Monday, January 18, 2010

Montessori and Kindergarten

This time of year, there are thousands of Montessori parents all over the globe trying to make that difficult decision- Do I invest one more year into my child's Montessori education, or save the money and send him to public school? 
There's no easy way to answer that question for parents.  Deep down, I think many of them know what's best.  However, saving an entire year of tuition sounds so enticing. 
I've heard back from many of the parents who chose public school this year, instead of our program.  Here's what I heard:
  • "She had so much more enthusiasm for learning in Montessori."
  • "His teacher just doesn't seem to have the time to see what he's capable of."
  • "Do you have any available spaces left so we can switch her back??"
  • "I wish I had thought it through completely, I would've loved to hold on to one more year of innocence for my child."
Certainly, there is a lot to be said for the public schools in our area.  The teachers do the best they can with the resources they have.  Mostly, it just comes down to completion of the three year cycle.  Everything the child does in his first two years of Montessori comes to fruition in that third year.  An example is the early introduction of addition with large numbers through the bank game.  When children leave Montessori at five, many of the still-forming concepts evaporate.  When children complete that third year, they are now the oldest in the room, capable of so much more.  The feeling is amazing when they are now the leaders- big kids that the younger students look up to.  I've got a million reasons why Montessori kindergarten is so special, but I thought I'd summarize into a top ten list:

Top Ten Reasons to Keep Your Child in Montessori Through Kindergarten
  1. Does your Montessori child love school and can't wait to go?  Don't take the chance... be sure your child loves to learn at least for one more year.
  2. In Montessori, your child has been treated with a deep respect as a unique individual.  The school has been equally concerned for his intellectual, social, and emotional development.
  3. Having spent two years together, your child's teacher knows her very, very well.  She knows her strengths and areas that are presenting challenges.
  4. Your child already knows most of her classmates.  She has grown up in a safe, supportive classroom setting.
  5. Montessori math is based on the European tradition of unified mathematics.  Montessori introduces young children to basic geometry and other sophisticated concepts as early as kindergarten.
  6. In many Montessori schools, five year olds are beginning to read; kindergarteners in other schools may be learning to recognize letters and numbers.
  7. In Montessori, your child can continue to progress at her own pace. In traditional kindergarten, she will have to wait while the other children begin to catch up.
  8. Montessori children are studying cultural geography and beginning to grow into global citizens.
  9. Montessori consciously teaches children to be kind and peaceful.
  10. Montessori students learn through hands-on experiences, investigation, and research.  They become actively engaged in their studies.
These are just a few of the benefits of that third year.  If you are still unable to decide, make an appointment to observe in your child's current classroom and the one you're considering.  Watch closely and make mental notes.  Use this experience to help you make that important decision.  Good luck!

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