Thursday, April 24, 2008

Considering Montessori

Last week, I visited a Montessori school with pre-school. I've always been interested in the Montessori method, and Londo and I have talked about Montessori schools and pre-schools since before we started trying to have kids.

As I've looked into it recently, I've discovered a few things I didn't know realize would be important when finding a Montessori school. First, since the term Montessori isn't copyrighted or anything like that, anyone can stick the label Montessori on what they do, so you have to be sure that the school you are considering meets your expectations. Second, some of the schools can seem like they are full of Stepford children, which is not what we want for the Pumpkin. A coworker of mine visited one school and said it was like they were Borg children, all mindlessly complying. Third, schools can get accredited, but if I understand correctly, there are two different schools of thought: the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS). I believe the AMS school of thought is a little more creative, and I think those that are Stepford-ish are probably AMI which is more structured. But I've learned all this second hand, so please take this information with a grain of salt and educate me if I'm not right.

So I realized that it is important to visit the school you are considering and see if it is right for your child. As I said, I visited a Montessori school with pre-school last week. I LOVED this school! This was what I had in mind when I thought of Montessori. The kids were doing different activities in different areas of the room, some doing puzzles together while another child painted on the easle by himself. The teachers and assistants were engaged and interested in what the kids were doing. The environment for 2 year olds (who are not groups with the 3-6 year olds because of the different needs and capabilities that they have at 2) was very much like a big playroom at home, with lamps and rugs and kid-sized tables, chairs, sinks, cubbies, etc.

The kids weren't all happy little automatons, either. In one room, the kids were doing songs while sitting in a circle, but one or two were jumping up and running around. The teacher was watching them, but not impatient or wanting to control them. Letting kids be kids. In another room, two kids just got dropped off and were crying, but the director explained that they would be drawn into the activities soon and that the separation tears didn't last for long. The director answered my questions and other visitors' questions with thoughtful and caring answers, answers I liked hearing.

Most importantly, I could see the Pumpkin in one of those rooms and really loving it. I'm sold on the school, and don't even want to look for another. Unfortunately, they can't take her until the fall after she is 2, over a year from now. We are still working on a solution for the change we need to make in our childcare situation. While it's great I love this school, I still have to look at other solutions that can happen in the next month or two. And we still haven't address how on earth we'd be able to afford the Montessori school--or a nanny, for that matter. At the very least, I will now work towards having a "Montessori Home" in our house, thanks to the information a person online who I highly respect sent to me.

This evening, we meet with a financial planner to see get a fresh perspective on our finances and see if there is some way to afford what we ideally want for the Pumpkin. Wish us luck!

10 comments:

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

I went through a whole phase where I was very set on Montessori and visited schools all over the place only to find that the place near our home was the best place of all for Alexis. They may not be "Montessori" by name, but they are at heart.

Good luck with your daycare search!

My Buddy Mimi said...

Good luck! I hope you figure out a way to make everything work within your schedules and budget.

La folle maman said...

Good luck! Our visit to the financial planner was very informative. Sobering in some areas (housing), very hopeful in others (529s, college, retirement). Hopefully they'll have a great plan for you to follow and be especially helpful!

ImpostorMom said...

I'm glad you found a place you like even if it is a ways in the distance at least you have something to look forward to. Boog got accepted to a Montessori school very close to our house after being on the wait list since I was 7 months pregnant. Ultimately we decided not to move him there however.

Although we both believe he would have enjoyed it the logistics of their schedule was going to put a huge strain on our family. We decided that we'd keep him where he's at and that was best for our family as a whole. Good luck with the financial planner.

- Dana said...

Your timing is funny...we visited a couple Montessori schools on Tuesday in hopes of finding a better place for Aria to go. We think we found a good one (AMS) and we're dropping the application off today. If all goes as planned, she'll be starting mid June. I'm definitely impressed by this Montessori school and it works out that they start taking kids at 18mo (through Kindergarten). These schools can be pricey, but after disliking where she is now...it's funny how money became less important (we'll make any tuition work as long as the place is great). I'm working on flexing at our company so I can pick her up at 3:30 for the 5 days a week. I look fwd to the change and I think Aria will love it!

Becoming Mommy said...

Hope you find something. Have you looked at eNannySearch.com? We've got an ad up there. Unfortunately, no one who's responded to ours can start till the summer (And Sasha got kicked out a week ago).
Also, you could send blanket e-mails out to everyone you work with for recommendations. It's what hubby did, and I actually found a daycare center I kind of like.

sheSaid.purplehouseonpearl.com said...

The montesorri I went to was very much so the let the kids do what they want at their pace type... though we did have art time and music time that might have been a bit structured. I picked up the book "how to raise an amazing kid the montesorri way" (or something along those lines) and it has some great ideas.... we should share information on what we are doing at home, it might be neat.

Good luck in the between. We are on a waiting list anytime between now and August... but it just felt right so we are slogging through till then.

Karen said...

If you have one in your area, by all means consider it highly. If our nearest wasn't over an hour one way Micah would be attending there.

cynthia said...

Hope the child care situation works out for you until she can start at the great school!

Shellie said...

That sounds exciting. I would love a Montessouri school for my twins. BTW, I just started watching a miniseries on a Spanish station about the founder, it's quite interesting.