Montessori-- what's your schools policy on full day/half day? UPDATE #31 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-27-2008, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wondering, AGAIN. Our school is AMI and requires 4 year olds to start full time (8-2.45 Monday-Friday). I managed to convince the director to let ds wait till he was 4.5 to start full time, but now another mama has a kid ready to turn4 and the director i s giving her a hard time about wanting to keep her dd half time. He insist that this is just the Montessori way, but from reading this board, it seems there is a lot of differences between schools. Could you tell me your school's policy and if it is AMI or AMS or other.

Our school:

2-4 yo Can be full time or part (8-12 4 or 5 days).
4-15 full time (8-2:45 5 days a week)

AMI
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Old 01-28-2008, 03:55 AM
 
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We are AMS, not sure how that affects things.

Children's house is either half day or full day, for the full 3 years, so there is no requiring anyone to go full time, until you reach lower elementary which is only full time.

The classes are seperate, a class is either full day or half day. If I wanted my DD to go full time, I'd have to put her into one of the full time classrooms, changing teachers. We don't have some kids who leave at noon and the rest stay to 3 all in the same classroom.

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Old 01-28-2008, 03:58 PM
 
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she is an AMI trained primary directress...my oldest daughter went to an AMI Montessori ages 3 to 9, and although she was in the All Day Community (I WOTH) from 8:00am to 4 ish, the other 2 primary classes had first and second year (and some immature 3rd years that would be staying for a 4th year as 6 year olds) kids come from 8:30 to 11:30 am five days a weeks, and the 5 and 6 year olds came from 8:30am to 3pm five days a week. But they really wanted kids to start by age 3, and there were no 3 or 4 day options (although a few wealthy parents paid the regular tuition and just sent their kids 3 or 4 days, but the school really made a huge deal about it).
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Old 01-30-2008, 03:28 PM
 
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AMI school

Nest 12-36 months 8:30-11:30 / 4 days

Primary (3-6 yo)
3-4.5 yo 8:30-11:30 / 5 days
4.5-6 yo 8:30-2:45 / 5 days

From what I understand though, the children are evaluated for transition on an individual basis if they are close to moving classrooms or staying for the afternoon, some are ready before others.
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Old 01-30-2008, 07:08 PM
 
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The school we are considering has AMI and AMS certified teachers, no affiliation with either org.

3 and 4's go 8 to 11:30; 5's go 8 to 3:30. All kids go 5 days a week. I like this setup although 8 will be an early start for us to adjust to.
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Old 01-30-2008, 07:50 PM
 
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Our school is 3 & 4s can go full or half, mixed into the same classroom. All kids in the "kindergarden" year stay for the full day. 1/2 day is 9-12 and full day is 9-3. Oh and all kids must go 5 days from the beginning. You also have the option at any point of adding in some full days, but there is a minimum of 3 days per week to try and keep some consistancy in the classroom.
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:07 PM
 
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AMS school

full day or half day, your choice.
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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AMS school

full day or half day, your choice.

For all ages?
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Old 02-03-2008, 12:59 AM
 
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Our school is AMI. The 3 and 4 year olds go 1/2 day, then the 5 and 6 (if they stay that year) go full day. Basically, when you turn 5 you start full day. Not sure if that change happens mid-year based on your b-day or not, as my ds is only 3.
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Old 02-03-2008, 11:26 AM
 
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My experience has been that for the majority of schools in the US (whether AMI, AMS or neither) is that 3 and 4 year olds go for the 3 hour work cycle only and children in the 3rd year (5 or 6 years) stay for the full day. This is an American adaptation. Originally (and internationally) all students attend for a full day. Of course, many schools have all-day classes with extended hours for working parents.
I think it's a benefit to have a child attend for the extended hours (if they are interested) but many 4 year olds are still taking an afternoon nap. How do they accomodate this?

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Old 02-03-2008, 11:40 AM
 
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[QUOTE=Lillianna;10454757]My experience has been that for the majority of schools in the US (whether AMI, AMS or neither) is that 3 and 4 year olds go for the 3 hour work cycle only and children in the 3rd year (5 or 6 years) stay for the full day. This is an American adaptation. Originally (and internationally) all students attend for a full day. Of course, many schools have all-day classes with extended hours for working parents.
I think it's a benefit to have a child attend for the extended hours (if they are interested) but many 4 year olds are still taking an afternoon nap. How do they accomodate this?[/QUOTE]


Our school has a nappers program for the children that are not yet 5 but stay full days. They move out of the classroom into the specific nappers room, eat their meal together, sing, read a story and then get out their mats to sleep.

