Montessori vs. Kindergarten???

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by confusedmom, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. confusedmom

    confusedmom Rookie

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    Jan 20, 2007

    Hello there,
    School Applications are due at the end of January & so I am looking for help making the decision to keep my son in Montessori or move to kindergarten next fall. Really, I am struggling to make the decision. He is a very social & lively 4 1/2 yrs old & is currently in his second year of private Montessori ( in the next town)where he attends a full day class from 9am-3:30 pm. Academically he is doing well. There is no doubt that he has been exposed to an outstanding curriculum, and concepts in learning far beyond my expectation. We love the focus on teaching the children about the world, their part & connection to it, peaceful conflict resolution, and the beautiful, tactile "works" that he is exposed to. Mostly, he is happy, well behaved & works independently at school. When he has behavior issues they are almost always regarding play issues...ie; disrupting others/circle time, etc...because he wants to play.
    What we do not like & are concerned about the Montessori classroom environment /education is that it feels overly sedate, controlled, & just plain not enough fun & enough playtime.
    Afterschool & on weekends he is always, always, always!!! looking for me to set up playdates & hardly ever wants to play alone. It is very challenging to arrange especially because he does not know many children from our neighborhood and bc the commute from school gets us home at 4:15 pm...not leaving much daylight time. Also, I think bc he has been in such a structured environment all day, he comes home a bit stressed & is not interested in any "organized" after school activities, where he might meet more local friends.
    My dilemma is this:
    Do I send him to local full day public kindergarten or stay in Montessori for the 3rd year( which complete's the Children's House cycle)? I have seriously thought about reducing him to 1/2 day Montessori....so he can have more play/more outside social time. If I do leave Montessori, I am just not sure about the curriculum in public kindergarten....and will his progress in MOntessori be lost bc he did not complete the full cycle...& cement the concepts learned.
    I have an appointment with the potential Kindergarten teacher on Mon...are there any things I should think to ask?

    Your help & sage advice is greatly appreciated. My head is spinning with this!
     
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  3. EDUK8_ME

    EDUK8_ME Cohort

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    Jan 23, 2007

    Confusedmom, if your son stays at the Montessori for kindergarten will he be in the same classroom with the same teachers?
     
  4. confusedmom

    confusedmom Rookie

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    Jan 24, 2007

    Montessori vs. kindergarten

    Good question. If I kept him in Montessori...I was inclined to reduce him to just a 1/2 day( bc I feel he needs more social/active/playtime), which means I would have to change classrooms & teachers. If I kept him in full day...there is no garantee that the teacher will stay next year- she has almost left twice before (& the school Director will not share this info or committ to getting a specific teacher), and after looking at the class list & talking to several parents, it looks like there will only be about 4 children remaining...mostly children that are not a great match for my son.
     
  5. Lace

    Lace New Member

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    Jan 24, 2007

    More info

    Would you explain what you mean when you say "sedate and controlled?' How does your child feel about the school, teacher, and his friends?
     
  6. confusedmom

    confusedmom Rookie

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    Jan 24, 2007

    This is what I mean when I say the class seems overly "sedate and controlled:"
    The overall feeling seems too serious & calm & the setting is always so peaceful & quiet. The teacher's personality is also very calm, even & reserved. She talks very quietly all the time, and waits in silence, however long she needs to until all the children are giving her their attention with quiet bodies & eyes on her. There is very little talking, except when the teacher is giving a lesson, or the children are doing a 2 person work or at a 2 person table for snack, works or lunch. Otherwise, they are expected to work independently & not interrupt others for a total of several hours each day.

    In regards to how my child feels about the school, teacher, and his friends the answer is this:
    He likes pleasing his teacher, is respectful towards her, but never ever gets excited about her. He does like to go to school, enjoys the pride of accomplishing new or challenging works, but he never complains if he has to miss school & on Saturdays & Sundays, loves hearing "it's not a school day." He said yesterday that his favorite part of school is recess bc he gets to play, and also when he gets to sit with or do works with other children, & said " the rest of the day I have to work alone & that's no fun." This raises a big flag bc at his 2nd year level he does do some works with other children but not as intensely & as often as third year students.
    As for his friends...he never categorizes the older children as his friends...and recently when we talked specifically about who to invite to his birthday, only a few from class were mentioned. I am finding the mixed classroom a double edge sword. Since the older kids often work together in class, they also tend to favor each other for playing & seem cliquish. The effects of this have resulted in my son often playing with the girls or younger boys or getting into disagreements with the older boys bc they won't let him play or are not sharing. I have talked to the teacher repeatedly this year & last about this recurring concern & I know she cares & addresses it with the children & only tolerates a respectful environment, but somehow this passive aggressive friction continues....maybe stuff behind her back.
    All this said, there are many beautiful amazing things about the school, the curriculum, the staff. I just wish they could lighten up a bit on all the peaceful discipline & structure & just spontaneuosly have a bit more fun, encourage a bit more group fun/activivites or projects without worrying if it has enough meaning & purpose.
     
