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Montessori Schools past nursery age

(23 Posts)
londonkids Sat 04-Jun-11 19:49:33

We are currently looking into a number of options for educating our DC's and have been thrilled with how our DC's have loved the Montessori nursery they attend and are considering sending them to a Montessori school for their entire primary education. Does anyone have any experience of this?

Celia76 Sun 05-Jun-11 11:03:04

I have a few friends who chose The Gower School in Islington, I can't comment on the school but the parents are very pleased with the school and the children love it.

ragged Sun 05-Jun-11 11:22:56

I am American and most of my relatives/friends back there have sent their kids to Montessori schools (one of them is even state-funded). It's a bit tiresome to hear about, tbh, like you can't possibly be a decent parent if you don't send your kid to one. That said, cousin pulled her kids from a Montessori school because their teacher was so bad. One of them is a drive thru school, literally you have to drive in to drop off or pick up sad.

Teacher friends have expressed doubts about how well Montessori instills self-discipline and guarantees a basic skill level, and about the potential to fall behind if children never have to apply themselves to something they don't feel like doing. But I think a LOT depends on the individual setting, how they interpret Montessori can vary a lot. You have to visit for yourselves. I wouldn't rule it out.

londonkids Sun 05-Jun-11 19:22:28

Thanks - that's interesting - I know there are very different ways to interpret montessori - there is a AMI registered Montessori school in Hampstead that's looks interesting as well as Gower too. I'm not sure about children falling behind if they don't do something they don't feel like doing - there are only constructive things at our Montessori nursery to do and a large number are numeracy and literacy things so most the kids at 3 or 4 have a good understanding of phonics and are starting to read, but I obviously have no experience for older children, and I guess all different schools will have all different equipment and structures. Thanks again.

SlackSally Mon 06-Jun-11 20:45:16

I worked in a montessori school for about a year. I would say it's a great setting as a nursery, but would not dream of sending a school-age child there.

The children were, indeed, undisciplined, and none could read, even at the age of 6/7.

I appreciate this may be the individual school, though.

londonkids Tue 07-Jun-11 06:40:43

ok that's interesting - can I ask was the school in London... in England? - I heard that children from the one in Hampstead generally go to academic private schools in London - a few make it into the very well know elite ones too. Most at DC's nursery seem to able to read a bit prior to leaving and going to reception, but obviously that's not the case with all. And one that I got the prospectus from listed where the children went to and they were all very academic private schools in London. Are you a regular teacher or a teacher with a Montessori Diploma - was the school an official Montessori registered school or a school that just called itself Montessori - some schools obviously are not that great at all if kids can't read at 7 - I'll obviously have to really research it.

BranchingOut Tue 07-Jun-11 06:50:12

I have viewed a Montessori school (with the additional perspective of being an experienced primary teacher) and these were my thoughts:

Positives

Lovely caring atmosphere
very nuturing
All children seemed very engaged in what they were doing

Negatives

I too was concerned about the level of academic stretch. They had mixed-age year groups and certain tasks I looked at on wall displays all seemed quite homogenous - everyone doing the same thing, even though some children should clearly be having extended tasks due to the age range in the class. I have previously provided a lot more differentiation in my own teaching even within one year group.

londonkids Tue 07-Jun-11 14:24:18

all very interesting - thank you - the mixed age group has worked well so far with my DS - he learnt his alphabet and reading early words from being around older children - some reception and year one age, and then has taught younger children simple tasks which I like as I want him to be kind and help other children especially younger ones, but again my experience is with children no older than 6, and I have no teaching experience or experience of a regular primary school either.

BranchingOut Thu 09-Jun-11 19:28:27

I definitely agree that children can learn from observing and copying those older than themselves and likewise benefit from the opportunity to care for those younger than themselves. However, bear in mind that it is unlikely that all the credit for your son learning his alphabet can entirely rest with those older children - the early years practitioners were probably incorporating it into the activities across the setting (songs, games, resources and displays) even if they were not explicitly teaching it to him.

Also, mixed age-group provision tends to work quite well anyway in the 3 - 5 age range -all 0 - 5 year olds fall under the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum whether they are in a nursery, pre-school, school nursery or reception class. A five year old and a three year old will both benefit from play based learning and an environment with plenty of exciting practical activities. This curriculum continues until the end of Reception and is then phased out (often quite gradually) in Year 1 when the National Curriculum becomes the statutory requirement. Some mainstream schools have mixed Nursery/Reception units, so it is definitely not unheard of for younger children to work in this way.

However, as children get older the differences in attainment become much more marked - the lowest in one year group and the highest in the next year group are often poles apart! Teaching mixed age-ranges is generally regarded as very tricky and requiring a lot of carefully differentiated tasks.

I took careful note of the particular piece of work that I saw when I went around, as it was one of the last things I taught to my class before I went on maternity leave. However, say I had been teaching it in Y3, the class I saw at the Montessori school was Y3/4, but the level of challenge being offered was lower than that I had presented to my more able Year 3s....hmm

londonkids Fri 10-Jun-11 06:38:25

thank you - I'll need to go and observe a school I think and it'll be helpful to have your opinion as a teacher as a guide for questions - I think they group 6 to up 9 year olds and 9 year olds to 11 year olds together - I think... I know they do some group activities at Montessori but a lot of learning is done individually with the specific equipment they use - maybe it is at this time that they get to stretch themselves - one mother who sent hers to a Montessori school, and then the child got a scholarship to a top independent school said that there was no ceiling to her learning in the individual tasks she did - ie: if she wanted to do something an 11 year old normally did but she could do it when she was 9 then that was OK they would do that with her, so she ended up being ahead of her year group in a way but as they don't have set year groups that kind of works - I'm probably explaining this very badly - I'll go and look at a few schools and speak to the teachers, but thanks for you comments as they've given me some pointers to start with questions.

