Is Montessori Worth the Hassle?

Updated on March 24, 2008
C.R. asks from Kittery, ME
37 answers

My mother, who watches my 19mo once a week, feels very strongly about providing a montessori education. She has offered to pay for both of my boys to attend a school in the next town. On the surface it sounds likes a no-brainer and we jumped at the opportunity for private education.
Now that we've applied, we find out that the school is only open in the mornings. After school care is provided at $1000 per child per week. (no typos, $1000/week). (I misread the tuition chart. $1000 for the school year to add an extra hour 3-4 to the schedule.) That is well out of our range, and more than I would ask my parents to absorb. I'm already looking at finacial aid options.
So now we're looking at afterschool daycare options. I would need to leave work at noon, pick up the boys, drive them to daycare, and return to work everyday. That would be my lunch hour. And we would have to pay for the afternoon daycare.
My 3 yr old is already in all-day daycare. So he gets lots of peer socialization with kids he will be going to school with. He loves it. His brother can start there in May. That daycare does not allow children to arrive after 10am, too disruptive. We qualify for subsidised care, so the cost is reasonable.
Is an early montessori education so great that it makes up for the cost and inconvinience of changing schools and schedules?

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L.H.

answers from Hartford on

Ok, this is coming from someone who has Montessori training and can really get into the description of what it is all about. First of all, I can't begin to tell you there have been studies on the brain in respect to the development and Montessori education. One neurobiologist states that the brain has more active parts to it from the very specific laid out process of a montessori education. There is a very specific reason for the Montessori set up and including the schedule. The goal of a Montessori program is to get a child to be independent and confident in the things they do on a daily basis. It is not just about sending them to a preschool or letting them run around. It is about having trained professionals who have gone through a very rigorous training, I can tell you from experience that it isn't taken lightly when it comes to the needs and development of a child. It should be taken very seriously, right? We want the best for our children.

I don't want to tell you that other programs aren't worth it too, but you should know the benefits of Montessori are outstanding. Rather than going off of opinion, listen to your own instincts, maybe find out a bit more about it if you want, but it needs to benefit the family as a whole, not just your mother or mother in law.

I seriously could go on for a while about what it brings the child, but if you are talking primary you are really paying for a child to learn to work out some really important developmental moments that Montessori teachers have been trained to recognize and bring out within the child for success of them feeling that they can do it, because trust me, the want to. Think about the child who wants to help with the dishes, water plants, fold laundry, there is a reason for that and the Montessori classroom for primary has been set up for all that exploring. Plus, the idea is that they are even learning how to count and read. That is a great preparation for elementary to come.

Hope it helps

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K.B.

answers from Providence on

PLease don't think i'm cruel---but I think it is more important that your children spend more time with you, than in daycare or activities. To send to a "special" school, seems a little over the top,esp. to be spending that kind of money for school & daycare for a 3yr old & a 19 yr old baby. ----If they are already in daycare, and you want to/ (or have to) workm leave them there. To bring them to an expensive school, then pick them up on your lunch hour, which doesn't give them any time with you---and because you're hustling to get there--you'll exude frustration, & exasperation, plus disrupt their day. I say leave them where they are, or get a night job, like me, so you can focus on their needs, and nurture them, and give them a loving and sound foundation of values, your values------------not someone elses. PLease take care.

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N.O.

answers from Springfield on

To answer you question, in my opinion, NO. To me, the cost and hassle seems like alot to "educate" your toddlers. Children do not need to be educated at this point. THey should learn through play and socialization. That can be provided through a good regular daycare, or at home with you and your mother. There is no need for private education at this point. Think about what you want for your child and if this school is going to give it to him. Will this school be the stepping stone for his future more so than a regular school? At this age, no one could convince me that its so much better than regular daycare or the learning experiences provided by a mom.
I actually read an article the other day stating that a college graduate from a school like Harvard will make no more money than a student who earned a degree from a community or state college. The only difference is that the Harvard child can brag about his ivy league education. Although, he prob has student loans in the 6 figures and the community college/state college graduate either has no debt or very little!
I would say, tell your mother to save her money for when the boys are in middle/high school. You could always send them to a college prep school, which would be worth the money because colleges look apon those students more favorably and prepare them for college better than your standard high school. Let your kids be kids and dont really worry about everything being structured and taught. Your kids learn if their enviroment is positive, which is easily obtained by putting them in a good(but not as expensive) daycare or preschool.

