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Montessori Schools - Gilbert,AZ

I'm considering putting my 2 and a half year old son in a Montessori preschool in the fall, however it is pricey (about $4000 a year) and was wondering if anyone has any experience with Montessori versus "regular" preschool. Is it worth it? If you start out with Montessori, should he be in private school forever? Because if you only do Montessori for a few years, and then put him in public school...is it a step backward where he'll be bored?

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A close family member ran a Montessori Preschool for over 20 years,and subsequently I have sent mine. I have been extremely happy with Columbine Montessori in Littleton. Their emphasis is on reading readiness. They offer morning and afternoon classes, preschool and kindergarten. They by no means are childcare! I am aware that their pricing runs from $275per month to $360 depending on number of days. They are located at south Pierce and Chatfield. Good luck I hope you find this helpful.

Not all Montessori schools are private. There are actually some Charter schools and even 3 elementary schools in the Mesa Public School system offer regular education or Montessori. Do a search online and maybe you can find some of those options.
Good luck!

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I too am partial to the Montessori school as I am a Montessori teacher. The best time to invest in your child's education is this period, birth to age six. Montessori benefits the whole child, not just the academics or social skills. The teacher is there to facilitate and encourage the child's own awareness of the world around them. Nurturing the spirit of the child and allowing them to make the discoveries has a tremendous effect on their whole well-being. Montessori is not a "free for all", it is freedom within limits. Many Montessori schools do have a "kindergarten time" that allows the children to work in a setting they may encounter in the public school. Many children leave the Montessori school after kindergarten and go onto the public school with ease. At first it may be difficult, as they will be better prepared than most their age, and they may be bored but the teacher they have should see and assest where they are. Investing in your child's education at this age is very important instead of waiting until college to invest. These are life skills they are learning and they are developing the tools so that they want to learn. The key is bringing out their own love of learning and exploration from within. I strongly advise observing the Montessori schools in your area. Check the backgrounds of the schools as well; those that are affiliated with either ams (american montessori society) or ami (american montessori international) and have accrediation from them follow closely with the Montessori guidelines. Be very warey of schools that have no affilation with either the ams or ami societies! Each Montessori varies but the core of them should be the same. Good luck, you will find that you made an awesome decision to send your child to a Montessori school. (as well as being a Montessori teacher, my daughter goes too and she has grown immensely from this experience)

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I wouldn't worry about whether he starts in private school and then goes to public possibly in the future. He's still so young! What I really wanted to relay to you is though the price of the preschool program sounds expensive, the tuition is tax deductible. I just learned this! So is daycare if that applies to you at all. However, when the child starts Kindergarten, if you choose to go private over public, it's not deductible. Take advantage of it while you can! Best of Luck and God Bless!

I have my kids at a play based preschool, and I'm not exactly sure how they're different. At 2 years old you do not know much about how your child learns and interacts with others, etc. As they get near 4 years old you start to have a better idea about their "learning style". What works for them at two really has no bearing on what type of elementary school they attend.

My daughter was in a Montessori childcare starting at age 7 months. It was a great place for her to start. She "aged" out of the school and now (3)she is in a public school "trying" to be Montessori but also is dual language, which I am excited about. I have spoken with a friend(who is an educator with an 8 year old in a Montessori who says she has visited the classroom of 3rd graders and doesn't like what she sees as far as chaos in the classroom. She suggested that Montessori is great through age 6. Who better to know than an educator and mother of a Montessori child. I think I am greatful we had the start we did but I am more excited for the dual language and decided to let go of my "NEED" for her to continue in Montessori. Her school now only does Montessori through kinder and continues dual language after that. With the tuition you are paying also make sure they are a true Montessori and hopefully they have a low teacher to student ratio, which I also think is truely important at this age. Good luck.
A sort of experienced Montessori parent.
Please contact me if you have any other questions.

