Montessori approach in 6-9 range? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 04-14-2006, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 6 yo dd is currently unschooling and we would like to continue, but if anything should interfere, I am starting to really like the Montessori approach and we have a montessori school here that is state-subsidized (read: free) and apparently very good. I've read a lot here and elsewhere about the Montessori 0-3 and 3-6, and visited a great Montessori preschool, but can someone tell me if the teachers "teach" in the 6-9 range classrooms, and/or how the day and class are structured? For some reason (maybe i'm missing something big?) I don't seem to find a lot of info on the internet about this. Is there a group lesson or presentation each day? Is there dictated material they are supposed to learn over the course of a semester, year or whatever? Is there a theme or a topic? What if they choose not to do anything academic for months on end? I would just like to know more about the practical, daily ways of learning the kids employ, how much freedom they have to choose their activities, if the teachers take on more of an authoritarian role, etc.

if this has already been discussed please let me know!
thanks
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#2 of 16 Old 04-14-2006, 04:00 PM
 
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I can't answer a ton specifically, but i did work as a K teacher in a charter Montessori school. We knew as teachers that even though Montessori theory is that children can work at their own pace and choose the same tasks repeatedly, that this would not meet the state standards by which we were bound to operate. In kinder, we started off with free choice at the beginning of the year, then in addition to pulling out small groups and doing 1 on 1 instruction, we started requiring kids to complete 1 langauge job and 1 math job daily. Then we went to 1 lang. and 1 math in the morning, 1 of each in the afternoon as well. The higher grades did similar things where they had a weekly "work plan" and the children were required to complete the entire plan in a week, but how/at what pace, etc. was up to them. Plus there was 1 on 1 and small group, as well as whole group instruction going on in these classrooms. HTH.
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#3 of 16 Old 04-15-2006, 09:25 AM
 
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My son is in 1st grade in a 6-9 year old montessori class and the 6-9 class is very different form the 3-6 class, although many of the montessori materials are in both classes and there are some different ones in the older class. At the beginning of each week each child has to make a weekly work plan, whereby they have to plan the work they intend to do during the week in math, language skills, grammer and culture. The first graders meet with one of their teachers and plan together, whereas by third grade the plan is made pretty much autonomously. This plan forms the basis for the weeks work, the child is then free to work off the plan as he wishes, with the proviso that it must be completed by the end of the week. The children have some small group and individual lessons with a teacher when a new area is reached in the work plan.

The children spend a lot of time when they are not working on their plan doing "research" - using the books available in the school on topics of interest to them. My son loves this! This year he has been fascinated by birds and has been able to spend a lot of time pursuing this interest.

They often have a whole class lesson re a science or history topic in the afternoon and there are also enrichment lessons in gym, art, music and spanish.

This is just a very basic idea of how the day is structured and doesn't give you a feel for the class, but hope it helps. I'm sure each school is very different and the best thing to do is go and look round.
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#4 of 16 Old 04-15-2006, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks a lot for these answers! But for instance, my 6 yo can't read yet. So if they can't read, what would happen? Or what if they don't fulfil their work plan that they created?

oh, and lousli - when you say a "math job" or "language job" are these traditional workbooks or are there dynamic tools that more resemble Montessori materials? (At the preschool I visited, I saw they had some traditional looking workbooks for the 6-year olds.)
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#5 of 16 Old 04-15-2006, 12:11 PM
 
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I also have a question. I have just been reading Montessori Today, by Paula Polk Lillard, which says that the Montessori Elementary Programme is based on 6 "Great Lessons" and several "Key Lessons". As I understand it, the children do their further learning by themselves based on the questions they ask after hearing these lessons.

Do these play a role in your schools?

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#6 of 16 Old 04-15-2006, 01:16 PM
 
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In kinder, we didn't have any workbooks. Only Montessori materials, teacher created materials, and some thing I supplemented with from my previous training and experience (early reader books, etc)

The older classrooms I saw were almost all Montessori materials, supplemented with a lot of reference books, textbooks, novels. I don't think they had much in the way of workbooks, but I didn't spend a lot of time in those classes. I could see them being used perhaps when students are learning to print or write in cursive? They don't really fit into the Montessori philosophy, imo, which is more hands-on.
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#7 of 16 Old 04-15-2006, 04:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmlp
I also have a question. I have just been reading Montessori Today, by Paula Polk Lillard, which says that the Montessori Elementary Programme is based on 6 "Great Lessons" and several "Key Lessons". As I understand it, the children do their further learning by themselves based on the questions they ask after hearing these lessons.
This is key to elementary education. Ask the school/teacher if they teach the Great Lessons. Here is more on the Great Lessons:
http://www.wiki.montessorimom.com/in...reat_20Lessons

And here is the scope and sequence of 6-9 Montessori. Basically, what they should have learned by the end of the three year cycle.
http://www.moteaco.com/albums/sequence/69scope.html
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#8 of 16 Old 04-15-2006, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks, fsm! very helpful!
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#9 of 16 Old 04-15-2006, 05:39 PM
 
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Yep -I believe the Great Lessons are taught in the whole class lesson in the afternoon.

Many of the children in first grade are just starting to learn to read and they receive instruction appropriate to their level. That is one of the beauties of montessori, as I see it, that the children can each go at their own individual pace.