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C.D.

answers from Boston on

Both of my sons (who are now 17 and 19) attended a Montessori preschool -- one of them really benefitted from it and one of them did not. The son who benefitted from a Montessori preschool was the one who seemed to have the gift of 'natural learning ability' from the day he was born. My other son who seemed to learn slightly 'below the curve' did not have any marked improvement from attending a Montessori school -- in fact, I think it may have hindered him a bit because rather than the instructors viewing that son with someone who was showing the early signs of some learning disabilities, he was viewed 'the Montessori way' of 'he's just not ready for that yet'...

All in all, if I had to do it over again, I would let my 'wallet' be my guide.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.. :)

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J.N.

answers from Boston on

Hi C.,
Wow - I say forget Montessori and stay with your current daycare. It sounds all bad - the cost, the hassle, the shuffling of the kids...'thanks Mom, but no thanks!'.
My son is in all-day day care and LOVES it. He is only 22 months but already has strong attachments to his teachers and peers - I would hate to pull him out. I'm sure your 3yr old is the same.
In any event - do what works for YOU and your kids. Save the $$ for college :)
J.

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K.K.

answers from Boston on

I taught at a Montessori school for 11 years at the toddler level. Although I do agree that a Montessori environment is beneficial, I also agree that it is very pricey to send two children to a private school. I am a first time mother with a 3 month old and I know I wouldn't be able to afford $1000/a week for after school care. That's ridiculous.

There are many things you can do in the home using the philosophy of Maria Montessori while the children are still young. Check out the book, "Montessori From the Start" by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen. They have some great ideas which you may be able to use.

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K.C.

answers from Lewiston on

Both of my children attended Montessori for four years (until my youngest was ready for kindergarten). I had never heard of this type of schooling prior to looking for a preschool for my oldest. I loved it and the values it has instilled on my children are everything that one could hope for in their children. They have great independnece and compassion for others. Once my children were enrolled in public school I noticed what a difference there was between my children and the others in their class. At Montessori the kids didn't talk about other children being mean and picking on each other. Noone had "best" friends. They had good friends and played with them on a rtating basis but there wasn't all the mean negative competition that I have found in public school. I believe that, as sad as it is, our kids need to be exposed to the "real world" at some point. In the meantime, I wouldn't trade the amazing strength and base for life that my two children obtained while at Montessori.
Thank you and I hope this was helpful.

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B.B.

answers from Boston on

Is it worth it to you? Have you gotten information about Montessor? Do know exactly what it is? My opinion. It wouldn't be worth it. With all you would have to go through, financially and the inconvience of having to bring your boys during your lunch. My feeling is that your children will get all they need at a traditional day care and why take your older son out of a place that he is comfortable with. Like the saying goes, "If it's not broken don't fix it."

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C.S.

answers from Boston on

Hi,
As a Montessori teacher (tranied at the primary or age 3-6 level) and as a parent of a 19 mo old with a second on the way I would say that cost and quality must balance each other out. It seems that this school makes it nearly impossible for children who must have care for more than the early morning hours but this is not reflective of all Montessori programs. I am not sure exactly where you are located but I would be confident in saying that there is another Montessori program to look into that may have more affordable options. In terms of quality in Montessori education.... the right program is outstanding and has benefits that you will see way beyond the preschool years. It is important to be informed about the differences in Montessori education and the affiliations with groups such as AMI
(Association Montessori International, AMS (American Montessori Society, and NCME (National Center for Montessori Education). Some "Montessori" (those not affiliated with one of the above mentioned) schools call themselves "Montessori" and they may have some of the materials but the teachers have not been trained in the Montessori method at all. Each of the above affilations is different in the way that they train there teachers and the way that they will run there schools. The more informed you are the more you will know if the cost and trouble are worth the work for you.
Good luck in your search for quality education.

