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Montessori - pros and cons

(12 Posts)
MuminMilan Mon 28-Oct-13 09:55:53

We've just been to look around a Montessori school and really liked what we saw, but I'm keen to hear the pros and cons from other people. Has anyone had any particularly good/bad experiences?

teacherlikesapples Wed 30-Oct-13 18:28:30

Is it a purist Montessori or a Montessori inspired school? Because that will make quite a bit of difference. Some places may just use Montessori equipment or only stick to some of the values- so each place might vary on whether these factors are true:

pros- great equipment- very clever design, natural materials. Thoughtful presentation of the environment & provision to encourage a wide range of skills & development, good support of the individual- developing each child's personal strengths & interests. Children are encouraged to be really independent- this is great for children's self esteem and capabilities with practical tasks (with obvious other benefits to physical development etc...)

cons- The 'rules' can be quite strict. e.g Certain equipment needs to be used in a specific way only at a certain time (These blocks are for counting & NOT building) -this can be very restrictive for creative play and might limit children's innovation and design opportunities.
On that note this is generally no support of imaginative fantasy play or children creating from their own ideas or drawing 'abstract' pictures. Montessori believed that children should instead learn about 'real' things and their work should reflect reality. She also didn't believe in displaying children's work.

Not as much focus on socially constructed knowledge- so group work, team work and co-operative play is not planned for or encouraged as much. These two factors are a big deal for young children and the reason that I would never choose a purist school for my kids.

Some children really thrive in a montessori environment. They like the structure & consistent, predictable environment.

So I guess it depends on your child's personality & your priorities.

superconfused10 Thu 07-Nov-13 19:12:48

We have just decided to take dd who just turned 3 out of a Montessori nursery. Dd started this nursery in September. It is quite a hard core Montessori place. Dd is enjoying the social aspect of nursery but does not enjoy working on her own. she gets upset and bit tearful when it's time for her to play with montessori equipment. she would rather just carry on playing with her friends or doing creative stuff. The staff said they are gradually pushing her to do longer sets of the actual montessori stuff and want to build it up to the hour and half all the older kids do. Dh and I only sent dd to nursery to have fun and make friends so have decided to take her out.

The montessori stuff is good but not for everyone. it's a classroom type environment, each child sat doing their own montessori work. I personally think preschoolers should be running around and have the option of doing a variety of different activities not the same ones over and over. Hope this helps.

bundaberg Thu 07-Nov-13 19:19:55

my children are at a montessori primary school and I love it!

the teaching aids are used in a structured way, but the children are free to use what they want when they want, so it's structured in one sense, but very much child-led

it very much fosters the idea of intrinsic motivation, which i think is really important. allowing children to work at their own pace and spend time on things that they are ready to learn at any given moment in time, for as long as they need to.

poopnscoop Fri 15-Nov-13 10:36:22

I'm a fan of certain Montessori principals.. And have applied these in my Pre-school nursery at Jenniflowers. However, I like various aspects of Reggio, Steiner and Forest School too.. And have applied aspects.

So we have high quality, wooden resources but then also ICT equipment (an area where Montessori might fall down on for eg.)... In a loving and caring environment where independence is highly encouraged, as is sensory, heuristic and outdoor play.

I do not like to hinder a child's development in any way.. and if you follow a system 100% it 'might' be restrictive. This is up to the Pre-school. Do as much homework as you can re any prospective Pre-school.

jwpetal Sat 16-Nov-13 20:49:39

I would recommend going to the nursery and getting a feel for it. From the moment my son went to ours, he was happy and engaged. At other nurseries he was clingy and not happy.

I suppose our is a 'strict' montessori school (highly accredited both by montessori assoc.) and they love it. It is interesting reading the comments about the restricting of activities as our school allows the children to do what they want when they want within the framework of the nursery i.e. if they want to go outside they can go outside, they can play with an item however they want (as long as it is safe). It is about exploring and learning with everyday objects. We do not have an ICT program but we are very happy with that as they will be using this there whole life and we want them to be creative without the aid of ICT.

Teachers regularly comment on his ability to self teach and interest in learning independently. His self care is, even now, far ahead of his peers. I do credit the nursery with that.

NorthernShores Wed 20-Nov-13 12:14:43

I wouldn't send my child to a proper Montessori nursery for a lot of the reasons above. They often look good though!

Twinsplusonesurprise Sun 24-Nov-13 00:06:16

My 2.5yo twins love their Montessori nursery.
They have wedges of time in free play and then structured. But even the structured play is pretty loose and they are allowed to play with certain objects freely to make thier own choices and develop their imaginations. Role play is hugely encouraged. A sense of nature is too with daily sessions outside learning about nature. The girls come home tired, dirty, happy and with full tummies. Can't ask for more I reckon!

TheLondonAcornSchool Mon 25-Nov-13 15:42:02

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

jelly07 Tue 03-Dec-13 13:55:47

Hello, i'm French and i would like to know if somebody can help to choose between two prep-schools? Saint Nicholas vs Eaton Square School? Our daughter did the assessment at Eaton and passed it but we have to give a response before 16th December. We hesitate between both cause they look so similar concerning the program? Saint Nicholas is the nearest place from our home so maybe we can choose them for that reason ? But i am completely lost so could somebody gives me a few advices? Thank so much for your answers...

hdoodle Tue 03-Dec-13 15:31:35

Hi jelly07, you should start a new thread so that other people can see the subject. Both schools are very good but if you want your daughter to speak French at school, st Nicholas has a French track and I don't believe eaton sq does. I believe that there are a very large number of French parents at st Nicholas whereas eaton sq is more the usual London mix. Also, if you are planning to send them to the lycée at any point, ask the other parents at the school how it works because I have heard that st Nicholas does not send students on to the lycée (not sure why).

jelly07 Tue 03-Dec-13 21:21:09

thank you so much for your answer! We only stay in London for 4 years so the problem with the lycée will be solve... Actually we rather her to be with English children (for understanding and speaking) and we're afraid of the numerous French children at Saint Nicholas...

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