Hi Eugene Mamas :)
I know there have been a ton of threads and conversations about Eugene schools, and I have read through them all. Nothing previously discussed seems to meet my needs though, so I am hoping for some input or suggestions. Right now my son is 4, and is enrolled at a Montessori school in Eugene. Academically, it is right up his alley, and he is thriving on the learning environment.
Emotionally - not so much. There are a number of factors that have snowballed into my decision to remove him from the school. What it really boils down to is that he needs a classroom environment that has very nurturing and welcoming adults. He is confident and talkative at home, and in environments where he feels comfortable, but his classroom is not providing him with this comfort level. He needs teachers/adults in the classroom who are sensitive and friendly. His current teacher is very formal, and completely unaware and insensitive to his shyness and anxiety. One of his reactions to feeling intimidated is to increase his energy level - he sometimes gets this frantic, panicked energy. Sometimes he starts acting like a cat, or making meowing noises to communicate because he wants attention, but he is not feeling confident enough or assertive enough to approach the teacher with real words. She has labelled this as "naughty" behavior, which is not helping her already unapproachable demeanor.
He also had a very, very hard time with the holiday concert, stating firmly that he refused to go or to participate. He is prone to anxiety, and performing is high on the list of anxiety triggers. I was able to talk to him extensively about it, and we came up with the idea of him bringing his transitional object (a stuffed cat that he has had since 9 mos old) and holding her while he was on stage with his class, doing the songs. He did great for the first number, dancing across the stage with his cat, but when they went offstage to prep for the next number, he returned a few minutes later in tears and absolutely panic stricken. I had to go up on stage and take him down. He was in fearful hysterics. I found out later that his teacher had told him he could not have his cat on stage, and she took it away from him. As soon as he burst into tears, she gave it back, but the damage had been done, and once she broke through that very tenuous hold he had on his nerves (held together mostly by his stuffed cat, I think), there was no regaining it.
I have decided that the school is not giving him what he needs emotionally, and he needs a classroom that is able to give him the great academic and learning experience he is receiving, while still being accepting of his sensitive nature. At this point in the year, most places are going to be full. Moss St. is full, which was my first choice. If anyone can think of a great preschool classroom you know of that might fit our needs, please, please let me know. I am feeling desperate for my son's sake. As an example, it is december, and he still cries and clings to me when I drop him off in the morning. 3 months is way too long for a little one to be dreading the drop-off, and this is not his first school experience. He was in a home daycare for 2 years previously. He is not unfamiliar with being separated from me during the day, he is just acutely unhappy where he is now :(
Have you tried looking into other Montessori preschools? It really does depend on the adults that are supervising the classes. Maybe you can find another where he'll be better received.
I know there's at least one in Springfield, but I'm not sure how far out of your area that is.
I'm so sorry your little son is having such a hard time! Being really sensitive is something to be cared for, not ignored! I haven't read any of the other threads on schools, so I'm sure it's been brought up before, but what about Waldorf? We go to their baby "class" and absolutely love it. It's an absolutely amazing, nurturing environment. I don't know how rigorous their academics are, but for me & my husband, we believe that can come later. We just want a special place that nurtures our daughter to build her confidence, esteem and love of school! Just a thought... Good luck mama, I'm sure you will find a good place your son loves. :)
Thanks for the input, Mamas :) I did manage to get him into Moss Street Children's Center, though not quite full time since they didn't have all the openings I need. But I'll take what they can give me, and I am feeling very, very confident about his placement there. I considered Waldorf, but the cost was very prohibitive for me. Even Moss St is going to be a challenge for me to maintain (I'm a UO student, so I get a discount, but it's still over $600/month). We will be cutting corners if need be to make sure he is in a comfortable classroom, though :) His previous school was such a disaster for him that I think it's going to take some time to readjust and get back to a place of comfort and security. I am way less concerned with the academics, and if I feel like he needs something he is not getting at preschool, we will do some work at home! Here's hoping for good changes in the new year!
i am looking enrolling my twins who are turning 3 this winter in montessori after visiting one in CA for a full day and really loving it, the kids seems to adore the place too. but now we are ending up in Eugene for a year and seeing as it is late in the summer already i need to pick a school site unseen in eugene, im quite stressed. would you feel comfortable telling me what school your sone was going to that did not work for him, maybe a PM? and what thoughts you had on the other montesorri schools in the area are if you had ever got to check them out?
i know Montessori is certainly not right for every kid and even bigger of an issue is that each school can be VERY differnt in both specific thinking and teacher style. so while i am looking forward to testing out if it is a good fit for my two this year prior to the "normal" 3s class the following year, i sure would like to get in the best one i can.
So what if I don't fit cleanly into a defined parenting style, my kids don't fit into a personality archetype either!