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A.V.

answers from New London on

3 of my 4 kids attended Montessori pre-schools. It was expensive and great and half-day. It is not day care...it is a specialized education for kids. We loved the school and the teachers, but now that my kids are all teens, they could have gotten the same intro to learning from any connected, observant and committed early childhood teacher. I loved the 1:1 they recieved and the work-centered delivery. Day care is generally for one primary purpose - day care. There are alot of early education introductions these days but Montessori is serious school, not baby sitting. If your kids are happy where they are, leave them there and tell Gramma to bank the $$ for their college.

J.O.

answers from Boston on

I know its a late response, but I couldn't resist. I have to agree with the user who wrote to save the money for college! Lord knows how expensive it will be by the time your kids are 18! Good luck!

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C.R.

answers from Boston on

Speaking as a public school teacher and a mother of a little boy, a Montessori school is no different than the "education" your three year old is already getting at his daycare center. The philosophy of Montessori is that children will learn and study things they are interested, rather than have a structured learning environment. The fact that is it private does not make the eduation any more substantial. So your three year old is basically getting the same education and playing with or exploring ideas he is interested in in your daycare. Don't be fooled by private schools...the education is no better, and often the teachers are not required to have the same education that public school teachers have. While that may not be necessary to "teach" kids who are exploring, it does come in handy in any other aspect of their education! Perhaps you can wait and explore the Montessori school later in their education...perhaps at a 1st or 2nd grade level?

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K.A.

answers from Boston on

Hi C.,

I have heard great things about Montessori schools but your son might just be a little young to start the school especially if you need full time care. My son is in a day care center in North Andover. I am thrilled with his learning. He is 3.3 yrs and can count to 100. They have taught him to count in spanish as well as learn fractions! The cost is inexpensive (in my opinion). As the others have said, not all day care centers are the same and not all pre schools are the same. I am currently leaving my job to stay home. In the search of pre schools for next year, none of them focus on academics, they all focus on social development. As you know, if your child is coming out of day care they are very well socialized!

If you are looking for more of a learning based day care I would be happy to provide you with the name of the center my son goes to. Then maybe for Kindergarten or 1st grade, you can introduce Montessori. At that pt, you would have to figure out after school care anyway. Good luck!

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M.T.

answers from Boston on

Hi C.,

Another thing you need to consider is that most Montessori school programs run during the school year (Sept - May), so you'll need to have a nother option during the summer months. We faced almost the same decision you're considering and ultimately chose to keep the kids in their current daycare (we feel it's top notch), and continue with public schooling unless/until it proves to be unsuccessful. We believe that our kids' success will be largely impacted by our level of involvement, regardless of which school they go to. Good luck!

M.

D.B.

answers from Boston on

$1000 a week?? That's ridiculous! I don't know what the big deal is about pushing pushing PUSHING education on kids at an early age. I think there is great value to preschool and the socialization that comes from daycare, but there is also great value in independent and creative play. You need to find something that works for your family's schedule and income bracket, not feel pressured about a particular program. I think there a lots of good programs out there, and the best one is the one that works for you and your kids. I don't believe in competition - I hate the idea that people are registering their kids for a particular school the day that the pregnancy test comes out positive! It is very nice of your mother-in-law to help out with child care as well as financing, but it is not going to work out in the long run if you feel beholden to her for all that money or if you are taking her advice at your own expense. I doubt very much that you would find a consensus among early childhood experts on one particular program being far superior. Try to stay focused on what works for you. Taking your lunch hour every day to move the kids from one program to another just has disaster written all over it. Not sure it's good for them, and it certainly doesn't sound good for you. You have a job and that's why you have day care to begin with. You need to take care of yourself as well as the kids. I'm sure your mother-in-law is well meaning but if it's not going to work, it's not going to work. Good luck.