Hi J.,

My daughter has been at Springstone Montessori for almost a year (she's 2 1/2) and she loves it. She went to Children's World before that which is cheaper by about $40-$50 a month, however, I feel at Montessori she is learning more and the place just feels more organized. I know it is pricey but for us it's worth it. She's almost potty trained and just yesterday told me that "people live on the globe" and while watching the Walking with Dinosaurs shows she told me about the continents moving. Its amazing!

I believe there are only two Montessori schools in Las Vegas that take toddlers (over 18 months) but I may be wrong. Also, I know there is a list to get into some of the toddler programs at Montessori and also MerryHill so the sooner you get on the list the better.

Hope this helps!

Honestly I couldn't afford the preschool, but once my kids were old enough for chartered kindergarten I put them into Montessori & have had no regrets. In my experience Montessori is far superior to regular public methods of teaching. I could go on for days but the highlights of the benefits thru my experience have been: learning to read very fast, excitement to learn is very high, they actually recall alot of details about their day & can relate it to daily life outside of school. I feel it is a well rounded education with emphasis on personalized growth verses public school all kids learn the same thing at the same time & whether or not all comprehend they move on.. I recommend a visit to watch how they teach & observe the children in their class. You'll never go back. My 8 yr old & 5 yr old are both very different in their learning styles but are excelling acedemically in Montessori. I recommend finding a school that goes thru 6th grade.
D., Mother of 3 married for 12 yrs, Mesa Az

Hello J.~
I taught in a Santa Fe Montessori for 13 years as a lead teacher. Of course, I'm partial to it, I will admit! There are many good pre-schools in the area, some less expensive, some more, but Montessori offers a child centered and directed environment in which the child will learn not only what we term academics (it is the child's work of developing him/herself)but social and life skills. While his/her experience in the classroom is initiated by the teacher (lessons are offered in the specific materials)the child is then free to choose what work she wants as long as she is respectful of the work and of others. It's really very basic courtesy that is taught.
As far as the 'setting up for private school career'...it does not do this. That is YOUR choice. The child MAY be more advanced in the first grade (he/she will definately be reading well and have other academic skills those without Montessori may not have) but any good teacher will welcome that and attend to your child's academic needs. I firmly beleive that exposing a child's developing brain to stimulating knowledge and experiences should be sought after and sacrificed for (within reason, of course).
If a private education is what you wish for your child, know that there are local Montessori's that offer scholarships as do the private elementary, middle and high schools. A good education can also be attained at public schools but in my opinion and experience, one must be VERY attentive to the teachers your child has as guides.
Call the local Montessori schools (and other pre-schools as well) and set up a date for an observation. They will welcome you and give you a sense of what thier school and Montessori are all about. Kudos to you for caring so much about your child's education! Good Luck!

I have a daughter who turned 4 this past November. She was in a home daycare until this past October when I enrolled her in a Montessori Preschool. Since I work full-time, she goes to the full day program. I absolutely recommend Montessori. They have individualized programs for each child and let the children learn at their own pace. My daughter knew her letters, numbers, and colors when she started, so the school has her writing them and spelling them. The children in the class range from 3-6 so they learn from each other and if the child is still learning the colors, they work with them on that, or like my daughter, they have moved on to having her write them, etc. I believe that each child is different and the rate that they learn things is different and that is how the montessori school works. I will keep her in Montessori through kindergarten then enroll her in public school starting in first grade. When children start in public school, you can talk to the teacher and bring in the work the child has done to show the teacher where they are at with their learning process. Public schools have accelerated subjects and can meet the child at the level the are at. For the full day montessori program, I pay $990/month. It is more expensive than KinderCare, etc., but definately worth the price. The more learning a child does at this young age, the better off they are in the future.

I was a teacher in public school, but placed our last child in Montessori. I LOVED it. Of course it depends on the school. My daughter then went to public school in kindergarden. It helped her read and learn things at her own speed. If they are 2 don't expect them to multiply by age 4. They might still play with play dough. Almost all of the Montessori preschoolers i know have excelled in school. I would NOT leave them in past kindergarden.

