No Kindy's in ds's classroom, I'm upset. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 10-15-2008, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just found out there are no kindergartners in ds's primary classroom. I did not know that prior to enrollment. So there is also not a whole lot of upper level work in his room either.

A little background,

Ds started in a primary room at 2.9 yrs, he started in April 2007. We moved this summer and he started in a primary room here (he's 4 now). There are 2 primary classes in the school, his class has 13 kids the other has 26. The other classroom is much, much bigger so it can hold more kids.

Well, since he started here, I would on occasion ask if he worked on such and such or 'xyz' and he would sometimes say, no we don't have that in this school. I took it with a grain of salt, since he doesn't like to talk about what he does in school anyway.

But yesterday, I was in his classroom and took a really good look around and noticed he really doesn't have a lot of the usual materials. So I asked him about it again and he said they go to the other classroom sometimes, the other room has those.

We moved from another state and I did make a trip down here to see the school and what I then was the other classroom, I didn't think there would be much of a difference.

I feel like the kindergartners role in the classroom is so important, it helped so much last year at his old school. And this schools handbook even states the importance under the enrollment section. Most of the materials in ds's classroom looked like practical life work, which is great, but he's been working on that for nearly a year and a half now is really is mentally ready for more things.

Am I being too over dramatic or do you all think I have a right to be concerned?

I wanted to see what you all thought before I take this up with the administrator. Although, I don't really see much that could be done at this point. Both classes are at capacity, and even if there was space in the other room, I wouldn't want to take him out of his room now. He likes the teacher.

I'm just really upset about this, I mean with the amount of money we are spending I feel like he is getting robbed of the true montessori experience.
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#2 of 12 Old 10-15-2008, 11:21 PM
 
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tbone, that would bother me too. It really is a fundamental part of the Montessori experience as many of the lessons are observed by the younger children well in advance of their lessons. The children gain so much from being taught by another child slightly older than themselves. It is also so important for the child to have the experience of being the oldest member of the community (ideally in the same class for 3 years).
I think you have every right to approach the director with your concerns, especially because they mention this in their handbook.
Even though they have a smaller space, I still feel that they should offer the appropriate Montessori lessons for age 4 (sensorial, language and math, geography, music, art)

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#3 of 12 Old 10-16-2008, 01:39 AM
 
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Montessori methods, philosophies, materials, and all are aside from the point. How important anyone of us feel these things are or aren't does not change the fundamental problem you are facing.

The heart of the problem is that you were promised X, but given Y.

Let's say you bought a car, and you were shown a minivan in the showroom, but when the dealer actually handed over the key after signing he gave you a two seater sports car. The question would not be if a two seat sports car was better or worse than a minivan, it would simply be that that wasn't what you thought you were buying.

Some people might like a smaller class with less academics and no big kids to bump into the little one, and that's fine. You however, clearly wanted your child in the traditional M enviornment you were shown and promissed.

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#4 of 12 Old 10-16-2008, 01:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
Montessori methods, philosophies, materials, and all are aside from the point. How important anyone of us feel these things are or aren't does not change the fundamental problem you are facing.

The heart of the problem is that you were promised X, but given Y.

Let's say you bought a car, and you were shown a minivan in the showroom, but when the dealer actually handed over the key after signing he gave you a two seater sports car. The question would not be if a two seat sports car was better or worse than a minivan, it would simply be that that wasn't what you thought you were buying.

Some people might like a smaller class with less academics and no big kids to bump into the little one, and that's fine. You however, clearly wanted your child in the traditional M enviornment you were shown and promissed.
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#5 of 12 Old 10-16-2008, 08:57 AM
 
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Is the school expanding? Is this a start-up class that hasn't "grown into" it's Ks yet? I'd be bummed too...
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#6 of 12 Old 10-16-2008, 10:45 AM
 
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We're in a similar, but not identical, situation here and it has been causing me a lot of frustration also. Definitely take it up with the administrator. Maybe there is more they can do than it looks like from your perspective. Then again, they may not... I do wish you the best of luck, though.
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#7 of 12 Old 10-17-2008, 09:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eepster View Post
Montessori methods, philosophies, materials, and all are aside from the point. How important anyone of us feel these things are or aren't does not change the fundamental problem you are facing.

The heart of the problem is that you were promised X, but given Y.

Let's say you bought a car, and you were shown a minivan in the showroom, but when the dealer actually handed over the key after signing he gave you a two seater sports car. The question would not be if a two seat sports car was better or worse than a minivan, it would simply be that that wasn't what you thought you were buying.

Some people might like a smaller class with less academics and no big kids to bump into the little one, and that's fine. You however, clearly wanted your child in the traditional M enviornment you were shown and promissed.

yep that...bait and switch, pure and simple.
Show the prospective parents the "good" room, and let them believe their child will be going there, or in a room that is presumably very similar.

I was a little upset because at dd's school, there are 9 3-6 rooms, and she is in the very smallest of them. Each class has 24 kids, and each class is split into even numbers of 3's, 4's, and 5's, and each class has exactly the same materials. It's just my dd's class has about half the actual physical space as most of the other classes. i realized it isn't such a big deal, and being in a smaller physical space actually has some advantages in terms of learning manners and such....

but if she were being shrifted on kids of different ages, or materials.....I'd be livid.

