I posted the following in the Montessori forum, but thought I might get good input here too...
DS3 has been attending a local Montessori school for a little over a month. He has adjusted very well and seems to like the environment. He is a happy, introverted three year old, who happens to be a precocious reader (about 1st grade level with pretty good comprehension) and is obsessed with numbers.
I have requested a parent-teacher conference to ask more questions about his typical day. I'm wondering how he's doing socially, what works he's gravitating toward, etc. I am a little concerned that he doesn't seem to be getting introduced to new works very often. Of course I'm hearing this from a 3 year old, but when I ask him, "Did you do any new works today?" his response has been "no" for the last couple of weeks. Sometimes he'll tell me about a work he wanted to do (e.g., the pink tower), but will say that he couldn't because he has not had that lesson yet.
He has been introduced to 5 sandpaper letters, which he supposedly "mastered 3 weeks ago". No more have been introduced. Although he's been able to ID all letters and their sounds for 2 years, I still see value in this because he is not writing yet. I'm just surprised that he isn't progressing a little faster.
I guess my questions would be this... How often are new lessons generally introduced in a primary classroom? Would it be out of line for me to request that he skip lessons - i.e., move onto sandpaper blends, which I think he might find more interesting? I do believe in the Montessori method, and I don't want him to be pushed, but I do want him to have access to works that will interest him. His teacher seems to be loving, gentle, and experienced. I'm scared of offending her, or coming across as a tiger mom. Any advice?
In my experience, children who are new to Montessori typically do a lot of work in the practice life and sensory areas, and much less with reading and math. If he's been in only 1 month, I would honestly expect that he'll be working mostly in these areas for the rest of the spring.
Although as a parent I was a little perplexed and frustrated with this when we started, DD didn't have any complaints and really enjoyed these areas. They are intellectually challenging in their own ways, and they are also great at building fine motor skills. Don't underestimate the importance of those fine motor skills: a bright kid who is driven in the areas of writing and/or math can get incredibly frustrated if they intellectually know what to do, but find the actual writing to be too tiring. All that using tweasers and eyedroppers and pin pushing and even the way they're taught to pick up the nobbed puzzle pieces are great for fine motor skills and good pencil grip.
Many activities have more to them than you'd think at first glance, too. The sandpaper letters, for example, are used to teach the sound but also to teach the children the proper way to form the letters.
Also, FWIW, I very rarely could get DD to tell me anything "new" she'd done in Montessori. But she was there 2.5 years and even though she always seemed to be doing nothing much, it was the _only_ school experience she's really had in which she actually learned a lot at school.
So, my vote is to be patient. If the teacher is a good teacher, she will make sure he is engaged and learning, even if he doesn't realize it. :)
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