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    #16194 - 05/18/08 09:57 AM Re: Montessori [Re: Isa]
    LMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/14/07
    Posts: 902
    Add us to not so good experience with Montessori.

    My main concern is DS3. The poor kid had to keep counting from 1-10 forever because he wasn't able to write the numbers and they wouldn't move him to addition without him being able to write. All that while telling me "But none of the 3 year olds can write." Doh. No surprise the kid was bored to death and went on a few preschool strikes. They did teach him to write really well though and he can write nice numbers and letters now. Nevertheless their inability of distinguishing between fine motor skills and math skills is enough for me to feel extremely guilty about putting him there. Reading wasn't that different either, they "taught" him what he already knew.

    He is going back to a regular play based preschool. A preschool where the teacher got DS5 when he was there. The teacher was so thrilled that DS3 was reading and said she would let him read to the class. Wow, nothing like that ever happened in Montessori. I don't think they even know on which level he reads (the same is true for DS5).

    DS5 had a better experience since he was so clearly out of their 3-6 yr program that they did change lots of things for him. There is no excuse for having him do spelling books with "cat" and "hat" though. They did bump him up to 2nd grade books, but it's still not enough. They did better in math and taught him some new things. Right now the teacher has no idea where to take him and as far as I can tell she is not following any curriculum and jumping from one topic to another without him being ready for it and sometimes I feel the teacher is not ready herself. Don't ask. There are a few things we will have to fix once DS5 is hs next year.

    Socially it was a mismatch, especially for DS5.

    To sum it up. Montessori for DS5 was much better than public school would have been. Yeah, they were not clearly ready for a kid like him (they said so much), but they did try here and there. REgular K curriculum and full day would have killed him.

    DS3 would have been much better of in a regular play based preschool. I like to say that no academics is better than wrong academics and this is so the case. He would have been better off playing with kids, having fun than repeating nonsense tasks over and over. He got all the academics he needed at home anyway.

    _________________________
    LMom

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    #16217 - 05/18/08 06:09 PM Re: Montessori [Re: Wren]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Originally Posted By: Wren
    The tester talked to us about her work habits and she was already addicted to getting fast answers and this is a problem.
    Ren


    Wow Ren!
    Bad news is that she's already having this issue at age 3!
    Good news is that you are alert and picked up on it!

    I really believe that a lot of my DS11's attitudes towards his giftedness got strongly planted in his daycare around age 2 or 3, and that it affects his personality to this very day. But then I talk myself out of it, since it was so long ago, and because it sound so impossible to me. Thanks for reminding me that it is very possible!

    Smiles,
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #16238 - 05/19/08 09:10 AM Re: Montessori [Re: Isa]
    Belle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/15/08
    Posts: 435
    I was very interested to see this discussion because we are also involved in the not so positive experience of Montessori. My DS5 has been in his current Montessori Preschool for over 3 years and is supposed to be staying for their K program next year (he will be the only K student in the room). He has sensory disorder and change is very difficult for him..he feels comfortable in his room and knows his teacher but we are pretty convinced that they are "playing at" Montessori and are no where even remotely a true Montessori. The sad part is that his school is one of the better options that we have to choose from and we are NOT happy with it. I love the whole idea of a TRUE Montessori and if we were able to find this, I believe it would fit my son to a T. I think that is why so many people are having mixed reviews with Montessori. A true Montessori that goes along with exactly what Maria Montessori had intended, I think is an amazing setting for any child....but a school that is just "playing at" being a Montessori school misses the mark time and time again and children are unhappy or are not allowed to move ahead when they are ready. From the research I have read, a true Montessori trained teacher who believes in the approach is supposed to know her children and when she sees one ready to go on, she is supposed to allow them to just keep moving at their pace.
    My son's teacher has the messed up belief that she does not allow any of her students to use certain parts/activities of the classroom until they turn 5 - doesn't matter about their ability level or even if they have shown her they are ready to do a new activity - she does not allow them until they turn 5 - RIDICULOUS - so totally against the Montessori approach...and the sad thing is that many of these items/activities were specifically geared by Maria Montessori to be used by 4 year olds at the optimum time to introduce them to that item...so here is my son who is 5 and still has yet to have 4 year old activities given to him. We have been fighting nonstop all year and have even shared the psychologist's report with her. My son is bored to tears to the point that he has sat with me at home online and picked out Montessori lessons for me to buy online so that we have been doing them at home. He is in love with the Bead Cabinet and begged to get lessons on it since he was 4 years old....he finally turned 5 in Jan and we begged her almost daily for 2 months before she finally gave him his first lesson on it....and then she told me with a shocked look on her face just how amazed she was at how she didn't even have to give him a lesson, that he already knew exactly what to do. The thing that really makes me mad is that with his bead cabinet lessons - he is working on the bead squared lessons - knowing that 7 7's is 49. But she makes them take a roll of adding paper (like you find in an adding machine) and after the kids have done the activity and laid out their bead chains on the rug and labeled them with the number labels, she makes them take the colored pencils that matches the bead color and the child has to hand draw every single bead on the paper...so that means drawing 47 small colored in circles on the paper and then labeling all the numbers 7, 14, 21...with my son's sensory disorder he has trouble with fine motor skills and handwriting...he is getting pretty intense OT and PT for this but he gets frustrated with lots and lots of drawing/writing....so here is a child who was SO excited about finally getting to do the bead chain lessons and he can tell you word for word every number, where it goes and can recreate the lesson 10x's over and completely understands the whole concept...but he is being made to write out a million teeny, tiny colored dots...so he did the 10's, 9's, 8's, 7's and got fed up and frustrated and has stopped doing any bead chain lessons and you can tell he is SO disappointed. There are a ton of different ways around checking if a child understands the concept other than making him hand write out a zillion colored dots.

