to montessori or not to montessori

Discussion in 'Montessori' started by artgirl, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. artgirl

    artgirl New Member

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    Oct 1, 2009

    I have been toying with the idea of getting certified to teach montessori school, early childhood.
    I have been researching different training programs in my area and reading alot about Montessori philosophy and methodology and it seems like a great fit for me.
    I have noticed though that on forums such as this most of the posters are teachers who are very passionate and postive, which I love. But many other forums where parents are the main contributors they seem either very excited or very angry with montessori schools.
    I wonder if the angry parents maybe have encountered poorly trained teachers/admin., were not in a true montessori school, or if they have legitimate concerns about how a montessori classroom runs.
    I'm trying to sift through all of this because I spent so long getting my art teaching certification only to discover that public school is not for me, and I'd hate to do it again with a montessori certification.
    Any thoughts on the discrepencies between happy/angry parents and all these positive teachers?
     
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  3. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Oct 1, 2009

    :lol: How much time do you have?

    I've been teaching in Montessori early childhood for 23 years. I think the discrepancy is that some parents choose to send their children to Montessori schools not fully understanding what the philosophy is all about. And, some teachers are too rigid in their philosophy and are unbending when it comes to certain things in the classroom. In other words, it's a bit of both ends, unfortunately.

    The best thing you can do as a Montessori teacher is to get to know your children very well. Start off from the beginning nurturing very strong, positive relationships with the parents. Tell the parents little things you notice about their child, fun things, quirky things. Some teachers only share the bad stuff with the parents, and if you work hard at establishing good, positive relationships first, the bad stuff goes down a lot easier. Plus, the parents know that you know their children, so they understand that you have the larger picture in mind, not just that particular piece of the child where he can't sit still for your morning meeting.

    In my school, a lot of the issues I have with parents stem from them not understanding the philosophy. They don't like the freedom we allow the children, or the one I'm dealing with now is that she doesn't like the fact that her daughter gets dirty every day. Shocking, I know....but we DO go outside and play every day and we do go outside in the rain which is why parents bring raincoats and boots. And, we have water works and we have painting and we have lots of big, messy things that help enable the children to learn to clean up after themselves.

    We've tried lots of different things for helping parents understand the Montessori philosophy better, but for some parents it just never clicks. Montessori is wonderful for every child. It's not so wonderful for every parent.
     
  4. artgirl

    artgirl New Member

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    Oct 5, 2009

    Thanks! That helps alot!
     
  5. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Oct 5, 2009

    Tracy, How does a teacher get certified for Montessorri?
     
  6. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Oct 5, 2009

    Usually through different Montessori training programs throughout the country. You can be certified in Infant/Toddler, Early Childhood, Lower Elementary (1st -3rd grades) or upper elementary (4th-6th grades). Some places even have junior high training.

    What state are you in?
     
  7. mtiroly

    mtiroly Rookie

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    Nov 25, 2009

    I had to respond to your post because as I was reading it, I felt like it could have been the author. I too finished my Art Ed. certification only to the find the same disappointment it sounds like you did in public school. My story only differs from yours in that I grew up in Montessori programs, but when I started thinking about teaching, I thought that teaching art would be the only place I would really be happy. I have since adjusted my ideals, and now feel that an education that truly respects the individual and works towards promoting opportunities for discovery is what I am willing to fight for.

    I have considered Montessori training off and on for the past couple years. Now after student-teaching in public schools, encountering a very unfruitful art-ed. job market for the 09-10 school year, and doing some subbing in public schools, I find Montessori becoming much more appealing. I know my ideas about education were strongly influenced by my years in Montessori (preschool - grade 8), and sometimes I wonder if maybe I just don't fit in the public school culture. My only hesitation now is wanting to make sure Montessori is the right fit before taking on more debt.

    I am curious to know how your decision process has evolved.

    Also, if anyone else has anything they would like to offer regarding Montessori curriculum, it would be of great help. I am familiar with the different areas of the classroom, and remember many of the works from my own childhood as well as being a Montessori assistant. But would like to know more about curriculum flexibility. In an elementary classroom, is the teacher bound to the materials and particular lessons, or is it possible for a teacher to augment traditional Montessori materials with outside materials or other constructivist lessons for example?

    Many thanks.
     
  8. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Nov 25, 2009

    I think the answer to that question depends upon the school where you teach. At the school where I teach, you would definitely be able to do those things, and the children would probably enjoy it very much.
     
  9. mtiroly

    mtiroly Rookie

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    Nov 25, 2009

    Thanks Tracy. I hear what you are saying. It helps to get this kind of feedback. I was just concerned that I would be breaking some Montessori commandment :) if added on to the traditional Montessori materials too much.

    May I ask, are you at a private or public school?
     
  10. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Nov 25, 2009

    I am at a private school. Public schools have lots of testing now that they have to do and it's very watered down. Although the teachers are working dilligently, it's a tough road to go.

    There are also two different "certifying" organizations, if you will: The American Montessori Society (AMS) and the Association of Montessori International (AMI). A lot also depends upon whether the school where you teach is affiliated with AMS or AMI. My school is an AMS school.
     

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