Please Help! Spanish Immersion or Montessori for rising Kindergartner??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 01-20-2012, 06:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello,

 

My daughter will be entering kindergarten this coming Fall, and the school we are zoned for is terrible, so she won't be going there. Now I have entered the lovely world of magnet, charter, and private school applications. The thing I am stumped on, though, is for the public magnet option. There is a montessori option as well as a dual language Spanish immersion option. Both are rated very highly (the Spanish rated slightly higher). I have always dreamed of both Montessori and bilingualism for her (I am half Colombian), so I am totally torn. I love the Montessori method, but I am also intrigued by this language academy because it is recognized by the Spanish government and the kids are completely proficient in Spanish by the time they leave elementary school! The SI school is K-8, and the Montessori is K-6. Any thoughts??? Thank you in advance! 

 

Elena

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#2 of 13 Old 01-20-2012, 06:37 AM
 
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Have you visited them both yet? As well as any other schools you may be considering, even the public school. Reputations aren't always earned and sometimes you will be surprised. 

 

So much depends on the philosophy of the school administration, the skills of the individual teachers, and the attitude of the other parents and classmates. They all contribute to the learning atmosphere in the classroom.  

 

A lot depends on your child's personality and learning style too. An excellent schooling option for one child may be a disaster for another - even for children from the same family. You may have to defer your own goals and preferences according to your child's needs. 

 

There is a tremendous variation in Montessori schools. If the school has to abide by public school regulations and standards, then it may not be able to implement the Montessori method completely. There may be much more academic pressure, homework and testing at the school than you would find at a Montessori school that isn't hindered by school district regulations. For example, I would ask a lot of questions about how they manage traditional multi-grade classrooms and child-led learning if the students are required to participate in standardized grade-level testing every year or so.  That's not to say that the Montessori option is a bad one, just that it may be very different from what you are expecting if you are familiar with Montessori schools. 

 

Language immersion can be a tricky choice for some students. If your  child is already familiar with Spanish or speaking it, it may be an excellent choice. I've known a few children who are not strong in language development, who have really struggled in an immersion setting. I've also known children with learning disabilities who were not well served in an immersion setting. The LDs were not recognized until much later than they would have been in a traditional classroom and once identified, they didn't receive appropriate services. 

 

It helps to attend open houses, request observation sessions in the classrooms, and speak with the teachers at the schools and as many parents as you can. Keep in mind the kind of learning environment that will fit your child. Good luck with the search. 

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#3 of 13 Old 01-20-2012, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your response. Yes, I have visited them both and they both seem very good. My daughter is extremely bright and innovative, and VERY social. She talks and talks to everyone she meets. She also seems to have a natural ability for art & engineering, because she loves to draw constantly as well as create "sculptures" as she calls them by finding little objects around the house or even outside, and then taping/gluing the pieces together to make other working objects (instruments, boats, planes, etc.) She is very creative, which is why I thought that Montessori would be good for her. I can't see her sitting still at a desk for too long (which is what would happen in the Spanish immersion I am guessing, right?) This is so hard...

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#4 of 13 Old 01-20-2012, 08:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebrown47 View Post

Hello,

 

My daughter will be entering kindergarten this coming Fall, and the school we are zoned for is terrible, so she won't be going there. Now I have entered the lovely world of magnet, charter, and private school applications. The thing I am stumped on, though, is for the public magnet option. There is a montessori option as well as a dual language Spanish immersion option. Both are rated very highly (the Spanish rated slightly higher). I have always dreamed of both Montessori and bilingualism for her (I am half Colombian), so I am totally torn. I love the Montessori method, but I am also intrigued by this language academy because it is recognized by the Spanish government and the kids are completely proficient in Spanish by the time they leave elementary school! The SI school is K-8, and the Montessori is K-6. Any thoughts??? Thank you in advance! 

 

Elena

 

Personally, while I love many of the principles behind Montessori, we didn't like any of the Montessori schools we toured. They vary greatly from campus to campus and most seem to pick and choose which Montessori principles they used. When we were looking for DD, she did not like the feel of the schools at all... too quiet, too little interaction between kids.. not what she wanted and so we passed.

 

We had wanted immersion for DD but it wasn't available. When our district opened one up a Spanish Immersion in time for DS, we jumped at the chance. It was a perfect fit for him. He's a talker and the immersion school had a much higher tolerance for talkers (as long as they used the right languages lol.) They were always up and moving. They offered lots of music, art, cultural studies, high tech... everything DS wanted. Now, French immersion schools tend to be very strict and involve a lot of table time but that's not what we've experienced in our Spanish immersion school nor the other one we toured. 

 

It is a hard choice but it's nice to have options at least.

 

 


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#5 of 13 Old 01-20-2012, 09:40 AM
 
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My kids went to Montessori preschool, and it was great. However, given the two options you describe and your dd's personality, I would not hesitate to opt for Spanish immersion. The gift of being able to speak another language, to have learned that language as a child, is invaluable. It is something that will enrich your daughter's entire life as well as open many doors for her - both cultural economic.

(Also, unless you absolutely know that it's the policy of the SI kindergarten to have kids sitting still at their desks for long periods, I would not assume this to be the case.)
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#6 of 13 Old 01-20-2012, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your insights! It helped me greatly!!!

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#7 of 13 Old 01-21-2012, 02:37 PM
 
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if i came from a bilingual house, my first priority would be a language immersion school. i have seen soo many teenagers looking to connect with their roots and if they already have the language it makes the finding roots so much more deeper. 

 

i would go for the spanish I. school first. there is always the montessori as backup. but i wouldnt do it vice versa. 