C.

answers from Hartford on

As one of the other responders pointed out, there should be other Montessori options in the area that may be less expensive. There are three near me and none of them cost anything close, including afternoon care, that they want to charge you for just the after-care. It may be that because they are the only game in town, they can get away with it. My personal experience with Montessori is mixed. It depends upon the child & the teachers. You should visit for a day to see if you think it is worth it & then go to your sons daycare for the day to see if you can justify the difference. Montessori is ideal for self-motivated children that really engage in the whole learning experience. Also, once started on the Montessori path, you should stick with it. That is, if you are only going to send them up until public school starts, the long term goals of this approach will not be followed through and the expense & stress in your routine will not be worth it. I think if you decide that Montessori is worth it, your mother's offer is generous and you should explore different after-care options. My brother has his 3 year old in private school in the morning & a part-time nanny that picks him up & watches him until the parents come home. Although it is only one child, he pays her $250 per week. Good luck.

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L.N.

answers from Springfield on

I have a 13 year old daughter and when she was born I quit my job to stay home with her. To help supplement the income that I was losing I started watching a few of my freind children in my home on a full time basis. I did this until she was 4 and then I put her in a regular pre-school for 1 year before starting kindergarden. She also grew up being an only child. My daughter has great social skills and is an average student. She is very independant and very polite with great manners. She has learned to set goals for herself and is working very hard to achieve them. I know she gets most of this through our example. I think if you and your little boy are happy with the daycare he is in now and it seems like it makes your schedule easy you should continue with it. If you change your schedule so much so that it is straining you and your family no one will be happy, only frusterated. Who wins then? Tell your mom that you appreciate her offer, but this works best for your boys and for you and your husband. Children have plenty of time to learn while they are in school and the are getting the social skills in their current situation. More important these are children they will be going to school with so those are great bonding experiences they will continue with. You might change schools and hate it. To me that is way too much money.

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E.M.

answers from Boston on

Carey S. makes a very good point, not all "montessori schools" are the same. Before you take your mom up on her offer, look into all the educational/day-care options in your area. There are two "montessori" schools in my area, both vastly different in price and philosophy despite sharing the "montessori" name on their front doors. If this "gift" costs you more money & stress, it may be best to say "no thank you".
I would strongly urge you to put your 3yr old in a nursery program & a pre-K program next year (montessori or not). I've noticed children without these experiences really do start out behind the curve when they get into Kindergarten. Most children walk through the door on their first day of Kindergarten having already been introduced to socialization skills, colors, letters, numbers, and gross & fine motor skills (catching a ball & gripping a pencil). A lot of the "educational building blocks" we learned as children in Kindergarten are now taught much earlier (nursery & pre-K). Not everyone thinks it's a good idea, but it is a reality. Good luck!

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M.M.

answers from Boston on

Hi C.,

I'm not sure where you live, but perhaps there are other Montessori schools in adjacent towns. I've had three years of experience with Montessori schools and I've been very happy with what and how my children are learning. The teachers are so respectful of the children, are wonderful at creating a comfortable learning environment and the materials are really a wonderful way to introduce academic concepts to toddlers and young children. I will say that it is not for everyone and children who need more one-on-one supervision and guidance might have a harder time with the "follow the child" self-directed learning approach. As an alternative to afternoon daycare, perhaps you can find or share a nanny to pick up your children from school and take care of them until you get home. Good Luck! M. M

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K.A.

answers from Boston on

Hi C.!
Montessori is wonderful!I was a teacher at a Montessori for 5 years and loved the philosophy, but like everything else it has its cons.There are so many other ways you can impliment this into your own home without the small fortune - the library or book store has quite a few books on how to.I myself have 2 children and have not given them any "formal" Montessori but use it with everyday skills.I could go on forever about some of my views on this.Get back to me if you have any specifics.Whatever you choose will be the right choice for your family.

