Montessori preschool

We are planning to start Connor in preschool this fall. Up until now, he's been going to a babysitter who watches kids in her house. We've gotten some recommendations from friends and visited a couple preschools.

Does anyone have experience with Montessori preschools? There are a couple Montessoris that we're considering, and I like what I've read about the philosophy. They are a little more expensive than some of the other preschools, so I would be happy to hear anyone's recommendations or experiences before we decide.
Karan goes to Montessori, and Sandhya will follow next year. We're happy with the school. In fact with Karan, we've opted to keep him there for Kindergarten.

Firstly, the term Montessori is very liberally applied and one Montessori school may bear very little resemblance to the next. Some schools are more true to the philosophy than others and that's not necessarily a good thing. Make sure you like the specific policies/attitudes at your particular school. Karan's teacher is Montessori certified but she doesn't agree with all Montessori principles and tells parents about her views right upfront.

I like the fact that its a 3 year cohort (3-5) rather than by age. Socially I like the mix of older and younger kids and the fact that the older ones "mentor" the littler ones. And the curriculum is individually based - so each student spends one on one time with the teacher every day and she assigns tasks that are specific to their level, regardless of age or where they "should" be. For Karan, he is quite a bit ahead in some areas - he knew all his letter sounds and could count objects before he was 3 - so he needs a challenge and enjoys learning. He's a very good reader at age 4. Sandhya on the other hand is going to be way behind her peers at age 3 but again since its an individual curriculum, there will be something for her to learn at her own level while she's enjoying the company of other kids.

I know for some kids it can all be a bit too serious. I am always amazed at how quiet Karan's classroom is considering its 20 3-5 year olds. They do 30 minutes of circle time, 1 hour of "work" (maybe 15 minutes per task - a mix of language, math and practical life skills), 30 minutes of snack/play outside/games. But Karan enjoys it, and he has the rest of the day to run around and play and be crazy.

I know kids don't need preschool, but my kids enjoy being out of the house for a couple of hours every day (and I enjoy having them out of my hair!)


I went to Montesorri school as a child and assumed I would send Alexander to one as well. Once I got to know him better, I realized that he would not thrive in that environment. I was a bit disappointed because I do like the features of it but it was not a good fit for him.


"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -- Theodor Seuss Geisel
Karan goes to Montessori, and Sandhya will follow next year. We're happy with the school. In fact with Karan, we've opted to keep him there for Kindergarten.

Firstly, the term Montessori is very liberally applied and one Montessori school may bear very little resemblance to the next. Some schools are more true to the philosophy than others and that's not necessarily a good thing. Make sure you like the specific policies/attitudes at your particular school. Karan's teacher is Montessori certified but she doesn't agree with all Montessori principles and tells parents about her views right upfront.

I like the fact that its a 3 year cohort (3-5) rather than by age. Socially I like the mix of older and younger kids and the fact that the older ones "mentor" the littler ones. And the curriculum is individually based - so each student spends one on one time with the teacher every day and she assigns tasks that are specific to their level, regardless of age or where they "should" be. For Karan, he is quite a bit ahead in some areas - he knew all his letter sounds and could count objects before he was 3 - so he needs a challenge and enjoys learning. He's a very good reader at age 4. Sandhya on the other hand is going to be way behind her peers at age 3 but again since its an individual curriculum, there will be something for her to learn at her own level while she's enjoying the company of other kids.

I know for some kids it can all be a bit too serious. I am always amazed at how quiet Karan's classroom is considering its 20 3-5 year olds. They do 30 minutes of circle time, 1 hour of "work" (maybe 15 minutes per task - a mix of language, math and practical life skills), 30 minutes of snack/play outside/games. But Karan enjoys it, and he has the rest of the day to run around and play and be crazy.

I know kids don't need preschool, but my kids enjoy being out of the house for a couple of hours every day (and I enjoy having them out of my hair!)
Originally Posted by mad scientist
this sounds exactly like the school we're sending majerle to next year. its a friends (quaker) school, but they also do mixed age grade levels, self guided learning, etc. i was also surprised at how quiet the room was when we visited!
Isaiah started last summer, a few months shy of his 3rd birthday. He goes 3 days a week. Starts at 8am and he can stay until 6. (He is never there that long). we pay $85 a week. Which was much less that I thought it would. In Florida we have a VPK program (Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program) for 4 year olds free of charge and I was excited that the school offers it.

As Darkangel said, it does depend on the kid. Isaiah loves it. He likes his "lessons". He likes having a task, a goal. He cannot wait until he gets to do the "Big kid lessons"

One thing I love is how diverse the students are. Someone commented on a picture I posted that it looked like a mini UN. Isaiah is co-taught by a woman from Jordan and another from Puerto Rico (She teaches them baby spanish) The older kids are taught by a woman from India.


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My friend takes her kids to a Montesorri like Mad Scientist...her kids love it.

When my kids were in daycare...I would have gladly taken them to a Montesorri instead of where we were at.
Trenell, that sounds like a great price for your preschool. C will need to go full-time, which will be around $145-$160 per week in our area.

I read this article published in Science a few years ago, which reported very positive outcomes for Montessori education compared with traditional. That is very persuasive to me to send him to a Montessori preschool

Diversity is another issue I've considered. DH and DS's and I are white, so I'm not worried about them fitting in per se, but I think there's value in raising the kids with diverse peers and playmates. The Montessori we visited is all or nearly all white. The other preschool (not Montessori) we liked was much more racially diverse. I also liked that it has a language immersion program in Spanish, French, Italian, or Japanese with teachers who are native speakers.

I'm still undecided, but we'll be deciding in the next few weeks so we can reserve his spot for this fall.
I just looked at the montessori school that is right next to my job - tuition would be 17,000 for BK for full day and that does not include the 8 weeks in the summer.

This is when I wish I had a second parent to help fund things like this.

I just looked at the montessori school that is right next to my job - tuition would be 17,000 for BK for full day and that does not include the 8 weeks in the summer.
Originally Posted by Munchy
Wow, that's nuts! I wouldn't pay that for high school, let alone preschool!

Our Montessori preschool is no more expensive than regular preschool - $3200 for the school year ($320/month). Full day would be double this.


I am astonished at some of the prices for preschool and daycare. We live in the Midwest, which is cheaper, but just for fun, I looked up preschools in Manhattan so I would feel better about our prices. Heh. DH and I agree that if we ever have a 3rd baby, it will have to be after C is in kindergarten because we don't want to pay for 3 kids in daycare/preschool at once.

Mad Scientist, I meant to say thank you for your description of your preschool. We are visiting one more Montessori school next week, and then we'll make a decision.

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