Please tell me about Montessori/Waldorf schools - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 09-14-2004, 10:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do not know much about them at all, but we are trying to figure out schools in this area.
Any information / recommendations at all would be appreciated.
Thanks for your time.

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#2 of 10 Old 09-15-2004, 01:39 AM
 
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I have only on Montessori.

http://www.montessori.org
http://www.montessoriconnections.com
http://www.montessorifortheearth.com

The latter has a homeschooling curriculum plus book recommendations. I highly recommend Montessori Play & Learn: A Parents' Guide to Purposeful Play from Two to Six by Lesley Britton.

Also, anything by Maria Montessori herself, although not an easy read, is worthwhile. Check your local library for more information. I found many gems at mine.

Cheers,
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#3 of 10 Old 09-15-2004, 03:03 AM
 
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I don't know anything about Waldorf.

Montessori - we have visited some and I have friends who send their kids to them. They are not for me, but I'm sure you'll get lots of replies from people who love their Montessori school. What works for one child/family may not for another. It is like asking opinions on different religions or different cities to live in.

IMO the pro is the cool toys they have. They really use some neat stuff. I also liked how they gave the kids "real" things to use - for example, a small pitcher of water to pour into small cups. That is a skill that kids need to learn and I liked that that was a choice during the free play time. They also seem to attract a fairly diverse group of students so that is always a plus to me.

IMO the cons were how strict they are with how the toys must be used. Bothered me in that kids that age are so imaginative and just exploring everything - seemed wrong to me to tell them "no, don't stack it that way - the right way to do it is like this" I think, let them try it different ways and come to realize that if you stack the bigger one on bottom that it can be built higher - and hey, they may find a different way that also works.

For my child, it didn't work because she is very social and was very upset that she wasn't allowed to play WITH her friend, when she had already asked him and he replied that she could. A teacher actually came RUNNING over with a bad look on her face, to get my child away from her friend and "his work". She was told she could use it after he finished and replaced it on the shelf. I understand that is how they run things - it just didn't sit right with my child or me. I have also noticed (and of course may not be true of all Montessori - just the ones I've been to) that they are not very warm and fuzzy. One of my prereqs for preschools is that the teacher loves my kid and shows it. I want a genuine smile for her when she walks in the door - I want her to be open to a hug goodbye from my child at the end of the day (my kids are huggers like their mom!) I just want a happy, fun, easygoing teacher. Now, of course there are non-happy, non-fun, non-easygoing teachers at EVERY style of school - in fact we do not continue into the 4s class at the co-op we go to when each dd is 3 because the 4s teacher just doesn't work for me. Friends who have gone through that class (and love her - everyone is different) say she loves them like a drill sergeant - whipping them into shape for kindergarten. They are FOUR - I don't think they quite need to be whipped into shape yet...

I think it depends on you and what you are looking for for your child. How many days a week/hours a day do you want? Are you looking for a place that focuses on socialization or academics? Is price a factor? Your child's personality also plays into it a lot.

I would look at a variety of types of preschools and see what you think. I have found that I very quickly get a gut feeling one way or another about each place I visit. I personally LOVE co-ops (often run through local community colleges so check their websites for info) where your 3 year old child goes two half days a week and you work one of those days. Really a nice transition from home with mom to school life (not to mention very reasonably priced). If you are looking for a more classic drop off preschool, check out NAEYC's website (National Association for the Education of Young Children) and see if they have any schools in your area that are accredited. That process is quite involved and some preschools that are really great just haven't gone through it but still apply developmentally appropriate procedures. If they mention DAP in their paperwork and play Tom Hunter during the open house, I know I'm in the right place!

Good luck making your decision. All schools are different and I hate to even make these comments because I know you will get replies from those who adore Montessori - and maybe I would too if I saw theirs. The ones I've seen are not for me - though hey, they may work great for you. I'm just giving you my opinion from what I've seen. Worth what you paid for it!
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#4 of 10 Old 09-15-2004, 11:46 AM
 
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Waldorf mom here! If you do a search for threads on Waldorf you will find lots of infomation on Waldorf. When I get some time later, I will post some of the links. I don't have time at the moment.
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#5 of 10 Old 09-15-2004, 07:27 PM
 
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Waldorf varies a lot by age: preschool is warm and fuzzy and dreamy, natural toys, peaceful atmosphere, no academics at all.

