Montessori vs Best Public Elementary School - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 08-04-2006, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,

We have a 2 year old and we are considering to enroll him in a private
Montessori next year. We want him to be there for two years between
ages of 3 and 5. I think Montessori education is one of the best for
preschool. But I have big question marks when it comes to elementary
school. While Montessori education has its own nice things, I do not
want my child to be "academically" disadvantaged if he attends the elementary school there. Everybody says we shouldn't give too many standardized tests etc., but the truth of the matter is that's the way our society works. Those who score better grades end up earning better salaries most of the time. So I'm in a dilemma whether to continue to the Montessori elementary school or to move my house to the part of my state where there are best public elementary schools with excellent standardized test scores.
Does anybody know of any "unbiased" research done by non-Montessori organizations comparing the academic success of Montessori versus traditional students ? Thanks.
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#2 of 21 Old 08-04-2006, 01:08 PM
 
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I don't know of any studies, but I have NEVER heard of montessori kids being behind. Often annoyingly ahead but never behind.

-Angela
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#3 of 21 Old 08-04-2006, 02:34 PM
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As a teacher, I don't put much stock in elementary school standardized test scores. Yes, at some level people with higher test scores have certain advantages. But elementary-level scores, especially on state-created and administered "standardized" tests like the ones states are using to meet NCLB requirements, are basically irrelevant. There are great schools with not-so-great test scores, and terrible schools with fantastic scores. There are scattered reports of cheating. There are loopholes in the reporting laws that allow schools to fail to report certain scores.

I think you should pick the elementary school that offers the best fit for your child. The teachers should be warm and caring, the school as a whole should work with your child's temprament, and your child should be excited about learning there.

If it's a good Montessori school, and you can afford it, I'd go with it.
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#4 of 21 Old 08-04-2006, 05:15 PM
 
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My DD went to Montessori for preschool and Kindergarten. We put her in public school for 1st grade and she was definately ahead of her classmates.
Good luck,
E
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#5 of 21 Old 08-07-2006, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies. I did not know about the loopholes in score reporting. That's unfortunate.
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#6 of 21 Old 08-07-2006, 01:26 PM
 
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Hi USA,
I just wanted to add that if you are considering M, you should consider the full 3 year cycle. It is really disappointing for the child to leave after the 2nd year without the culmination of the final year. There are many lessons that the child will be preparing for throughout the 1st 2 years, that he will "arrive" at in the 3rd year. Also he will lose the chance to give back to the little community by being the oldest/role model for the group. It really is a 3 year program. It's something to consider! Check with your Directress for more info.
Also, you could check with the school to find out if they may already do the standardized testing - and how the students in the elementary class are doing on the tests. Is it public, private or charter?

My sweetie and I have a lovely little lady 07/02 and 3 cats
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#7 of 21 Old 08-07-2006, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Lillianna,

Thanks for your suggestion. Could you elaborate a little bit more about the lessons you mention for the third year ? My main motivation in considering to enroll him to public school Kindergarten (assuming that we decide to go with public elementary school) was to make sure he is not an outsider when he starts the first grade.

The Montessori school that we consider for pre-school and elementary is private. So I don't think they do any standardized tests but I will ask when we go to the open house this week.
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#8 of 21 Old 08-07-2006, 04:15 PM
 
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Our local AMI Montessori has programs for the very young toddlers, all the way up to middle school-7th & 8th grade, called the "Erdkinder". When our dd attended, she did the standarized testing annually, and always scored in the 95th percentile and above. IMO, the most significant feature of her participation in this Montessori program was her undying enthusiasium for school attendance, and learning. At age 13, she still has her curiosity and sense of discovery, intact. This is the greatest feature of AMI Montessori method. I also think the cultivation of self direction and independence, along with respect for themselves and others, including those smaller or weaker, to be big assets as well. HTH!
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#9 of 21 Old 08-08-2006, 01:02 AM
 
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In the practical life and sensorial areas, by the 3rd year the child has pretty much been introduced to most lessons and has the opportunity now to solidify this learning by offering lessons to younger children. Many of the sensorial materials are revisited and studied more indepth in the elementary classes. The child will also greatly expand his vocabulary based on materials that he is very familiar with. The language materials build to a crescendo in the 3rd year - the function of words lessons, reading classification and sentence analysis build on skills the child has practiced the first 2 years. In the math area, the child has been working in the concrete - actual physical representation of mathematical functions. In the 3rd year, the materials bridge the gap between working with concrete materials and working in the abstract, termed "The passage to abstraction". During the 1st 2 years, the child will observe the older children working with the more advanced materials. It is a crowning achievement for him to take this position in the 3rd year.

