Montessori School

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.

9 thoughts on “Montessori School

  1. I know this comment is months late and I don’t know what decision you ultimately made. I can’t speak highly enough about a Montessori Education. I have watched my older child grow and blossom more in 2yrs then she ever would have in a more traditional education setting. The individualized, child-led approach has allowed her to move at her own pace and work at her own levels being challenged and at the same time getting extra help and support in areas where she is struggling.

    I understand your hesitation and the sometimes strange looks and comments that come from people who do not understand the Montessori philosophy. Though I have to share with you just a small bit of information that might ease your mind. The year my child started at her school as a 3yr old in the primary class there were 45 open spots. For those 45 spots there were 3,000 lottery applications. 3,000 children’s parents thought Montessori was the best educational choice for their child. When you then think about how many applied for the other magnet Montessori School and those who attend private Montessori schools in the area the number just keeps growing and growing.

    From what I have herd most Montessori students transition well into more traditional classrooms down the road often working above grade level. The benefits for children with special needs is also outstanding.


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  3. Yay!!!! So so happy you have found a school. Wonderful news! And I went to a non-traditional school. We had mixed-age grouping and no letter grades until middle school, and it was wonderful. I’m actually visiting a Montessori school this week for Nate 🙂 Let us know how it works out! I’m avoiding mainstream here!


  4. We moved our children from a special ed school and a public school in NYC to Washington Montessori in Washington, CT 3 years ago. It’s a pre-k – grade 8 school. It took a bit of adjusting but the attention that our children receive on all levels has been wonderful. Montessori really does encourage a love of learning. Neither of my children received grades at their other schools prior to this one so montessori’s are not the only ones straying from grades. In fact, the majority of our graduates move onto the numerous prep schools in the area and are typically regarded as some of the best prepared once they arrive. If you loved it, go, you won’t regret it.


  5. They may not have a first day of school photo at the bus stop, but think about the photos (and more importantly pride) Max will have the first time he completes the long 10 chain or Ben will have the first time he builds the pink tower!

    As for the lack of grades, our school keeps track of our Middle School graduates. We have high school valedictorians (in the academically competitive northern NJ area) and students who go on the colleges including Brown and University of Pennsylvania. They have been taught how to manage their time and take responsibility for their work.

    I liked the comment above about being “ahead of the crowd.” Remember when everyone thought Base 10 blocks were so revolutionary? Montessori schools have been using the, for over 70 years. Child sized furniture was a Montessori idea too, and nowadays we’d be shocked to see anything but that in a child’s classroom.

    You know your children best, and whatever decision you make will be the right one for your family.


  6. I think you should go with your gut. If you think it is a good fit for your kids right now, go for it. My understanding is that you can not join Montessori later on past K, unless you have had prior experience. Re-evaluate as time goes on, public school will be always (hopefully) be there if that is where you want to go later. Also Hartford has 2 Montessori magnets, and if you live in Glastonbury, I’m sure you could easily get a spot in one of them, which would be free “public” school. I think they start pre-k 3 and 4, but the lottery is over for this year. Good luck!


  7. We homeschool (unschool) but I have many friends who send their kids to Montessori and LOVE it. I have sincerely never heard anything but good things about it. And I wouldn’t worry too much about it not being mainstream….that mainstream is a little polluted if you ask me, lol! Seriously, though, I do believe that there is a LARGE movement toward the Montessori/child-led learning way of life. Instead of feeling left behind, I do believe that you’ll be ahead of the crowd. And if you all love it, then of course follow your heart, Mama.

    How wonderful to find something that feels like a great fit for you boys! Yay!


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