Kindergarden Montessory vs Public School

Updated on May 05, 2012
J.M. asks from Saint Paul, MN
9 answers

My son is in Montessory preschool right now. We are deciding to stay in Montessory for kindergarten or go to public school (St. Paul, MN, district 196).

What are pros and cons of staying in Montessory for kindergarten vs going to public school?

Thank you,


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answers from Miami on

My daughter started in a public kinder after a private pre k. A lot different . It was ok for the first few years then the pta moms started up and the cliques it was horrible. Pulled the kid put her in a montissori and she is happy again. Its a small montissori so the teachers are more aware of whats going on.Its private so its not so controlled by the PTA. I had to get use to the fact she didnt get abc grades anymore. When she goes into middle she will have grades though. Now I just have to worry about finding her a highschool

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My son is in a Montessori kindergarten and will go to public school for first grade (his Montessori does not continue into the elementary grades). I have no clue what Gamma G is talking about - my son's classroom is the most orderly, well behaved one I have ever seen. I actually almost didn't enroll my son because the kids seemed almost too quiet and engrossed in work Then I saw them on the playground and they were clearly normal kids.Our Montessori has had zero staff turnover this year. One senior teacher left between my son's first and second years - she retired (don't see this as a reflection of poorly behaved kids).

My son is doing multiplication, long division, reading well and doing a ton of art and music. I think he will really enjoy his public school (it is one of the highest rated in our state), but I do not think their math and language programs will be comparable. I love that he learns because he is intrigued by a topic, NOT because some teacher assigned spelling words to memorize. I LOVE that the program does NOT have homework, encourages kids to spend their out of school time playing and with their families. I LOVE that family travel is encouraged and that there is ZERO problem when we pull him out to travel or spend time with family. Also - he never gets 'behind' on work, because there is no behind or ahead. That said, he will be way 'ahead' of his classmates when he starts next year.

I LOVE that there are no 'time outs' or 'zero tolerance' policies. The teachers talk to the children who 'misbehave', they don't punish them. The children are encouraged to solve their own interpersonal problems (with appropriate coaching from the teachers). They are not told to share, they are encouraged to work out something they find fair. You may find this in a public school too - the school DS will go to seems very much into positive discipline.

I LOVE the multi age classroom. I really like seeing my son mentor the 3 year olds. I thought it was great last year when the 5-6 year olds would show him how to do a work, or help him with reading.

I dislike the fund raisers (but I hear they have these in public school too). The tuition is quite a bit. I dislike the directress's attitude that the Montessori way is the best way (but I don't see that she has enough interaction with the kids to instill this in them). I dislike that we will change schools next year and that he will be the new kid with a bunch of kids who already know each other. However, there are always kids who move in so I think he well be fine with this.

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answers from Denver on

You know the best fit for your son. There are great public and great montessori schools. The only thing to consider is how far he can go in Montessori. Sometimes the change in expectations from student led to teacher led are tough... I have a teacher friend who recommends public at K or 1st to get them into the habit of routine and expectation and feels it better sets them up for the "world". My stepdaughter want to Montessori until 3rd grade - transistioned fine and is an excellent student - Jr. in HS. Tour both schools and ask them. Then go w/ your gut.

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answers from Redding on

If your child is thriving and happy and learning, that would be your answer.

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answers from Los Angeles on

If you are very happy with the Montessori preschool, I'd stay there for Kindergarten. Montessori in my area is too expensive. But my friends report that their kids and very advanced and prepared for regular public school.

Regular public school K is pretty average. Lots of boring worksheets. Lots of standing in line, following the leader. The longer kids can be in play-based, hands-on learning, the better I think.

My son was in a different K: play-based, hands-on, fun. It was perfect for him. He transitioned fine to another public school for 1st grade.

My daughter was in a traditional public school K and she did OK, but if I could shell out the $6,000 for the K Montessori, I would have. It would have been superior. I ended up switching her to another public school for 1st grade (she did great) and another in 2nd (she loves it and will stay). She transitioned just fine.

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answers from Washington DC on

if it's a good montesorri school (not all of 'em are, unfortunately), i can't see any downsides short of the cost.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I cannot stand Montessori schools. I have worked in them and the staff turn over was horrendous because the kids have no boundaries. They do not have any rules they have to go by, they do not even follow a schedule. They have one posted and the teacher may do the things on it but if a child does not want to do circle time they can go throw blocks at a doll, or go flip all the furniture over to build a fort, dump paint on the table and proceed to make a masterpiece. It is chaos when the parents are not there. Their ideals are that kids learn through play. Not through sitting in a class and listening to a teacher.

The school systems who got these kids when they were old enough for them to go to public schools said across the board the kids that came from Montessori schools were the worst behaved kids of all.

They did not sit and pay attention to the teacher, they would just get up and go do something else when the teacher was trying to teach something like spelling words or a math problem. They had no sense of what to do and had to be taught how to sit, how to listen, how to follow directions, how to function in a regular school setting.

I say start them in the school the will be in for the remainder of their elementary school experience. Besides, I am still friends with 3 people I knew from Kindergarten on. They will form their friend groups this coming year.

She will be able to make friends in 1st grade but if she is non functional when she starts 1st grade she'll be ostracized.

BTW, I worked in 3 different ones. One as the pre-school teacher, one as the after school teacher, and one as the assistant director.



answers from Minneapolis on

St Paul has a public Montessori in Crossroads Elementary. My son has been there for 2 years and I've been really happy with it. With that being said I do not have any experience with private Montessori schools. Something to think about it though.



answers from Minneapolis on

In Minneapolis, if you are trying to get your child into a highly desired elementary school, you have to apply for kindergarten. In first grade, all the spots may be taken, and you won't be able to get your child in.

If you feel that Montessori is the best educational philosophy for your child, then you should look for a public (or charter, or private) Montessori elementary school. If your local public school is good, then maybe you should just go ahead and enter him.

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