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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I like things about both philosophies. I like the play aspect about Waldorf and their emphasis on nature. I am not too keen on the gnomes and fairies aspect and the anthropolpsy (sorry, can't spell). But, I do like how they really take things slow with things like learning colors through painting and experiencing one color at a time. I like the crafts and simplicity of the rooms and toys.<br><br>
However, as an engineer, I do like how logical Montessori is. And DS seems to be interested in reading and tries to count (he starts at 2). I haven't really worked with him on some of these things, but I think he will do well with minimal help. He was in a Montessori full time daycare and really enjoyed it.<br><br>
Are there any books or resources on incorporating these 2 things? I would like to start working on a rhythm of our day and want to figure out what we are working towards. The other reason why I want to have a pretty settled day schedule is to give some structure when we have the new one in Dec.<br><br>
Anyway, not sure if what I am looking for makes any sense. Please ask questions because I think I need to input to really figure this out. I am also posting only in Montessori because I think I am more leaning in that direction.<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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You sound exactly like me! I thought I was all Waldorfy, and then I actually read about it and was (sorry to be blunt) totally horrified. I still like the superficial stuff, but can't get into the whole shebang. But I have read a ton of the books, and we have a little nature table with gnomes and fairies and flowers and acorns on it (and even a beeswax candle), and I like the nature walks, and my daughter has the sweetest little Waldorf bedroom you've ever seen.<br><br>
There are no books I know of that incorporate both philosophies. But there's no reason to read separate books about them and put it all together in your own way.<br><br>
For Montessori, the absolute best and most practical book about early childhood is "How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way."<br><br>
The two books that I particularly enjoyed are Beyond the Rainbow Bridge and Seven Times the Sun. The first is about a Waldorf early childhood at home and it doesn't really get into the religious stuff. It has some nice ideas. Seven Times the Sun is a book full of rhymes and songs and ideas for family rhythms and traditions. There were some really sweet ideas in there.<br><br>
A book called The Nature Corner has really elaborate but beautiful ideas for the little nature table tableaux that Waldorf is big on. It has instructions for all of the dolls. I'm not entirely sure I'd go out of my way to buy the book new, because there's no way you could recreate the amazing little scenes unless you found just the right shaped branch as a backdrop, but it is inspiring to look at. I like looking through it and saying "Wow, I bet if I worked really hard I could make that! Maybe later."<br><br>
FWIW what really sold Montessori to me is that it's 100% child led. Waldorf is slow, but that isn't great for kids who aren't interested in going slow. And some of the more hard-core proponents actually claim there's something wrong with your child if he learns to read before he's 7 and some of the other things that they have a specific set schedule about.
 

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It seems like it's so common (around here, at least) for people to want to combine elements of both, but there's no real guidance on doing it.<br><br>
I think if you study both, though, elements of them can fairly easily be combined in a home environment. From Montessori, I take the academic elements and the emphasis on practical life around the house. From Waldorf, the simple play and recognition of seasons and rhythm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Bummer! I was hoping that someone would have figured it all out so I could see how they did it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I have been going to a Waldorf parent/child class and it has been nice. DS seemed to like it and I have learned a lot. They have parent nights which has been nice and they gave us Heaven on Earth to read this past time. Unfortunately, they are not doing a summer session. By the time fall rolls around, I am thinking about having DS in some sort of preschool, just so he gets used to going to "school" again. I am due in December, and I want DS to have lots of opportunities to play and get out while I am figuring out how to get dressed and shower/brush teeth with 2 little ones <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
I like how calm the Waldorf class seemed. The parent/child Montessori did not seem so much like that, but I think that was due to the parents. I really want to create a warm and calm environment for my kids. But, I have only been a SAHM for about 8 months now and I kinda still feel a little overwhelmed (especially now being pregnant and feeling not so well). So, I need to start small.<br><br>
Thoughts? Words of wisdom?
 

