We went to visit a Montessori school today. We’d read up on the philosophy and were pretty confident that it was the right kind of school to try for Max and that Ben would do well there too. I think we were right. It was calm. It was peaceful. The children were engaged and when they weren’t were redirected. The teachers smiled…a lot. One laughed when a child asked her a riddle (How do you make seven an even number? Do you know?) They all took pride in what the children were learning and expressed joy in their successes. We are pretty sure we love this place.
But part of me is hesitating. There is the cost of sending both of the boys there, but it’s more than that. I worry that Montessori is not mainstream enough. I believe that it’s a wonderful philosophy that truly gets at the core of how children learn but clearly not everyone does or else all schools would be Montessori schools, no? I wonder how it will affect the boys long term to not have grades or be evaluated in the traditional sense. Will it make them more successful because they are developing a drive to learn rather than just striving for an easy A or will it set them too far apart from their peers in a bad way? How will they transition to a more traditional school environment once they age out of this school? Will they (and let’s face it, will I) have to suffer a lifetime of ridicule for having gone/sending my kids to a “hippy school where they don’t have grades”? And lastly, I’m secretly disappointed that if they go to this school, there will be no traditional first day of kindergarten photo of them standing on the front stoop or at the bus stop. First day of Lower Elementary just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Chances are I’ll get over my fears and hesitation and do what I think is best for my boys, but any words of encouragement especially from Montessori fans or alumnae are appreciated.