  7. EDUK8_ME

    EDUK8_ME Cohort

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    Jan 24, 2007

    I would definately meet with your local school district kindergarten teacher to see what they have to offer but maybe also check out any other types of kindergarten programs near you like academies, multi-age groupings (K-1) and charter schools. Visiting a variety of schools might give you an idea of what type of academic setting you want your child in.
     
  8. geierstanger

    geierstanger New Member

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    Jul 24, 2009

    Hi, I'm curious to hear what you ended up doing. I'm in a similar dilemma. I have a 5.5 year old who could either go to public kindergarten or stay for a third year our Montessori Children's House. I like the idea of the public school because she'll meet more kids in our community. However, her personality is easily frustrated and she's very sensitive. I wonder if a third year of Montessori (where she is thriving) would be wise to increase her self-confidence. Of course the down side is $$$$, but maybe it's worth it?
     
  9. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Jul 24, 2009

    Will seventually go to public school - first grade or when? I think if she is going to attend public school in first grade, she will have a much easier time if she starts out in kindergarten. If she begins in first grade, she will have missed the year that teaches them about the school: how to get lunch in a cafeteria line, specefic prodeures at the school, and how a public shool classroom operates.
     
  10. mrgrinch09

    mrgrinch09 Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2009

    I'm not sure how it is in your state, but here's there's not going to be a whole lot of play allowed in a public school kindergarten. It's all about doing work, work, work. Lots of ditto sheets and teacher instruction.
     
  11. confusedmom

    confusedmom Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2009

    Hi there,
    I ended up moving my son to full day public kindergarten and was very happy I did. He immediately was so much more happy socially. The classroom environment & teacher was much more vibrant and lively & animated. And while it was still work, learning felt FUN. Academically, he fit right in & had no problem. Though I will take credit for really fostering a Love of learning in him & at home being committed to homework, reading, and extra curriculars that are educational, and using each day as a learning experience. My son is now going into second grade, so here's what I feel looking back: Overall I feel, and many others I have met since feel that Montessori may not be right for children that are highly social. BUT a LOT has to do with the particular school, AND the TEACHER. In my case I know the school we attended "did all the right things" technically, but heart, and compassion were missing & the young teacher was afraid of the school owners.
    I found it really difficult to truly examine & know what was going on in the classroom. I made other parents my allies to piece the puzzle together on what was really going on not the guarded viewings the teachers would allow the parents to see. My friend also moved her son to another Montessori and found it totally different & is thrilled with his education. Academically Montessori did set a good foundation. I decided not to send my second child though for financial reasons & bc I felt I could help my child thrive wherever I put them.
    All said though...your situation sounds different. Your daughter is thriving. She'll be a third year...so she'll probably help the teacher lead or play a large role in modeling for youngsters, right?
    On the other hand, I did LOVE establishing friends in the neighborhood that became afternoon playdates. Don't under estimate how a few good friends in a classroom can REALLY change everything for your child. My child gained a ton of confidence from Public school, riding the bus, larger lunch room, etc..
    If money is not an option, and you can make it clear to the teacher that you want to focus on self confidence, perhaps you might stay. But, after having done it, don't be afraid to move because of all the what-ifs running through your head either. Go with your gut!!! your mother's intuition is worth gold...close your eyes & ask your heart the question!
     
  12. monique99

    monique99 New Member

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    Nov 24, 2010

    I wished I had read this thread a year ago. I had similar question as confusedmom but ended keeping my son at Montessori school and greatly regretted now. I think I've wasted a lot of $$$$ and didn't get much back. Also if I gave them feedback, they'd come back with some thing to keep them from admitting that they did it wrong. In conlusion, I think it's good to send kids to Montessori for pre-schools but it's a NO-NO for kindergatern. Your $$$$ will not be worth for this level.
     

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