Montessori Pre K Vs. Traditional

Updated on July 03, 2008
A.P. asks from Rohnert Park, CA
4 answers


If anyone has opinions/experience with a Montessori school I would love to hear your thoughts- good/bad etc. My son will be 5 on August and we have decided to give him one more year of preschool- specifically a Pre K program. I have visited a Montessori and a traditonal private Pre K. He is a little on the shy side when in big groups and tends to really steer clear of the aggresive boys. I am just not sure if the Montessori school would make it harder for him to adjust to a public Kindergarten.

Also does anyone have any feedback on: Cross & Crown in Rohnert Park or the Montessori in Penngrove.

Any feedback would be so appreciated!!

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answers from San Francisco on

Hi A.,

I was a Montessori teacher for a few years and loved it. Unfortunately, not all M schools are the same across the board. some can be very strict and others say they have M influence and do not. That is good that you are visiting them and i would advise also doing some research and reading about Maria Montessori herself. incredible woman!

I believe, after witnessing many times, that most children do very well in the M environment. In any case it takes adjustment for any child and M schools will say it takes about 1 year to fully "normalize" in a M setting. That is why they advise having your child stay in the M setting for 3 years (preschool). That is starting them at 2.5 or so, part time of course, and off then to Kindergarden at around 5 or 6. although each child is so different it really depends.

My favorite part about the montessori method is it encourages the childto take care of themselves and feel confident. bottom line..i have seen totally shy, insecure children bloom before my eyes...they learn to put their own jackets on, sweep up food they drop, help themselves to snack and clean up when they are done, tie shoes, read and LOVE it...M creates an environment where you love to learn. it is really amazing. i feel i have become a better mother to my son with what i learned teaching at a M school. parents were constantly amazed and impressed with their child's abilites and independence. Children are much more capable then they get credit for and a M setting emphasises what is already there.

I could go on forever and rave about M schools so if you would like more info email me. I'm sure you will hear the other end of things too. good luck with your decision!



answers from San Francisco on

Hi A.,
I don't know about the 2 schools you mentioned. I am, however, a retired elementary and early childhood teacher who is Montessori trained. Having worked in both environments I much prefer the Montessori environment. In the Montessori environment your son will have the opportunity to internalize many of the concepts he will need for the abstract learning he will be given in public schools. There is also a strong social component in Montessori which will help your son in any social, interactive situations you son will find himself in when he starts public school.
Hope this helps. Please feel free to email me if you have more questions.



answers from San Francisco on

A., Have you also looked at Waldorf schools? Waldorf teachers believe in educating from the" inside out" and in educating the child's hands, heart and head (in that order). Young children learn by doing, imitating the actions of other people, and out of their experience they develop concepts. It is opposite the traditional approach, where the teacher decides which "concepts" to teach and then attempts to get the child to accept and then regurgitate them. It's a matter of learning and practicing "thinking skills" rather than pressing ideas and concepts into children.
A Waldorf school is a school which allows children to fully experience their childhood, while building up their physical and emotional capacities so that there is a strong foundation for the mental and cognitive work of the mind. As a teacher I see that children get pushed into reading and writing and math too early, and children are forced to "sit still" for longer periods of time. In a Waldorf school, children's lessons involve movement, singing, art and painting. It is a lively education, which allows the JOY of learning.
There are several Waldorf schools in Sonoma county:
Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm, Santa Rosa (private),
Sebastopol Independent Charter School (public)
SunRidge Charter School,Sebastopol, (public)
Live Oak Charter School, Petaluma (public)
With 30 years of teaching children in all settings, the best environment I've seen for learning is in the Waldorf school. I hope you will visit one of the local schools and speak with its faculty. The Waldorf kindergartens are a magical place!



answers from San Francisco on

Hi A.,

Although I don't know about the Montessori schools you speak of, I just wanted to let you know that I am a huge Montessori fan. I will admit that not all Montessori schools interpret her philosophy in the same way and I would really check one out before I signed my child up. My children went to College Oak Montessori in Santa Rosa and it was the greatest place on earth for them, in my opinion! They loved it, learned to love learning and developed excellent behaviors that have all helped them through into their public school education.

I have worked in preschools and Montessori schools (not in this area) so I also know a lot of what goes on behind the scenes. If you do choose a traditional pre-school, make sure it is not one that does full day day care as well (unless you absolutely need your child to be in day care and you have no choice). If you choose Montessori,(they separate the day care component from the "school" component so you probably don't have to worry much if they have a full day care program), spend some time in the classroom before you enroll and see how it all works. I have worked in one and observed a few where they treat the kids like robots completely misunderstanding Maria Montessori's teachings (I believe). A good Montessori is by far better than a regular preschool if you ask me. If you want to discuss this more with me, you can pm me as I would be more than happy to talk to you about my experiences.

My kids absolutely thrived in Montessori. They both learned so much including how to read before kindergarten (one exceptionally well, one just comfortable with letters and words and sounds). That was sort of a bonus. It was the way they fostered the beauty of childhood and how much the kids learned to rely on themselves to learn and behave rather than to be instructed all day as to what it was "time" for by preschool "teacher".

I can elaborate more personally if you like.

Good luck with whatever you choose!

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