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Did/does your child go to Montessori?

(64 Posts)
ghosty Thu 19-May-05 09:49:42

I had a look around a Montessori preschool today which seemed absolutely lovely. DD is only 15 months and I would only be thinking of sending her when she is 3 for 3 mornings a week until she is 4 ... then move to 5 mornings a week until she is 5 when she will start school.
I went because the owner of the school is a friend and I thought I would check it out.
It was a little haven of calm but busy little people ... lovely atmosphere, great resources etc etc etc.
So, what do you think of montessori? Would love to know any thoughts and opinions (good OR bad) ...
TIA
G xx

Freckle Thu 19-May-05 09:59:52

All 3 of mine went to a local Montessori nursery from about 2.5 years until they started infant school. The nursery was absolutely lovely, the staff so caring and nurturing of the children and the environment was wonderful. I would have no hesitation in recommending that nursery to anyone with children.

It is important to check that the nursery is a proper Montessori one. Many nurseries market themselves as Montessori-style, which isn't the same thing at all. Sounds like the one you have visited is a genuine one though.

sarahlou1 Thu 19-May-05 10:05:19

My DD is 2 next month & had her first morning at a Montessori nursery yesterday. She seemed to enjoy it - the staff were very friendly, and wrote a report of everything she'd done on her first morning. The atmosphere was lovely and it did seem very organised and calm - didn't here many screaming kids etc. They also put alot of emphasis on outside play which I thought was good. My DD went to a normal nursery until we moved a few weeks ago & on first impressions the Montessori seems alot better.

ghosty Thu 19-May-05 10:07:39

Thanks Freckle ... it is the real thing ... it is a member of MANZ (Montessori Association of New Zealand).... the blurb on the info sheet says "MANZ will also ensure that the hight standards of the Montessori teachings are being carried out at XXXXX Montessori" ....
The headteacher/owner and all her staff have all their certificates on the wall.
It was so lovely.

bakedpotato Thu 19-May-05 10:08:42

DD goes to one, has done since she was 2.8. Loves it. Calm but busy, yes, exactly. How they keep 20-odd 3-yr-olds so peacefully absorbed is a mystery to me.
Though it is Montessori, rather than M-style, I think our nursery school isn't entirely faithful to the creed, as they have a dressing-up corner (have heard that strict M. policy is not to have these? Personally I think they're vital)

GhostofNatt Thu 19-May-05 10:09:20

Mine are at Montessori and they seem happy there. Was worried for a while that there wasn't much emphasis on learning letters but 4-year-old does now seem to be getting around to it in a roundabaout montessori way I don't really udnerstand. and they learn to tidy up as well! My two-year-old talks importantly about hsi work with "cylinder blocks"...

GhostofNatt Thu 19-May-05 10:10:28

bp, I still need to get that name for you, haven't forgotten...

ghosty Thu 19-May-05 10:26:54

Thanks ... all looking positive so far ...
Any more for any more???

Merlin Thu 19-May-05 11:04:22

Another thumbs up for Montessori - my DS1 has been going since he was 2 1/2 (will start school in Sept) and loves it.

Ghostofnatt - laughed at your description of "cylinder work" - my DS is the same - it's all very important! Also, at my nursery they don't tend to really get into the letters thing until about now as they are coming up to start infant school. They have simple things like letter of the day and are encouraged to bring things in that begin with that letter.

The only slightly downside I have found is that it makes them very independent and determined to do things for themselves which is a good thing, unless you are trying to get out of the door in the morning and they insist on dressing themselves (slowly), tidying up (slowly), brushing their teeth (slowly), etc!!! Guess I have learnt to allow a bit more time!!!

bakedpotato Thu 19-May-05 11:18:02

Do they all learn to put their coats on the same way? Ie spread it out on floor, stand at hood end, insert arms and fling over head?

ghosty Thu 19-May-05 11:18:23

Thanks Merlin ... sounds good ... except what I don't need is for DD to be MORE independent ... she is so wilful that I think I may have my work cut out ....