Hope this helps - I was trying to give an idea of how my sons day is structured and it is good to see fsm's links to the curriculum. Those links certainly reflect what I have seen of my sons' schools curriculum.
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#10 of 16 Old 04-27-2006, 10:35 AM
 
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i just toured my local Montessori. dd might have to repeat K. dd is 5.5yrs and can't read (but for a handful of sight words) and I was told that all the dc at the school learn to read before entering 6yr level (not sure of the age break down at this school). dd would have to enter at the "preschool" level and possible move up mid-year. I kinda felt that they wouldn't know what to do with my "special needs" dd.

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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#11 of 16 Old 04-27-2006, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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wow, my dd is just starting to teach herself to read, and she's 6.5. I can't believe they think that is a problem.
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#12 of 16 Old 04-29-2006, 10:11 PM
 
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[QUOTE=sphinx]thanks a lot for these answers! But for instance, my 6 yo can't read yet.
QUOTE]
Just for you to know. We had the experience that allot of Montessori schools won't take children who have not done a Montessori 3-6 program first.We encountered this because my son was in Waldorf first until he was almost 7 and therefore had not learned to read yet. He started in one Montessori school just for 3 months ,March to June last year,where it was no problem but we moved. In the new city we moved to most of the Montssori schools would not take him.One of the directors even said " we have very high standards,all our children read by age 5" as a reason not to take our son.
If you are considering a public Montessori school this may be less of a problem.
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#13 of 16 Old 04-30-2006, 02:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm, I actually think the reading expectation is later here in eastern europe because even in regular school they don't teach them to read until 6 or 7, I don't think the Montessori is more demanding in that regard. I know the 3-6 Montessori I visited had some directed reading/writing work for the 6's but they said they didn't push it on them. I will have to ask.
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#14 of 16 Old 04-30-2006, 06:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinx
Hmmm, I actually think the reading expectation is later here in eastern europe because even in regular school they don't teach them to read until 6 or 7, I don't think the Montessori is more demanding in that regard. I know the 3-6 Montessori I visited had some directed reading/writing work for the 6's but they said they didn't push it on them. I will have to ask.
From all I have read about Montessori ( I am no expert) the child is not supposed to be taught to read at an early age but if they teach themselves on their own using the materials, it is OK.
However here in Canada I have the feeling that allot of parents ONLY put their children in Montessori so that they will be able to read before they start first grade and be ahead academically.That is too bad.
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#15 of 16 Old 05-01-2006, 03:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chel
i just toured my local Montessori. dd might have to repeat K. dd is 5.5yrs and can't read (but for a handful of sight words) and I was told that all the dc at the school learn to read before entering 6yr level (not sure of the age break down at this school). dd would have to enter at the "preschool" level and possible move up mid-year. I kinda felt that they wouldn't know what to do with my "special needs" dd.
My dd was 5.5 yr old when she entered private 6-9 class. She didn't know how to read and even was having trouble with upper and lower case letter recognition and transposing letters. We, the parents, "taught" her to read outside of class per the teacher's(school's) request. We used their series of books and spent 20 minutes every evening and she is at "grade level" and doing well. I am glad my dd was able to move at her own pace in 3-6 classroom and be "young" a bit longer.
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#16 of 16 Old 05-01-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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My dd is in 2nd yr. of the Gr. 1-3 (Lower El) at her Montessori in Upstate NY. Every kid knew how to read coming into 1st grade but one, who is still not reading and has 'issues' (i.e.: she gets tutorial help every week). The expectation is that they can read, but not a requirement.

The school day starts with a look at the board - a write on wipe off board. There are 3 math questions they must answer (all children), but how they answer them is different for the different ages. Every day, unless there is something special happening, the children have to complete assignments -
The board says: Reading assignment, math skill cards, memorization (for appropriate aged math questions), math materials (for any kind of math), spelling, language (poetry, symbols, etc), and free time is used by the child to pursue their own interests in the classroom.

They also usually have a continual assignment, which changes from week/month to week/month. This month (mid apr - mid may her class is working on LIGHT). Ok, so they have these assignments to finish. If they don't? Well, They are given extra time to work on them (if they haven't finished most of the assignments) while the rest of the class goes to recess - they have to stay in for the first half of recess, and get to go out as soon as they catch up. Eventually they fall further and further behind in getting their work done and it's brought to your attention and you are called in for a conference (I haven't had to do this yet, so this is somewhat hearsay) and you decide together whether the classroom is 'working' for your child.

Every montessori is VERY different. Some classrooms even in the same school are very different. There are 3 1st - 3rd classes in dd's school. Her class seems more structured and less project oriented. There is another that is like the 'least fun' one, and another that is AMI, rather than AMS and very classroom hands on stuff, less free time to get your work done on your own.

Dd's class has great and key lessons, and they are used throughout the year to bring up specific topics that they then address using a few different methods. With light, they have projectors, use sunlight, made rainbows, and made shaddow puppet/theater. They have about 2 more weeks of light and then finish the year with something like air? Not sure. They've done water, soil, plants, rocks and energy already this year. Last year was similar but somewhat different.

I'm happy to answer specific questions, but as I said, every school is different. Some are super rigid about their enrollment policies, others are expanding their community and are less rigid. Others are more wadlorfian and artsy, others are very musical. Depends also on what kind of school - some are cooperative, some are run by a board etc. So look around Sphinx - the policies of the school will impact you more than what they teach in the classroom. In general, the Montessori schools do push reading more than math, but not all, and in general - but by no means always - they do expect 1st graders to be able to read step one ready to read books (a few words per page, 5-20pgs.). hth! Andy

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