This works well, but for children who don't nap, the program gives no leaway. In an ideal world we would have two rooms, one for the napping children and one with quiet activities, handcrafts or yoga or reading with the non-nappers.
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Old 02-03-2008, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Most of the 4 year olds don't nap regularly, but they can nap if they wish with the 2/3 year olds. It is a quiet room connected to the main classroom.
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Old 02-04-2008, 08:45 PM
 
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I am an assistant teacher at an AMI school so I will give you the basics on the whys and wherefores of this thinking. Children experience an EXPLOSION around their 4th birthday of learning and understanding. They tend to have large chunks of focus time and are literally like sponges ready to absorb every concept that comes their way. I have personally this year seem a 4 year old move to full days and advanced from basic sounds to word building, basic quantity 1-5 to the beginnings of teen/tens comprehension. All this in a month! Will every child do this? No, but we do see that kids that have the oppportunity to have two full work periods become very active and responsible in their education.
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Old 02-05-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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I guess I should explain a little more, sorry my post was so short.

It's a Montessori for ages 2-6:
1/2 day (9-12noon) for all ages. and optional extended day until 3 for 4-6 year olds. To accomodate working parents it also has childcare after class until 6pm, that is what I should have said about full day being your choice.

My boys (4yrs on Feb 20) go 1/2 day because they are still very tired in the afternoon - maybe next year (when they are closer to 5) I will add extended days a couple times a week.

My school doesn't require 5 days/week, which I like. My boys go to a speech class (public school early intervention) 2 days/week so it works well for our schedule.

I didn't know much about Montessori when I first looked into their school, but I am glad I did - it has been wonderful for my VERY ACTIVE, VERY CURIOUS, boys.
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am an assistant teacher at an AMI school so I will give you the basics on the whys and wherefores of this thinking. Children experience an EXPLOSION around their 4th birthday of learning and understanding. They tend to have large chunks of focus time and are literally like sponges ready to absorb every concept that comes their way. I have personally this year seem a 4 year old move to full days and advanced from basic sounds to word building, basic quantity 1-5 to the beginnings of teen/tens comprehension. All this in a month! Will every child do this? No, but we do see that kids that have the oppportunity to have two full work periods become very active and responsible in their education.
This is what our director says, too, BUT. . .

It just doesn't seem very "Montessori" for every child to start going full days the day after their 4th birthday which is what our school does. I can see that it might be different for different children. My own concern has more to do with emotions than academics. I can see that he is academically able to do a full day, but he is a very introverted child and I think that being out of the home for a full day is mentally exhausting to an introvert. I can see that many children are ready, I just can't say that all of them are.
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:12 AM
 
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AMI

1/2 days 4/days week in Young Children's Community (toddlers)
1/2 days 5/days week in Primary (ages 3ish - 5ish)

Children move to full day in Primary when, in the judgement of the Directress and the parent, the child is developmentally ready to handle a full day.

Full day in lower and upper Elementary (grades 1 - 6)

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Old 02-20-2008, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm going to have to go talk to the director soon. Full day is exhausting our family. Ds has not napped in 2 years. If he takes even a 15 min nap, he is up an extra 3 hours in the evening. Everytime. Now, he has started napping at school. He is putting himself to sleep with the 2/3 yo. In my opinion, if the child is can not even stay awake at school, then he doesn't need to be there! I don't need him there, I work part time. After school, he comes home burnt out and just wants to lay on the couch and veg. Then, at bedtime, he's wound up because he took a nap. The director feels that 4 yos going full day is the "Montessori way." I think I'll just pay for full day and pick him up half day. We've tried it for 7 weeks now and its just not getting better.
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Old 02-20-2008, 07:45 PM
 
