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montessori vs. traditional


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angelosnyc August 13, 2008


any thoughts on montessori programs? i just signed my 3 year old up to attend a montessori preschool in the fall. excited to experience the program, but at the same time, nervous that it might be too much too fast!


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Poopak September 18, 2008


My son goes to a montessori preschool and I like it a lot. In my opinio it is not very fast paste. The idea of montessori is that every child should learn at his/her own pace.

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PTV2004 September 18, 2008


This thread has been very positive about Montessori and I'm glad it is working for everyone but we (and a few other families going to the same school) had a different experience with Montessori. My son who went to a motessori school from age 2 to 4 did not care much for the school, and in fact quite disliked it the first year and is the only place he ever expressed a dislike for. We know of at least 4 other families whose children quite clearly expressed their unhappiness about going to this montessori school (crying every day, verbalizing their dislike for the school, being very nervous and unhappy). Now, my son did learn quite a bit about his letters and numbers so I wouldn't say he did not do well academically but his interest in learning gradually diminished and he became resistant to doing homework (sent from the school) or even anything resembling academics (e.g. coloring and tracing letters). We pulled him out of the montessori in June and has been going to a traditional program and he is once again very interested in learning and exploring. Another family made the same change as we did and their daughter is now much happier and more confident about going to the new school. Now our Montessori school has great statistics in terms of kindergarten test results. It is also quite structured and academic and I don't believe they allow as much individuality in learning as others have mentioned seeing in their school. I made this point earlier in this thread that there is quite a bitof variation in montessori schools and like other schools some are better than others (or more or less loyal to montessori basics), so you ultimately have to evaluate the one your child may be attending. My other point is that not all schools/educational programs work for all kids and some children do better with traditional schools which a slower academic pace in early years than that followed in montessori education.

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karcip September 18, 2008


PTV2004, You are absolutely right about the difference in schools and children. Not all schools are created equal and not all children are a good fit with Montessori. I am sorry your child did not like the particular school he was in and I am glad he is doing well now. Sometimes making a change like that is the best thing for all.

Any school you go into you have to do your research. Montessori or not. Also each parent's stardards are different. The school and the family need to be a match not just the child. Education should be a family affair.

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sonora October 7, 2008


My son spent 5 years in Montessori until we pulled him at the beginning of 4th grade. There are several Montessoris here in Phoenix. I know parents of children who have attended different schools. Here's my take. I have to comment on this idea that children learn at their own pace. Yes that's true especially in the younger grades. But when my son was identified as gifted in first grade we got nothing but lip service about gifted ed ("we're working on it") The gifted program never materialized. By 4th grade it was also clear that the teacher he had was not interested in challenging him at all ( in fact she constantly belittled him and called him arrogant and accused him of thinking he was smarter than her....I kid you not). Still there was no gifted program even though the school had done consultation with a psych doctor over the summer who specializes in gifted ed. I wonder how much of parent funds went to that? The 4th grade teacher bragged to us, the parents, about how SHE was also gifted and had gone to college early, and I think in her mind she was a gifted teacher, even though in Arizona that requires an endorsement. I also think the Montessori our son attended had an inflated sense of itself by the Elementary II (grades 4-6) level. We know other parents that left because of the academics and the unwillingness of the Head of the School to ever deal with problems, issues or criticism brought forth by parents. So, in conclusion, I think you have to do your homework because myself, I am very well versed in Maria Montessori's philosophy and I did not feel like this school followed it very well. It was also a charter public school, so parents really have less power to change. I think Maria would be appalled at how entrenched some of the attitudes at Montessori can be, because the powers that be decide to "interpret" Montessori rather than be a shining example of it. My son is now in a self contained gifted class, with an excellent teacher at a very well organized and well run public school. I also believe, based on my personal experience, that many of the parents want to coccoon their children in the smaller, cozier Montessori environment and are afraid of the big, bad public schools. There are no Montessori high schools where I live, so sooner or later their children will have to face the music with a public school or shell out the bucks for private.

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mikymom July 29, 2009


Just have to say thank you for a great thread. Been trying to decide on this issue for so long and other mommy groups I've found have all been Pro-Montessori. I dont want anti-montessori but have been looking for pro traditional info. I know Montessori can be great but I wanted to hear the other side. My daughter was in a Mont 2 yr old class last yr. Going to try traditional for preschool. I want to see how she does in a more structured environment. Thanks everyone!

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debchitwood April 23, 2010


I just found this thread! I owned my own Montessori preschool, then homeschooled my children through high school. As the others have said, in Montessori, your child will learn at his or her own pace. That is great for children with learning difficulties as well as for gifted children.

If it's a good Montessori school (there can be a lot of variation from school to school), I can't think of a better start than through Montessori. Montessori methods work in homeschools also. I have more information about Montessori at my blog at www.LivingMontessoriNow.com or at my Living Montessori Now Facebook page.

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weymouth1019 June 16, 2010


Being a preschool teacher I would say that it's the program (curriculum, teachers, peers, etc) that your child is most comfortable in. Traditional preschools aren't really the "sit down and do paperwork" that a lot of people imagine. A good preschool and it's teachers, whether it be Montessori or traditional, should always be aware of a child's learning ability and offer techniques to further their interest. You'll know if you have made the correct decision based on your child's behavior and enthusiasm. Good luck!

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God1sAble October 5, 2010


Can anyone please recommend some good montessori and traditional schools in the Phoeniz, AZ area? We live in Surprise but will travel. I have been looking at Faith North and Khalsa Montessori. I know there is a waiting list for Faith North but not sure if the long list is because the school is free or if it is just that great of a school. I am also looking at traditional schools but there are so many to choose from. Please help, any advixe will be appreciated. Thanks

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LaidBackMom March 12, 2013


My 2 older children went to a more academically focused montessori school until we moved cities when they were entering 1st and 4th grade. In the new city my youngest then started at a different montessori, and the older ones went to public school.

There are 2 things that I have noticed. 1. I have seen a huge difference between different montessori schools (they are not all the same) and 2. students that have received montessori education early on and those who received traditional education are very different.

My older 2 left their montessori school at the end of "kindergarten" and "3rd grade". The younger was able to read quite fluently and really understood what she read. She could write using both print and cursive. She knew and understood all her addition AND multiplication facts, and thus could easily use the steps to answer 234x354. By the end of kindergarten! And she loved school. My older child was an excellent reader and writer. He could identify parts of speach and knew what good sentence and paragraph structure looked like and would use it. He understood fractions, could explain why 1/2x1/2=1/4, or 1/5+2/3=13/15. He was doing algebra at a 7th grade level. And he loved school. They had learned that their "job" was to learn, and they were given a structured, safe, visually and hands-on rich, challenging environment in which to do it. They never felt pushed or rushed, but given time to go at their own pace, with the expert nudge of their teacher. They have both excelled in public education for the last 5 years.

My youngest child, in the new city, went to a montessori school that emphasized more the peace curriculum of montessori. She was never presented with the same structure and focus on academics. She loved her montessori school, but when she had to go to public school (another move), she was unprepared for the reading and testing of 1st grade (math she loved and was very advanced compared to her peers) and hated school. It has just been much harder for her. Although she is a different child than her older siblings, I am convinced she would have benefitted equally by going to their montessori. Having said that, her current teacher (at yet another city) has said he notices just how polite and concerned with fairness she is, and how she understands what her "job" is in school.

I would highly recommend a montessori education for anyone, preferably one with an academic focus and a true belief and use of the montessori curriculum, along with multi-age classrooms and class retention by a teacher for multiple years.



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