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    #6721 - 01/04/08 12:15 AM Re: I need help in choosing a preschool [Re: jon's mom]
    SpongeBob'sMom Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/03/08
    Posts: 5
    Loc: Long Beach, CA
    Hi Jon's Mom,

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE my son's Montessori preschool in Orange County, CA. We are very sad that he will be aging out this summer and will need to attend first grade elsewhere. His teacher, a Ph.D., "got him" two years before I did! As a result, she has provided an exceptional educational environment for Sponge Bob to thrive. She is completely supportive and challenges him daily with individual lesson plans (she has him doing negative numbers, square roots, cubes etc). When he was invited to attend a homeschool hands-on science class for 3-6 graders during his regular school hours her reply was "Absolutely! Anything to keep him challenged." She even has him coming back to "teach" his peers as a way to reinforce his learning experience while nurturing his leadership skills. I am not sure if I am allowed to name the school but you can email me and I would be happy to pass on the information.

    #6776 - 01/06/08 08:43 AM Re: I need help in choosing a preschool [Re: SpongeBob'sMom]
    Isa Offline

    Registered: 11/28/07
    Posts: 347
    SpongeBob's Mom:

    I am right now green with envy ...

    DD goes to a Montessori as well but her nice and well meaning teacher is clueless...

    oh well, let's hope next year (2008) will be better....

    #6918 - 01/09/08 02:08 AM Re: I need help in choosing a preschool [Re: jon's mom]
    Mia Offline

    Registered: 11/18/07
    Posts: 533
    Loc: Chicago, Illinois
    We were also very happy with ds's Montessori preschool (he was there when he was 4-5, the year before K). It was great, and much better than public K is!

    I'm also waffling on the play-based versus academic preschool. If your ds is ready and interested in academics, there's no reason to hold him back. However, you really are going to run into problems finding a program willing to *really* accommodate a 3-year-old at his academic level, because normally developing children just do not need/want the kinds of things that highly gifted children need/want.

    So if you can't find a program that will really work with him, play-based may be your best bet -- at least they won't be reteaching him things he already knows. I see this in my ds5's k class. They're teaching him phonics -- he's been reading quickly and well since he was 3! The phonics program is making him rethink his instinctual spellings (which are usually right), and it's just not a good thing. At your ds's age, the way he's learning is probably the best way for him, and any attempt to "reteach" him skills he already knows will likely be a step back. *That's* mainly why I'd be wary of academic preschools.

    Good luck! Your ds sounds like a riot -- love the CPR. smile

    #6922 - 01/09/08 07:45 AM Re: I need help in choosing a preschool [Re: jon's mom]
    josiejo Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/07/08
    Posts: 20
    I had to laugh jon's mom, your son sounds so much like mine! The obsession with letters/numbers, the skip counting before 3, etc. We've had my son in a daycare/preschool since he was 4 months old (half days until last summer, when I went back to work full time). They didn't really "accomodate" him in any other way than moving him up a little early to the next classroom (which, "academically" worked well, but his first months in the 4-5 class last winter, when he was barely 3.5 brought some social-interaction/behavior issues (including not being completely independent on the potty- argh! he knew how, but couldn't be bothered to stop what he was doing to go!) - esp because before the 5 year olds moved up to K, they dominated the room (especially the girls). Pretty much, you can't expect any academic accomodation in preschool - although a good teacher is a must. My son's teacher in the 2-3 class was fantastic, and really "got" my son. She went to a conference when the my son was about 3.5 and asked all the kids what little thing they wanted her to bring back from the conference for the room (new books, crayons, etc.). My son's response was "multiplication flash cards" (I've never had flash cards in the house!) - he'd learned about them because the preschool had color or shape flash cards. When she got back, she had a pile of stuff for the room, but gave my son the flash cards to keep. My husband thanked her, and then said something to the effect of "don't you want to keep them for the room?" She laughed and said, "Well, we, really aren't working on multiplication!". In the current room, there is still enforced "nap time" which is hard for my son, who hasn't napped since he was 2, but if he's good, after a short time, he's allowed to read, draw, etc. and the teachers have discovered that if they give him 1st and 2nd grade level math/reading worksheets and calendars to fill in, he's very happy and quiet.

    There was a lot of switching of schools done in the transition from daycare to preschool by some of the other families that had been at the school since their kids were infants - for various reasons, some valid, some I think not so valid. In some ways it made us question our own feeling that we should keep him where he was, but he was so embedded in the community of the school and loved his teachers and seemed relatively happy, that we just decided to keep him there until he starts kindergarten in the fall.

    So, advice, I suppose, is look for low turnover in a preschool, happy teachers who really care about the kids and are willing to see the kids as individuals. If your kid is really gifted, then the official classroom academics won't challenge him no matter what, but he can be engaged in a community and learn by asking the teachers all sorts of questions, and if they are good, they'll answer his questions about prime numbers and how to determine when Easter is each year.