Grade school is strong on artistic activities, with all subjects including an artistic component, including math and science. Teachers stay with their classes multiple years, there are no textbooks (this is not an absolute), the curriculum is filled with fairy tales, mythology and in the upper grades history.

High school is still artistic but becomes very challenging on an academic level. There are no electives: every student takes everything including chemistry, history, etc. Some high schools divide kids by expertise for math, and languages but this depends on the size of the school.

My daughter attended two waldorf schools and went almost all the way through, skipping 3 years in the middle. She liked it and has her daughter in a waldorf nursery here in Vermont.

A very brief overview. I can link you to some web sites if you want more info.

A warning: waldorf schools can vary a lot and waldorf teachers can vary a lot. You need to ask questions, raise concerns and make sure it is really the right school and the right teacher for your child.

Nana
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#6 of 10 Old 09-15-2004, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your comments and opinions. They are greatly valued and much appreciated. I will definately do some searches, but ti is great to get parents opinions on them, instead of a load of baloney about how wonderful the school is, yk?
Thanks again

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#7 of 10 Old 09-15-2004, 10:29 PM
 
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As rhonwyn recommended, if you do a search right here on this forum (learning at school) you will find many threads discussing waldorf and montessori--both pro and con of both teaching methods. Just hit the search button at the top right of the forum window and type in the topic. There is a wealth of information (which one day I am going to place in an archive or sticky!!)

here's one;
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...hlight=waldorf

 
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#8 of 10 Old 09-15-2004, 11:52 PM
 
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I'm also just getting started in learning about Waldorf. My 4 yo DD is attending a waldorf preschool right now and I'm just crazy about it! Her class is heavily play based, big time into imagination and creativity. They often do plays and puppet shows, and are also heavily into artistic activities. There are essentially no academics, but my DD comes home full of things she's learned regardless. I have a very intellectual 4 yo-- she is so much in her head that I think Waldorf education is very good for her because it grounds her out and provides her with a wholistic well rounded approach to life. I think that she is very much like I was as a child, and when I look at Waldorf education I wish that I could have had a school like that!

My DH and I very much hope that we can send her to Waldorf school once she's elementary age-- but the money is a big concern. We are just planning to apply for scholarships and hope for the best!

Good luck with your search!
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#9 of 10 Old 09-16-2004, 10:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauren
As rhonwyn recommended, if you do a search right here on this forum (learning at school) you will find many threads discussing waldorf and montessori--both pro and con of both teaching methods. Just hit the search button at the top right of the forum window and type in the topic. There is a wealth of information (which one day I am going to place in an archive or sticky!!)

here's one;
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...hlight=waldorf
I think that would be a great idea to make stickies for the various types of schools. The stickies could have links to various sources on each type of school.

ella-makes-3, do you have any specific questions about Waldorf? As has been stated, it is very play based in Kindergarten. Academics do not start until 1st grade and then ramp up more slowly than traditional schools. By 6th grade the academics have often passed by traditional schools and the high schools are very academic. It is a different approach to teaching that takes into account the child's developmental stage. Teachers adjust the curriculum according to the class' stage.
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#10 of 10 Old 09-20-2004, 12:30 AM
 
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Love the stickies idea...

I'm new to Waldorf, too. Just started my 3 yo in two-day-a-week preschool, and she loves it so far (as do I). We also looked into Montessori, but were turned off by the early introduction to computers at the local school (and dh is a computer science prof! ha!) and the emphasis on independent learning... just more interested in developing imagination in the context of community. You can learn from a computer at any age, but learning to use your own imagination is a skill that's harder to pick up later on.

Just my newbie 2 cents worth.

K~
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