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My Montessori Visit

Today I visited the Montessori school (pre-school/kindergarten) that the kiddo will likely attend next year. I was very impressed.

The room was abuzz with largely self-directed activity. The room had 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds in it and some of them were counting to 99 by threes, others were learning to pour into funnels and test tubes, some were snacking, and so forth. One kid was doing math, and another girl was sounding out and spelling "hapy sant patrics day" (kids learn sounds rather than "letters" per se, then learn actual spelling after that).

The kids were well-behaved and when they were not, a quick, quiet conversation ensued and the kids behaved immediately afterwards. The teacher and her assistant were very capable of walking around and taking it all in, and any time a child had a question he'd put his hand on the teacher's shoulder and wait until he (or she) was acknowledged before they'd start talking. Kids even washed and dried their own plates after snack time.

I asked several questions, many of which pertained to our kiddo. She's rather bossy, and Carey and I feel that it's because she's smarter than the average bear. The teacher said that smart kids do really well in the Montessori program because they have an outlet. In particular, since she's three, she'll be low on the totem pole and the kindergartners are the room leaders.

I asked about the transition and she said that it's not actually as difficult as some say so long as the kid understands the change in rules: that they're expected to sit in one place. Group work is encouraged in the program, either in a mentoring facility or as a cooperative process.

The classroom has several sections, including sections for geography, reading/spelling, motor skills, math, and so on. I'll share more with Carey later, of course, but I was impressed. I think this is going to be very good for the kiddo.

2 Responses to "My Montessori Visit"

  1. I don't yet have my own kid, so my research has been very minimal, but another type of school that I hear a lot of good things about is Waldorf. It seems a bit more controversial, but it might at least be worth taking a look at. I've been told by one Waldorf teacher that it's a bit like Montessori, but with less distinction between work and play.

    Again, I'm not very informed about it, but it may be another worthwhile form of alternative education.

  2. I don't believe there's a Waldorf school around, but from what I could see today in an hour-long visit, there was NO distinction between "work" and "play." All activities (except snacking, etc.) were oriented towards learning.