Our 4 year old is on her first year in Montessori and LOVES it. We were in the child development class at Pima and liked it but feel she is learning much more at Montessori. Our daughter is VERY independent and excels in this environment because of it. She is already beginning to recognize words and sound them out (first step in reading) and simple math as well as many other things. I have the same fear about changing to public after this but my husband is in education and has researched Montessori kids results and they continue to excel in public high school as they have the disipline and time management skills to handle it. We were concerned about the cost as well but have definitely seen major results for it. Hope this helps!

I went the Montessori school route with my kids for about a year. Check to make sure the school is actually a Montessori and not just calling themselves one. We had our kids in Springstone Montessori and our experience was awful. It had all the accrediations, but the teacher could barely communicate. Examples: She used the word "Funner" and didn't know the difference between Their and There in her written communications. She had her credentials, but I found out she dropped out of HS and just took the Montessori courses. I've been happy with a regular preschool and then I have one in the public school sykstem. Our public schools have very high standards and I've been quite pleased. My K student is reading short words and beginning books, tells time, counts money and does basic math. I will say that when Springstone Montessori was first here in my city my son (now 5) was the second infant in their program. At the time they were a High Scope Learning Center/Day Care. It was wonderful and I would have recommended it highly. We left for a few years and came back at 3 years for Montessori preschool since they just changed to Montessori. It was awful. Just a regular daycare center that taught some Montessori, but not hitting the mark.

I have had my son in MOntessori for now 5 years, started at preschool age 3 and he is now a 3rd year at regular school that houses our montesorri(which for us means that it doesn't cost!) I know how you feel about the price, but it is well worth it! Your kids are soo much better in the long run even if they don't follow it into the later years. It's better to start off in the right direction and set up a good foundation. Your child will carry it into adulthood. Yes, there may be a lull as far as if you change the schools, but like I said, it'll be worth it and he'll adjust. Also, as far as the money thing goes........have you inquired about financial help? Some schools have grants, and also sliding scales. We had to pay for the preschool/kindergarten years, but were under income so had to only pay half. Check it out!


In my experience, you can use many of the same techniques and the Montessori philosophy, at home. Buy some books and save significant money.

The early years are most important for your child's learning processes. I would suggest obedience and training in the first six years, with education, encouragement, and continued positive discipline for the rest of your child's life at home.

Our experience, with Montessori and other private schools, was that our very intelligent sons were hampered in the public school system. I believe it was due to their earlier freedom (lack of structure and discipline) in learning environments.

If you do not home school (I did not) you will have inconsistent education experiences with your precious children.

I wish we had home-schooled, and hired tutors for those areas beyond our scope of knowledge for far less money and the less- than- desireable results we experienced. Currently, home-schooled children have access to marvelous programs, including field trips and sports, with other home schooled children.

As for socialization. Think about yourself. How did your friends influence you? Was it for the best? Encourage your children to choose their friends wisely, and be watchful--especially while they are very young.

Good luck from an older mother who has been through it all.

I love charter montessori based schools! I have 5 girls they have loved it. I know if your son is in pre-school they charge but once they start kindergartin you don't have to pay. I think it is wonderful because the class rooms are smaller and they get alot more one on one. It is also very visual and hands on. My oldest is 14 now so this is her first year in public school and I have to say I don't like it one bit. We will be moving in about 5 months and I plan to get her back in montessori til she graduates. She has ADHD and she also has dyslexia and does alot better there. I have enjoyed that you are more than just another number which I feel alot of kids get lost in public schools now days. There are some good public schools out there however I prefer Montessori Charter based schools. We have enjoyed it for the past 7 yrs. I really don't think your son will be bored either. Infact alot of montessori's are more advanced then public schools. Just check out the school background first. Not all montessori schools are the same. I have seen 1 that was really bad, however I have experienced 4 Great amazing ones. Good luck on your decision!

