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Anyone in Montessori?

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#1 *Ker*

Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:40 PM

Does anyone have their kids in a Montessori school? I have some questions if someone will help out!

#2 mewsings

Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:43 PM

Both of mine are *Ker* - ask away !

#3 *Ker*

Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:45 PM


Do your kids have structured classes? Do they have a broad range of ages across one class? What makes it different from mainstream schooling?

#4 Quirk

Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:46 PM

Were you wondering about a specific school age? My DS attended as a 3 year old. He has anxiety and obsessive behaviour issues and we found it absolutely wonderful. Such a beautiful, calm environment.

#5 *Ker*

Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:56 PM

DS is almost 8, going into year 3 next year. He's been going to a Montessori school for 3 years. NOTHING about how they work seems Montessori. He has Autism and needs stability. He has none here. They have moved him about, next year is the only time he has the same teacher as the previous year. They have structured classes, they don't do the no punishment thing. DS has lost his SSO now, which will cause massive repercussions for me.

#6 mewsings

Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:22 PM

Do your kids have structured classes?

Yes, but not in the sense of mainstream schooling.  There is a set time for Library, martial arts, music and OCEANS,  but other than that it is task based.  Each child has an Independent Learning Plan, and has a certain number of tasks ( we call them jobs) that must be completed in the week in the learning areas. They use stamp charts and books to keep track.   If you child is very structured, they may like to do maths first up, reading/spelling/comp/lit next, science and culture after that each day .  If your child is more like my DD who likes to do her weeks worth of Math on Monday because she finds it fun, that's okay too -  as long as the assigned tasks are completed, the actual timetable is up to the child.  

DDs class has 14 children, a full time teacher and EA.  Everyday each child gets a 1/2 hour one on one session in a specific learning area, so if they need extension or support it's provided.  Our school also has a specialist teacher for specific needs who can provide an additional 1 or 2 sessions a week with a child who needs further support or focus in a particular learning area.

My DS tends to do a little bit of each learning area every day, always starts with his puzzles and numbers ( he is 3) so he looks to be developing a more structured style of learning than DD.

Do they have a broad range of ages across one class?

Yes.  Cycle one is children aged 3 to 6,  Cycle two has children aged 6 to 9, Cycle three is 9 to 12, Cycle four is 12 to 15 and Cycle 5 is 15 to 18 at our school.  The cross-over in ages at the cusps of the cycles are because some children go up earlier than others depending on their progress and abilities.  My DD is transitioning into Cycle two in first term and is really looking forward to it.    She has taken more of a leadership role in her class this year as one of the older children, helping the younger and new students with new and challenging jobs - a clear sign she's ready to progress.

What makes it different from mainstream schooling?

In my experience, the individual approach to each child, and the expectation that parents are actively involved in both the classroom and the child's education.  You are asked to observe your child in the classroom, we have three way meetings with child-parent-teacher, lots of feedback. They don't take the child to the set curriculum, it's the other way around. The curriculum is wide, and much more depth is given to areas that I don't see reflected in their peers from my Mothers' Group.  For instance, DD likes to draw so has been taught about impressionism and abstract art.  The piece she did yesterday is her intepretation of "Still Life With Aubergines" after Matisse - she is 6 - so her teacher has really thought about ways of capturing her interest in a subject.

I also love the fact that Montessori doesn't consider myDD's physical issue a 'disability' - she's an accepted member of the community as she is, they accommodate her size without pandering to it IYKWIM.  The local school wanted her classed as having a problem so that she could qualify for an aide - personally,  I don't see why being extremely small but having no mobility issues needs an aide.  

I am obviously really happy with it, but this is turning into an essay - hope it makes sense.

#7 mewsings

Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:26 PM

*Ker* - is your school in the 'style' of Montessori or is it a member of Montessori Australia ?  Sounds totally different to ours.  DD has had the same teacher for her Cycle one time bar the first 6 months when the old teacher left to move east with her husband and her current teacher came on board.