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Realize both are very different philosophies and, as a result, methods. Young children cannot be very capable of learning (Montessori) and kept separate from academics (Waldorf).<br><br>
What you really have to start with is your philosophy of education. Once you find the balance for that, you can learn how to adapt a lot of ideas you enjoy into your home schooling environment.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MattBronsil</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15455094"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Realize both are very different philosophies and, as a result, methods. Young children cannot be very capable of learning (Montessori) and kept separate from academics (Waldorf).<br><br>
What you really have to start with is your philosophy of education. Once you find the balance for that, you can learn how to adapt a lot of ideas you enjoy into your home schooling environment.</div>
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As other posters have said, though, I think you can incorporate some of the Waldorf materials into a Montessori approach. There's nothing in Montessori that rules out nature walks or art or music and those materials could be borrowed from Waldorf.
 

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DS's M school is very focused on nature, art, and music. It seems like the stuff you want to "borrow" from Waldorf is mostly M stuff as well. But I will agree that many of the simple wooden W toys are lovely and I would certainly be willing to encorporate them into our routine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the thoughts. I know they are very different philosophies, but I do feel that I can take what resonates with me and my son to create something.<br><br>
For instance, I really like the fact that Waldorf paints with one color at a time and then slowly starts combining them so that kids learn first hand that 2 separate colors make a different color. I also like the fact that they want the child to really experience that color one at a time. I think in my life, I am very go, go, go and stepping back to experience "yellow" is a learning exercise for me too!<br><br>
But on the other hand, my son likes to read books and is "trying" to read them now (basically he has memorized some of the words). I think it would be fine for him to start learning letters through sounds and what not now (versus waiting until he is 7). I wouldn't push him, but just introduce and see what happens.<br><br>
I have been looking at preschools and have been very disappointed and not sure that I want my son in those environments. They are loud, crowded with WAY too many toys, and overwhelm ME. So, I am pretty much decided, I will have to do preschool my way.<br><br>
I think I need to journal about what I really like about each and what I don't like so I can more clearly define my education philosophy. Gosh, if I am this picky about preschool, I am going to be really hard to please when it gets to regular school! Yikes!
 

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I recently finished AMI elementary training, and was very surprised at how much of the training incorporated handwork (music, art, book making, felting, crochet, and knitting), as I had always longed for more of those activities in my own children's Montessori classrooms. Now I know that those activities, which had also drawn me to Waldorf when I first looked at schools for my kids, are an essential part of the Montessori work cycle, even in the 3-6 classroom. The classes for 3-6 that I observed in had sewing works, sculpting with beeswax and clay, work with color (usually children combining 2 primary colors to make a secondary color, as part of practical life), and loads of the baking of bread and other cooking work that is so charming in the Waldorf kindergartens. The BEST Montessori elementary classrooms I observed and student taught in offered work with color, painting, sculpting, felting, knitting, and cooking that was not separate from the rest of the work available; so, a child could just as easily spend a morning crocheting a napkin as figuring out how to extract a square root! And the BEST elementary programs also had available work with gardening, woodworking, and community service. After all was said and done, I came away from training convinced that Montessori offers both the handwork that attracts so many of us to Waldorf and the complete child-centered cognitive experiences to allow each child (or, in the elementary, group of children) to use their time at school to engage in whatever activity calls out to them to work on self-construction. When Montessori is done right, it has a balance of the academic and artistic in every classroom, so that the children can choose those works that are most right for them at that particular moment!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>nkm1968</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15527552"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I recently finished AMI elementary training, and was very surprised at how much of the training incorporated handwork (music, art, book making, felting, crochet, and knitting), as I had always longed for more of those activities in my own children's Montessori classrooms. Now I know that those activities, which had also drawn me to Waldorf when I first looked at schools for my kids, are an essential part of the Montessori work cycle, even in the 3-6 classroom. The classes for 3-6 that I observed in had sewing works, sculpting with beeswax and clay, work with color (usually children combining 2 primary colors to make a secondary color, as part of practical life), and loads of the baking of bread and other cooking work that is so charming in the Waldorf kindergartens. The BEST Montessori elementary classrooms I observed and student taught in offered work with color, painting, sculpting, felting, knitting, and cooking that was not separate from the rest of the work available; so, a child could just as easily spend a morning crocheting a napkin as figuring out how to extract a square root! And the BEST elementary programs also had available work with gardening, woodworking, and community service. After all was said and done, I came away from training convinced that Montessori offers both the handwork that attracts so many of us to Waldorf and the complete child-centered cognitive experiences to allow each child (or, in the elementary, group of children) to use their time at school to engage in whatever activity calls out to them to work on self-construction. When Montessori is done right, it has a balance of the academic and artistic in every classroom, so that the children can choose those works that are most right for them at that particular moment!</div>
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I am drooling, I love it! Those children are so lucky!<br><br>
I've also read that in the original Montessori programs, children were allowed to go outside at will- I wish children still had that sort of freedom<br>
One place I heard about in Texas has a compound and the children can walk to different grades and recite poems or show other work they've done<br><br>
I think Montessori really offers alot... society and regulations have probably robbed alot of programs though<br><br>
I love the idea of borrowing from what appeals to you and what will work best for your child
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">DS's M school is very focused on nature, art, and music. It seems like the stuff you want to "borrow" from Waldorf is mostly M stuff as well. But I will agree that many of the simple wooden W toys are lovely and I would certainly be willing to encorporate them into our routine.</div>
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This is what I was thinking, too. Ds's school had a beautiful garden where they incorporated garden works to learn about nature - they composted, made potpourri, planted and transplanted, removed the seeds from the flowers in the fall, created art with zebra grass - and that was just on the day I volunteered! I think a love of nature can most definitely be compatible with M. Even their playground was a "natural playground" with any equipment being built into the natural landscape with natural materials.<br><br>
My ds has a wonderful imagination. He can keep his M learning and imagination separate just fine. And if you're not too keen on gnomes and fairies, then don't do gnomes and fairies. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
For music, he did Kindermusik at school. They learned a lot of old, traditional type songs and games and learned about instruments and rhythms.<br><br>
They also studied "artists of the month," learning about they style of art and then incorporating that into some of the works. I think I even saw a student matching cards of paintings when I observed a couple of years ago. It may not be the free-spirit approach to art, but it gives a nice foundation for appreciation and he could create at home if he chose.<br><br>
Maybe some of this will give you ideas of what you would like to see or could adapt for your dc, since it seems like the nature and arts are the most attractive parts of Waldorf for you.
 