I have my daughter in Montessori and plan on having her in it through Kindergarten - then public school for 1st grade. I live in a district where my Elementary School is rated good, and I'd like her to get some "regular school" structure. I've been told by a number of people that public Kindergarten is sort of a step down, but they should be fine in 1st - and not bored - which a lot of people are worried about. Montessori kids just seem so much more advanced at this age, but I think they even out.

Hi J. -
We have our son in Spring Valley Montessori and we LOVE it...so does our son. He is excelling in everything and they are so kind over there. I highly recommend it, totally worth the money!

- L.

p.s. We send our son there 3 days a week.

I don't have any experience with Montessori schools, but I did have 2 of my children at a "gifted" school from the age of 3. My youngest son is in a "regular" preschool, which is just as good, or better, in my opinion. My older 2 are now in public school and are receiving a very challenging curriculum. I think the social benefits of public school far outweigh the educational concerns (assuming you are in a good public school) when your kids are school age.
Having said all this, I have a lot of friends who have sent their kids to Montessori school in preschool and even kindergarten & loved it, but usually end up switching to public school at some point for financial and social reasons.

Montessori approach to learning is hands on and at your own pace. A lot of self discovery and logical thinking skills are developed. I put my daughter through Montessori school for a few years and then sought out a good, reputable charter school. She is in 4th grade now and is very skilled in math and sciences. Reading and language skills are high as well. Montessori school for preschool was a great disicion for our familly. There are so many options in education. You will not have to use the private school arena if you do not wish to.

Good luck!

Hi J.,
Remember that every Montessori school has a different interpretation of Maria Montessori's philosophy. Some Mont. schools are better than others. However, I really believe in the Montessori method. I think you should by all means place your daughter there to give her a wonderful, cozy, creative and loving environment. You might like it for so much and she too that you will continue having her there for as long as you can afford it. Montessori education will give her a good foundation of academics and tools to help her deal with life. But you must do what is comfortable for your family. Don't make a decision and then feel guilty about it. My son went to Montessori for over two years. Before he turned 6 we moved another town and enrolled him in public school. It was an adjustment, but he survived and did very well academically. However, I do feel I mad one mistake. I should have held him back. While he was very smart, socially he was behind. His birthday was in the fall.

Good luck!
J. Bowman

Check out the credentials of the Montessori school. If the instructor your child will have has been certified personally, ABSOLUTELY YES put him in.

Our oldest attended www.skinnermontessori.com for 3 years (when we lived in WA state), it was the best investment we ever made. We paid $5650/year and then also paid for before and after school care as well (about $900/month total). Garret was dx with a developmental delay in speech at the age of 3, began attending Skinner at age 4 1/4 and yet he still was able to read at the age of 5 1/2!

Today he is a 7th grader in public school, and in every advanced class they can give him (Science, Math, History, English, Reading, even Orchestra). If the montessori school is using a learn by phonics method and teaching a foreign language (Garret learned French), that is usually done by phonics as well. Garret is academically ahead of almost every child in the 3 different states we have lived in (attended public school every time), but he has been more confident with every move we have made because of the excellent base of education he received at montessori.

The only problem he had going from montessori to public school was a noise and chaos issue. Montessori is very quiet and calm, public school is NOT. I just had meetings with the public school teachers he had and let them know the environment he came from (montessori) and they would be sure to move Garret to a front corner where it was a bit more quiet to be more conducive to his learning style.

I wholeheartedly endorse certified Montessori schools. We figure that you only get one chance to teach your child and we have absolutely no regrets on the money spent.

Also, read about Maria Montessori and how she sharted, it is amazing. I even looked at getting certification after my BA ~ that is how impressed I was with the school. If you have questions, call Nikki at Skinner from the website above, tell her Garret's mom sent you and she'll be able to answer your questions regarding certification, there are many types.

