Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The decision for Montessori

Yesterday I turned in the paper work for Aidan to attend a Montessori School in the fall. The decision as to what to do with him next year has been a tough one. I know many people think "It's only Kindergarten" but I feel this decision will impact the rest of his educational career.

What I like about the Montessori program is that they look at the individual child, the developmental level of the child, and the needs of the child. It is not a "one size fits all" program like the public education system. It is not like "ok today we are ALL going to be doing x, y, and z" and by the end of kindergarten you should be able to read some sight words, write numbers to 30, and be able to write some sentences. To bad if you can already read or that there are some areas in which you struggle. Don't get me wrong I was a public school teacher and I know there are some great ones out there. I also know that the whole "No Child Left Behind" has been a detriment to our education system and teachers just can't spend the time doing the things they used to because so much emphasis is put on testing and there is SO MUCH TIME dedicated to testing and preparing the child for testing. I think public education is fine for a lot of kids but I just don't feel like Aidan fits the mold and that he would struggle in some areas.

Another thing I like about Montessori is that they emphasis creative and independent thinking which in turn creates leadership skills and hopefully a human being who will contribute to society! Children are also taught to work with one another to be problem solvers, a vital skill to have in the real world but something that is considered "cheating" in public school. Montessori emphasizes creating a confident child.

The peace that I experienced when I toured the school is perhaps the thing that "sealed the deal" for me. They emphasis peace education which is soooo refreshing. To be honest I think bullying has gotten out of control these days and Aidan would be a target because he is such "a lover and not a fighter". Schools seem to be at a loss when it comes to how to handle bullying. I would venture to guess that there is not much bullying that goes on at Montessori, the kids are to busy engrossed in learning and problem solving together. Not to say that Montessori doesn't have it's "mean girls" ( and yes it starts as early as Kindergarten these days) or it's aggressive and sometime violent boys ( as Aidan is experiencing in his current preschool) but I think they probably handle it in a different way.

Montessori does have it's faults and is not for everyone. The kids are given almost total freedom ( at this school there is some structure) and take responsibility and ownership of their own learning. It would be somewhat easy for a child to "slip under the rug" if he/she decides not to do anything for the day. If a child is easily distracted it might also be a problem. I feel that Aidan can be easily distracted but if it is something he chooses and is engrossed in, it wouldn't be a problem. Aidan is also an auditory learner so sometimes it appears he is not paying attention but he hears everything and is learning. He is the kid that would drive you crazy during story time because it looks like he isn't listening because he is busy fidgeting with something in his hands or looking somewhere else but really hears everything you are saying. With this being said, I am very confident about my decision to put him in Montessori but there is a chance it may not work out. If is doesn't then it doesn't and we would do something different next year - maybe even public school. Who knows? My plan is to keep him there until 3rd or 5th grade but sometimes plans change and you just have to go with the flow. lol. Wow! No one ever said parenting was easy did they?


Anonymous said...

Hi, I just came across your blog via another blog. Do you still live in the Newport Beach, CA area? You might like to have a look at Anneliese's school. It is a great school. V/r Sibylle

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