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L.A.

answers from Boston on

I love my Montessori school.. the schedule meets our needs and works all around. And the education is well rounded and truly child-centered. If you're anywhere near Braintree, look into Meetinghouse Montessori, much more reasonable and flexible with families than the school you mentioned. ###-###-####.
Good luck!

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L.L.

answers from Boston on

It sounds like you have a great daycare already lined up where your son is doing well. I wouldn't mess with a good thing. $1000/week is criminal: even in this expensive area.

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G.M.

answers from Boston on

I was just looking at the prices for a Montessori school in the Jamaica Plain area...and in the Boston area...and WOW...the prices are ridiculously expensive! I mean if you are wealthy enough to spend that amount of money on EACH child, then go for it! But let's be realistic, there are other schools/day cares out there that are fantastic and fit well with our children...not only because they have a $14,000+/yr tuition! If your children are bright and have potential, which I'm sure they do, they will develop that on their own, with your encouragement and with a good caregiver/provider regardless. Hope you make the right decision for your children and your family! Good luck!

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M.C.

answers from Boston on

I went to Montessori for four years, from 2-6, and really benefitted from it - in fact, I believe it contributed to my skipping 2nd grade. Keep in mind, however, that that was in the mid-70s when good day care centers were very scarce and there weren't a lot of working moms. I considered putting my daughter in Montessori when she was old enough, but found the cost prohibitive...and it wasn't anything like what you're describing. $1000 a week is, in my opinion, highway robbery. When you're paying more per year for aftercare than for Harvard, you have to question the benefits. What's more, many preschools these days have incorporated aspects of Montessori into their programs. And most kids don't see the benefit of Montessori that I did (if you can call it a benefit - there were some serious drawbacks to being a year younger all the way through school). All this to say, I don't think the benefits of Montessori outweigh the struggles you would have in sending your 3-year-old there. But good luck, whatever you decided to do! Best, M. C.

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D.K.

answers from Boston on

My daughter is currently in a Montessori preschool, and I'm very happy with it. We visited several preschools, and this is the only one that I felt comfortable with.

However, I also loved the daycare she was in, and I would not have switched her if I hadn't become a stay-at-home mom! I didn't even appreciate it as much while she was there, as I did when I was comparing it to the other preschools. That's when I realized that the classrooms at the preschools actually utilized many of the Montessori tools, and a similar approach.

Unless your mom is willing to pick the boys up from school and provide their afternoon care, I think you should keep them in daycare. Maybe you could even compromise, and send them to a different daycare that your mother would be happier with? A good daycare will provide the socialization, education, etc that your kids would be getting from preschool.

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K.V.

answers from Boston on

Could your parents care for the children in the afternoon? Montessori schools are very good, but 1000.00 is too much!

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S.G.

answers from Barnstable on

Wow, I have no idea where that school might be, but at $52,000 a year it will be the most expensive in the entire country, even beating out MIT. No preschool is worth that amount for approximately 25 hours a week at $40+ an hour.

The Cape has a few highly thought of Montessouri Schools, but all upper Cape. Had there been one on the Lower or Mid-cape, I would have sent my children there. Try these for information and if you are getting vouchers, they may also accept them:
Montessori Academy of Cape Cod
85 Chester Street
North Falmouth, MA
###-###-####
www.falmouthmontessori.com
Regardless of your opinion on the Montessori approach to early childhood education, the consensus on the Cape is that the Montessori Academy of Cape Cod is an exception preschool and kindergarten. While the MACC staff may credit Dr. Montessori, the community of MACC families credit the exceptional teachers with the schools success and steadfast following.
Tuition is approximately $11,000 per year.

The Bridgeview School 885 Sandwich Rd. Sagamore, MA 02561
Phone ###-###-#### Fax ###-###-#### http://www.bridgeviewschool.com/
Email [email protected]____.com
Limited financial aid is available, based on need. Applications for financial aid may be picked up at the school office. An information and forms package, including tuition rates and an application form, may be obtained by calling the school office at ###-###-####.

Good Luck!