    #8224 - 02/04/08 09:31 AM Re: I need help in choosing a preschool [Re: jon's mom]
    Wren Online   content

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1600

    I live in Manhattan and have a huge amount of experience reviewing preschools. First loved the academic ones. They like to put them by age. Not a good idea for a gifted kid. Our DD3 is in a Montessori with a 3-5 group and she can work on her own in the math area etc. Her teachers are great. Warning, not all teachers are equal. Make sure the teacher recognizes your child's potential and works with them.

    No matter how good the academic preschool their curriculum is based on the moderate mean. Your child has already surpassed that. That is what we found on review. I did the 3 day method of potty training when DD was only 22 months. Just bite the bullet and do it for your child's education. It is worth it.


    #8244 - 02/04/08 02:50 PM Re: I need help in choosing a preschool [Re: Wren]
    Kriston Offline

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Well, Wren...Boys are usually harder to potty-train than girls. It's not necessarily about "biting the bullet." It's just different for boys. Physical capability, maybe? Emotional maturity? I don't know, but I know that most boys take longer than most girls, and the average age for boys is 33 months, if memory serves me correctly, which is about 3 months later than for girls. Neither one of my boys was anywhere nearly ready for potty training before they were two!

    Also, a *non-academic* age-based preschool can work quite nicely for an HG+ kid, depending upon their social skills. In fact, this would be near the top of my list of pre-Ks. It gives your child the chance to get some social experience with same-age kids without feeling like "the brain" because there's no school stuff, only play and exploration (which they also need!). Bonus points for a half-day program so that the child can pursue the academics on his/her own time.

    I would agree with you, Wren, that highly academic pre-K programs can work well for HG+ kids *if* the child is in the *low* end of the mixed age range and *if* they are allowed to skip the "baby stuff." Many Montessori programs--even mixed age classrooms--do NOT allow this skipping, so shop wisely. We thought we found one, but they pulled a bait-and-switch on us, and DS was bored silly for the first half of the year because he wasn't interested in the work they allowed him to do. It was too easy for him, and he just wouldn't do it. It wasn't until the mid-year conference that we saw how serious the problem was, and then we had to jump up and down to get them to let him past the easy stuff. It was very frustrating for us (we still call the dumb hoops you've already mastered but have to get through "sound boxes" in honor of the Montessori experience we had!), so please be SURE you're getting what they promise you!

    Also, I'd argue that being one of the older kids in a mixed-age classroom is about the worst case scenario for an HG+ kid. So if you go this route, just know that your child may not be able to stay in that school the full 2 or 3 years of the program. A same-age program is better than being an HG+ 5yo in room full of ND 3yos!
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

    #8251 - 02/04/08 04:37 PM Re: I need help in choosing a preschool [Re: Kriston]
    Wren Online   content

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1600
    I hear all that you say. We did the non academic route at 2, for play and socialization, but I didn't care for it for the long route and the director was very anti-gifted. My experience.

    And even at the Montessori we are at, they have 5 classrooms of the 3-5 year group, and I hired a consultant that knew the school and got the best teachers. They are amazing with DD3. Since she has a Sept birthday, she will never be the oldest. Next year might be a little difficult, but then why I started the thread in another area about extracurricular activities and music lessons.

    And her teachers are very eager to keep challenging her with the tools. The math area has great tools to keep going for quite a while.


    #8265 - 02/04/08 08:12 PM Re: I need help in choosing a preschool [Re: Wren]
    bianc850a Offline

    Registered: 12/02/07
    Posts: 312
    Loc: California
    Hi Spongebob'smom,

    How is your application to Mirman going?

    #8268 - 02/05/08 03:01 AM Re: I need help in choosing a preschool [Re: bianc850a]
    Grinity Offline

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    I like the idea of 1/2 day non-academic programs for HG+ for all but the few folks who have acess to an academic program that is flexible to met their needs, but not without some caution - even talking and playing can be an issue when children are grouped strickly by age and have wildly differing abilities, depending on the child's personality. BTDT. Still it's better than endless "This is an A" in circle time.

    Coaching available, at

    #8277 - 02/05/08 04:32 AM Re: I need help in choosing a preschool [Re: Grinity]
    SpongeBob'sMom Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/03/08
    Posts: 5
    Loc: Long Beach, CA
    Hi Bianca,

    The application is in and DS is scheduled for a half day visit on the 13th. Wish me luck. Our school options are dwindling down. We decided against Pegasus because during the meeting they kept emphasising that at this age it is more important to focus on socialization particularly since they work one grade ahead. They are adamant about the kids staying grouped by age even though DS is working 3+ grades above and pointed out that they have never once allowed a child to skip a grade. They do not allow subject acceleration either. Oh well, not a good fit for us. The search continues......

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