Thursday, May 5, 2011

Montessori SCHOOLS _ whats your opinion?

I know all parents think their kids are smart, but I am truly convinced mine is.. I am not sure public school is right for her. Nor do I think I have the patience to deal with it. Not that I am knocking on public school teachers, they work hard and do a great job. But they have no control over things like budgets, which hamper them so. There are many great teachers, who arent paid well enough for the job they do. Trust me, you could not pay me enough to work with 15+ kids all day long. I need a break from my TWO every several hours! (In case you missed that second sentence, I am EXTREMELY impatient) However, before I delve into my issues with public school, or on a public blog that might come back to bite me... Lets just leave it at that- unspoken issues. I let me water buffalo mouth overload my hummingbird butt- ... or however the saying goes..

I will tell you my two main issues.

Number 1 - Gifted program ( this goes back to the 1st sentence about me thinking my daughter is extremely intelligent )

Number 2- Field trips.. Yes, this shouldn't be an issue, but the school my daughter goes to claims budgets cuts are the reason there are NO field trips. Thats right, ... none. I do not know how that is even possible, ( and I'll plead the 5th on my opinions about it -remember water buffalo/hummingbird.. LOL.. ) since parents pay for the field trips anyway!

There are a few other issues, but these two directly affect my child, so they bother me the most and we'll just leave it at that.

So, I have put my private investigator hat on and been digging through Google's "files" on schools, local to me.

Unfortunately you would assume, me being on the outskirts of such a LARGE city, such as Jacksonville, would be beneficial in this situation. You would be thinking wrong. There is only ONE private school within 10 miles of me, and there are only 6 within 30. A catholic school, a Montessori School, a run down Christan school, which i have heard the "teachers" do not have to have a degree to teach at.. Unfortunately this is the one that is closest to me. *sad face* a handful of extremely small (and I mean whole school size students smaller than 30 and a few of them are basically just day cares calling themselves private schools, and the last one is for special needs children. So looks like Montessori is our best bet. I toured the school. Its nice enough , small. But they seem to know what they are doing. They sold me on it really were I to be honest... BUT, its a 30 miles trip ONE way. I drive a gas hog of a beast - that gets like 15mpg (on a good day) and I might have to trade it in.. I'd be driving more than an hour every day. I might be able to find a parent to carpool with me, but that would mean my child would be riding every day with a stranger.. Gas might have to go up another dollar or more for me to consider that.. (That was a joke.. I have a wry sense of humor.. I apologize) No I would actually have to get to know them, and even THEN, still might not be comfortable with it.

Besides the distance and cost of gas these days, there is the whole tuition issue. This school costs on the outwards of SEVEN GRAND A YEAR!.. WHOA! Maybe I am just cheap, and you cant put a price on education, but that seems kinda steep. My sister made an excellent point however and that is this: The government pays us almost that much money for kids every year. Wouldn't that money be best spent on our kids education? What better could it go towards? BUT my husband and I mapped it out, and If there are 20 teachers/headmaster/assistants/employees, making on the outwards of 40 grand, (if they make that, which I would HOPE they would, since their job is invaluable) Thats a student funded budget of 800,000 needed- that means they would need 114.5 students - .. roughly.. And that is only for payroll, not things like supplies, bills, rent... I am not the best at math, but I think thats correct. I am not sure if there are even that many students there.

When we toured it, I did learn that they do not take many new Montessori students, unless they are Montessori transfers.. (from another school) The reason being that it is hard to "unlearn" what public school "damaged" and re-learn an entirely different way of thinking. I do think the way they teach would be more effective for my daughter who catches on quickly and gets bored easy. I think it is definitely more "hands on" which would definitely suit her better than being sat at a desk all day being told to be quiet.

She is so smart it is a hindrance. When the rest of the school was learning "SAM books" _ (three letter word books) Giana was in the library starting accelerated reader at the beginning of the year, I think within the first month of school or better, reading books 2nd graders read) She gets labeled as a troublemaker because she is through with her work and tries to talk. Almost every sheet of paper she brings home has elaborate drawings on the back where she has gotten done quickly and been bored.