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B.A.

answers from Boston on

C., I'm not a huge fan of Montessori learning, but that's beside the point. The cost of the school and an after-school day care, plus the gas prices with you having to pick your son up and take him somewhere else are just not worth it. You sound happy where your older son is now and, as you said, you're younger child can attend in May. In my opinion, for what it's worth, you're better off keeping the kids where they are, or are going to go.

You also stated that you qualify for subsidised care. I think your decision is made, despite what your mother thinks. These are your children. You need to do what is not only best for them, but what is also best for your wallet.

As long as you're happy with where your son is, that's all that matters. Good luck.

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S.H.

answers from Hartford on

My son loved his Montessori days (three years in the 3-6 classroom), which he attended until we moved to a town with great schools. I too had the awful lunchtime sprint to drive him from school to preschool, and it was incredibly stressful, but after a year, my daycare provider (home daycare with 5 kids) picked him up for me for an extra fee of $25 per week, which was WELL worth it. We had some ramen-eating years when he was in both daycare and preschool, and it cost more than a third of my salary for both together, but it was worth it, and set a great foundation for his education. If you are not absolutely locked into a 9-5 every day schedule with your job, another option might be to collaborate with other parents from the school to form a co-op for after school care - if each could do one afternoon or something, maybe you could all save big time and provide something social and fun for the kids. Or, if as the other writer suggests, your parents might contribute to the after school part, maybe instead of them watching your kids every day, maybe they could contribute to this Coop idea once a week. --S. H.

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R.M.

answers from Hartford on

Hi,
I love Montessori but I have had some problems with enrolling my children in it since I moved here a few months ago. The tuition is outrageous here (esp. since it is not a full day program). In my previous state, I could enroll my 2 yr. old in a full day program at at nice school for less than expensive day care. I now do home school Montessori when I get home from work. I love the curriculum and ideals of the Montessori approach. I think it is well worth it. Unfortunately, it is SOOO expensive here. We have had to skip on it currently until we can find a full day program. I can't fork over that much money for just a half day program.
Hope it helps!

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S.M.

answers from Boston on

We have sent both are boys to a Montessori school for preschool thru kindegarten. It was wonderful and did give them great education and social skills. However, the cost was not what you describe. They had a morning only option and a full day option (until 3:00) and after school care @ $5 an hour.

I do live in a rural area and it is possible that is why the cost was reasonable, but definetly more expensive than other preschools or childcare. However, it was worth it to us.

As others pointed out each Montessori school is different. We are just fortunate that ours has such gifted teachers. You may want to research other Montessori schools. Also a lot of pre-schools do mix in the Montessori approach.
S.

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S.I.

answers from Boston on

Okay... you've had a lot of responses so I''ll try to keep this brief. If your mother is really willing to send them to the next town for Montessori and foot the bill, then by all means take her up on it, but definitely find a different next town. $1000/week for only after care is criminal.
I too could go on a rant about our current education system and that only the uber-elite have access to quality education, especially early education that is so crucial to child development... but I'll stop there.
Montessori nurtures the building blocks of knowledge and social development. I was a Montessori kid and wanted no less for my son, but at $18000+ a "year" for only 9 months of class and over 41 regular days off during the school year for "staff in-services" and such, we are finally calling it quits. It breaks my heart because my 2.2 yo absolutely loves his class, his teachers, his friends, and "knowledge" as he says every morning we leave for school, but the administration of the school self-admits that they "are not a family-friendly environment." When it comes to modern families with two working parents and long commutes, the schools are still in the dark ages.
I don't really want to endorse them because they have a lot of room for improvement, but Newton Montessori sounds a lot better than your current choices. I'm pretty sure your youngest is eligible for the toddler class (and I think they still have room for next year). If you live anywhere near Newton Centre (right on the green line at least), you should check it out. $1600/month 8am-3pm, then about $3000 more a year for late care 3pm-6pm (but not the 1st Wed of the month, or other random dates). Good Luck!!!