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Boy, is this the thread for me! I sound just like you, lach. I was all about Waldorf until I actually researched it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/huh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="huh"> Then I learned about Montessori and realized it's way better than I thought it was. But I REALLY want a combination of the two! Sounds like I'm not alone. The child-led aspect of Montessori and the mixed-age classrooms is what really sold me on it, but I do wish there was more imaginative/creative play involved in the early years and not such a heavy focus on the real world.<br><br>
I'll probably end up sending my kids to the Montessori charter school in my area, although I'll consider the Waldorf-methods charter school if they put back the funding for foreign language and gardening (I'm sorry, but it's not Waldorf if they don't learn Spanish/German/gardening). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
My other option is to homeschool/unschool and combine methods myself...but I admit I am DAUNTED by the idea!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am still trying to figure out what I want to do. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> But the suggestions are definitely inspiring me and I need to start taking notes. I got some of the books suggested on other threads and they have given me some ideas as well. Now, I just need to prioritize and get more "specific" so to speak. Especially since I am not so sick and feeling better (except today, going on day 2 of this nasty headache).<br><br>
I'll have to look at Kindermusik. I think that have that in our area too.
 

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I was just reading through this thread again, and it occurred to me how sad it is that "real life" is such a downer to some of us<br>
Really, if we really look at the world, we are surrounded by beauty, and such remarkable things- real miracles<br><br>
I think a young child still sees these miracles and wants to learn about them- that is why I so love working with children, they aren't jaded [at least til adults get to them]<br><br>
One explanation for learning about what is "real" that helped me, was to imagine traveling to another country or planet even, and wanting to learn all about it and having to decipher what was real from what were fairy tales about the place...how hard that would be and how you could get frustrated when what you really wanted was to "know"<br>
Something like that anyhow lol<br><br>
I am always amazed at how much Montessori offers and how little people know about her work- and it's often negative<br><br>
I too was drawn to Waldorf, but I discovered that what I wanted was Montessori- she actually offered it all <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> (my take anyway, I am far from an expert, but the more I learn, the more I like- love!)
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sunshineafterrain</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15608391"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">One explanation for learning about what is "real" that helped me, was to imagine traveling to another country or planet even, and wanting to learn all about it and having to decipher what was real from what were fairy tales about the place...how hard that would be and how you could get frustrated when what you really wanted was to "know"<br>
Something like that anyhow lol</div>
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We started teaching DD "real" vs "pretend" early. That way, we could share stories and fairytales and myths (Santa) with her but distinguish them from reality. I'm a firm believer in what you said about needing to learn about reality, but I also think there's power and truth in those stories and myths, even without them being "real".<br><br>
It's a hard thing for them to grasp at first, though. We were a few months into it before we realized that DD thought that "pretend" meant a story with an animal, and "real" meant a story with a human. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> It worked for her for quite a while, until Santa got thrown into the mix.
 

