I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.

I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Montessori School

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:



student-led learning
each student learns at his/her level
each student works at his/her pace
academics introduced early, but at child's pace
monthly themes
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)
very expensive
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!!


  1. Daisy,

    Lauren and Jack went through the Primary/TK Montessori program at their school and Grant is in it now. They transition at their school to traditional classrooms beginning in Kindergarten so I may not have much input there. That said, I absolutely loved the program for Lauren and Jack and continue to be impressed with Grant. L & J have VERY different styles of learning...both excelled in the environment. Not just in the acedemics, but social developement and self confidence. They both had large classes (21-24) and now Grant is in a small class (14)due to low enrollment this year from the economy. Personally I do not feel a difference with the variation in classroom sizes. I used to love hearing how Jack as a TK'er gave a lesson to a Primary in math or Lauren gave a lesson to a primary in geography. They were so proud of themselves! Grant is a Primary so he is not in that position this year but I have seen him grow so much from his time there. The practical life section has opened up Grant to being very responsible and it follows through at home.

    Not sure if that helps but for me, I will be putting Brady in a Montessori program at 3 because I feel the other 3 have and are benefiting greatly from it and would want to same for him.

    Todd & Scott had DeAnthony in a Montessori program in elementary - they may have some opinions on the grade levels you're considering. Good luck!!

  2. Thank you so much Heidi!! I will definitely contact Todd and Scott also. Your input is very much appreciated!!

  3. I have gotten a bunch of feedback on this outside of the blog. Every responder who has had experience with Montessori education has had a very positive experience. One person said that three out of four years of Montessori were great for his child, while the final year wasn't as there was "too much freedom" for this child, and he was ultimately pulled. But 3/4 years is still a very good report! Anyone have a bad experience?

  4. I just got word that the Montessori school near us might be moving into the next town. Argh! Not that that is awful, or a deal breaker, but I just love the idea of the school being 4 miles away. Shoot! But I suppose if the school has a better space and a bigger play yard, that would be good. When I told hubby, he said that it could be good if I choose to return to work when both kids are in school, cuz I may want to work in town. Then he said that perhaps we'd move closer to town anyhow..... Cool things to think about. =) I sent an email to the head of the school earlier today to request a tour.