LIZS Thu 19-May-05 11:24:59

ds went to a Montessori nursery school for a term and a half as he turned 3. Sadly we had to withdraw him when we moved and I feel that had he been there longer they would have identified his motor issues and worked with him much earlier than has happened. It was a very friendly and focussed on each individual child, and definitely what you neatly describe as "a haven of calm but busy little people" .

However having lived outside the UK I have discovered that there are different ways in which the Montessori methods are interpreted. For example a local one in CH has unsupervised downstairs physical play, art and outdoor play areas used in all weathers with very little structure and discipline applied. If the children show no interest in any other activities they are not encouraged or expected to participate other than to attend circle time.

ghosty Thu 19-May-05 11:30:42

LIZS ... your last paragraph exactly describes the NZ public Kindergarten system. DS went to public Kindy from 3.5 to 5 and he did NOTHING for that time. OK, he did learn to socialise well but that was IT ... and he is the type of child that would have thrived with direction of some kind (which is why he loves school so much) ...
If he wanted to hang upside down on the monkey bars for the whole session he could ...
I think I got about 3 paintings home in 1.5 years. I think that sit down and teaching before 5 is too young but what I liked about the Montessori school was what the headteacher described as "Child centred learning in a prepared environment" ... I asked her how they encourage children to do an all round range of activities and she showed me the portfolios that track what the children do ... if they have a whole week doing just a few things then the following week they 'encourage' them to try other stuff ...

soapbox Thu 19-May-05 12:15:39

Ghosty my DCs both went to a Montessori pre-school nursery.

They both benefited enormously from the way in which the nursery in run.

My DS in particular learned how to be calm and focussed in a room of 20 other kids which has served him so well in settling in at 'big' school.

Both children are able to work independently at school and have not had the problems associated with boys (in particular) having to learn to sit still long enough to learn.

I liked the ethos of mutual respect and of respect for the resources they were working with - always clearing up after themselves and making the game/toy attractive to hte next person who would be using it. Unfortunately this hasn't extended to the playroom at home

I also liked the use of natural resources - such as shells and cocoa beans for counting with, growing real plants, keeping tadpoles, lots of wooden rather than plastic toys etc.

And yes BakedPotato - they put their coats on that way

Thomcat Thu 19-May-05 12:38:19

MY DD goes to a Montessori and I / we love it.
I saw loads of very different schools, some private, some special needs, etc etc.

The minute I walked into Montessori I just knew it was right. The teachers were lovely and had an amazing attitude and I esp. liked their attitude re Down's syndrome.

Lottie comes home animated every day, when i say school she beams and signs the word 'friends' back at me.
She's learnt to count to 10, can speak some french, recognises her own name by sight, loads of things.

I love the structured way they teach and think it's perfect for my little Lotbags.

The reson I choose Montessori, other than the actual schooh and teachers are lovley, is becasue I feel like I'm giving her a head start sending her there. her peers at the her first school she'll go onto may not have been taught how to hold a pen and so on and they'll catch up quickly without problems but it's grat that lottie will have had 2 years of someone already showing her that as she takes longer to grasp new things.

She comes home with little reports and the teachers verbally update oftern as well.

They give her kisses when she arrives in the morning and although I only pay for 5 morning s a week they tell me to bring her whever I want as they miss her when she's not there.

And yes, that's how Lottie has been taught to put her coat on

milge Thu 19-May-05 12:46:11

My dt's go to a Montessori pre prep school, and they/and I love it. They have been in the nursery since they were 9 weeks old, and have been fantastic, esp with dd's SN. Ds takes himself off at home for quiet time, i can see him rotating his activities like he does at nursery. DD does more for her nursery workers than she does for me at home, eg will do painting, self feeding, dressing up etc( although dressing up isn't part of the Montessori theory apparantly). Really can't rate the system highly enough - it has really suited my children. Never realised re the coats, though, thought it was just Ds being odd!