Munashe Fri 10-Jun-11 12:40:14

I have a son in a Montessori preschool but the school goes all the way to 11. Its a very small school but I have almost made up my mind he will stay there for primary school. Of the three year 6s they had last year 2 passed for a scholarship and the other 11 pass. Not that Ofsted is the be and all but they got and outstanding report last year and they got praise on how children achieve highly.

I understand anyone can call themselves Montessori so not all schools are great but dont be put off by other people's bad experience. There are some truely great Montessori schools there and its a shame my I didnt discover it for my eldest who is now 11.

A good Montessori works a child according to their ability not age so if you have a clever kid they will fly and will be working at very high levels when they leave. If the child struggles a bit then work will be adjusted accordingly and yet they will still be expected to achieve well.

Its really down to individual school but ours is rated very highly for academic achievements but its a VERY small school so staff ratios are high. Only downside is they haven't got any after school clubs but they do plays, sports days and there is a piano teacher who comes around. In addition they do chess and learn Latin from age 8 and French from Nursery. Languages and chess are very important at ours so go round and get a feel about the school and I am sure you will know if its right or not.

Munashe Fri 10-Jun-11 12:49:20

sorry meant the other passed 11+

"I think they group 6 to up 9 year olds and 9 year olds to 11 year olds together"

Our school does something similar too grouping them by ages 5 to 8 and then 8-11. My main concern was about friendships being a small school and mixed ages but I know the kids now and they just play with each other and there aren't any visible divisions. Also don't forget if your other option is a state school, you now have a right for them to keep your DS's place until he turns 5 so you could give Montessori a go at 4 and if it doesn't work out, you go with the state option.

londonkids Fri 10-Jun-11 14:00:18

Dear Munashe - that is all very encouraging - can I ask is the school in London - I'd like to take a look at it, also I had no idea about the state school having to keep the DS's place until he turns 5 - going to call my local council now and check that definitely applies to me. Thanks so much for this.

NorfolkNChance Sun 19-Jun-11 20:54:03

DD goes to a nursery attached to a Montessori prep school. This school is considered outstanding as a Montessori school and is used as a training school for the Montessori diploma, is in Suffolk though not London.

lotta78 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:53:18

Hello, I am new to mumsnet and was reading your post Munashe about the Montessori school your son goes to. I know this is last years thread but maybe you could let me know what the school is called? Or maybe just where it is? I am looking for an alternative school option for my daughter and the one you're describing sounds just like what I'm after.

Munashe Fri 26-Oct-12 00:23:01

I have send you a pm lotta

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tcheeric Tue 08-Mar-16 14:04:20

I know this is a very very old thread. I am doing some research on Monterssori schools/nurseries in London for my newborn and would like to know the name of the school.

CruCru Thu 10-Mar-16 17:38:35

Hi tcheeric

I live in Islington so don't know whether these are helpful:

www.beckett-house.co.uk

www.saintandrewsmontessori.com

www.marsmontessori.com

Also near me is The Children's House but I am not sure whether it is montessori.

montessoriparent Thu 10-Mar-16 21:25:16

My daughter attended Montessori from 2 1/2 years old to the end of primary. Nursery and the first few years of primary were great but we felt our DD and some of her classmates outgrew the school from around age 9 onwards, in part due to limited facilities and a teacher who struggled to nurture older pupils' expanding intellectual curiosity and ability to reason. In terms of academic development, we felt DD's last two years at Montessori school were...well...less than satisfying.

Even with this blip, overall we're glad DD went through the Montessori system. The environment was highly nurturing and DD was given considerable freedom to explore at her own pace.

As for the 11+ "success" noted above, I think it requires a fair amount of preparation outside of school, either by parents or tutors. To be fair, Montessori schools are usually very open that they do not prepare pupils for secondary school exams.

leroystonne1 Thu 27-Apr-17 09:15:10

They called us to provide an urgent builders clean back in September 2016. One of the managers was on site when we did the work so obviously we did a lot of extras for them, even buying a new vacum cleaner from Asda that cost us £109 or so.(we didnt want to use a vacum cleaner that had been to any other environment) We sent a bill in October and it was ignored. Sent a few more until we called them. Was told we never saw the bill please resend. Called second time to be told " Tina is away on holidays". Made a few follow ups only to be told " we said we would see how you get on" At this point I Just figured out that it was going to cost us more money to chase the bill therefore we told them to keep the money. (it was only £58) My niece was due to enroll there in May this year, I told them to find another nursery..dishonesty in little money speaks very loud. When we cleaned the premises we didnt see any risk assesments for chemicals and tasks or a professional cleaning schedule in place.

leroystonne1 Thu 27-Apr-17 09:16:44

That refers to Mentosorri Lower Earley

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