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J.M.

answers from Hartford on

My sister teaches at a Montessori day care and taught at a Montessori school before that. (She teaches the 3-6 year olds.) I'm unaware of a Montessori school that is only half day. She's always been at a full time place. I would check out other schools around you. There must be another one that is full time. They have an after school program where my sis works and it is NOT 1000. a week for after care. That is ridiculous. As for the Montessori program, it's awesome!!!! It teaches independence and manners, as well as basic life skills. Very cool.

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J.W.

answers from Boston on

montessori schools can be wonderful!! i think $1000/week sounds high for after care! i don't think i have seen that high a price in some top schools in both nyc or la!!

i will say as a school teacher and a mom - that if you are going to invest in your child's education - do it early on!! that is when all the building blocks for learning and a lifelong love of learning are instilled. it is very hard to instill these qualities later on. montessori schools will do a great job of helping your child learn to learn and love it - rather than just making them memorize numbers, read, etc. it isn't just about being able to read words - it's about knowing what those words mean, what inferences they imply, what connections they can make, being willing and able to take a chance on an unfamiliar word and to truly comprehend what the words all mean together. when it comes to math - it isn't just about knowing your numbers and how to multiply...it's about knowing what multiplication is, what adding is, how to estimate size, space, how to problem solve and THINK!! unfortunately too many of our children are being taught to memorize so that they can perform well on a test rather than how to think. personally - i am always way more interested in the process of a child's thinking than the answer they come up with - and a montessori school will do all those things for your child when they are ready. if you wait until college to invest $ into their education - it might be too late.

sorry for the rant...just so frustrated with our educational system right now and feel like we are doing a huge dis-service to our children.

i went to the bank st college for education in nyc and it was life changing!! such an amazing program. they also have a great children's book store with parent resources - www.bankstreetbooks.com

for me - i cook a lot with my child, do lots of puzzles, read to him all the time, let him 'read' to me, play imaginatively and just have a good time together. we don't do flashcards or formal learning yet (he'll be 4 in may) and i am amazed at what he has learned just from living and observing. kids are sponges - expose them to all kinds of things early on like museums, train rides, beach combing, sand castle building, zucchini growing, baking, cooking, nature walks, yoga, hide and seek, bike rides. and talk about all that they do to help them process things and make connections in life - you'll be amazed what your kids learn. one of my favorite questions to ask my son is...what is love? he told me when he was 2 that love is hugs and that mommy understands him (he has some speech issues.) i was floored - i didn't think he would be so articulate at 2!!

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S.G.

answers from Springfield on

I once researched montessori schools a few years ago. After reading reviews and talking with others I decided against it. Not all Montessori schools work the same. My oldest son is gifted (reading and writing at 18 months etc..) so I thought the Montessori approach would work well for him. I too was sticker shocked and found a wonderful preschool not far from my home where he flouished. I also found that all my kids benefitted from having peers the same age and they worked much better in the typical structured preschool environment.

Only you can make the best judgement. I would check out the local preschools, ask about their curriculum and choose one that fits both your schedule and pocketbook. I think the best resource is asking other parents how they feel about where their child attends.

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X.D.

answers from Boston on

I'm a big believer in keeping the stress level low in families. I think when parents are happy (not running around with too many commitments and financial problems) so are kids. If you already feel that this is not worth the hassle, don't go there.... Ask your parents to put the money into a college account because believe it or not, it will be here in a flash. I'm concerned about you running out at lunch every day.... Really think this out before you make your commitment. Is there a better use of your time? Could you come home an hour earlier if you skipped lunch and ate at your desk? Trust your insticts about the school.... Did YOU feel that the school was better than any other school you have visited? Decisions like this aren't easy, but as I said before, keeping the pressure off ourselves and the little ones far outweighs any school program.... Having dinner together, visiting the playground, reading books and playing with puppets... You can't get the time back so use it wisely. Good-luck!

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S.S.

answers from New London on

I'm interested in Montessori schools myself, but I don't know very much, so I'll be interested to see what other people have to say as well.

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