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#8 of 13 Old 01-21-2012, 11:21 PM
 
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If she doesn't thrive at the Spanish Immersion, you can always try the Montessori. If she doesn't thrive at the Montessori, you can't try the Spanish Immersion later, unless you actively speak Spanish to her at home.

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#9 of 13 Old 01-22-2012, 03:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

If she doesn't thrive at the Spanish Immersion, you can always try the Montessori. If she doesn't thrive at the Montessori, you can't try the Spanish Immersion later, unless you actively speak Spanish to her at home.


Actually, that might not be true. I worked in a district once where you could not switch the kids into montissori after K unless they were coming from private montissori (or moved from an out of state public one). 

 

Do you speak Spanish with your dd? I would first thing about if montissori is right for her, and then based on that decide on the spanish. There is a certain type of child that does really well with montissori, and only you know if that type of kid is your dd :)

 


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#10 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 12:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ebrown47 View Post

Thank you so much for your response. Yes, I have visited them both and they both seem very good. My daughter is extremely bright and innovative, and VERY social. She talks and talks to everyone she meets. She also seems to have a natural ability for art & engineering, because she loves to draw constantly as well as create "sculptures" as she calls them by finding little objects around the house or even outside, and then taping/gluing the pieces together to make other working objects (instruments, boats, planes, etc.) She is very creative, which is why I thought that Montessori would be good for her. I can't see her sitting still at a desk for too long (which is what would happen in the Spanish immersion I am guessing, right?) This is so hard...


 

I will give you my opinion, as a parent of a language immersion student (1st grader). I will admit I am probably biased on this topic :)

 

I will start by saying you could be describing my daughter!  I cannot speak for all language immersion programs, only my daughter's and the other few in the area that I am familiar with.  My daughter attends a charter school that is language immersion, with a 3rd language enhancement.  Yes, thats right, she is immersed in Spanish and has Mandarin classes twice a week.  There is no prolonged sitting!  It is a typical, dynamic, 1st grade environment.  If the school does it right, they incoorporate a lot of hands on activity with learning.  This is key for language immersion, especially for kids.  In my daughter's school, Spanish is not a subject taught, it is simply the language of instruction.  The teachers speak Spanishto the kids, 100% of the time.  Now the first few days, even weeks - the kids are a little "lost."  But they quickly figure it out!  You must realize, learning language, even a language the child is newly introduced to - is NATURAL for kids.  This is why kids pickup languages so well.  At age 5, when most start school, they are still in the learning mode with language.

 

Personally, I would choose a language immersion program without hesitation, over a Montessori.  You can enhance some of her other skills/interests outside of school with family activities or clubs.  The ability to speak a second language will not only stimulate her mind, but provide her with a great skill as she gets older.

 

My daughter started language immersion in 1st grade, she attended a standard public school for kindergarten.  So she started the program one year late.  I was very worried how she would adjust to the new school.  She is completely adjusted and loves her school.  The language isnt even an issue.  When I volunteer in the class, I am amazed how content the kids are.  The class runs along like any other one, only the teacher is speaking Spanish.  The kids are not even slighly phased by it!  Five months into it, my daughter can fluently read and pronounce Spanish, and she seems to understand everything being said in class. 

 

Language immersion is great for kids.  You wont regret it !! 

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#11 of 13 Old 02-25-2012, 08:20 PM
 
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I haven't personally been to the Spanish Immersion school in my city or the one my niece goes to (in another city), but I know from friends who have kids in ours and from my brother that the two I know of are extremely rigorous and, IMO, don't sound like a lot of fun for a kid. The one in our town gives mandatory homework for the student and parents to do (in K), and it's significant. The one my niece goes to was worksheet-intensive (at least on the day my mom went to visit and help out in the class). 

 

I would love to send my kids to a Spanish Immersion school because the gift of a second language is a giant plus in my book, but I don't want my kid essentially working 10 hours a day for it, starting in K. I also didn't like the disciplinary program outlined in the school's manual. It was very three-strikes, with most of it based around taking away recess time. Especially for boys, physical activity is SO important. So we're probably going with Montessori, which is closer anyway.

 

All this is to say that you should really talk to families who are already in the school and find out what was expected and how they liked it, and also decide which school environment is better for your child (i.e. how much stress are they okay with?). That's really the thing for me: I don't know that the pushy rigorousness of the language school is going to work well for my extremely independent DS, who would likely end up with no recess because he's headstrong, lol. 

 

Good luck with your decision!

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#12 of 13 Old 09-20-2012, 05:13 PM
 
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I am not sure, but it looks like, according to the dates of the postings you have made you choice by this time.

 

I wanted to put my two cents in on the Monstisorri vs. TWBI programs. My school district offers both as well. We went with TWBI (two way billingual immersion) I talked to many many parents in my neighborhood, both Montisorri public school and TWBI were walking distance, parents of TWBI kids all concured, the first couple months of Kinder was a disaster and many had second thoughts, as time time went on my (and other TWBI) kid(s) got used to the Spanish in class all day. My now 1st grader who is NOT a Spanish speaker nor am I or anyone in our family  can reads, writes, counts and knows science in Spanish as well as has casual conversations on the playground.

 

My son is NOT strong in Language, he is very mathmatic and scores (even in Spanish) way above grade level, however he struggles with his penminship. He did just start 1st grade 23 days ago, I think all of the kids in the 30 student class ( I was a parent volunteer a couple times a week) were phenominal. I struggled more than they did.

 

In the end I am confident I will have a biliterate child and am dedicated to the TWBI program. I highly recomend this program.

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#13 of 13 Old 09-23-2012, 05:54 AM
 
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It would be interesting to hear what you chose. My kids are also in Spanish immersion (TWI) in public school, and we love it.
 


Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (14) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"

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