In fact, she sits segregated from the other students at a desk right next to a teachers all year so she wouldn't bother the other students. This is her first "social year" she has never been in daycare. I tried to get the school to consider skipping her to first grade at the beginning of the year , but they claimed they do not do that (which they later recanted saying only for special exceptions) in fact now, suddenly they are testing her not to move up to 1st grade with rest of her peers, but to 2nd grade at the beginning of next year, and I kinda feel like, now you want to listen to me? She prob isn't ready for 2nd grade because they have taught her to be lazy and she has been cutting and pasting and coloring all year. They said she needed it for the social, but in fact she wasn't/hasn't getting the social, because she was separated form the other children ALL YEAR anyway. So what to do, let them skip her to 2nd grade, which they are testing her for? Or will the school keep putting me off as they have proven they so love to do? Or what? Giana reads so wonderfully it is almost disturbing. No I am just kidding, but she is an exceptional reader, WITH A REMARKABLE VOCABULARY.

I just do not want her to be teased, because next year, all the 2nd graders will be kids she doesn't know (and likewise) , and there s a big difference between a year or two in children that young's maturity, and the things they like to talk about do, and are interested in. Now ,yes, Montessori students are grouped by ages of 3 year spans, but it is different, because you are not trying to fit into a "clique" of older kids where you are the ONLY younger one. Also, those children are used to being in a classrom with younger children. So now I am really confused. What to do? Trust public schools to take care of my daughter, or send her to the Montessori school - and go broke tring to do so?

My sisters little girl is 4 years older and is in a Waldorf school, and she loves it. From what I get- Waldorf and Montessori are a LOT alike. With key differences, not mirror images of each other- mind you, but kinda like.... cousins.. LOL. I do not know which one would be best for her.. in fact- public school may even be.

I am just bothered by the whole "budget problem" for the gifted program. In my area, as of right now, the gifted program consists of taking the child out of the school, to another school, ONE day a week. For only a few hours, being worked with. I am not sure if it is one on one, which I would hope so, or a group gifted thing. (Or what they even do.) And I most certainly do not see how one day a week, for a few hours is sufficient, helpful or meets the needs of the gifted student either...

I do not even know if the school is planning on skipping her. If she is ready.. or if she passed the test, or if that is something they are saying to bide time. They have been "going to test her" all year, now that there is less than a week left they are doing it? Kinda ridiculous if you ask me, considering just how many times, the subject has been hounded and brought up. (By me, of course.)

But my other Montessori issue, as I said earlier is the co$t of the school. They do have financial aid, but they only give it to ONE outside child coming in, (for the whole school) and its not barely 20% off tuituion, which is hardly helpful at all. And probably givent to the new applying family with the lowest income, and who even knows if that would be us..

I do, however, like how the is so much parent involvement. I like how the children help each other, what I noticed about walking around the classrooms was how quiet the children were. I couldn't help but wonder how Giana's loud talkative butt would fit in. I dont know if they can break her. LOL, kidding, again. They were all working and more than that, WANTED to be working. It was cute. I love how they go at their own pace, and have excellent materials provided to help them better understand. For those who don't know what I am talking about, for instance, if they are studying about italy, they might draw a map, or make some italian food. They are always encouraged to be responsible for ones self and clean up their own messes beofre moving on to another subject.

What I have been saying is, I do not know what to do- and I need some advice? Do you have any?

I have some useful links about Montessori if anyone is interested..

Montessori School Guide

Is Montessori right for my child?

Interesting argument on Yahoo Answers

The forum I found most interesting

Montessori vs Waldorf

another question,, (what does DS mean?) ?????

Best fit for every child?

Montessori article

BELOW IMAGE COPIED FROM " " click the image to read it more clearly, to zoom, hold down your CTRL key and roll your mouse ball forward)


“Let us leave the life free to develop within the limits of the good, and let us observe this inner life developing. This is the whole of our mission.” – Maria Montessori


corabeth said...

I think DS is her kid's name....

Stephanie said...

DS = "dear son"; a way to talk about your child online without having to use his/her name. (DD = dear daughter, DH = dear hubby; DW = dear wife)

As for the whole Montessori vs Public vs Private question... I'm an AMI-trained Primary teacher. (AMI = Association Montessori Internationale, the "original" Montessori. Primary = ages 3-6.) I am a total Montessori convert. I LOVE it; the focus is on "education for life", learning how to be a good member of society, etc etc; like your comment on learning about Italy with the map, Italian food, etc. The very concrete materials mean children learn the academic skills easily, moving to abstract later on once they've grasped the skills.