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    #16240 - 05/19/08 09:23 AM Re: Montessori [Re: Belle]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Yup. I really think it all comes down to the teacher. If they get it and get the child, it all works out great. A good teacher can make a bad educational situation work wonderfully. But a crummy teacher will inevitably screw up even a near-ideal situation for a GT child (or any child!).

    Our teachers were Montessori trained, but training doesn't mean they understand what they're seeing in an HG+ child. That's not necessarily part of their training.

    I think, too, Montessori's focus on the concrete is a potential stumbling block for HG+ kids who move very quickly to the abstract (or even start there!). It can work great for some kids, but not for all. No guarantees.

    Sometimes the "best program in town" is geared to MG kids, and they just aren't flexible enough to work with HG+ kids. (I think this was part of the problem with our particular Montessori program. They didn't really understand LOGs or recognize boredom when they saw it. Any kid who didn't jump through hoops didn't know how to do the task. They didn't even know that there could be another cause for refusing to perform.)

    The moral of the story: there's no one-size-fits-all ideal. What sounds good on paper may simply fail in practice. Every child and every pre-K program is different, and you just have to take each child as an individual and see what fits. <shrug>

    I wish it were easier!
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #16244 - 05/19/08 10:14 AM Re: Montessori [Re: Kriston]
    elh0706 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/08/07
    Posts: 353
    Loc: PA
    Wren, I envy you your situation. From your posts across the boards, it seems like you have the access and opportunity to really meet the needs of your daughter in a truly wonderful way.

    Our situation is not quite as rosy and our experience with Montessori actually entered the realm of child abuse according to my son's Psychiatrist. In our case, the teacher/owner of the school took AWAY all the challenging work that DS was completing error free because his handwriting did not meet her expectations and he he began making errors on simple math computation. As a side note, DS did not make the same simple math errors before she refused to allow him to progress in the more challenging math work. (he was working 2 workbooks ahead in the challenge problems than his drill work) At that point she moved him back more in the curriculm telling him that he was actually a very stupid child and his behavior went downhill fast. As his behavior slid, she took away all privaleges including recess and did not allow any of the other children to interact with him in any way (shunning). We did get him out of that environment once we finally figured out what was going on.

    To be brief this past year has been a rebuilding year and DS has made amazing progress in a school environment that while still not ideal has become his cheering section. He has rediscoverd his love of learning and I credit his teacher with really getting him and making the difference.

    I have to agree with Kriston's moral of the story and also wish that it were easier smile


    Edited by elh0706 (05/19/08 10:15 AM)

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    #16245 - 05/19/08 10:24 AM Re: Montessori [Re: elh0706]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    That's awful, elh! I'm so sorry!

    Thank goodness you saw what was happening and got your son out of there.

    Do you think the teacher was just THAT clueless, or do you think she was acting maliciously? At that level of mistreatment--shunning, punitive measures, etc.--it almost seems like it would have to be malicious.

    Ugh!
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #16246 - 05/19/08 10:51 AM Re: Montessori [Re: Kriston]
    aline Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/07
    Posts: 155
    Loc: Southwest
    What an horrendous story!!! Good for you for getting your child out of there!

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    #16247 - 05/19/08 11:09 AM Re: Montessori [Re: aline]
    elh0706 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/08/07
    Posts: 353
    Loc: PA
    It was malicious but more in the this child just won't do what I want him to do way. The teacher/owner was a do as I say style teacher and DS is so not a do as I say child. DH and I also didn't punish DS based on her recommendations, We made our own decisions based on our beliefs and discussions with DS. So we may have contributed to the downward spiral by not showing complete support of the teacher. I posted what I truly believe to be an extreme experience with the Montessori system as a warning. If your child is interested in pleasing a teacher or can get intrinic pleasure from progressing through the routine, I think Montessori can be a very positive experience for gifted children. For those of us with rebels, it might not be a great fit smile In fact, in the public school, DS just received a Student of the Month award for his classroom. It was a tremendous boost to his self esteem and I think put a nail in the coffin of the I'm a bad kid belief that he has had.

    I won't ever forget what she did, and I learned alot form the experience. Thankfully, our son has recovered well and finally after a year has a glint back in his eyes smile

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    #16248 - 05/19/08 11:13 AM Re: Montessori [Re: aline]
    crisc Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/12/07
    Posts: 485
    Loc: New England
    That is such an awful story. I'm glad you were able to realize it and get him out of there before more damage could be done.

    Positive notes: This morning my son's teacher told me that she was in the middle of purchasing a new reading curriculum for my son for next year (his K year) since she knew he was far more advanced than the current 1st-2nd grade materials she had. Woo-hoo!
    _________________________
    Crisc

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    #16249 - 05/19/08 11:31 AM Re: Montessori [Re: crisc]
    aline Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/07
    Posts: 155
    Loc: Southwest
    crisc, that's great! Sounds like she gets him.

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