My sweetie and I have a lovely little lady 07/02 and 3 cats
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#10 of 21 Old 08-13-2006, 04:40 PM
 
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I'm not concerned about my child earning high salaries. I don't buy into standardized test for a lot of reasons. Just yesterday I received dss's test results from last year. The year before he was "below basic" in math and "advanced" in English. His teacher said he did excellent work in math and was at the top of his class. I showed him the scores, told him to try harder, and last year he was "advanced" in math and English. It's not that his teacher was superwoman, he just tried harder. The test scores didn't tell me anything about his school. His teacher will be patted on the back for her outstanding acheivement in getting him from below basic to advanced. Recently I read that kids at private schools and public schools score about the same on tests that this was evidence that you shouldn't pay for private school. I had the opposite reaction to that information. I thought, well, in public schools (where I teach) we spend all day worrying about test scores and standards and we score the same as private schools where they have Enlgish and Math but also art, Italian cooking, camping trips, field trips, music, theater, etc.

I haven't seen the "best public schools" but my younger son will be in Montesorri because of the TINY class size, art, music, field trips, theater, and other oppurtunites that they have. I'm sure he'll be fine academically. I'm not worried about that. He's brilliant!
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#11 of 21 Old 08-14-2006, 01:26 AM
 
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As far as standardized testing goes, I feel that it is not an accurate picture of the individual's aptitude because of a variety of factors including test anxiety, distraction, lack of understanding, and the perimeters of the test. There is so much that standardized testing doesn't tell you about a person's abilities. Standardized testing also puts a limit on what should be learned and by whom. I believe that in order for knowledge to be useful to the individual, there must be some reason to acquire the knowledge (interest in the subject). I believe that individuals are capable of deciding what they need to know about subjects and that the only knowledge truly gained is that which is learned through one's own efforts. These are the things I think of when someone mentions "freedom" -it's not happening in traditional schools. In public schools (largely because of the primary focus on testing), you are told what to learn and when. I believe that in some ways our country indoctrinates the masses to a rather limited world view because of "standardized" learning (Doesn't Bush stress "Accountability"?).
Maria Montessori created a dramatically different learning environment. The individual is responsible for his own behavior, learning and progress.
Here is a quote about testing from A. Lillard's book. She just does an amazing job of in depth analysis of M theories related to current psychological research. This is the chapter summary from Ch. 5: "Extrinsic Rewards and Motivation" pg. 191. I will provide references for the studies mentioned if anyone is interested.
"Research...shows that although expected rewards may work to increased participation in the short run, they serve to demotivate people when the rewards are removed. Children show a steady decrease in intrinsic motivation to learn in school for each year they are in school (Harter, 1981). Furthermore, people report significantly higher levels of psychological well-being and competence when they are engaged in intrinsically rewarding activities (Graef, Csikszentmihalyi, & Gianinno, 1983), but schoolwork becomes significantly less intrinsically rewarding as children age. Viewed in this light, it is no wonder that so many children come to dislike school when it is enacted in the traditional way. Extrinsic rewards not only decrease interest in an activity, they are also associated with less learning and creativity, with decline in prosocial behaviors, and changes in classroom environment and self theories that leave many children unmotivated to learn in school.
Dr. M saw...that extrinsic rewards were not needed to motivate children who were already interested in pursuing school activities, and she saw that adult correction and praise both served to disrupt the self-guiding concentration she considered fundamental to development. She developed a set of materials and a method of learning that could be self-correcting and in which the intrinsic motivation to learn would be expected to stay strong."
Standardized tests are far from being a purposeful and motivating way to learn, rather they are the opposite: they hinder progress, interfere with self-concept and well-being, and limit the individual's possibilities.

