Is the Montessori nursery right for our boisterous DS?(12 Posts)
Our 2 and a half year old DS is due to start at a local Montessori nursery in May for two mornings a week, rising to three whole days in September. The nursery has an excellent reputation (and OFSTED report) but at our introductory day this week, I started to have some concerns. The room for the under 3's is very small and the adult:child ratio is 1:4 (8 children in all). The staff are new this term, one of whom is more used to 4 year olds, so I feel that kind of negates the excellent reputation and OFSTED report. But more worryingly for me is that our DS is very high-spirited and not so good at doing focussed indoor activities for very long. He's much happier expending energy (all the time!) and exploring the outdoors. At our introductory session he got frustrated with the little independent learning activities they were expected to be doing and tried to leave the room. We left embarrassingly early as he was getting cabin fever in such a small space. I'm concerned about how the staff will deal with him when I'm not there (particularly if they have three other children to facilitate), especially if he's trying to make a break for it all the time, and I'm also wondering if this is the right kind of environment for such a high spirited, outdoors-orientated child at his stage of development.
Has anyone else had similar concerns? Many thanks for any advice/thoughts.
Didn't want to leave this unanswered.
We had the opposite problem - sensitive DD found nursery too boisterous and liked the calmer environment. But I know of at least two live wires at her preschool who do very well - but who run around like crazy things at going-home time. In our preschool the day isn't just made up of sitting quietly - they also go out for walks, have play time in the playground and do physical activity.
Is there any reason why you have chosen Montessori for an under-3, by the way? The school that I use is very keen on preparing children for "big" school, by fostering independence and learning social skills etc., but that might not be such a concern for you if your DS is very young.
You sound very negative about the place already.
And your concerns are exactly like mine when I was considering a montessori place for my DS.
In the end I chose not to go with it and sent him to a local state nursery that is really into free play and outdoor play. It has been brilliant for him and I can't imagine him in the montessori place at all now.
On top of that loads of parents have begun to complain to the school and to each other about the montessori nursery. And a lot of their complaints are about things that you bring up in your post.
Some of their children, having now left, say that they didn't like it there (perhaps they were too young to say at the time).
I think listen to your gut feeling, you don't think it will suit him. I think the problem is much less about Montessori & much more about specific facilities.
I had very boisterous DS at a Montessori nursery 11 hours/week and simultaneously at a much less structured fling-the-doors-open-to-the-garden-all-the-time nursery for 5 hours/wk. Both provided things he needed. Our Montessori was in a reasonably large room with lots going on. The manager told me that she wanted more outside time for her charges, but some of the parents were against it (sigh).
I think with nurseries, you have to go with your gut feelings. It's less of a montessori or not issue. Montessori schools are all very different. My DS1 goes to a Montessori and they have loads of outdoor play. They also have forest school as part of their program.
If you're not completely happy with the nursery to begin with, it is always going to nag at you and not the best start to the parent-school relationship. Ofsted report means very little if you don't see what they see.
I agree that you should go with your feelings and any nursery that does not have much outside play might not be the best for a child who is boisterous. My ds goes to Montessori but they have great garden and do loads of activities, even the learning activities, outside to accomodate this (the children have a choice at certain times of day to go out or stay in). What are the outdoor facilities like?
it's a 2.5 year old child for 2 mornings a week. methinks you're being a tad precious.
DS2 managed 2 months at the montessori nursery before I transferred him back to his old one.
There wasn't enough outside play and he didn't get the hang of doing the activities. He was fine when they had carpet time though.
He's much happier back at the original nursery .
I would go with your instinct and have a look at some other nurseries to compare your thoughts and feelings.
I only have limited experience of montesorri, but I much prefer the learning through child led play approach used by most nurseries.
Hi everyone. Sorry for the silence - we've been away. I really appreciate your thoughts. I understand the 'precious' comment, Blinks, so think we should try it for at least a term before pulling him out before he's even started. But I also understand the comments on going on instinct. Problem also seems to be we didn't look around enough (or at all, if I'm honest) before signing him up to the Montessori. We'll look at others this term while he's at the Montessori and take it from there.
Thanks again everyone.
I just wanted to end this thread 4 months later to report that my DS loves his nursery and that my fears were entirely unfounded! I think I should have had more faith in the professionalism of the staff, who dealt with my DS brilliantly from day one and who had of course seen it all before. From day three DS was doing really well and didn't act out in any way, and hasn't since. I guess it's true that children can behave completely differently in different environment, particularly if the parents aren't there. And f I'm honest, that parents can be a bit over-concerned about these things!
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