Our middle child, a girl, also attended a Montessori school in FL when we lived there and only the owner was certified, but our daughter loved the school and although the teacher she had hadn't been directly certified, it was good, but not GREAT like our first experience with each teacher being personally certified.

Good luck!

***I am editing this quickly: I just read all the other responses, but AFTER I posted, amazing how similar the advice is. We have 3 kiddos, ages 13, 5 and 3.

Not all Montessori schools are private. There are actually some Charter schools and even 3 elementary schools in the Mesa Public School system offer regular education or Montessori. Do a search online and maybe you can find some of those options.
Good luck!

I am not sure where you live but in Denver the public schools have three elementary schools so for the first three years you will have to pay tuition. They do have financial aid but after kindergarten it free. I love the Montessori philosophy it let your child learn at their own speed. They learn form other children and the teacher. It also give them skills to be leaders because as they get older the become the teacher. Which makes them fell proud. They only have one Middle school but I'm sure by the time our kids get there they will have more. Even if you decide to put your child in a regular classroom they will still have the skills they learned and will do just fine.

My six year old son was in Montessori from age 6 months until he started kindergarten this past fall. I do think it is a great place with a neat philosophy (let each child develop at their own pace and focus on what interests them naturally). We opted to have our son start in public school kindergarten but did struggle with that choice because Montessori is pretty advanced with reading, math and geography concepts starting in the primary (pre-K) room. Things have worked out fine because our public school is very strong and his kindergarten teacher quickly assessed and accommodated his advanced reading level, etc. I think if your public school is strong, the transition will be easier, otherwise, you could run the risk of your son being bored.

Another note: Public school is very structured whereas Montessori has some structure but is more about the child's independence, so they do have very different styles. Our child adjusted ok, but I've heard other parents say their kids had some trouble adjusting at first. Hope this helps.

Hi J.,

I have had my son in a Montessori preschool for 2 years now and he loves it. I taught in the public school system for 10 years (4 year in Iowa and 6 years here) and was never a fan of the Montessori concept. However, when my son was 18 months old I started to check out preschools. I looked a several! The Montessori was the only one I was impressed with and felt that the Montessori concept was great for preschool. My son will start kindergarten in a year and 1/2 and at that time he will got back to the public school system. I was in private Catholic school K-12 and do not think there is the answer either. I think AZ schools are not the best but what can you do???? The best I think is following up at home. Best of luck to you.

A close family member ran a Montessori Preschool for over 20 years,and subsequently I have sent mine. I have been extremely happy with Columbine Montessori in Littleton. Their emphasis is on reading readiness. They offer morning and afternoon classes, preschool and kindergarten. They by no means are childcare! I am aware that their pricing runs from $275per month to $360 depending on number of days. They are located at south Pierce and Chatfield. Good luck I hope you find this helpful.

I would highly recommend a private school for your little one. My daughter started preschool at Seven Oaks Academy in Lousiville when she was 2 1/2 and she has excelled! I am not saying that public schools cant teach the kids the same way I just feel that there is a lot more focus on each child. I know at least for Seven Oaks I really have loved the teachers and staff there and I have had a lot of compliments on how well my daughter speaks and how much she has learned. My husband was in private school is whole life, and i was in public school, and he really believe that private schools push children more than public schools. Good luck to you. If you live near Louisville and would like a good school I highly recommend Bright Horizons Seven Oaks Academy ###-###-####.

My son went to a "normal" preschool when he was almost 3 and this year (when he was almost 4) we started him at a new, Montessori school. We've been really happy with the school and my son has really flourished there. I really like their philosophy and when I see what it's done for my son I know we made the right choice. My daughter is 2 now and we plan on starting her at the same school next fall. That said, there are a lot of Montessori schools out there and I think a lot depends on who the teachers are and how they relate to the kids.

