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whats so great about montessori? tell me your experience

(23 Posts)
cheapandchic Tue 10-Jul-12 15:28:06

I am looking at this montessori nursery. The head lady seemed lovely and I liked the ideas behind the 'curriculum'...

however it all seemed very calm and zen...I am worried that my loud, bossy, extrovert might not fit in/ or like it...

please tell me why you liked montessori and why so many parents choose it over other nurseries

OP’s posts: |
IsItMeOr Tue 10-Jul-12 23:12:52

Hi, from my experience, probably the most important thing to point out is that it seems like pretty much anybody can describe their nursery as montessori - so they may well be wildly different. I asked the owner/manager at DS's nursery about what it means to be montessori, and she explained that their approach isn't very purist.

So, I would say it's most important to understand how your specific nursery operates, and whether you think it's a good fit for your DC. I'd be surprised if they haven't had any loud bossy ones before though - did you ask them about that?

Sorry if that's not the answer you were hoping

Scarredbutnotbroken Sun 15-Jul-12 22:27:39

I saw a regular nursery for dd and thought it was nice but the Montessori she goes too was so much calmer by comparison. Dc is quite bossy and extrovert but she lives it there. Now she is almost 2 she is picking up all the traditional Montessori ideas - Shea getting so good with pouring things away and cleaning up after herself completely unbidden. Her nursery is tiny and this is a big plus for me besides the education theory but I am a convert all the same.

I like the focus on independence most - I watch the kids with dd all the time - they don't need much/any prompting to do things And are very settled with their tasks.
The other nurseries I looked at seem totally chaotic in comparison and busy and loud.

It's hard to explain - the reason I looked at it is that I grew up in a progressive school so I wanted to explore similar options for dd.

However, all nurseries can be identified by a nursery practise. Nursery education is a young subject and can be traced back to either Macmillan or Montessori and later, Reggio Emilia.
Montessoris stick out more in the uk - in America nurseries are often either them or kindergarten if that make sense?

DontEatTheVolesKids Sun 15-Jul-12 22:40:58

What sold me on Montesorri was all the pattern recognition & fine motor skills development work. Much more of those things than other preschools achieve (DC attended a grand total of six other preschools & I visited for long spells at least half a dozen others over the yrs). It was obvious to me how those skills would feed nicely into learning at school.

I wouldn't say Montesorri is that unique in other respects. Independence is strongly encouraged elsewhere, for instance, ime. And respect & taking turns & using cups, etc. Montessori can be weak on outdoor play, mind.

I've heard that purist Montessori would never get good Ofsted: couldn't have computers or plastic toys, for instance.

Scarredbutnotbroken Sun 15-Jul-12 22:46:14

The kids do Forrest school at ours and afternoon sports things bit like a mini sports day smile dd thinks its all quite amazing
There are no computers and few plastic toys in the baby room but maybe none at all in the main rooms

PosieParker Mon 16-Jul-12 17:50:58

Gosh where to start. I have four dcs, alkl very different but all did very well at Montessori. It teaches life skills, all left (at 4/5) being able to iron, clean shoes, wash clothes, mop floors, and basically fend for themselves, within reason. The calm atmosphere and quiet meant that the4y could concentrate and get uninterrupted time to finish work. They didn't 'play' at montessori they did 'work'. For me if there was montessori primary I would give my right arm to send my children. I would challenge ...continue later

mummy1390 Mon 06-Aug-12 11:45:27

Hi all, I am thinking the same as cheapandchic, DD just turned one and looking for a good nursery. visited a few Montessori but not so impressed as far as outdoor area, very young age of their staff are concerend. children were playing quietly in every corner (not sure is good or bad!) I don't know how it works that the end result is very well behaved and independence kids with relatively good educational info.
none of the Montessories I've visited had outstanding ofsted rating. is that really important?
what I personally like is a well structured nursery that can help her improve social abilities,confidence and also teach her basis of maths and alphabet. is it too much to ask for a Montessori in your opinion?

princesbold Thu 23-Aug-12 17:41:25

Whatever they call themselves they still have to deliver the EYFS and satisfy Ofsted. A lot of Montessori principles have been adopted by the EYFS and so are present in all nurseries.