LIZS Thu 19-May-05 12:55:41

lol Ghosty, the public kindergartens here are even less structured and supervised than the private one I described.

ds was taught to lay coat on ground, lie on it, roll one way and put arm in , roll other way and insert other arm. Didn't really master it though.

Caligula Thu 19-May-05 13:16:15

Another vote in favour. It's just streets ahead of any other nursery I've seen in my area and DD seems to have a whale of a time there.

milward Thu 19-May-05 13:26:21

My dd has just started at a montessori community for 4 mornings a week - she's just 2yrs. She loves it. A superb environment to start out being independent.

mrspink27 Thu 19-May-05 13:36:26

Hi there, another thumbs up from me! my DD goes to a Montessori school which runs from 2-11yrs, dont know whether she'll stay till she's11 but will prob try and keep her there till she is 7, she is extremely happy and the staff are just fantastic. we are lucky in that the school is also an eco school so there is a tremendous emphasis on the environment, recycling and a real sense of community. the head is completely bonkers in a very good way and my dd is learning french, kodaly music, ballet, cooking, gardening. I cant speak highly enough of it and my dd adores going, only we arent allowed to call it playgroup, nursery or anything else except 'school'

LOL at the coat thing... i thought it was just something that was taught at our montessori!

Blu Thu 19-May-05 14:04:48

Why is it strict Montessori policy not to have a dressing up corner?

I am actually quite ignorant in understanding what the basic teaching method and philosophy is and how it differs from traditional methods. I know that it is 'child centred' (but what does that mean, exactly?) and I have seen the various typical Montessori activity equipment, pink tower, wooden boxes with counting pegs, etc. I heard, for e.g, that praising children's work is not part of the process, and that children are encouraged to work alone, not in groups. I have been very impressed with the M nurseries i have visited, but am vague about the actual approach!

bakedpotato Thu 19-May-05 14:10:51

(Blu, I am embarrassingly vague about M. concept, just liked the atmos of the place, but have vague memory of head teacher on open day saying that strict M. nursery schools don't approve of dressing up, as it's prop-based play, rather than purely imaginative play. Perhaps someone else can explain the diff between dressing-up clothes on the one hand and Cylinders and Noise Boxes and Carpet Letters on the other)

soapbox Thu 19-May-05 15:26:27

Dressing up isn't against te philosophy as such, but the dressing up stuff must not be dressing up outfits IYSWIM - so you will dfind pieces of fabric, scarves, underskirts, shirts etc. But you won't find cowboy /cinderella/snow white outfits.

They need to create the outfit, not play with a pre-made one!

bakedpotato Thu 19-May-05 15:29:47

A-ha! I get it.

Thomcat Thu 19-May-05 17:27:59

It's very much about educating through play rather than play for play's sake which is why some parents don't like it.

If they play with sand they don't just build a castle they practice making the shape of letters in the sand or count blocks in the sand or something.

They have exercise books and they are taught to hold a pen and they are taught how to write the alpabet. Many nurseries I visited, other than Montessori, don't do this at all.

They have one on one reading practice as well as the usual story time.

They use computers as one of the play activites.

They must always put the toy they have finished with away after (this is fab, can't believe it when lottie does it at home!)

if they play in the home corner for example the salt and pepper pot is a real one not pink barbie ones.

It's very structured as well.

i think that's all tight and is certainly what i have observed.

They also have outside tachers that come in, so on a Monday they are joined by Mmme Francais and on Tuesdays cartwheels come in ad do a kind of gym class, on Wednesdays they have the music teacher come in and so on.

Some of the teachers speak in French to the kids nearly all the time. lottie knows how to count in french a bit, a song all about 'sur le tete' and all the woirds of Frère Jacques and is greated with a bonjour etc.

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