The teachers were right, though, about children who are new to Montessori at an older age. It's so much easier when they start at 3, because the older children just don't grasp (no matter how smart they are) the rules of the classroom; ie: no interrupting others, choose your own work (don't wait for someone to tell you what to do), etc etc.

The cost is unfortunate, but necessary for a Montessori classroom. $700/month is average for a full-day Montessori school. The materials we use are VERY expensive and many need to be refilled or replaced regularly. Add teacher salaries (which are much lower than public school teachers'), hydro/phone/net bills, etc etc... and you've got an expensive school to run. :( I wish there was another way around it!

Anyway, this is a VERY long reply! But I guarantee Montessori is a really amazing education. I went through Public schools and have nothing against them; but when compared to Montessori, well... let's just say I will never put my child in anything other than Montessori!

Do it! The cost and distance to travel will be worth it, I promise.

Deb Chitwood said...

I've seen people use DS to mean "dear son" and DD for "dear daughter."

I can definitely empathize with the difficulty of your decision. I would be very concerned about lack of field trips and finding the right fit for a gifted child. I've seen Montessori education work very well for gifted children. Individualized education and following the child are great for children who are gifted. At the same time, I can understand your concerns about cost and distance.

I love Montessori education and highly recommend it if you like the school and teachers. But, obviously, you have to consider every variable. I'll tweet your post and see if anyone else has ideas. Also, here's a post I published recently which might be helpful (even though it focuses more on Montessori preschool):

Wishing you the very best! Deb @

gkbccb said...

ahhh thats what dd means, i see it on military forums all the time!! OK... i get it now.. i have been wondering for quite some time

gkbccb said...

see deb, we didnt have money for Montessori nor did i know about it, if you think about it though, (kind of) her being home and given learning materials that she chose for herself to do on her own, was KIND of the same basic principal. but I liked that she wasnt in pre-school, i know this sounds horrid, but I feared she would pick up on other children’s bad behaviors, we lived in a low income area back then. Well, except for I didn’t have Montessori materials, and a lot of the time she wa son the computer (the child was installing programs and surfing the web at age 3 , no seriously, shed get her toys and type their names into google by matching letters.. it was quite funny actually) anyway, i still have not decided what I want to do. The transition will be frustrating for me, her, and the teacher, she doesnt know how to be quiet, and even though she is extremely bright, she doesnt take instruction well, and cries EVERY time she cant do something, like every morning crying bc she cant get her foot in her sneaker, and then crying bc she cannot tie it, these behaviors make me question is she is truly a good candidate for Montessori…

Amber said...

As someone whose daughter went from hating public school to now thriving in a Waldorf school, I feel you know what I already have to say and what I think would be best for Giana. In the end, only you and Noah can make the choice about what is best for your child but you know that all year long your gut has been screaming at you that this public school is not a good fit for her. She is talkative yes but she is still so young. She is like playdoh that has been formed into a ball and left out for a couple of hours. It has not really hardened yet, so it can be formed carefully into another shape it just takes more time :)

Lynzey hated school. She was told to put her head down, be quiet, and do busy work all day. Her attitude suffered from it (you wont see this just yet from kindergarten but just wait a couple of years). She was self centered and had no problem solving skills. After only one year in a Waldorf school, Lynzey loves school! She is excited to go in the mornings and has so much to tell me when she gets home. She gets all crazy worked up about lessons, it is the cutest thing! Her creativity is really blossoming (which was another big factor of wanting this school for her, the focus on arts) and she can stop and use logical problem solving skills to come to her own conclusions now. She is more aware of how her actions and others affect the world and people around her. Its been a great change for her.

Smart creative kids like Giana and Lynzey just do not thrive in those public school environments. What has Giana gotten out of this year of school? I am certain they didnt teach her anything she didnt already know and like you said she isnt gaining much social skills either. The great thing about these kinds of schools is they use real life to help them remember their lessons. The teaching is very hands on type learning not sit here and fill out this piece of paper. They make learning fun!