Happyharriet Fri 31-Aug-12 14:53:18

I'd just like to say that there are great Montessori schools and ok ones as with all other types of early years setting. Because each child is treated as an individual a Montessori School will offer activities that fulfil your child's developmental needs - and loud and bossy children do just as well as quiter more timid children. That 'Zen' feeling comes from very busy children who are absorbed in tasks that they have chosen - it is not (or shouldn't be) imposed by the adults. Most Montessori schools will have some carefully chosen plastic items where alternatives aren't available, although most materials will be natural. Maria Montessori was so far ahead of everyone else that she would certainly have been an advocate of new technology, but computers in early years should be seen as tools rather than entertainment - I would be worried about any school that let under 5s spend unlimited time on abstract computer games. Montessori schools aim to give younger children 'concrete' experiences rather than abstract so more emphasis would be put on exploring real items than, say, worksheets. I think the majority of Montessori schools have gained 'Outstanding'. The Montessori Evaluation and Assessment Board has started an accreditation process in the UK and abroad and over 100 UK schools have become accredited. You can check out the detailed reports of the accredited schools at:

TiggyD Fri 31-Aug-12 17:24:48

" Because each child is treated as an individual a Montessori School" -
same as all nurseries should do.

"That 'Zen' feeling comes from very busy children who are absorbed in tasks that they have chosen - it is not (or shouldn't be) imposed by the adults" - Child led, child centred learning just like all nurseries should do.

"most materials will be natural" - (Hard to clean). All nurseries have a thing about natural materials. Even for things where natural materials aren't suitable.

"Maria Montessori was so far ahead of everyone else" - That's lucky considering she comes from a hundred years ago. (She's 142 today).

"but computers in early years should be seen as tools rather than entertainment" - Like all other nurseries.

"Montessori schools aim to give younger children 'concrete' experiences rather than abstract so more emphasis would be put on exploring real items than, say, worksheets." - Worksheets went out in about the mid-1990s in all other nurseries.

"I think the majority of Montessori schools have gained 'Outstanding'." - That's a guess.

A good nursery is a good nursery. Montessori is a nursery fashion label.

Kewcumber Fri 31-Aug-12 17:28:28

I think as someone pointed out a lot of the Montessori philosophy is now standard - child centred approach.

Whether tis Montessori or not is a bit irrelevant in my book - is the nursery nice, will it suit you.

FWIW my DS wasn;t a sit down and meditate type but loved his Montessori nursery and tarted school behind on straighforward letter formation, counting that kind of thing but certainly better equipped in confidence than many of the other children. But who knows if this is just him or the effect of Montessori?

Pmoz Fri 31-Aug-12 17:49:05

Hi. I remember having the same dilemma when my first child had to go to nursery. I opted for a Montessori , but mainly due to convenience and I've been very happy with it. I can't say whether my child would not have achieved as much in a non Montessori but all my friends are very impressed with my little ones standards and independence. She is about to enter reception and knows how to recognise all her alphabet to the point she is very eager to put letters together and start reading... She knows pig, cat etc. she recognises numbers up to 20 and can count beyond that. She can write her name and her motor skills are very impressive. Again, just to repeat I really can't comment whether she would not have learnt this else where and we are very hands on parents.

I hope this helps a little bit as I remember how mind boggling these decisions are.

Callmecordelia Tue 04-Sep-12 15:20:51

My daughter is at a Montessori. I love it - one of the things that attracted me was the use of real objects as toys, and taking the time to learn about her environment and take care of it.

However, I wouldn't say the fact that it was Montessori was a deciding factor for me. Someone said it above - a good nursery is a good nursery.

She is 19 months old now, and has settled in well. She is a bit precocious and loves an audience an extrovert too, and loves it there.

eyresearcher Thu 29-Mar-18 22:18:47

Interesting response, Tiggy. As a researcher who has worked and researched both in traditional early years setting and Montessori setting, I can say there is a very marked difference.

In a Montessori approach, children do have more agency than a traditional English nursery. I have worked and visited many nurseries, and I have to admit the kind of concentration and level of engagement that I see in a Montessori school is really not comparable to a traditional nursery. After working in traditional nurseries that is characterised by loudness, overstimulation and chaos, I was quite shocked to walk into a Montessori environment which was so calm. At first I thought it was imposed, but on observing further I noticed that it came as a result of the amount of thought and preparation that was put into it. Children truly take ownership of the space.

Re: natural materials, not all nurseries have a thing for natural materials. Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio seem to be most gravitated to it.