#8 *Ker*

Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:34 PM

QUOTE (mewsings @ 12/12/2012, 04:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
*Ker* - is your school in the 'style' of Montessori or is it a member of Montessori Australia ?  Sounds totally different to ours.  DD has had the same teacher for her Cycle one time bar the first 6 months when the old teacher left to move east with her husband and her current teacher came on board.

It's a member of Montessori Australia. All teachers taking the Montessori classes are Montessori trained.

All of the experiences spoken about here are NOT what we are experiencing at our school. Ours have set times for Japanese, sport, drama, library which is normal. However, their time table for the day is very structured in terms of X time is Maths, y time is reading and z time is art. There is no stability in the teaching staff. DD's teacher has been there for one year - she's not coming back. DS had a wonderful teacher for prep, she left. His year 1 teacher was dismal. This years teacher is ok. I don't love her, but DS likes her. He's having her for next year, but that is mainly because she is the only suitable teacher who can take the special needs kids.

I personally think that they've done the training, bought the tools and then just like to slug parents the extra $200 if your kids are in the Montessori class. We have both Montessori and Mainstream at our school.

I'm annoyed. When Cooper was diagnosed, I spent ages searching for suitable schooling. I found Montessori, researched it and decided that was what he needed. The school talked themselves up a LOT and made themselves out to be something they're not.

#9 LucidDream

Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:50 PM

Do your kids have structured classes?
They have set times for music, sport and Italian.  The rest of the time is pretty much child-led.  The kids choose their own tasks from the materials set out by the directoress.  Often a child will have left out an unfinished task from the day prior and complete that.  

If the directoress observes the child has not covered part of the curriculum, they will subtely encourage the child to the area in question.

Do they have a broad range of ages across one class?
As with other posters, 3 year age bands are the norm.  To me, each child experiences the accelereated learning you can only get from observing and working with slightly older children and the older kids get the chance to learn leadership skills and passing on their knowledge.  

What makes it different from mainstream schooling?

So many areas of difference!  The highly individualised learning program, children learning to think for themselves from their earliest memory, almost an entire absence of bullying across the entire primary years, no homework, no uniforms (at our school anyway).  Also the pedagogy is aligned to the ways that young minds develop and learn (importance of using one's hands to more completely understand a concept, children working together from the age of 6 when they are becoming more social ...)

(PS Sorry to hear about the problems at your school Ker.  Can you arrange a meeting with the principal to discuss it?)

Edited by LucidDream, 13 December 2012 - 06:00 AM.

#10 2bundles

Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:38 PM

Ker - Perhaps you could change the title to be "anyone with an ASD child at Montessori?".  

I do think this is a big factor in your issues.  

DS has ASD and we toured Montessori thinking it would allow his quirky ways, but for us we believed it was very child led and he is not self driven/motivated.  The other problem for us was that there were up to 60 kids in the class.  

Generally ASD kids prefer structure and knowing clearly what the day holds.  Is this your DS?  Is this one of the issues he is having?

I don't mean to barge in, but ASD kids do work very differently and need specific accommodations.

Edited by 2bundles, 12 December 2012 - 08:39 PM.

#11 mewsings

Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:56 PM

QUOTE (*Ker* @ 12/12/2012, 04:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I personally think that they've done the training, bought the tools and then just like to slug parents the extra $200 if your kids are in the Montessori class. We have both Montessori and Mainstream at our school.

I've never heard of a school trying to run a Montessori programme in parrallel with a mainstream school -  if the two stream have to interact,  I would guess that is why you are seeing such un-montessori ridgity coming in.  I can't imagine that it would be easy to meld the two, and it does kind of explain to me why you have had a different teacher in each year rather than one teacher in a multi-age group.

#12 LambChop

Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:34 PM

Our Montessori School has 3 hours in the morning of pure classroom time (Montessori) for all cycles, then afternoon is when the children do Art, Music Sport, LOTE.  For Cycle 1 these are all done in their classroom (well apart from sport).  Once they are in Cycles 2 they move about the school and go to the Art room, Music room etc.  By Cycle 3 these extend to community, so they're in school band, do interschool athletics etc.

Have you looked at other Montessori schools in your area ?

Edited by LambChop, 12 December 2012 - 11:35 PM.

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