Montessori Kindergarten

tamar_422April 19, 2007

My son will be 5 in May. He has been in pre-school for the last 2 years. His teacher expressed concerns that he may not be ready to start kindergarten in the fall. He's very curious, has a fabulous vocab, but is not interested in numbers and letters. He doesn't know the complete alphabet and he doesn't always count to 10 in order. He may be pre-ADD, in that he seems not to focus on classroom stuff that he's not interested in. However, he is not disruptive to the class - he pushes himself to the edge of the group and then will play with his shoe. The teaching staff tested him with the Ages & Stages Questionaire, and he passed the cut-off for 5 year skills. However, based on the pre-school teacher recommendation, we decided to have him repeat another year of pre-school, vs. starting kindergarten and becoming frustrated and hating school. Plus, he would be one of the younger kindergartners.

Then we found out that there were no open spots in his current pre-school for next year. Rather than sending him to another pre-school program, an educator in our district suggested sending him to private kindergarten. That way, if he was ready, he could be moved up to 1st grade, and if not, he could repeat kindergarten in the public school.

Here is my dilemma. I am trying to choose between a 2.5 hr. conventional program, or a full-day Montessori program. He is used to a full-day pre-school program, and of course, his subsequent school years will be full-day. Does anyone have experience with Montessori? Thanks for your help.

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We have very excellent Montessori kindergarten in my area. The kids do so well there.

HOWEVER - they have trouble transitioning into the public school first grade. The school districts recognize this. In our elementary school, any Montessori kid is assigned to this one particular first grade teacher. She has had years of experience transitioning these kids to the system. And she works her butt off!

I am surprised the preschool who had him for the past two years will not let him stay for another, though...

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 1:08PM
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If the teachers think he is slightly behind (you said not ready for kindergarten) Then the full day may be better for him ,and maybe help him catch up.My daughter only had half day of kindergarten,and I swear she learned nothing.There isnt much time to learn with half day the time they get there and get settled in it's time to go already.

I do think it's a little early for anyone to be saying he's ADD though.I'm not sure any 5 year olds I have known who didnt mix up numbers when counting,or who wasnt that intrested in letters or numbers.
When my daughter was your son's age,I did ask her doctor about ADD because she was like your son in alot of ways. The doctor told me ALL KIDS that age are like that.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 6:16PM
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If you ask me, a Montessori program is outstanding for a bright child who is curious and motivated to learn -- particularly if his learning style is more hands-on than 'sit quietly and listen'. In fact, it might be something you want to stick with for *several* years - not just K.

My older son (gifted, dyslexic, mild ADD) was in a Montessori pre-school and he did SO WELL there! Truly, he learned things well beyond what they were even trying to teach because the educational materials were just so rich. He was able to take things to the next level and draw inferences. In hindsight, I think he would have been better off staying in a Montessori program throughout elementary school.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 7:16PM
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I completely agree with Sweeby. If you have a good Montessori program in your area and it works for you son stay with it.

Another option if he will be going on to public shcool or even not is to see if the public schools in your area offer Junior Kindergarten for those younger students who may not be quite ready for regular Kindergarten.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 2:04AM
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My older son went to Montessori. It may be a great place for your child.

Is a Kumon program available in your area? It's designed to supplement preK or kindergarten.

Also you may want to look into Hooked on Phonics for the reading portion.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 10:04AM
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Both my daughters went to a Montessori Pre-school. They both loved it and were very well prepared for kindergarten. If you can get him into the Montessori program I would go with that. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 7:12PM
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Send him to the Montessori and next year send him to public kindergarten. A boy w/ a May birthday would be very questionable to me. Many children are held back until they are 7 for first grade. First grade now is more like 2nd grade was 20 yrs. ago. I wouldn't hesitate to hold a May bd back. I taught pre K for a number of years, and most of the kiddos started first grade at age 7. You don't want to set him up for failure.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 9:26PM
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I delayed kindergarten for 2 of my kids, and it was well worth it. Vannie makes some good points. Kindergarten is far more academic now. Usually a bright kid who is not ready for kindergarten is not ready because of social immaturity, not lack of vocabulary or other academic skills. Give him a little more time to grow up.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 12:20AM
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Well, we've chosen the full-day Montessori kindergarten. The Montessori method of teaching is different than what he is used to, but it may be a better approach for him. Also, after doing internet research, I was just amazed by the number of kids who are "red-shirted" for kindergarten, so if he has to repeat K in public school, I am fine with that. I feel good that we are doing the right thing for our particular little boy.