Montessori much more than just a fashion label, and in a research done not too long ago, 85% of Montessori schools have Outstanding/Good Ofsted ratings.

hibbledibble Sat 31-Mar-18 07:56:06

In my experience any nursery can call itself Montessori, so the label is pretty meaningless.

Sadly a lot of bad nurseries use the label to sell themselves to parents. I have withdrawn my eldest child from two 'montessori' nurseries that were truly appaling

Queenofthedrivensnow Sat 31-Mar-18 14:41:32

Hibble they could they wouldn't have accreditation - there is a national accreditation scheme who list who have passed their levels.

Montessori is a fashion label?? Showing your ignorance there..

thethoughtfox Sat 31-Mar-18 14:55:22

Check it they are credited. The teachers in our nursery are so much more qualified than those in the other nurseries we viewed. Some are qualified teachers and all have additional Montessori teaching qualifications on top of everything else. One of them has won multiple national awards. I love the autonomy that they are shown how to use materials but don't have to do any activities and can stay doing something they enjoy for as long as they want. It's all very natural, outdoorsy, child led, well organised so everything has a place and they take out and put away materials themselves. They have little tables with vases of fresh flowers for lunch and snack ( which they prepare themselves) It is everything I wanted in a nursery.

thethoughtfox Sat 31-Mar-18 14:58:36

All the activities as deliberately designed to develop their skills either socially, their balance ( which seems to be problem now because children are moving about as much and it's causing problems) or pre reading and writing.

Goldenbug Sun 01-Apr-18 21:10:45

Zombie Thread.

nataliewong1989 Tue 23-Jul-19 23:33:41 You can simply make the home environment more Montessori according to this blog, which just getting toys that help your children grow cognitively.

TheHandsOfNeilBuchanan Fri 02-Aug-19 11:52:04

Our final choice was between a nursery labelled as Montessori and one that wasn't, but the manager was trained and previously only worked in Montessori. I liked that it had the best of both worlds, focus on learning through play at every opportunity, self guided independent activities available, sinks to clean up after themselves (when we first visited the toddlers were washing up their lunch things! She assured me they get properly washed up after our of their sight). Toilets are accessible from the main rooms and they can go as and when they please with or without support (low wall and cubicles/sinks) , lots of project type work, the first time we went they were doing a day about Eid as it was coming up, no plastics/computers, BUT a big outdoor climbing and activity area, regular trips out and forest school one day per week for the older ones, they do baking and messy play too. The Montessori I went to was quiet and calm for the over 3s but the younger rooms were literally chaos, plastic toys, children climbing over others who were sleeping on the floor, very disorganised etc. So I went with the over I felt worked best with our values target than the label, and it actually follows Montessori principles better than the Montessori nursery in my view.

Fandabydosey Mon 12-Aug-19 23:28:52 Montessori the theories of Maria montessori run through the hear of the early years foundation stage. EYFS along with other child theorists their work and studies has proved crucial in developing the EYFS. Maria Montessori believed that children learn best through trial and error and that children develop in a way unique to them. All setting should be promoting independence and allow a child to learn based on their interests. Have a read of all sections on this page

Fuzzyspringroll Sun 18-Aug-19 10:20:42

DS is at a Montessori nursery. Not by choice as such. It's my workplace nursery. He'll move to a normal nursery next year, now that we are more settled and have moved house. I want him to be with children he will also go to primary school with. We only have two primaries in town, so it's highly likely it will be the same kids.
I'm not a fan of the "just letting the kids get on by themselves" idea. The adults in his younger group have always seemed so detached from the children. Just close enough to avoid them getting hurt but not actually having any close bond with them...certainly not DS.
He used to go to a normal nursery before this one. His group there was much smaller, the babies where being picked up and actively comforted when they cried, they pushed him around in the pushchair in the garden until he would fall asleep, they went outside every day and set up activities specifically for the children's interests. It was obvious that they adored the kids and he loved going there. It was also a nursery with a speech and language focus, so lots of singing and talking and modelling of talk. I really miss these things in his Montessori nursery and feel like DS has certainly slowed down in terms of language acquisition. He's now moved to a group for bigger children and I hope it will improve and he'll be at a good level for the older group at the nursery he'll move to next year. We'll see...
It's not an approach I'd choose for school. We've got one here and the kids seem so isolated from their peer, all doing their own thing.

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