How is Montessori preschool?

Discussion in 'Montessori' started by WayOfTeaching, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. WayOfTeaching

    WayOfTeaching Rookie

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    Nov 18, 2007

    I had an interview at Montessori last week(for preschool assistant teacher position) and the person who interviewed me told me that I have to come on Monday morning to "observe" the class.
    Could you tell me please what did she mean by that? Is this means that I only have to observe, or to interact with kids, to talk and play with them?

    And one more question please:

    ...what do you think about Montessori preschool? Is it good? I was there but the facility was in pretty bad conditions..., the kids slept on the floor, the kitchen looked pretty bad, the kids had to bring food from home.

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. yorkyfan

    yorkyfan Rookie

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    Nov 19, 2007

    I observed as part of my interview for being a classroom assistant in a Montessori school. I just sat quietly and watched. If child came up to say hi or show you something, you could respond. However, if the child needed something, they had to go to the teacher. After a few minutes of curiosity, the children and the teacher went about their business as if I wasn't there. Observation is a huge part of Montessori training, so I am guessing that these kids were used to strangers coming and observing the classroom every once in a while.
    Afterward, the director of the school asked me about my observations and whether I would feel comfortable in a Montessori environment. (A Montessori primary classroom is pretty different from a traditional preschool.)
    As for the environment of the school you are looking at, be aware that "Montessori" is not a protected name in the U.S. Anybody can claim to be a Montessori school. I would be concerned about cleanliness. Montessori emphasized that the classroom and school environment should be beautiful and clean. As for sleeping on the floor, the kids at my school don't take naps so I don't know whether that is good or bad. They bring their own lunches to school and parent volunteers provide weekly snacks. Anyway, hope this helps! Good Luck!
     
  4. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    Nov 19, 2007

    My kids are in a montessori school, both were there from about 7 months. One is now in kindergarten (will go to public next year because she missed the public school cutoff). We're very happy with it. They are both learning and it is a great environment. Kids move at their own pace but it is still structured within the day. I agree with the cleanliness and the Montessori name...I think there are a dozen "montessori" schools in my town but I only know of two that I would consider "traditional" montessori-type training. I have to say, though, honestly, we have our children there because it's clean, the staff is great with the kids - not necessarily because of the Montessori methods.
     
  5. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Nov 22, 2007

    I have had about 5 students come to our traditional PreSchool only to discover that their children didn't know a thing about letters and sounds. They were very disappointed with their Montessori schools.

    I've also had 2 students who went Montessori for kinder and have stayed there happily!
     
  6. yorkyfan

    yorkyfan Rookie

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    Nov 22, 2007

    I also wanted to add that as a montessori classroom assistant, you will have a different experience possibly from that of a traditional preschool. Because you are not certified by a Montessori institute, you will not be allowed to instruct the children. A traditional Montessori school is very strict about the kinds of materials in the classroom and the way they are presented to the individual child. Only a trained and certified teacher may "present" material. Your role, as an assistant, will be to clean up accidents and keep the children focused on their tasks so that the teacher can present materials to individuals. Even though I have a Phd in a science field, I can't present a science lesson, I can't play educational games, I am not allowed to read out loud to children, etc. So it is a frustrating situation for me. The other assistant in our school is from an Asian country and knows wonderful stories, art projects, food which she would happily share with the children, but she can't! (because she isn't certified in Montessori!) So you might have more opportunities to enrich the children's lives if you work in a traditional preschool.
     
  7. Yenna

    Yenna Companion

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    Nov 22, 2007

    To the op: Observation is to just sit and watch, to sit quietly and get a glimpse of the way the Montessori environment supports Spontaneous Activity in Education (this is the title of one of her books).
    I agree with pp about being aware that the Montessori name is not copyrightable. Anyone can use it. Look for the training affiliation of the Director. AMI is the Association Montessori International (www.montessori-ami.org). She began this organization to safeguard and promote her life's work.

    So far, I've been a Montessori Assistant, a Directress, and a Mom. Being an Assistant is a challenging role because in the truest Montessori application, there is a class of about 35 or 40 children to one adult. The stipulation is that the adult should be thoroughly trained in "pedagogical anthropology" as she calls her scientific approach. The technique for presenting each material is practiced in training. The reason having only one adult is favorable is because then the children begin to be more independent and work together more to solve problems. This is possible because of the nature of the Montessori Children's House where the children are working on individual or small group exercises that involve concentration. The adult is trained to be connected to each child individual (in close proximity as needed) and aware of the class as a whole. The training also involves creating the right psychological environment which often means challenging certain ingrained assumptions on the part of the adult. The untrained assistant needs support and training from the Director.
     
  8. Yenna

    Yenna Companion

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    Nov 22, 2007

    in regards to yorkyfan's post (sorry to hear about your frustrations)...I should add that (IMO) a good Director/Directress should involve his Assistant's talents such as telling stories, arts and crafts and cooking. Of course, the Directress should teach the Assistant the "Montessori way" of approaching these "subjects".
     
  9. Ainsley

    Ainsley New Member

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    Nov 22, 2007

    I am a student teacher interested in the Montessori program. I am presently finishing my BA/BEd and am majoring in English. What are the further education requirements expected of a Montessori instructor? Does Montessori ever involve the 'direct teaching' method?
    Thank-you!
     
  10. Yenna

    Yenna Companion

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    Nov 25, 2007

    For AMI training, you need a bachelor's in Ed. or a related field. The training course is either 9 month full time (this includes practice teaching) or 3 summers. You can also apply these credits to a Master's in Ed. through Loyola of Baltimore (you need 9 additional credits)...check out http://ami.edu/usa/welcome.html
    About the 'direct teaching' question - There are some lessons given to small groups that might be considered 'direct teaching'...but everything is done in a uniquely Montessori way. The children make choices about subject matter, we prepare lessons based on individual interests and every lesson is an invitation. The entire philosophy is very different than what you find in 'traditional teaching' methods.
     
  11. brina618

    brina618 Rookie

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    Nov 25, 2007

    I have been a Assisstant in a Montessori School for 6 years. I have never been told that I couldn't teach the children or read to them etc. The school that I teach at has been in buissiness for almost 42 years. I live in Louisiana so seeing as the original home that the school was in was destroyed by Katrina we lost the majority of our students because they move to the states that they evacuated to. But one of the children that was in my class ( me not being Montessori Certified or having a degree in education) after Katrina was put into an accellerated kindergarden class. That made me feel that I did a good job, and the Directress and owner of the school was also happy. Even though our children are 2 1/2- 6 years old ( the age that is considered "preschool") the way we teach puts them on a higher level than any preschool. As a child would exit a traditonal preschool and start at a public school they would not be on the level that Montessori Children are. Not just our Montessori children but any. By the time children leave our school at age 6 they know 5 different languages, and can multiply and divide (just to name a few things). So that's how a traditional Montessori School differs form a preschool. As far as eating and sleeping, our children don't sleep directly on the floor but they do sleep on the floor. They bring their own mats every Monday and use them the whole week to sleep on,k and they go home to be cleaned on Friday. Our children bring their own lunch because Maria Montessori believed that children should be taught to eat healthy food. By bringing their own food from home helps that because they see the healthy foods coming from mom and not school. We don't even allow them to bring fillers (i.e. goldfish, chips, etc), nor drinks like capri sun( the sugar content is too high). The directress really stresses that. We also have tastings of different things so the children can suggest somethings that they have tatsed at school and like to bring with them for lunch.
    Sabrina
     

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