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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are considering moving and I've been researching schools -

I've always felt that my ds would be a great candidate for Montessori, but because of circumstances beyond our control, we haven't been able to get him into a good Montessori school. Now that I have a dd that will be ready to go to school, I'd love to have them at the same school.

I understand that many Montessori programs don't like to start children later than age 5 - can someone please help me to understand why? Is there any way around this?

TIA!
 

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Im no expert by any means (and we haev a few around here) but my kiddos both go to M school. I would think the reason they do not like to introduce it to late is because by five they have had many lessons to get them to the point they are at. With Montessori school a lot of the lessons lead to another lesson and they start off small.

I do know our M school has taken on 5 year olds that are the right fit so it is not completly out of the question either.

Melda
 

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No expert here, either. But, according to what my ds's M school told us, I agree with what Melda said.

Ds started M this year, for the first grade. So, taking an older child *is* something some M schools consider, they just want to make sure it's a good fit on both ends (child and school) first. Ds and one other 6yo student that was new to M spent a few hours each morning for two weeks in summer orientation getting to know the materials and some of the more basic lessons that are used as a foundation for the more advanced lessons.
 

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Our M school does take older children, but they do say how long it takes for them to get used to it. The teacher was telling a story about a girl who started at 4th grade. She kiept asking how many book reports she had to do. The teacher would say , "As many as you like." and the girl would walk away. A few minutes later she'd say, "But Billy did 3 and Megan did 2??" And the teacher would nod. Seriously, this girl kept coming back to this over and over and just couldn't get it! I think traditional public school is SOOO different in the motiviation for working. Our school will do it, but they acknowledge that it takes time and work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the info - Flor.
My son is struggling right now in PS kindergarten because they don't allow him enough time to do the things that he wants to -- such as reading! They are on a predetermined time schedule, and when it's time to move on, he doesn't have a choice. He even told me "I know what I want to do, but I can't do it. I have to wait."
He is fairly accademically driven - will tell me that he "needs to do work" -- I've bought all sorts of life skills (little mops, brooms, dusters, etc.) and other Montessori items (blocks of 10, for example) and he LOVES these Montessori tools. He will work collaboratively or individually.
I'm really hoping that an M school will give him a chance -- and I think it's fair to do a trial run to see if it works out.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
I understand that many Montessori programs don't like to start children later than age 5 - can someone please help me to understand why? Is there any way around this?
TIA!
There are many lessons given in the early years that are indirectly preparing the child for later learning, there is a steady progression of challenges presented to the child as he accumulates confidence, the ability to concentrate and refined motor skills. The period from 3-6 is especially important because of the "Absorbent Mind" (Montessori term for "sponginess") and so learning is done effortlessly. The orientation that is absorbed during this time is a permanent acquisition. Also, practically speaking, because of the nature of the program and having every child remain in the class for 3 years, there are less opening for 5 year olds as most, if not all, of the 5 year olds in the class have been there for 2 years already. We try to maintain a balance of ages (9 - 10 from each age group).

There are usually one or two slots to fill due to changes in the roster, so the Directress can choose to accept a 5 year old "who is a good fit" (I like the way Melda put it!) As trimomma indicated, an orientation period is really helpful for any new student. There is definitely a transition stage (like Flor said) as it takes some children awhile to adjust to directing their own activity.

Because of the nature of the adjustment, I would suggest that it seems worthwhile to have a child start Montessori at 5 or 6 if you plan on staying for the elementary years. In order to get the full benefit at any age, the 3 year cycle is an important component to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lillianna View Post
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Because of the nature of the adjustment, I would suggest that it seems worthwhile to have a child start Montessori at 5 or 6 if you plan on staying for the elementary years. In order to get the full benefit at any age, the 3 year cycle is an important component to consider.
This is good info. The M. school I am most interested goes through grade 8. I'd love to find one that we could stay at through high school, but the area we are considering moving to only has 3 M schools in the city. If M works for my son, we'd keep him there as long as we could.

Would it be disruptive or make for a more difficult transition to start him mid-year? I know that this might be a difficult question to answer since I'm sure it's dependent on so many things. Maybe it's better to phrase it this way: Can you see any drawbacks starting mid-year? As soon as we sell our home, we would be moving.....so it could happen at any time.
 

