I just went through this!! I will tell you our experience. Dd had been in Montessori for two years and I was not sure whether to send her there for K or to public school. I agonized over the decision all last year and most of the summer. I loved our Montessori but it was $4500.00 for three full days and two half days, a schedule that had worked wonderfully for us the previous year. Public school was of course free but was half days, I wasn't crazy about half days because Dd is very
social and I thought she and I would go crazy. Money was a huge issue because although I had the money from income tax, Dd is from a previos marriage and her father does not pay support. My current partner is not thrilled with private school so if she was to attend Montessori I would have to pay for it. To make matters more complicated I had baby in June and was cutting back my hours to only one day a week so needless to say I really could of used that money. Anyways in the end I decided to keep her at Montessori for one more year(knowing I could never afford elementry program) Everyone said I wouldn't regret it she would get so much out of her K year there. Well as the year progressed I didn't see a whole lot of anything special. Let me clarify, the normal wonderful aspects of Montessori were apparent but academiclly nothing special. It's only kindergarten so that didn't really bother me except that I was using up any extra money I had and money was/is tight with me only working one day a week. Then some things happened at the school I wasn't to happy with and I knew when I was begrudingly writing those checks every month it was time to take her out. But I still wasn't sold on public school. I seriosly considered Waldorf because I have always loved that school but its about 40 minutes away and also very expensive. In the end I decided to switch her to public school. She has been there about three weeks and loves it. So far I am also happy. They do alot of really neat things. They work on a lot of reading and writing and also have time for play. They go to the library, have gym, computer, and have 4th grade buddies. There is no music or art in K but we do that at home. Being such a social kid I think the structured atmosphere of public school is good for Dd.
Dd has transitioned well ( she has always been a very adaptable child). She is having difficulty adjusting to the different ways of doing things. We have to work on writing in a straight line and writing letters the way everyone else does. This gets frustrating for Dd because at Montessori there was not really a "right" way to do things. They are pretty strict at our p-school about writing styles. This is not a huge issue but it is a little challenging. I know we will get over this small hurdle but I sometimes I think I could've made things easier on her had I just sent her to public school from the start.
I don't know if this is an option for you, but some parents send thir kids to public school and Montessori. I had considered this last year but thought it would be to much running around. I kind of wish I would have done this because she would have gotten used to the new way of doing things along with the other kids but still got the wonderful social aspects of montessori and it would have been less expensive. I love Montessori schools and do not regret sending her there, it has helped shape her into the caring, thoughtful, respectful,individual
that she is
If I had to make the decision over again and I knew she was not going to attend Montessori for elementry I would either just send her to Public school or done half day public, half day Montessori.
Oh by the way I really enjoy having her home more. I chose PM K because she is more mellow in the AM so we enjoy taking our time getting out of bed, cuddling with the baby and slowly getting ready for school. Then she rides the bus home with her friends and can play with them after school. So it's working real good for us!!
Good luck!I hope my lengthy experience gives you some insight although it may not be the right choice for you. Let me know what you decide!!!