though it's a charter. They do have to do standardized tests and devote morning to reading/writing work. Boy, you can really tell the dif between a Mont. school and a public one right away though! The thing that always impressed me about this school is the kids! I've never seen a happier or nicer bunch of kids. Right away two little girls insisted on showing DS all the cool stuff and how it works, lol.

Some stuff I didn't like:


Not enough time outside
Not enough art (only one/two times a week? Why? )
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#20 of 20 Old 01-12-2006, 12:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mz_libbie22
Thought I'd give an update since I just had my tour of the school. It seems like a really good Montessori and is pretty in line with what you'd expect from a "true" Montessori even though it's a charter. They do have to do standardized tests and devote morning to reading/writing work. Boy, you can really tell the dif between a Mont. school and a public one right away though! The thing that always impressed me about this school is the kids! I've never seen a happier or nicer bunch of kids. Right away two little girls insisted on showing DS all the cool stuff and how it works, lol.

Some stuff I didn't like:


Not enough time outside
Not enough art (only one/two times a week? Why? )
Glad to hear you liked what you saw.

My kids have "specials" a couple of times a week. I know that going to public school in a very small town we only had art one or two days a week in elementary. I assumed that was normal.

As for outside, I'm guessing that will vary from school to school. I would address that issue with them if it's a concern. At our school the kids are outside a lot regardless of the weather.
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