Montessori or Not - Phoenix,AZ

Updated on February 15, 2011
M.B. asks from Phoenix, AZ
10 answers

Okay, time to get advise from all the wise mamas on this site.... our daughter will be starting Kindergarten next school year, but I'm already starting my research. I have found a couple of private/charter schools that don't charge parents a tuition, but there's also a Montessori school that does charge a tuition fee which happens to be fairly reasonable. My question is, for those mothers who have sent your children to a Montessori school, what have been your experiences with the school, whether bad or good. I welcome all suggestions/opinions. Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help!

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answers from Phoenix on

My children thrived in a Montessori preschool and I'm looking for a Montessori kindergarten for my son since he comes home bored from his traditional kinder. He would come home from montessori so energized and excited. He learned how to read in his Montessori preschool and loved learning in that environment. Anyone can call themselves Montessori, so look for a school that is AMI certified of AMS certified. And make sure they guide and direct the kids, too. My son had a lot of freedom, but he was also guided to learn things that he needed to learn, like reading, instead of just playing all day.

I read an excellent book called, "How to raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way" that also helped me instill a lot of the philosophy in our home. Good luck!



answers from New York on

My daughter is in her 2nd year Montessori program in a private Catholic school. She is 4 years old. She is doing extremely well. The tuition is reasonable. I love the program so much, I recommended it to all my family and friends whose children are the same age. I've done my research for years before my daughter started school and read that Montessori is excellent from Pre-k to Kindergarten years. What I've read says that those young years they are like sponges and they can handle the vast of information that is being placed before them and they retain it!!! Yes, it is true they let each child go at their own pace. Some children are reading by the time they get to kindergarten and others don't, but one this is for sure every child some shape or form flourishes. My daughter, started reading sight words her first year in the program and now in her second year in the program, she is reading short stories... and the school year is not over!!!!



answers from Phoenix on

We have had our son in a Montessori preschool for 2 yrs now, and love it. (He is in kindergarten now, also Montessori). From what I understand, the Montessori method is most beneficial for children ages 3-6. Of course you can continue on after that, but we wanted to make sure to include those years for our child. This is the time in their lives that they learn how to learn. It sets up how they approach learning for the rest of their lives. We really liked the freedom to choose his own path (with direction of course)/independent thinking and also the physicality of it, everything is touchy/feely...less conceptual. (like for math works, there are actual beads that they count and touch to learn concepts, versus just numbers on a page). Every school is different, I would strongly suggest visiting schools you are interested in during school hours and observing. The teacher really is key, make sure she or he is a certified Montessori teacher. Do some research online and learn about the Montessori way, it will explain a lot. Good luck to you and your daughter! PS-Bill Gates, the founders of Google, founder of Amazon, and founder of Wikipedia all had Montessori educations, so thats impressive.



answers from Dallas on

I think it's really going to depend on what you want for your daughter. I think when it comes to Montessori you have to really appreciate and embrace the Montessori methods of teaching. Montessori is great and I know lots of people that love it. It is not for me, though. However, in a similar situation I am very pro private school...that doesn't mean I like every private school. Which ever school my kids go to it will have to be the "right" one.

Have you asked other parents about the Montessori school you mentioned? Do you get a good feeling from it? How does it compare to the free private/charter schools? These are some questions that might help with your decision.

Good luck!!!



answers from Chicago on

I think it depends on your child and your desires for your child's learning experiences. I am a former public school teacher, and I taught many students who had attended Montessori schools for K. Many of them had a hard time transitioning to a more traditional school and transferring their skills to a new curriculum, so keep that in mind. I also have a daughter who is entering K this year, and have chosen private school for her (after visiting MANY schools it was the best match for her). But I personally would not choose a Montessori school for my own children. I have found that there are great differences among all schools, so I found it most helpful to visit schools (best when classes are in session) to get a feel of the school, ask questions, and find the best "fit" for your child. There are great public schools and terrible ones, great private schools and terrible ones, so I'm guessing it's the same for Montessori schools. I would visit to see what you think.



answers from Phoenix on

We really like the Montessori school we send our toddler to, but at this age (2), it's more about appreciating the school community, how much our son likes, it and options like extended care options. I agree with the advice to tour the school and see if you like it - how the teachers deal with the kids, the number of kids (which has gotten insane in some schools), the facilities, etc. I also have to note though that I would never say that Waldorf is "similar" to Montessori, except in the sense that they are both teaching methods used on <7 year olds. Their philosophies are pretty much diametrically opposed on a number of issues (i.e. reading, imaginative play, I'm sure others).


answers from Erie on

Our children attend a Montessori Charter school that used to be a private school. I notice very little difference. The teachers still go to the yearly AMA conference, etc... The school is visited every year by an AMA rep and gets high marks every time. Go do an observation and see what you think. It's not for every family, but we love ours. I even worked there a couple of years as a TA.

I only have one complaint about Montessori in general: handwriting. I had to spend many weeks every summer working on teaching them cursive writing because the instruction they got in school wasn't enough. I have heard this from other parents in other cities about their schools, too, so I know it's not just our school. Otherwise it was a great fit for our kids.



answers from Seattle on

I think it would very much depend on the school.

We did montessori preschool... and I toured over FIFTY montessori preschools before finding the *right* one. (There were a couple that were okay). Then when elementary rolled around there were only 2 montessori elementary options, but EITHER would have been better than any of the public and most of the private schools in the area. That said... each class had a waiting list of over 300 students. Yeah. THAT'S not going to happen.

So for me, while I was set on the philosophy, how that philosophy was actually applied was also a determining factor.



answers from Phoenix on

My children attend Aldea Montessori in North Phoenix, 40th St and Greenway Rd. I toured many schools and this was the best choice for my children and I'm glad they attend this amazing school. The owner is very passionate about the children and the FULL Montessori education. If you are going to choose Dr Maria Montessori's methods, do not choose charter! This disrupts her method and you will not reap the benefits of a true montessori education. Yes, it is easier to attend a charter school due to financial reasons, however, if your heart is truly to benefit your child from a Montessori education, you will need to pay. However, there are tax credits and scholarships to take advantage of to help pay for the private schools! Good Luck!



answers from Tucson on

If you're near the Desert Marigold school I highly suggest checking them out. It's a charter Waldorf school. The Waldorf methods are similar to Montessori, but a little better. This is only my opinion - With Montessori schools, it is self paced learning where the children are treated as little adults. With Waldorf, it's also child based learning but more of a 'let kids be kids and learn through play'.

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