montessori vs waldorf - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 12-13-2004, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just joined MDC of recently and I have a couple of questions. I am looking into both montessori and waldorf for my 3 year old son. What exactly are the differences? I know some of the basics and I have read a few books about them both. Although I haven't really been able to find information that is useful for the present, most of them talk about the history.....Also, suggestions of where I can find inexpesive small pitchers and small metal silverware for my son. I have gone to a few montessori websites, but I don't see myself paying that much for something that he won't use for a long time or even possibly break.
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#2 of 14 Old 12-14-2004, 01:22 AM
 
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Look through the different threads in this forums, there are a couple of Montessori vs. Waldorf threads with lots of good information. Beware, some people are VERY passionate about their school of choice. I personally believe that the Montessori program is best for my son. I also believe that every child is different and what works for one child may not for another. Visit both school types in your area, and see what seems to match up best with your child. I have found the company for small hands sells reasonably priced items. You can find them at www.forsmallhands.com Good luck!
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#3 of 14 Old 12-14-2004, 03:42 AM
 
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I agree: look through the older threads. Also try to visit schools and do some reading on the philosophies online. There are associations for both Montessori and Waldorf.

I initially was interested in both forms of education, because on the surface they appear to be very similar. They are not, however. I ended up deciding Waldorf was not right for our family largely because of the spiritual elements of the Waldorf educational philosophy (anthroposophy), and the fact that the teachers lead so much of the instruction (Montessori tends to be more child-directed, I think). Our son is not in any school yet, but when the time comes, we will do Montessori, not Waldorf.
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#4 of 14 Old 12-14-2004, 10:17 AM
 
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I am on the opposite of the fence. We chose Waldorf over Montessori. The particular Montessori schools we visited were either cold or chaotic. There are several excellent threads on here talking about the differences. Good luck with your choice! Either choice can be great.
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#5 of 14 Old 12-14-2004, 10:19 AM
 
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I chose waldorf for my daughter and she is now choosing waldorf for her kids. I agree that it isn't for every child by any means.

In addition to, or instead of looking online, you could try going to your local library and asking for books on the two educational streams. One can waste a lot of time wading through web-sites without getting the most basic questions answered! If the library doesn't have a good selection they can obtain additional books through inter-library loan. This site has a selection of good titles to ask for/look for on waldorf: http://www.waldorfbooks.com/ Click on education on the upper menu bar. I don't know much about Montessori, but I'm sure you can find comparable sources of book lists. Perhaps someone else on this list has a favorite source?

Nana
(yeah, I am a librarian and yesterday I filled 6 inter-library loan requests)
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#6 of 14 Old 12-14-2004, 05:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah
I don't know much about Montessori, but I'm sure you can find comparable sources of book lists. Perhaps someone else on this list has a favorite source?
The American Montessori Society has a good list of publications at: http://www.amshq.org/publications (go to the Books/Videos/Brochures link, which will open up a pop-up link). You can order the books from AMS, or get them from library or a used book store. They also have helpful brochures outlinign the Montessori approach at different ages.
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#7 of 14 Old 12-14-2004, 06:23 PM
 
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Simple.
Waldorf is fantasy based. Kids learn to read late. When they do learn to read and write, they write little notes to fairies and stories in the round. No Tv or computers in the home and little or no mainstream culture. They do provide music and art everyday. They work in a group always.
Montessori is reality based. Setting the table, pouring rice and everyday tasking to learn numbers and patterns. Montessori kids "read" very early, but it is all memorization from a labeled classroom. These kids are very self-driven. They "choose" their own activities each day. They never work in groups. I don't know their stance on media and culture.

I couldn't choose. Both have drawbacks. I tried to borrow the best from each and bring those parts into my home.
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#8 of 14 Old 12-14-2004, 06:40 PM
 
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Montessori Mom here!

I wouldn't say that the reading is memorization from a labeled classroom. They learn to read from a number of hands on methods, that enable the children to sound out a word for themselves. It was also mentioned that they "never" work in groups. This is not true. They do choose their own goals, and if while working on their goal, someone else is also working on that goal they may join together. Sometimes another child who is knowledgable in that area may help another that is having difficulty. Their is work time, where each child works on their individual goals and there is also group time. A lot of times there are "lessons" that the guide (teacher), will give to the class as a whole, which may be accompanied by a group activity.
Montessori does not encourage TV or mainstream culture but is not as hard-core about it as Waldorf. Montessori also encourages imagination through artwork, and free time. They aren't as strong in this area as Waldorf is. I would agree as an overall generalization, that Montessori is more reality-based and Waldorf is fantasy-based.
I encourage both methods of teaching. Every school within Montessori or Waldorf is different, and each school should be interviewed and observed by each parent to come to a conclusion as to which would be a better fit for their child. My first is definitely a Montessori child, and I am open to the idea that my second may be a Waldorf child. Fortunately our area offers excellent schools in both methods of education.
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#9 of 14 Old 12-14-2004, 07:55 PM
 
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The reality based versus fantasy based bit is rather simplistic. My granddaughter's nursery school class bakes bread every Tuesday. Real bread. Then they eat it, using real teeth. They have a similar activity every day of the week. They also play outside, running around, climbing on things, etc. The fantasy part is that they are encouraged to play imaginatively, with lots of make-believe, but overall I found the education to be more realistic about a lot of things than my public school experiences.