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Yes I definitely think there is room for both but I think it was *me* who thought the real, factual stuff was boring- not the kids I've worked with; so the shift has been with me<br><br>
Also, by presenting the "real" -children are much more able to pretend actually.<br><br>
When I worked at a preschool, we'd set up dramatic play and the best themes, by far. were played out by the children *after* we'd visited a farm, the fire station etc as the children had the real experiences to draw from <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I wish I found this thread way earlier in my long, rather stressful struggle to choose a school for my son. I grew up in Montessori k-5th grade and loved it. I loved the freedom to learn at my own pace, I loved the materials...When I moved into a more traditional school for 6th grade it felt as if someone put the brakes on. Very boring. Lessons and ideas not tied together. I hated a bell ringing and sending me on my way seemed arbitrary and weird.<br>
Anyway, I always thought I would send my children to Montessori school, but than I got to know my son. I was not ready to ship him off 5 days a week and all the montessori programs were 5 days, so we started at a Waldorf based preschool where he played outside all morning and learned to be with other kids and not just me. When he was ready for more days, we continued with the waldorf because they allowed a more flexible schedule. He went last year for kindergarden and although he loved it, we became rather uncomfortable with the whole waldorf deal and the upper grades. He likes to practice writing words and counting and can read a bit, but he has zero chances at school to do these things until 1st grade (at waldorf). He is happy, the school is close, but there is something about it that makes us not so sure this is the place for us. I don't want him to be held back from learning what he wants. We also feel as if the school is not very organized.<br>
Now here is the big question...he has a space held at a Montessori school in town but A. it is sort of far. B. they have a long school day & he has never been away all day yet. C. every Montessori school is different & this one seems sort of intense..like it is for families that are very driven to perform. I just like the method..not trying to push my kids to be super stars.<br>
I keep saying I need to open a "Walassori" school that combines both aspects. Any advice would be great...this is driving me nuts. I feel as if I am stuck between two not so great options.
 

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I'm not sure how much "pushing" can happen in a Montessori school. Since the kids chose the materials they want to work with, I can't imagine it turning into a high-stress situation. But maybe it can?<br><br>
I think it's a real personal thing, chosing a Waldorf or Montessori school. If you think your child needs to wait to start academics, then Waldorf is right. If you want the academics available for him, then Montessori. I, personally, would not choose a Waldorf school, but I don't want to get into a rant on here about it.
 

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Ha! I like the "Walassori" idea and what a melafluid word. I'm sure lots of parents would go for that! For the OP - good for you that you're being picky about your child's preschool education. Maria Montessori believed that the years from 0-6 are absolutely the most important years of a child's education; the basis for everything else that follows. A child's sense of himself and his place in the world, how he relates to the world are all formed then.<br>
I've also never quite understood how learning things about the "real" or 'natural' world is unimaginative. There are amazing, thrilling miracles happening all around us. What about butterflies and metamorphasis? What could be more magical than that? A baby sea turtle hatching in it's nest and its journey to the sea... insects and volcanos...the entire world is bursting with mystery and wonder.<br>
As another poster said, I think it's more that we adults are jaded to our world and find it necessary to embellish to keep things interesting. Young children especially, find exploring their natural world to be fresh and compelling and their primary interest is becoming oriented and capable in their world as it really is. ...Not that some Montessori classrooms aren't too rigid in their approach and not promoting enough creative fun and exploration. You will certainly find some classrooms like that, just depending on the teacher's priorities.
 
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