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Those who score better grades end up earning better salaries most of the time.
Like Flor, I am also not so concerned with this. Ultimately, I hope my dd will know her self: what her interests, strengths and weakness are. I hope she can persevere through frustration, that she will know the value of practicing a task until she is satisfied with the outcome by her own standards. I hope that she feels compelled to contribute to society in a way that is personally meaningful to her. I do want her to make a good living to provide for herself well and for her family. I believe that M nurtures these qualities.

Quote:
Does anybody know of any "unbiased" research done by non-Montessori organizations comparing the academic success of Montessori versus traditional students ?
Also from Dr. Lillard's book: "The recent Milwaukee study of children who were in Milwaukee public Montessori through fifth grade may be the most useful current data on this topic. ...,this study showed that children who had been in M fared as well or better than other children-who were mostly in programs for more gifted students-on standardized tests and in terms of such issues as school absence and delinquency." (pg. 337)

Quote:
IMO, the most significant feature of her participation in this Montessori program was her undying enthusiasium for school attendance, and learning. At age 13, she still has her curiosity and sense of discovery, intact. This is the greatest feature of AMI Montessori method.
E.K.Lowi, ITA - a wonderful part of M is the way the materials are designed to lead the child on a path of discoveries. The discovery making process is guided by the Directress but it is controlled and executed by the student. By making her own discoveries, the child is motivated to learn, excited by education, and given a life long gift of knowledge retained. It is deeper learning than what occurs when you are just sitting still all day listening to someone else tell you the facts.

My sweetie and I have a lovely little lady 07/02 and 3 cats
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#12 of 21 Old 08-22-2006, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks all for sharing your opinions.
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#13 of 21 Old 08-29-2006, 09:09 PM
 
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i agree with others who said that montessori kids are usually ahead...or MUCH ahead. our local public charter school which has montessori for grades 1-5 and then a more traditional middle and high school has found that the kids coming from montessori have great study habits, excellent verbal and writing skills and are much more prepared for 6th grade and beyond than those that come from a traditional elementary. that school also does well on test scores btw tho i put little stock in those.

hope that helps.

beth
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#14 of 21 Old 09-05-2006, 11:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FromUSA
My main motivation in considering to enroll him to public school Kindergarten (assuming that we decide to go with public elementary school) was to make sure he is not an outsider when he starts the first grade.
This was brought up to me as a concern when I mentioned my daughter would probably at least attend M school through Kindergarten for the reasons listed above (it being a 3 year program, etc)

I guess it somewhat depends on how big your public schools are, however in my town, we have 5 elementary schools. At the one DD would attend (and they are all roughly the same size) there are 4 half-day kindergarten programs. There are similarly 4 first grade classrooms. When my daughter starts school on the first day of 1st grade, she will probably only know a few kids in her grade at that school. However, any kid in her class will probably only know about 1/4th of the class they end up in anyway, as they just mix up the classes from grade to grade. So they won't know she's "the new kid" or just one of the 3/4ths they didn't know from the rest of the K classes. So she will not stand out anyway.

Also, since she is attending M school in the same town as the elementary school, she has a good chance of knowing kids that will go to school with her later on anyway. In fact, we haven't gone one day and I already have found one boy who is in the same district in her class right now. So honestly, I'm not worried about this being a problem.

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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#15 of 21 Old 05-07-2007, 12:48 AM
 
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I want to weigh in from someone who's son is in his 3rd year of lower elementary (he is 9) and we are pulling him out of Montessori. He is behind in the basics, and since there is no monitoring in Montessori, it just seems to go unchecked year after year (in several schools - we have moved a lot). We have come to the realization that Montessori is not a good fit for our son. He needs more structure. He is a smart and bright boy, but he takes advantage of the freedom offered in Montessori and decides he doesn't want to do something, and they don't know what to do with him.
Take a good look at the teachers in the elementary program and make sure that they can motivate your child. Self motivation only goes so far with certain types of kids. Some kids thrive in this kind of environment but our son is not. The materials are beautiful, and the quiet focus of the room is so attractive to us, but, it just isn't working for our family. Just a different point of view. I also agree that testing and a little competition isn't a bad thing. It is how the world works.
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#16 of 21 Old 05-07-2007, 02:02 AM
 
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We really liked our Montessori school, but to be honest, ds did SO much better in public school first grade than he did in Montessori K. He actually seems to like the structure of public school better. He has learned so much in public school, and is happier here than he was there. I kind of wish we had saved the money and had put him in for K--my advice is to tour your local public school if you haven't already--I was so surprised how impressed I was by ours.

