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What are Montessori Primary schools like?

(10 Posts)
CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Thu 25-Apr-13 10:26:58

In my area, we are waiting on THREE new Primary schools to cope with demand for places.

The one that will be opening in 2015, that will become my closest school, is going to be a Montessori Primary school.

I was wondering if anybody has any experience of Montessori Primary schools, as I've only ever heard of it for Pre-school.

Would this type of school suit a DC with Autism and probable ADHD? With life threatening food allergies too?

I have heard that there is a lack of structure, which I am concerned about.

If you have any thoughts on what a Montessori Primary school would be like, especially with pupils with SN's, possibly statemented, I would appreciate it.

TIA.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Thu 25-Apr-13 21:58:56

Bump

lougle Thu 25-Apr-13 22:21:03

I think Montessori is wonderful. DD3 goes there for preschool and there is a huge amount of structure and individualised teaching by its very nature, I think.

If there were a montessori primary in my area, my girls would be going there.

learnandsay Thu 25-Apr-13 22:41:43

I can't answer your question properly because I don't know. But one of my aunts is a leading light in the Montessori movement; she's also a Montessori schools examiner. She recently bought me some Montessori books because she didn't believe that my daughter could already read. From the look of the books she gave me their education system is indeed structured. But it seems as though it's child led. So you could have two six year olds in the same class one who can read the King James Bible and understand it and another who can't read anything. It appears as though it's not lack of structure which allows that but just that their philosophy appears to follow the child. I think their method has much merit but personally I don't like it.

tilder Thu 25-Apr-13 22:49:24

I might be wrong but I think they are not particularly big on science.

I know several people locally who use or would like to use Montessori. My impression of it is tainted by them (think lentil weaving and felt making).o

This is all preschool though so no idea how it translates into primary.

learnandsay Thu 25-Apr-13 22:53:29

Old article www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/firstever-montessori-state-school-planned-1885160.html

Hopeforever Thu 25-Apr-13 22:57:05

Our local primary is Montessori, my DS has Aspergers and did really well. There is a child with severe allergies, children who may well have ADHD type needs (don't know about any diagnosis as never asked)

They follow the national curriculum and DS had top grade in his level 2 SATS

It has a wonderful, inclusive, child centred, warm feel to it

imip Thu 25-Apr-13 23:10:44

I've had 3dds go through Montessori preschool. It takes children up til the age of 6. From my experience, and as has been mentioned upthread, it is very structured, but each child chooses the work they want to do. There are seven spheres of learning (can't recall them all: senosorial, practical life, geography, maths etc). I am not sure that these spheres exist in the primary setting. In my daughters class, they have had a number of autistic children and the teachers seem genuinely able to teach these children. I guess though, you can get good teachers in any environment. I've always been under the impression that Montessori would be ideal for a child on the autistic spectrum.

The thing that impresses me the most about Montessori is that it is such a calm environment. Of course the children muck about, but more often than not they have a fantastic sense of purpose.

I guess with respect to allergies, whether the school is Montessori or not, will not impact how good it is in managing those allergies. It would be down to the management of the teaching team.

I've found Montessori brilliant as a preschool for our children. As a primary setting I think it would be a good match for an autistic child. I found a good website many years ago re: primary Montessori. Google melbourne Montessori school. I hope that helps and good luck!

Inclusionist Thu 25-Apr-13 23:33:06

My neurotypical son is in a purist Montessori independent primary and I am a Special Needs Teacher in the state sector.

If my early years child had ASD/ ADHD type traits I would actively seek the Montessori methodology.

Methren Thu 25-Apr-13 23:46:26

My DCs attended/attend a Montessori preschool, and I am a big fan of the very child-centred Montessori approach. There is a lot of structure - the preschool day started with "circle time" then a 1.5 hour "work cycle", during which children chose their own activities from the Montessori resources (basically educational toys, but with an emphasis on natural materials). Lots of sensorial learning, lots of activities relating to fine motor skills, lots of emphasis on acquiring practical skills needed for independence (e.g. cutting up fruit for snacks, pouring own drinks, clearing crockery/utensils after meals). Children are encouraged to learn at their own pace and to pursue particular interests. The classroom atmosphere is very calm and focused - I have never seen a bored child in either of my DCs classes.

We considered a small private Montessori primary when looking at schools for DC1. When we toured this school, the classroom environment in KS1 was much like a Montessori preschool in terms of layout and equipment. The children drew up their own work schedule at the beginning of each day - they wrote a list of of all the learning activities they wanted to do that day and could then work through them in any order, with the support of teachers/TAs where necessary. There didn't seem to be much whole-class teaching. Children were grouped in classes according to their attainment level rather than strictly by age, and their work in different subjects was tailored to their ability level, so that a child with a strength in say, maths, was working ahead of their chronological age group. It wasn't entirely clear how the teachers managed to keep track of whether pupils had covered the National curriculum if every child was working to a self-directed, individually-tailored programme, however I know parents who did send their children to this school who are very happy with the education their children are receiving.

This Montessori primary did have one pupil with SEN (who may well have had ASD), who was supported by a TA. My experience of autism is limited, but I suspect a Montessori primary might be quite a supportive environment for a child with ASD - because of the flexible, child-centred approach, and because there seems to be a fair amount of structure/routine but also scope for the child to have some control over their own schedule (which admittedly might be a double-edged sword).

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