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I personally feel like "the sooner, the better" as far as when to start.

We have had a number of children start in Jan. throughout the years and it has been a positive experience overall. The biggest factor in success at any time is if the homelife is supporting the Montessori theory (and it sounds like yours is).

Quote:
My son is struggling right now in PS kindergarten because they don't allow him enough time to do the things that he wants to -- such as reading! They are on a predetermined time schedule, and when it's time to move on, he doesn't have a choice. He even told me "I know what I want to do, but I can't do it. I have to wait."
Unbelievable! I can't imagine having to tell a child to stop reading so he can go on to something so seemingly more important. In Montessori, he should be able to read day in and day out for 3 mths. straight if he wants. My brother just told me at his son's PS he is not allowed to write in cursive even though he wants to! Also another problem you will not face in (a true) M program.
 

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I just visited a public, charter M program in my community last weekend. The primary (6-9 yo group) had 22 students only 5 of which had had M programming in the past. The teacher said those kids adjusted faster, but it was not a problem. We were not discouraged from applying because ds has no previous M experience.
 

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As others said, there are schools that will take older children, and 5 is not that old in the grand scheme of things. Our school has taken new children at all levels and we go up to 8th grade. It will take a while for them to get used to the environment, and even then they have missed out on essential years that form the whole Montessori experience, but they will get a great deal out of it at whatever stage they enter. That's what I think anyway!

Just check in with the schools that you are thinking of applying to.
 

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I posted a few months back about my situation, somewhat similar. I always planned to teach my dd at home but it ended up not being a good fit for us so I chose M. She didnt start until end of Nov-she had just turned 5yo. She went half days for the first month to transition and after the winter break she is now going full days.
PP's have given you the reasons for schools encouraging children to begin at an earlier age and I can definately see this now that my dd attends a M school and started at 5yo. Due to a waiting list we had to wait for a spot to open up and it just happened to due so mid-year. There have been a few small issues with this for my dd, she is a very sensitive child, and we have been able to work through all of them. That being said I wouldnt choose to wait longer for the next school year to begin rather than start mid-year. If I had known better I would have enrolled her much earlier, plan to do so with dd2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Arratt -- Thank you for sharing this. I met with our pediatrician yesterday and asked him about schooling recommendations for ds. He knows that ds transtions hard -- he gets there, but it takes him longer than the average child. Once he's there - he really takes off and does amazing work. I've seen this happen for both years of pre-K and now in K. I think a lot of it is getting used to the teachers and their expecations, and the new children. I'm afraid that moving him into a M. environment will be more adjustment than just a new school (although he's much more socially confident now than he was at the beginning of this year) and my fear is that the M. teachers won't give him the extra time to adapt. I'm not sure that moving him right now mid-year is a good idea, either since he is fully into the swing of school - even though he is bored at school. If he were more flexible with transitions, we could try some things out and see if they worked. Unfortunately, he isn't. Our pediatrician suggested that we look at ungraded schools (ability based, loosely age based - similar to M, keep the same teacher for 2 or 3 years) which are a more traditional school format to which ds is now accustomed. I have found some schools that are ungraded in the city and state to which we will be moving. I really feel like this is the best option for him now.

However, I won't be missing the boat with my dd. She turns 3 in May and will fully start an M program as soon as we relocate.
 

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My son started at 4.5 and it took him a bit to get the hang of things (choosing work, rules, starting from scratch and catching up on materials...), but is doing great now.
My daughter started at 2.5, so in a sense it will be easier forheras the Montessori way is all she's ever known!

I am sure they will give him a chance, 5 is still ok to start IMO.
 

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My ds1 stared at 5 and has done really well. Montessori seems really well suited to him as he can work on what he likes. Plus he had a fear of being expected to "sit at a desk all day"
My 3 yo started a few weeks ago (mid-year) and has also transitioned really well. He was in public preschool 2 days a week previously and I feel is already much more adjusted here than he ever was there (even after 4 months). The school is a great one though and the teachers are excellent so that makes a huge difference. I say check out the actual schools and meet the staff before you make any decisions
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'll definitely keep my options open before I make my final decision. Thanks for all the great advice.
 
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