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Montessori nurseries? Can somebody explain in basic terms?

(12 Posts)
Wetthemogwai Wed 30-Jan-13 00:46:40

I've never heard of one before and have just come across one while looking for a nursery for dd incase today's job hunt is successful.

Has anyone any experience of them?


WaynettaSlobsLover Wed 30-Jan-13 01:05:52

Urgh. I have had it with bloody montessori. To give you a non biased view however...all schools are different and follow different interpretations of the ethos. Some may encourage kids to role play and experiment with the 'work' materials, others may be regimented and prefer order without praise for the child. I've seen it first hand and its not for me. I advise you read up on it and investigate nurseries around you.

Wetthemogwai Wed 30-Jan-13 16:03:29

Hmm ok... I'll have a look and see if I can figure anything else out!
Thanks for the honesty smile

abbyfromoz Thu 31-Jan-13 18:43:16

I disagree. My DH studied montessori and raves about it. My MIL has been a teacher for 40 years and only has good things to say about it. She says all of her brightest students come from the montessori system (she is not a montessori teacher but works for an SDA school) It's basically learning life skills through play. Each nursery would have a different ethos so ask them to explain if you want to know more.grin

PavlovtheCat Thu 31-Jan-13 18:48:50

Check it is a full accredited Montessori school as there are actually not that many, lots call themselves Montessori but there are no for al recognitions so cannot check they follow the basic principles.

I am not sure I can explain it well really,but it is not just learn through play. All nurseries do that! It is quite ordered, quiet, and 'logical' from my understanding of reading into it and a friends little one gong there. Unfortunately she is quite reserved anyway and needs to be encouraged out of her shell, it doesn't do that!

I think the suitability of it will depend on your own ideas of 'learning' and also on your child's personality.

PavlovtheCat Thu 31-Jan-13 18:52:21


Moominsarehippos Thu 31-Jan-13 18:56:40

All schools are different. Ours was set up by Maria herself and it is lovely. The kids follow the Early Years curriculum - paint, read, feed the goldfish, dig in the garden, Learn about planets... Same as other schools (no plastic toys). They are taught to be considerate and sharing (like other schools), help out (like other schools). They are praised and punished (like other schools) etc etc etc...

There's a lot of babble about it being all airy-fairy-Hugo, but we found the discipline very good (I can't stand brats or badly behaved, pushy, whiney kids).

You need to go and see for yourself. They are all different.

inthewildernessbuild Fri 01-Feb-13 22:23:21

I think the biggest difference is that they didn't do dolls, trains, cars or toys as such. The children used bricks and sand trays, they painted, dustpan and brushes, poured water from jugs to cups. Everything was designed for children to USE properly and to have confidence in their practical skills.
The morning or afternoon (mine went for 3 hour sessions) included the chance to do what you liked with these "materials". Quite often the children did not run amok and were quite engaged in what we mght consider serious activities. Books, drama, music all part of session. Reading and writingfor older kids but only when ready.Use of sandpaper letters. My son was not allowed to hold a pencil the whole time he was there,as they said he was not ready. My children loved the teachers (they were proper Mntessoi teachers or in training assistants) and never found it boring. I made sure they had walked there though, and walked back as otherwise possibly not enough energy expent!

lougle Fri 01-Feb-13 22:50:27

DD3 goes to an (accredited) Montessori Nursery. They do have cars (admittedly wooden).

DD3 arrives in the morning, chooses her name from the board, chooses a peg to put her name above and hangs her bag/coat on it. She then chooses her name again and posts it in the post-box.

Activities are placed on trays and she may choose any activity on the shelf. If another child has the activity she wants to use, she can ask to join them, but if that child says no, she must wait until the child is finished. Similarly, if a child wants to do something on the floor, they get a little mat out, which defines their space. Other children must ask to join if they think it looks interesting.

All the activities promote defined skills, and are orientated Left to Right in preparation for reading and writing later. Fine motor activities may include using tweezers to move cotton wool balls from one bowl to another, for example.

The equipment the children use is all 'real', such as crockery for eating lunch, a real workbench with hand drill, hammer, etc. The intention is that children learn to respect and care for their equipment.

DD3's pre-school has African Land Snails and tortoises, and they borrow eggs from a local farm to watch them hatch into chicks, then return them after a few weeks.

They have circle time, where they play games, sing songs, etc., and they have French, yoga, etc., too.

It's fabulous!

Moominsarehippos Sat 02-Feb-13 08:49:32

Its a lot of fun. Where I work there's an 'ordinary' nursery and when I go onto the floor it does seem more 'freestyle' although I know its not really! Loads of noise and 'letting off steam'!

The montessori kids seem more focussed somehow - happy doing something, not running around in circles, dancing, watching cartoons, or trying to climb over the furniture. They play with the 'usual' toys (yes - not dollies, but we had a fab kitchen and punch and judy booth) but also with wooden blocks, weights, pouring/measuring jugs, salt playdough, sand pit, globes, garden time, goldfish to kill (that was purely an accidental thing) etc. They are encouraged to share and help out (wiping down the tables etc). These were from 2.5 years old.

Wetthemogwai Sat 02-Feb-13 09:57:10

Wow French and yoga!

Thanks everyone, good to get other perspectives smile ill definitely have to have a look round and try and get a feel for the place like I will with the others!

inthewildernessbuild Sat 02-Feb-13 18:04:28

Lougle and Moomin have explained it perfectly. One of my friends thought it was a Stepford Wives nursery because all the children glided quietlyfrom one activity to another. There was, with exception of a few hyper (French) boys, complete concentration from the 2.5 years-5 year old range, all in one room. Some children went to school only in Year 1, because they were French, so I wonder whether older children in the room helped create a good atmosphere.
Different themes, history, art history, geography, French, all covered.

Still it was just 3 - 6 hours, so not day care as such. Not sure it could be sustained for an entire day.

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