Sorry if this is disjointed, but I'm exhausted and am heading to bed.
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#17 of 21 Old 05-07-2007, 12:52 PM
 
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I cannot imagine a Montessori kid being behind in public school, I have always heard the opposite...my son just finished Casa (school year is June though March here) and was working on multiplications. Reading books, writing in cursive... If I moved him to the international schools in this area (all private and VERY expensive), he'd be terribly bored.

Ilaria mamma to Owen, Caroline & Patrick .... loving life as expats in Asia intactlact.gifnovaxnocirc.gifuc.jpgnamaste.gif
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#18 of 21 Old 05-07-2007, 07:47 PM
 
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FWIW, the Montessori school my kids will be going to told me during my initial tour that they do a test prep lesson for the upper elementary kids (gr. 4-6) so they won't be at a disadvantage in Middle and High School.

Now, I don't personally give a about testing, but it must be a question they get often as she just volunteered the information.

Mostly sane mother to twins.
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#19 of 21 Old 04-11-2014, 05:47 AM
 
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I am looking into this as well.

My too older children went to an expensive private school through elementary and middle school and are now thriving in high school. My two younger ones are in public school, (at least until I get the older ones OUT of private school). The public school is  very well regarded and has high scores for 3rd-5th grade which does give me "comfort" I must admit. My twins are very bright for their grade level however and not challenged academically. Of course, they are in kindergarten so it may be too early to call.

 

A friend of mine recommended Montessori and I have been doing some research. Because I plan to transition my twins into private school by middle school at the latest, academic performance/outcome is my biggest concern.

As I am doing my research, there seems to be "little hard data" comparing the quantitative outcomes of Montessori vs traditional schools. This is evidently due to their lack of testing.

 

I did find this study:

http://www.pearweb.org/teaching/pdfs/Schools/Cambridge%20Montessori%20Elementary-Middle%20School/Articles/Montessori%20article.PDF

 

which basically said there was NOT an academic advantage to Montessori method and in fact the 8th grade group performed more poorly in language arts.

 

I will continue to read and learn but so far I am feeling like all that glitters is not gold. It seems wonderful, (I love the calm, self-guided disciplined atmosphere that it offers very much)! However, at the end of the day, my children will have to fit back into the norms of society which demand "results" rather we like it or not....

 

I think in the end, it always boils down to what you as a parent feel is best for your child. No one knows him or her better than you. Having said that, I have felt that educational decisions have been the most difficult I have had to make. No matter what you choose, you seem to second guess yourself.

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#20 of 21 Old 08-25-2014, 12:26 AM
 
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I'am looking for preschools for our daughter, and are wondering parents' thoughts on whether sending your child to Montessori for just 2-3 years is worth the cost over other play-based daycares.
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#21 of 21 Old 08-30-2014, 01:24 PM
 
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I attended a Montessori school grade 1-3 and charter public school grade 4-6 then "good" regular public middle and high schools. Transitioning from Montessori to public school was difficult, even though the public school was a charter school for gifted kids. They were way behind in math. I was extremely bored and frustrated with all the memorization. It was also very difficult getting used to having to sit in the same seat all day long and do the same projects at the same pace as the rest of the class. I was day dreaming all the time - totally bored. I started to lose interest in school and eventually it caught up with me a bit in high school. I still managed to get to college and earn a BA and have a normal life, but as a result of my experience (as well as the experience my friends who have similarly switched from Montessori to public) I am keeping my own son in Montessori for as long as possible. His school goes up to 8th grade so I will probably keep him in that long.

I feel like we should prepare our children for the world but not at the expense of inhibiting their curiosity or interest in learning. I feel like traditional public schools - even the best ones - do not teach children how to learn, think, explore, challenge. They teach children how to memorize and follow directions. They inhibit creativity, self-expression, autonomy. I truly believe in the Montessori method.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arturo De la Mora View Post
I'am looking for preschools for our daughter, and are wondering parents' thoughts on whether sending your child to Montessori for just 2-3 years is worth the cost over other play-based daycares.
It may differ where you live but our preschool is priced comparably to other quality preschools and daycares. The cheaper options are far inferior.
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