I know it is a financial burden. The way I look at it is as an investment in my childs future and I cannot put a price on that. I honestly feel her future will be better, brighter with her in this school than the one across the street. Not only feel, I know it is. You find a way to make it work, you always do. You cut back, you use your income taxes to take some of the burden off of every day expenses, and hell if you needed to you could get a part time job working a couple of nights a week to supplement your income. What I am saying is, youll find a way to make it work if it is what you want to do.

I think you know my opinion: put her in the Montessori school and dont look back. I think you and Giana would be very happy with that choice. I wish you luck on coming to a conclusion. (And I wish you were closer and could put her in Lynzeys Waldorf school! They have financial aid for anyone who qualifies, it is on a sliding scale!)
I love you!

heathermae said...

Hi! I'm a friend of Amber's :D

My first thought was homeschool! But the lack of patience wouldn't be good for that, lol!

That's the path I've chosen for my son who also would be incredibly bored in public school. He's preschool age and can do all 1st grade stuff other than some of the reading and some of the most advanced 1st grade math. There's no way I can send him to our public school which isn't very high on the list of good schools.

I choose homeschooling because I'm not working. If I was working a full time job I would have done everything in my power to get him into the Montessori school in my old town. It would be a 40 minute drive each way but I would have done it because it is that important to me, and I know he would have thrived there. As it is now, with me not working, I can't afford it, because as you have found it's super expensive!
But I fully believe if a child has a love of learning, and loves going to school (or doing school work at home), it will be one of the most important things we as parents can give them in life.
So my vote is for the Montessori school :)

gkbccb said...

@amber they have taught her some things she did not already know.. she learned to cut and paste. and she learned long and short consonants, which she did NOT know. she is grasping time and currency a little better, but still doesnt fully understand it, these kindsa things, such as her not being able to tie her shoes, and her unwillingness to have patience (idk where she gets THAT from) teehee (but not funny, really!)_ to even be able to learn how to put her foot into a sneaker without crying bc she cant do it (also includes tying shoelaces or just ANYTHING she cannot do...) her grasping of currency and time, if she was gifted , wouldnt she excel at those things? doesnt that put her right at other kids levels, just a little better at reading?

Amber said...

You seem to be in an inner war with yourself. Your post seems like youre leaning towards montessori but then in the comments you look for reasons not to send her there. No one can make the choice for you. Youre a smart girl. Weigh the pros and cons.
My votes is still montessori though, FWIW :)

And as far as her frustration with simple tasks, I certainly think that is a gifted child thing. They are so used to things coming easily to them that when something doesnt come easy (or they have to stop to think about something instead of just knowing) they get very upset. Lynzey is the same way but now, at an older age, her frustrations are generally about math. Because everything comes so easily without second guessing herself or actually havign to think about it when she has to think about math and doesnt just know it, she gets frustrated. However, I will say that the past few months her teacher says she shows improvement in that area. They are helping her learn in a fun way that she remembers therefore doesnt have to think too much about the next time.

Nikki said...

If we had one near us, I'd send my son for sure. He's had nothing but problems in kindergarten this year, and I can't imagine it's going to get better as time goes by. He's very smart in some areas, but has weaknesses in others, and the school seems to want him to be perfect all around. He's practically failing COLORING for crying out loud! Oh, and cutting. Have you tried to cut with those safety scissors? I'd be failing cutting if I was in kindergarten too.

School is just way too stressful. They want to evaluate my son for a motor skills problem because he doesn't press hard enough when he writes. The reason he doesn't is because he's scared of messing up the letter, because he gets stuck inside redoing work during recess if they're not perfect. So he writes lightly, lifts his pencil several times to make sure it's right, or he gets so frustrated and just scribbles half-halfheartedly. Even his teacher thinks its ridiculous that she has to give him such a low score for coloring, but she's forced to follow a specific rubric.

So yeah, if we had a Montessori school around here, I'd send him in a heartbeat.

danielhirsch said...

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Happy Hands Montessori Nursery provide a program of education, in a happy, relaxed and caring environment.
Montessori Schools

danielhirsch said...

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Happy Hands Montessori Nursery provide a program of education, in a happy, relaxed and caring environment.
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