Since DD was born, I have been interested in Montessori education. When a Montessori school opened just a few miles from us, I went to an open house. This was a couple of years ago. I remember at the time being unimpressed by the large class size, and being informed that conflict resolution by the children is encouraged. Not that I'm against that, but when you're talking about little kids, or big kids for that matter, I think some guidance is needed. Anyhow, I left the place and turned my attention elsewhere.
Recently, I have been become interested, once again, in seeing what is out there for DD education-wise. My renewed interest comes after seeing that DD's anxieties, which are pretty overpowering sometimes, continue to surface fairly frequently despite her having been at her current school for pre-k and now Kindergarten. Not that I expect them to go away - I don't. She faces the world the way I do, with trepidation and hesitation. But I feel that at least looking into other environments is warranted. I add that she is thriving where she is - I truly believe that - despite the fact that she often refuses to eat at school, she flat out refuses to use the bathroom there if I'm not there, and she won't throw things in the garbage. That is clearly DD's way of taking control the only way she feels she can. And that's not good enough. If she can thrive in an environment in which she continues to feel out of control in, I'd love to see what she would do in an environment in which she feels more relaxed and in charge. So.
I have read a little bit about Montessori education. I was overwhelmed with the blurb I read about academics, and how they are force-fed from the age of three. I maybe shouldn't put it that way, but that is the impression I was left with after reading a blurb online. And I have been talking to people. Then last week I went to a preschool open house, and cornered the head of school of our local Montessori school. She left me with the impression that much of the day-to-day learning is child-led. A child is allowed to pick his/her task, work on it alone or with other students, and complete it at his/her pace. I asked her how they would handle a situation where a student refused to eat, or didn't speak up in class. (DD's current school has made a big issue over the fact that DD is too shy to greet the other students at the morning meeting) The answers she gave were, in turn, that the students prepare the morning snack, and can eat, or play, whatever they choose. They do eat lunch together. She said that the students are free to raise their hands and speak up in class if they choose, and not if they don't. The students are also free to observe rather than participate in an activity if that's what they choose. Hmmmm. Although I will miss an open house at the school this weekend, I was encouraged to call to come for a tour, and told that I can come observe the classroom. Let me add that Montessori is multi-age, and if DD were to go there, she would be grouped with 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders. (Her current school is multi-aged as well, and I can't say enough about the benefits of that.)
Ok...so. Here are the pros and cons as I see them so far:
each student learns at his/her level
each student works at his/her pace
academics introduced early, but at child's pace
parents invited to observe classroom throughout the year
4 miles from home - 7 minutes drive
I went to Montessori school from 2 1/2-5, and have mostly good memories of it.
Tiny play yard (outdoor play very important to DD)
large class size (21 in one class this year)
DD has to make new friends (she is very timid)
adjust to new teachers
Stay at current school:
familiar with school, teachers and students
familiar with routine
huge playground area
smaller class sizes (13 this year)
she has made tremendous progress with bonding with other kids, working with other authority figures, gaining confidence
10 mile, 17 minute drive each way - DD would have to take the bus at least one way
pressure to perform in areas where she is intensely uncomfortable. Some pressure is necessary, perhaps, but give me a break about talking in front of the entire school every morning! I'd run away!
Anyhow, I'll add to the list as I think of things, but I would LOVE to hear from anyone with any information or experience with Montessori education!!
How to wrap
2 years ago