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You know, I'm feeling really angry at your director. Even if it is the "Montessori way" for four yr olds to go full day (which certainly does not seem to be at all universal), it is obviously not a great thing for your son. He should not have to go full day. There is no reason, if he is fried emotionally from being there and is putting himself to nap with the younger ones, he's not even getting any academic stuff out of it. (Which is not at all the main point, even.) You don't need him to be there. The director knows you aren't thrilled with it. He should go half days and you should pay for half days. This is ridiculous.
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:40 PM
 
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AMI here:

2.5 years till 4= 3 hours a day
4 to 5= 4.5 hours a day
5 to 6= 6 hours a day
Grade school = 7 hours a day
Middle and high school = 8.5 hours a day

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Old 02-20-2008, 10:56 PM
 
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AMS. The school is only ages 18 months - 6 years (so through kindergarten). Kids in the youngest classroom, 18 months - 2 yrs 8 months as of August 31st go 4 half days. Kids older than that can go 4 half days, 5 half days, or any combination of full/half days up to 4 full days and one half day (Fridays are half day regardless). You do not have to go full day at all.

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Old 02-20-2008, 11:10 PM
 
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AMI school here. The whole school is five days a week only.

Toddlers can go either half or full. Most go half. I think it's the working parents that stay all day.

Primary 3-6 yrs can go half or full day the first year. I'd say more than 2/3 go full day. The second year, so 4 years old, they are required to go full day - 8:30-3. If these kids have older sibs in the elementary program, that day is an hour longer - 1/2 hr in the morning and 1/2 hour at the end of the day so their day is even longer.
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Old 02-21-2008, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You know, I'm feeling really angry at your director. Even if it is the "Montessori way" for four yr olds to go full day (which certainly does not seem to be at all universal), it is obviously not a great thing for your son. He should not have to go full day. There is no reason, if he is fried emotionally from being there and is putting himself to nap with the younger ones, he's not even getting any academic stuff out of it. (Which is not at all the main point, even.) You don't need him to be there. The director knows you aren't thrilled with it. He should go half days and you should pay for half days. This is ridiculous.
Thanks, as you may guess, I TOTALLY agree with you. Another mom called me the other day. Her dd is turning 4 next month and she was asking for my strategy for getting the director to wait for ds to be 4.5 before putting him in full day. She doesn't want or need her daughter there all day. Other parents have left the program completely because of this rule. It is annoying because I really like our school, and it struggles financially. As parents we are always working to recruit new students, talk up our school, support it, etc., but this policy really turns off a lot of parents.
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:17 PM
 
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Thanks, as you may guess, I TOTALLY agree with you. Another mom called me the other day. Her dd is turning 4 next month and she was asking for my strategy for getting the director to wait for ds to be 4.5 before putting him in full day. She doesn't want or need her daughter there all day. Other parents have left the program completely because of this rule. It is annoying because I really like our school, and it struggles financially. As parents we are always working to recruit new students, talk up our school, support it, etc., but this policy really turns off a lot of parents.
Still be careful how it is approached, though. In the end, any school should be able to say, "This is how we do things and I'm sorry if you disagree with it." The school might be willing to change that rule, they might not be. I think it is important for parents to be involved in discussing these issues with the director. At the same time, the director is in the position of making sure the school stays running and that every child has their needs met. If the director feels a full day program starting at that age benefits the child in the long run, look at it that you have a disagreement of what will benefit the child and decide from there what your plan of action is. Don't look at it as the director just blew you off unless there are other reasons for it.

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Old 02-23-2008, 02:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Still be careful how it is approached, though. In the end, any school should be able to say, "This is how we do things and I'm sorry if you disagree with it." The school might be willing to change that rule, they might not be. I think it is important for parents to be involved in discussing these issues with the director. At the same time, the director is in the position of making sure the school stays running and that every child has their needs met. If the director feels a full day program starting at that age benefits the child in the long run, look at it that you have a disagreement of what will benefit the child and decide from there what your plan of action is. Don't look at it as the director just blew you off unless there are other reasons for it.

Matt
While I agree that the school can say "This is just how we do things" our school is always on the brink of financial crisis. Sooooo many parents have left because of this rule and that upsets me because I want our school to still be there for ds and his classmates. A tiny private school does need to keep its student's family in mind. I don't want them to bend to our every whim, but I think if there is a policy that is making a lot of families leave, it is worth reconsidering.