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#8 of 12 Old 10-18-2008, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I briefly spoke with an administrator and she told me I had to speak with the class teacher. So I explained my concern to ds's teacher about him not getting the full montessori experience and why it's so important for my son to have kindergartners in his class. (Seriously, since ds was three years old his only goal in life has been to be 5 yrs so he can be a kindergartner!) He always loved working with the older kids and to this day the only friends we keep in touch with are the kindy's he was close to.

Anyway,

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnjenny View Post
Is the school expanding? Is this a start-up class that hasn't "grown into" it's Ks yet? I'd be bummed too...
She said that this classroom just started last year (which I did not know) and that unfortunately that is the way it is and the class has to grow into the full 3-6 age range. and

I also asked about the materials and she said she only keeps out what she thinks is at everyone's level but that she does have the other materials, they are just not out. Again and

I'm still so upset about this, but I feel like there's nothing that can be done. At the risk of sounding whiny, it's just not fair. I should have been notified in advance of enrollment or something. This school has 3 different locations all relatively close by and I remember asking if there were any differences and all I was told was that 2 locations had toddler rooms and 1 location had after care hours. Nothing about , oh well one primary room will only have 3 and 4 yr olds if you pick X location. :

Okay I'm sorry about ranting, thanks to everyone for your advice. (hugs)
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#9 of 12 Old 10-18-2008, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Lillianna View Post
Even though they have a smaller space, I still feel that they should offer the appropriate Montessori lessons for age 4 (sensorial, language and math, geography, music, art)
Can you explain to me which materials I should be looking for in his classroom specifically for his age range? I know every kid is different, but just some examples.

His teacher told me that as far as language she has materials for the clas out up to the moveable alphabet and to the golden beads for math. I know ds did these last year too, so shouldn't he be progressing past this?
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#10 of 12 Old 10-18-2008, 12:18 PM
 
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Just FYI, even 6-9 classrooms have the golden beads and moveable alphabet. There are endless lessons to do with these materials...

As for the new class problem, it's so hard when a program is growing. We've been starting a new classroom almost every year for the past few years, and now we're done growing. The "growing pains" are hard on everyone. We had many parents uneasy with being in the new classrooms, for the same reasons you are. Unfortunately, it truly is the smart way to start a classroom (rather than just filling it to capacity the first year) and it is a sign that your school knows what it's doing. Many programs will fill a class right away, to the get the all important $, and then everyone has a chaotic experience. Your child is one of the pioneers!

I left my established class and started a new 6-9 class at our school with first graders, and just a handful of 2nd graders (whose parents volunteered to move them out of their current classroom into the new classroom with me - how's that for committment to the school community?!) The funny thing that happened was I couldn't help but think of those 2nds as 3rds, so they ended up getting "pushed" more than I would normally would do for 2nd graders. I guess I'm telling you that because it might end up being a great experience for your son to be a "leader" for two years instead of one.

That said, they should have been up front with you right off the bat. No one should have to be surprised with something like that. I think you should definitely express that to the director, so they don't make that mistake again. And, they should be making extra efforts to provide reassurance and community-building with this new class.

Keep communicating with the teacher, to make sure your son is being challenged. You could ask questions like, "What sounds, math concepts, geography lessons, etc. have you been working on with DS so I can reinforce them at home?" Montessori children should be allowed to follow their own interests, so you could say something like, "DS has been crazy about reptiles (shapes, volcanoes, fractions, whatever...) lately! Is there anything you could do in the classroom to foster this?"

This got long, sorry. Hope things work out for you, whatever you decide!
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#11 of 12 Old 10-18-2008, 12:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tbone View Post
Well, I briefly spoke with an administrator and she told me I had to speak with the class teacher.
Geez, maybe our kids go to the same school! I get a lot of that, too. I set up a meeting with the director, who knew clearly my concerns, only to be told that I needed to talk to the classroom teacher about many matters. Talking to the teacher, I am told that the decisions are made between the two of them... They both say they communicate regularly, but neither of them could answer all the questions toward things they should have been communicating about.

I feel your pain and frustration! Unfortunately, I don't have any advice. Maybe ask to be put on a waiting list, in case a space opens in one of the other rooms? I think I'm getting ds on waiting lists around town, in case things don't change with ours.
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#12 of 12 Old 10-24-2008, 02:40 PM
 
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I am in a similar situation with my daughter... She's been doing Montessori since she was 3 and was REALLY looking forward to her kindergarten year-- there was always lots of "big kid stuff" that was off-limits to her.

So... we moved recently and she's in a different Montessori school, with mostly younger kids. There are 2 kids her age, but they are new to Montessori and function at a much lower level than her academically. At first I was concerned, too, but I've been pleased with how things are going. Because she is older and so familiar with the materials, she gives lots of help to the other children. I think this is very good for her-- I imagine that teaching/helping develops her own brain, as well as nurturing her caring nature.

But her teacher has also been VERY attentive to her needs... she provides special materials and lessons for her, and I've witnessed her math, reading and writing skills improve exponentially in the past few months. I know that her teacher is plenty busy with the range of ages in the classroom, but she has not left my child behind...

If your son's teacher is not providing him with age/skill-appropriate lessons and work then I would say you definitely have a problem.
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