I'm a little torn about keeping him at the school, which is currently age 2.5-9 but will eventually go through high school in the next couple years or so. I feel like not only will his eduction be top notch, but that he'll be happy and loved there. At the same time, I'm going to have my third baby this summer and I just don't think we can swing the $15k/year that having all my kids attend would cost. But I'm not really worried about them being bored at the public schools, we would just do enough to supplement at home, utilize g&t programs (if necessary), etc. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. And if he is really bored, there's nothing that says we couldn't just re-enroll, y'know?

Hi J., I just found out about mamasourse about 10 min ago so this is brand new. However I chose to write to you because my daughter and I have a small Montessori based preschool(Better Beginnings) in Phx. Montessori is wonderful, a great beginning for just about any child. We find many of our children go on to St. Thomas or into public school therefore we combine the lessons and all but one of our little ones have gone on reading at some level. We work hard to teach grace and courtesy, continents, etc and right now we are learning about dinosaurs and volcanos. If they learn about Sponge Bob, they can learn about "true life". Lisa D. said it all so well. It really is a great start for children. Have a great day.

I put my child in a private school through pre-K but couldn't afford anymore so when she went to public school she was bored in K but she is in 1st grade this year and her teacher is awesome about pushing her. My daughter is reading at a 3rd grade level and math skills at 2nd grade and I am sure it is because she was in a good private school before she went to public school. My best friend teaches at a Montessori school and it is such a good school. I don't think your child will be bored if they have a good teacher in the public school. The other thing is if you are still really involved when they go to public school then the teachers normally will work with you and your child.

Hi J., my daughter is a Montessori teacher and has her almost 3 year old attending the school. I really think it gives children a big advantage, even when they go to public school. They get to work at their own pace, but they learn to do things in order and are able to figure out how to do a process easier than other children. My 6 year old grandson is now in kindergarten (his birthday is in October) and he is doing extremely well in a public school. He is further ahead in math than other students and has great social skills. He went to Montessori school for a year.

My son went to a montessori school when he was four, he is now seven. It was a very good school, but my son did not do well because he was expected to choose his work. He ended up hiding in the library section of the classroom. He has developed into a very strong reader... He needed more direction, movement,involvement from the teacher and socialization skill development. I do NOT believe that you have to stay montessori once you start, but there is the consideration that your child may be advanced if compared to children in public school settings.
I know a lot of parents that loved their child's montessori pre-school and their children now attend public and private schools.
Have you considered a pre-school cooperative? Lots of parent involvement required...which is great and fun!

It is so worth it to put your son in the Montessori school. My son started around 3 1/2 years old. We had tried two previous schools when he was two and three. He just turned 5 and can read, write a word if you dictate the spelling. He can count to 100 knows his days of the week and months of the year. He learned all of those things at school. My daughter went to a different preschool and was behind when she got to Kindergarten and did not know any of the things my son knows.

Hi J., if you have thoroughly researched the 'montessori' way and want your son to go there, then do it. My daughter went for preschool and prekindergarten and when she started kindergarten she was reading at a mid-year first grade level. Her math skills were also at a first grade level. We are in the Douglas county school district and they are making wonderful provisions for my daughter. A first grader in 3rd grade reading and 2 grade math. I believe the montessori was monumental in providing a love for learning. You may want to check on the price, though. That seems awfully high for a part-time program and at 2 1/2, you wouldn't want him in for a full-time -- maybe next year. It really should be around 250-300 p/month for two days and maybe up to 350 p/month for three. I would suggest starting out at two days because of his age. If they are recommending he go full time, you might want to check out other montessori schools.
good luck, I'll be enrolling my son in Montessori, that is how much I liked it.

Hi there J.

Montessori schools mainly focus on teaching alternative ways of educating children. If you want to promote his learning at home using some of the resources (Montessori) you can have the best of both worlds! Montessori is a way of teaching that promotes creative learning etc, but doesn't really match the levels in the public system (I refer from an Australian experience), so, if you concentrate on promoting creative learning experiences, finger painting, music, sculpture you can promote this way of learning. I personally would be looking at Gardner's multiple intelligences.

All the best


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