The director doesn't give me any reason other than "this is the Montessori way and if you want your child to have a Montessori education, this is what happens." This explanation just doesn't make sense to me because 1. I haven't found anyting by MM saying "all 4 year olds must go full day" and 2. it doesn't seem to be required at most Montessori schools and 3. I don't see how it takes into account the individual development of each child.

Many parents have decided it is just a financial decision since it makes your tution go up by 300 dollars a month, though considering how many parents have left because of this, I don't think it is making financial sense.

After the last conversation with the director, I felt like he doesn't place very much importance on the parent's role in the child's life. He doesn't see why spending the afternoon with your mother at the park might be as beneficial or more as napping at school.

I think he needs some flexibility with the 4 year olds. Some are ready, and some aren't.

I do plan to keep ds there through elementary school, but I asked him if he wanted me to just pull ds out of the school for 6-8 months till he was ready to go full days. He said that wasn't necessary.
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:18 AM
 
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If it helps any, I think 1/2 day for 3-6 (all the ages) is a fantastic option. Most schools do not do it because it is not practical as far as the demand for full day.

The reason is likely a financial one. If you offer full day at a certain point and nothing else, you can't start offering half day. It has to keep up with trends also as far as what is around them. If too many other schools (even if they are not Montessori) offer half day programs, that may be another way to set your school apart in the market.

Sorry to hear you did not have a good experience talking with the director. I hope some resolution happens for you. If you are wondering, however, yes...there are some 3-6 Montessori schools that are half day, even for the entire class. Many other schools are full day for the class. Even more are 3-6 half day, then have full day for the Kindergarten.

There are many different setups. What drives which way the school goes is usually supply and demand. That supply and demand is not always necessarily with the current parents, but with other potential parents as well.

Again, I hope some resolution comes about that works for everyone.
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There are kids in the same class who are half day (the 2/3 year olds). I don't really understand the supply/demand side of it. I don't see how making kids go full day when parents want 1/2 day is responding to supply and demand. In the past, 4 year olds could be full day or half day, parent choice, but starting this year, they have to be full day. Many parents have left because of no choice. When there was a choice, I can't see anyone leaving because a choice was available.

So, do you think there is a "Montessori" reason for it or only financial?
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Old 02-25-2008, 02:34 AM
 
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I know of one school that solves the financial problem by running 2 - 3 hour work cycles. The child can either attend morning or afternoon or all day. So children who only attend 1/2 day are balanced between morning and afternoon. You could suggest this to the Director?

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Old 02-25-2008, 04:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know of one school that solves the financial problem by running 2 - 3 hour work cycles. The child can either attend morning or afternoon or all day. So children who only attend 1/2 day are balanced between morning and afternoon. You could suggest this to the Director?
I'm interested, but I don't understand the math of it. We don't have a waiting list, so it's not as if ds is taking the place of a full-time student. Am I not understanding?
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:37 AM
 
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There are kids in the same class who are half day (the 2/3 year olds). I don't really understand the supply/demand side of it.
I'm a Libra. I always have to seek the balance ;-)

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So, do you think there is a "Montessori" reason for it or only financial?
I don't know I try to stay out of reasons why schools beside my own do things. I will say what I do believe:

--Children sometimes have an adjustment period going from half day to full day. Your director may be saying, "wait this out."
--There are a variety of Montessori options out there. So full day now is not really the only way to do Montessori.
--A school should always seriously look at parent input and suggestions, but a school should also ultimately either say, "that's a good change" or "I'm sorry - this is the program we offer."

I would also talk to parents who have already been through the 4 year old year before you throw in the towel on the program. See what the kindergarten parent experience is.

Matt
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:07 PM
 
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Our school is AMI, and the primary classroom is half day (ages 3-6). At some time around age 5 (usually 4 years 9 months, to 5 years 3 months) the student will be asked to join the full day. This is based on their readiness, as determined by the teacher. (I think there is something about when they lose their first teeth that is part of the readiness but I am not clear on this.)

Parents can optionally keep their younger kids there for a full day, but those children are separated from the classroom and given nap time/quiet work. The classroom is for the older children to work with the teacher on more advanced stuff.

It seems to work pretty well. 5 seems like a better age than 4 for a full day, in my opinion.
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