Thank you to all of you for your helpful advice. It is greatly apreciated.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 12:48PM
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Little late getting in on this and I see you have made your decision. My two younger children both attended a Montessori program for preschool and Kindergarten. It was a wonderful experience for them and neither had any problems transitioning to a regular school setting. On the other hand, my oldest daughter went to a traditional pre-school program then into Kindergarten and had problems from day one. While the Montessori program may not have been totally responsible for the difference, I feel like it did make a difference in the ability of my younger kids to handle different types of learning experiences.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 2:09PM
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Oh please don't let anyone start labelling your child. Every child, especially that young "comes around" at a different time. Maybe the teacher at the preschool isn't teaching in a style that appeals to him. Evey child or person for that matter has a special way of learning, and some teachers just teach to the majority and either don't have the time or can't be bothered with getting your son's attention. FInd out what he loves and what motivates him...use those likes/loves to teach everything from the alphabet, to math to music etc. THere are lots of kids that are not ready for kindergarten , especially the ones who are the younger ones in the class. Going the ADD route will just give teachers and many parents an excuse to give up on the children. If he doesn't act out and disrupt the class, maybe he is simply bored and the teachers arent' getting through to him.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 11:18PM
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I am also late to this party but I want to add that my 2 sons are absolutely thriving at the Montessori. One or both will be there in the Fall for kindergarten. The instruction is at your child's pace and it is geared towards individualized attention. Your son will get just what he needs and not what the "average" kid needs.
My issue is the reverse as the Montessori has prepared my son so well that the teacher and I believe he is ready to go to public school first grade in the Fall and not K, but he just missed the cutoff by having a Dec birthday.
I don't want him in half day public school K as he will be bored and will be a troublemaker. As it is, he behaves almost perfectly in school (still can't believe that, lol). I fear that since he has gone 3 hrs a day x 5 days a week, he is overprepared for going to a K designed to bring everyone up to speed. He has been doing things early and is very verbal and social. I don't want him held back because his bday was a few weeks late.
To complicate matters, his little bro, who turned 4 last week is starting Mont. K in Sept.. I was hesitant about doing that but his teacher felt so strongly, she said she'd only charge us for pre-school and not the extra hours. She told me in no uncertain terms that his behavior will deteriorate if he is not kept engaged. I had to agree to that.
I think you may be amazed at where you son is after a few months of Montessori. It is not magic, but it has come close in our cases. Both sons love going to school and are enthusiatic learners. The local Mont. only goes to K, so there is no option to have them stay longer (and we can't afford endless private school). It is certainly too soon to guess where you son will be next year at this time.
If I can't get the public school to put our son in first grade (I am not going down without a fight...), I will enroll them both in Mont. K in Sept. and battle with the school again next Spring when my older son is ready for 2nd grade and they want him in first. The Mont. teacher won't stop giving him material when he is done with the first grade workbooks. He has already started working on first grade material and she thinks he is ready for the easier public school curriculum. Her K is from 9-2:30, so the gap with the kids in the public school will get wider as they only go for 3 hours and don't get the same individual attention. The class size is double the size in public K. I just wish he could start school in first with the kids he will graduate with rather than start with them in 2nd.
I bet you will see a difference in his focus as well. Kickypants is right about bored kids getting disruptive. I was one and I don't want that for my sons.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 11:59PM
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"I just wish he could start school in first with the kids he will graduate with rather than start with them in 2nd. "

That will be a total non-issue. My kids barely remember their first grade classmates (outside the two or three they stayed friends with).

I am surprised with your December cut-off date! The schools here go with a Sept 1 or Oct 1 cut-off.
Ours is September... and many parents of July and August kids keep them back another year.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 8:18AM
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