Monday, November 24, 2008

Childhood education

Does anyone have any experience with either Montessori or Waldorf schools for early childhood? Any opinions? Pros and cons?

11 comments:

ChrisEldin said...

I personally like Montessori, except for the mixed-aged groupings. I can't help but think the older kids will usually dominate.
I had a friend whose child went to preschool camps at a Waldorf school. She really liked it, but I don't know any details...

McKoala said...

All I know is that one kid that transferred from a Montessori to our school found the move to a 'normal' school difficult.

Robin S. said...

I love love love Montessori- my girls attended from the age of three until we moved to Virginia and I unfortunately believed the hype about how wonderful Fairfax County Public Schools are. (They suck beyond words.)

So- go with Montessori- and look around - some states have Montessori schools that go through 8th grade. My older daughter was able to graduate from 8 years plus pre-school in Montessori schools.

Excellent. And get involved - I was the reading Mom on Fridays in my littlest one's class - the 3-6 year olds. Very cool times.

I agree with McK's observation, though - moving into what passes for normal school is difficult- precisely because, frankly, in my experience with public schools in the U S - they stifle creativity and bow down to the gods of what passes for 'normal', i.e., dumbed down.

Look for a private high school. And don't believe the public school hype. In the U S, it's bullshit.

pjd said...

We went with the local town preschool (not part of the school district... it actually was run by the city). It was about one tenth the cost of a Montessori, and it was a really good, nurturing environment. It was play-oriented with learning built in but did not have a curriculum approach like so many of the expensive preschools in our area. It was terrific for our boys. Fit them well, prepared them for school just fine.

BUT--the kids in the class are hit or miss. We got lucky; there were other classes (my wife subbed there sometimes) that had real problem kids that couldn't really be turned away. So, YMMV.

I have no experience with the expensive preschools except that I don't see any evidence that they did much good for the kids that went there. Not the ones I know, anyway.

Sarah Laurenson said...

My niece went to Montessori at one time. It was a bit odd in that they told her she wasn't allowed to touch the VCR because she didn't know what she was doing. She'd been using a VCR for quite some time prior to that experience. She lost her confidence in being able to work one for awhile.

Probably more a reflection on the idiot teacher who decided all kids are idiots than on the school. You can make a rule about not touching the electronics and just say it's a rule and not disparage the child's abilities.

Mamaebeth said...

we just put in JD's application for the public magnet montessori pre-k program here. My plan had been to switch JD to the foreign language immersion program (french, at the same school) in Kindergarten but i was reading the montessori school supply lists for all the grades and there were no back packs... no back packs means no (or minimal) homework. I think homework is a waste of time and i was prepared to have lots of parent/teacher confrences over it.
so now i plan to talk to the principal (if JD gets in, knock on wood) on what would be the best fit for our family. montessori or foreign language immersion? gah, i want both!

but in answer to your actual question, both my sister and I did have some exposure to montessori when we were younger. i think it is a good system for younger children. but as with anything you have to check out the actual schools in your area.

blogless troll said...

My two oldest went to Montessori for two years before kindergarten and they/we loved it. But we checked out two Montessori schools before deciding and we didn't like the lady running the first one, and I have no doubt our experience would've been much different if we had sent them to that one.

Robin S. said...

I agree with mamaebeth and BT- you have to check any school out first. Observe for a few days- one scheduled, one drop in. The drop in works, even if for a short period of time.

pjd said...

Dude, you've been tagged.

pacatrue said...

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts. B has been having behavior difficulties at kindergarten and at least the Waldorf school hear sounds like a better fit. So we might check it out still. There are two problems though. 1) It would of course be for next year and there's a decent chance I will be finished by next year. 2) It costs about $11,000 a year and I make only about 13 a year as a grad student. We will see....

Courtney said...

i have 3 friends that went to montessori schools and they all loved it and said it gave them the great gift of loving to learn and explore. galen and i already thinking about them for our future kids too. if we stay here in austin, there is one only a few blocks away from us. pricing is very hard, but something i have learned from our family and the education i have recieved... "education is that which none can take away" and i VERY VERY VERY strongly believe that a good education is one of the greatest gifts one can recieve. there is a reson why all 3 of us we're sent off to boarding schools not just to a local private school.

good luck!