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Discussion Starter #1
I had planned on homeschooling my DS, but now that I'm getting a divorce and have returned to work FT I'm reconsidering.<br><br>
Right when my DS turned 3 (he's almost 3.5 now), I visited the Montessori schools in my area. All of them seemed pretty surprised (in a negative way) that my DS has not been in a daycare or school environment yet.<br><br>
To me 3 seems pretty young for that sort of thing, it sort of irritated me.<br><br>
It was not the right time to put him in a school then, but we may need to do that in the future, say in 6 months or a year.<br><br>
I'm a bit discouraged by the responses I got when he just turned 3 - when he's 4, I'm sure it will be even worse. I can't imagine paying someone thousands and thousands of dollars each year with that kind of "Oh my god! He's 4 years old, it's too late!" attitude.<br><br>
Any thoughts on why this attitude exists?
 

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There's a lot to it, but in summary, the 3 year cycle (3-6, 6-9, etc) is very valuable in Montessori. In the first year, a lot of fundamentals are established, and the child works on integrating into the community. The next two years of the cycle have their own unique flavors. It's a beautiful cycle and a cornerstone for giving the children a good community in which to develop. In short, it's definitely part of the whole "montessori thing" and that's probably why you encountered some surprise. Some schools can be a bit snobbish about it, unfortunately....<br><br>
I typed this whole huge digression on my thoughts about this phenomenon, but I deleted it and will say instead this: I think *Montessori* is so wonderful for all children, regardless of when or how they come to it, but not all Montessori *schools* are right for all children. Pick one or two schools that you liked best and ask them what you asked us - why would starting a year later be a problem for your child? Maybe they just reacted thoughtlessly and would feel differently if pressed to discuss the matter.<br><br>
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, that sounds really nice and all, but it doesn't sound like a philosophy that works terribly well if you don't get your kid into the program at exactly the right age.<br><br>
My DS is only now entering a phase (and not really there yet) where he would be willing to be away during the day with a bunch of strangers like that. So it's not the most AP-friendly philosophy, in that respect. Although other aspects of Montessori seem AP-ish.
 

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My Dd started Montessori when she was 2 weeks shy of five years old. She had already been in a preschool co-operative for 2 years and had been in a parenting class for toddlers then babies before that.<br><br>
The teacher visited our home and saw how similar to Montessori it was in terms of having mirrors at her height, a place where she could put her shoes and hang her coats, a room set up for her level. Then she visited the class and fit in really well.<br><br>
It worked out perfectly for us.
 

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Oh, I'm sorry if I didn't explain myself very clearly... I definitely didn't mean to say that they were *right* to be uptight about the fact that your ds is older than the average. Let me try again...<br><br>
There's a nuance that's hard to communicate clearly for me - Dr. Montessori (and Montessorians who have come after) observed that 3 years old is the beginning of a time of life when most children are eager to join a Montessori classroom community. HOWEVER, this is just averages. General assumptions like that are useful in talking philosophy, but they aren't as helpful when actually thinking about a specific child in a specific school. Average child does not equal every child, and I think that any decent Montessori school should recognize that and be open to accepting an older child.
 

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When I read the title, I thought your child would be 10 years old or so. I don't know why the teachrs had that response to a 3 yo who had never been in school. I think that is a personal response, or regional, not necessarily Montessoi. I think 3 years is the perfect time to start Montessori and 4 or 5 is just great, too. Our school is a little picker about older kids (like 9 or 10) because they have to unlearn so much of what they learned in public school like wait to be taught. Only do what is assigned. Work for your points, not for your own curiostiy. I'd say that a child who has been hs'ed would not have to unlearn all that so would make an easier transition. Some things about Montessori do seem less AP than other philosophiies, but it fits my ds's personality so well, I couldn't hope for a better environment for him. Schools are very individual places. Two Montessori schools could be very different (especially since anyone can use the name Montessori without any affiliation).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lazra</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7922971"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Oh, I'm sorry if I didn't explain myself very clearly... I definitely didn't mean to say that they were *right* to be uptight about the fact that your ds is older than the average.</div>
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I hope my post didn't sound too crabby... I'm going through some personal stuff and I'm a little overly sensitive right now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Flor, would you mind sharing some of the things that you think are maybe not that AP-ish? I am just curious. It's hard trying to pick a school and figure out what the differences are between them.
 

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No worries. I thought I had offended you, yeah, but I just wanted to take the time to explain myself better. No hard feelings here. I hope better days are ahead for you soon. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Anyway, Flor said it better.<br><br>
The non-AP aspect of Montessori is a great topic. I'm interested in your take on that, Flor, as I've really been pondering that dichotomy for a while.
 