For example, in 4th grade waldorf kids start learning geography. My daughter's teacher began by explaining the basic concepts of mapmaking and then the children measured their classroom and drew maps of it. (Neatly bringing in math skills, geometry practice and cooperation.) After that they drew a less detailed map of the school, again, doing some measuring. Next they did a map of the neighborhood. This involved using a large measuring string, again bringing in cooperation, measurement and counting. After that they were ready to start looking at other people's maps and figuring out how they worked and what they told. They also did a hike up to the top of the pass by which the first white explorers entered the San Fernando Valley and looked down at their home area from the heights.

Later in the year each child did a research project on a particular country: my daughter did Ireland. She got books from the library, wrote a brief description and drew a map.

My public school experience tended to be much more disjointed and disorganized. It was rare to have a teacher who laid a solid foundation in any subject or linked subjects together.

Oh yes, if your child is lucky enough to go to a waldorf high school (my daughter did), the curriculum gets mirrored in the upper grades, so the early geography/mapmaking comes back again as a course in surveying. This means applied trigonometry, among other skills.

Just my experience.

Nana
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#10 of 14 Old 12-15-2004, 02:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for all the input, i am looking into prek for next year and trying to figure out the best route. Philomom-I saw that you live in Atlanta-I do also, where do your children go to school-or are they homeschooled?
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#11 of 14 Old 12-15-2004, 03:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom
Montessori is reality based. Setting the table, pouring rice and everyday tasking to learn numbers and patterns. Montessori kids "read" very early, but it is all memorization from a labeled classroom. These kids are very self-driven. They "choose" their own activities each day. They never work in groups. I don't know their stance on media and culture.
It is important to remember that there are a variety of ways to implement Montessori. Some schools will be more strict in their application of Montessori principles, others will be more flexible or eclectic (such as in encouraging more group work at some point during the day). It's also important to note that some schools that call themselves Montessori really have very little to do with Montessori philosophies at all.
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#12 of 14 Old 01-28-2005, 06:11 PM
 
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Its funny -I choose Montessori for my children but most of the toys and stuff I buy for my kids are of the Waldorf sort so I guess we are just confused .

I really like the Montessori approach and it suits my children well. The school they attend is not certified but there are only a few in my area that are - nothing remotely close either. I visisted a handful of different schools and found huge differences in all of them. The AMI schools seemed very cold and strict to me, our school is considered AMS. The directress is AMI certified but started her own AMS school because she felt the kids at the AMI schools were not allowed to be children. The other teachers are AMS certified. The school is warm and the teachers kind and comforting. We love it there. I do like the idea of imaginative play of waldorf but what I have learned about it I like it for play not for school. There are no waldorf schools close to me so I will admit I have never been in one. But my understanding is no reading until grade 3? Also parents are not suppose to read stories to their children, just tell stories. I think children mimic what the adults in their lives do. I read. Very early both of my kids pretended to read and showed in interest in learning how. It goes against everything inside me not to read to my children or follow their lead when they show an interest in something such as reading. I may have it wrong about waldorf but that was what I found out about it.

Micky
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#13 of 14 Old 01-28-2005, 06:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mytwokids
I do like the idea of imaginative play of waldorf but what I have learned about it I like it for play not for school. There are no waldorf schools close to me so I will admit I have never been in one. But my understanding is no reading until grade 3? Also parents are not suppose to read stories to their children, just tell stories

Micky

I can't speak for every Waldorf school but from my experience you are mistaken. We read to our kids a lot and we were encouraged to do so. We were also encouraged to tell them stories especially about our own childhoods. Children in Waldorf begin to learn to read in 1st grade but are not expected to read fluently until 3rd grade so children are allowed to go at their own pace. My son read fluently by the end of 2nd grade and my 1st grader is starting to learn how to write and read simple words.

I am glad you found a Montessori school that works for you.
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#14 of 14 Old 01-29-2005, 09:25 AM
 
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I'm going to move this over just to the other subforum called "Comparisons" since that is the main thrust of that subforum--for people to look at and question the various ed. methods. You'll see the last thread there was on the very same topic!

 
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