I used to be a teacher and it was always considered to be unprofessional to discuss other students. I am not saying other teachers don't-- it shocks me sometimes-- but it is unprofessional. As teachers, we should only be looking at the individual child-- never comparing to the class. Nothing good comes of it.
I understand your concerns about your daughter, but her potential classmates should have nothing to do with the resources offered. You need to know nothing about everyone else's level. All you need to know is what will be done for YOUR child. Both of my older children are in school now, and they are both getting special accommodations to serve their needs. If my child is working x years above grade level, it doesn't matter where anyone else is in the class, because they are working with my child. Maybe another child is x+ 1 years ahead-- again, it's irrelevant to what they will do for my child . . .if it's a good school. In any school, variation and differentiation is expected, but in Montessori, this idea is at the core of Montessori's theory-- it almost doesn't even make sense to bring it up.
As for the resources, the school can let you know, without having to divulge the background of the other students, whether or not these will be needed. I also did not enroll my DD back in school FOR the resources, but since she is there, she needs them . . .otherwise, there would not be enough individualization for her.
Personally, I would be uncomfortable knowing that any parent had access to my DD's level in subjects (you say you want general info, but parents would probably guess who is who) in order to decide whether or not their own child fit in with mine, but like you said, I am from the US, and perhaps things are different here.
I don't think it's unprofessional or a breach of confidentiality for a teacher to speak in general terms about learning styles or achievement levels of other students in the class, particularly when the discussion is about academics in the class and homework. Simply conveying the information that some children are struggling, or some are working ahead, or there are a lot of visual-spatial learners so she's using teaching techniques to take advantage of that learning style or there are a lot of young-for-grade students who need more direct supervision....or any number of comments that have been mentioned in passing to me...isn't unprofessional or unethical. I agree that it's unprofessional to ignore the needs of an individual child and make excuses for failing to address those needs by claiming that there are other children who are capable of certain tasks or don't need help.
If parents can guess who is who, then there isn't much of a secret. If the teacher hasn't named anyone, then presumably the identities of the top performers are common knowledge - either from the parents' own observations, stories told by their children and possibly, the other parents who are talking about their kids' achievements.
I would be very concerned that the teacher seems to have lost sight of reasonable expectations for kindergarten children, simply because she has some high achievers in the class. 3xMama, you said
I heard a lot about how Montessori gives students plenty of room to grow. She talked on and on about some kids who were reading at the second grade level and doing addition and subtraction and how wrong it would be to hold them back because it "isn't kindergarten work" but never anything about how the students who are behind are helped. Nor did she ever give me a chance to get a word in edgewise.
I'm not sure if the teacher herself referred to "students who are behind", but if she did, then it needs to be emphasized that students who are working at kindergarten level when they are in kindergarten are NOT "behind". They are exactly where they are supposed to be. That is a worrisome attitude on the part of the teacher, especially since Montessori is supposed to be a child-led approach. The teacher respects individual student's interests, abilities, and achievements and that is the important determination for the kind of work a child does in class. To that extent, what the other students are doing is irrelevant to the work that your dd does, and I think this is the point that Mizelunius is making.
Your conference (and the teacher) sounds very confusing and not encouraging. She seems to be saying some of the right things, but not really putting them into action. I understand why you want to withdraw your dd. Before you do, I wonder if there are any other kindergarten options at the school? Is there another teacher with an approach that fits your dd better? If the teacher insists that she has a class of high achievers and accommodating a wider spectrum of students isn't possible, then that's something important to discuss with the principal. You could request a transfer to a class with more diverse learners and a teacher who works well with all types of students. I'm suggesting that you speak with the principal because your research about this school was positive. If this teacher is an anomaly, you may not have to go through the work of finding another school and your dd may not have to make a big adjustment to a new school. However, after you speak with the principal, if you get the sense that they will not change, then definitely you can make any necessary changes yourself.
wow! i'd switch schools. In K, DS had a handwriting book to learn how to form letters. They devoted a good chunk of time to it at least a few times a week. They also built letters with sticks and laid on the floor and made letters out of THEMSELVES. :) They wrote their names with rainbow pens. They copied a sentence and drew a picture. They wrote in journal notebooks, spelling the best they could with sound-out. The only homework was a "me bag" the 1st week--5 items that tell about you and reading log every month. They learned to count, write numbers, make patterns. They planted grass seeds and talked about how plants grow. They made a town out of boxes and played "community workers". They read little books with a sentence a page.
lovin DH since 1/04, SAHM to 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), and one 13 wk (10/13) just your average :ha ng multigenerational living family!!
Part of Montessori is that each student is an individual learner, and children are *not* compared to each other. That is why they do individual work and are not graded, tested, etc.
So for the teacher to basically compare OP's DD to other children is a little off-putting, and does put pressure on the mom to view her child as under performing, compared to the rest of the class.
That isn't fair.