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Ooh, I feel on the spot. I'm not a Montessori trained teacher, just a Montessori mom, so take it from that perspective, but my observations:<br><br>
1. many Montessori schools discourage parent participation. We can schedule observations and help at parties, but for the most part, we don't cross the magic line and enter the classroom.<br><br>
2. A push for independence that might be earlier than some children are ready for. This comes up at drop off and pick ups, potty training, and such. While I fully support their ideas that 3.5 yo can dress themselves and help with cooking, I don't know if they need to sleep alone. Of course, they don't make me do this or anything, it is just something that is discussed in the classroom and as a general life philosophy. Some Montessoris, I've heard, encourage earlier weaning, though we haven' t had any issues at ours.<br><br>
3. Montessori can seem rigid. That the child do things (hand washing, clean up, getting out materials) in a uniform way. This isn't necessarily un-AP but I think a lot of AP moms let their kids be a little more free and aren't used to controlling our kids like this.<br><br>
ETA: 4. Many Montessoris require full time attendance, though ours only requires at least 3 days per week 8-12.<br><br><br>
HOWEVER, I feel like ds's school is an awesome place for him to be and grow. He thrives on Montessori routines. As a naturally shy kid, he really needs to know the routine to feel comfortable. He feels very comfy in his classroom.<br><br>
His teachers are very knowledgable about child development. In spite of not wanting parents in the room or long goodbyes, they seem very sensitive to his attachment to me. They honor it while trying to help him adjust to the classroom.<br><br>
I love the matierials and that he is able to choose his activities all through the day. I love that he has learned all his letters, letter sounds and numbers without every having done a worksheet. He is genuinely excited about learning.<br><br>
They try to operate a no punishment/no rewards classroom.<br><br>
When ds has a special interest, they bombard him with new matierals. . .he's really into dinosaurs right now and his teachers are digging in the closets to find the dinosaur posters, cards, puzzles, books.<br><br>
They teach peace, kindness, gentleness, respect, and manners.<br><br>
I like the other kids whose parents have chosen Montessori for them.<br><br>
When I first visited the M. classroom, as a public school teacher, it felt very odd to me. Quiet and controlled. After hanging out a while, I realized it was actually <i>peaceful</i>. The children were busy and concentrating. The teacher could actually walk out of the room and the 2 and 3 year olds kept working and not because they'd be punished, but because they were just busy and happy. Something I don't see enough in my public school.
 

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Wow Flor that was a very thoughtful and insightful answer you gave.<br><br>
I also agree with lazra about 3 being a special time. This is a magical phase of child development where the awareness is changing from subconscious to conscious. Montessori elaborates on this in The Absorbent Mind. At this age, the child is laying foundation for intellectual organization as well as qualities of the personality. He is eager to know how things work and what the name of every object is. He is able to absorb learning effortlessly and prepares for more advanced work with the materials during the first year in the Children's House (it's better if the child starts at 2 1/2 actually).<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>KristiMetz</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7922598"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My DS is only now entering a phase (and not really there yet) where he would be willing to be away during the day with a bunch of strangers like that. So it's not the most AP-friendly philosophy, in that respect. Although other aspects of Montessori seem AP-ish.</div>
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It's not supposed to be like leaving him with strangers - there should be a gradual phase in process at the beginning so that the child can adjust and get to know the others and become comfortable. The child is entering a community of children and should feel welcomed.<br><br>
About the issue of having parents in the room, it's something that takes some understanding. Also, to agree with lazra again, this is a nuance that is indeed hard to describe. Achieving a normalized classroom is a delicate and somewhat complicated process. It takes a strong discipline (on the part of the adults) to balance between impulse and inhibition. Out of respect for the children who are "happy and busy" (as Flor put it) or concentrating (for Montessori found that this is what causes happiness and peace) or in the Flow (Mikhail Czsentmihayl) or however you want to describe it, it's better to handle adult meetings outside of classtime. Here, we ask parents to give 2 full months to the prevention of class interruptions before scheduling observations. We do have lots of school wide social events and other opportunities for parent participation such as with bringing in books and reading to children, material making and celebrating cultural events.<br>
Also, parents don't enter out of respect to the Directress who is busy concentrating on guiding a class of 30 or more children. It takes alot of awareness and mental energy to do this. You are presenting individual and small group lessons as well as suggesting practice work and guiding games all at the same time. So you can understand how interruptions, however good intentioned they are, can affect the environment.<br>
When a child's parent is present, he would naturally turn to mom or dad to communicate his needs. Parents often anticipate the child's needs and communicate nonverbally. When the parents are not present, the child must initiate communication with an adult or other child in order to achieve a desired result. This exercises confidence! (In a happy community of non-strangers)<br>
Also, when the parents are present, the child expects this as part of the arrangement and it can become harder to change the routine and much more a disruption to the class down the line.<br>
However, I do think that the parents should be made to feel part of the community too so there should be opportunities for socializing outside of class time. The Directress should be respectful and gracious towards parents who need more attention concerning class routines.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Mom2Phoenix</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7921066"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Right when my DS turned 3 (he's almost 3.5 now), I visited the Montessori schools in my area. All of them seemed pretty surprised (in a negative way) that my DS has not been in a daycare or school environment yet.</div>
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I think this sounds more like a society comment, rather than M specific. The overwhelming majority of children are in some kind of childcare setting away from home, so this is seen as "the norm." Since it is the norm, it has been rationalized as being "necessary and important" to optimal development. Even my MIL, who was a SAHM to her children and gave SIL hell for working outside the home after her dd was born, started telling us we should put ds1 in daycare at least part-time to "socialize" him. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">:<br><br>
I would've been put off by that attitude, too.
 
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