elementary montessori vs traditional - not an clear cut choice! — The Bump
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elementary montessori vs traditional - not an clear cut choice!

DD is 2 and has been enrolled in a great Montessori daycare for 1 year now. We all love it for a variety of reasons.  I recently learned that there is a Montessori charter school in my area that goes through 9th grade.  I went to visit it on Saturday and it is beautiful. From 1st grade on it is free (with an expectation of donations, I'm sure, but I'm not opposed to that). DH and I plan to observe a classroom next week. 

There is a waitlist so we would need to move DD to their daycare in the next year or two if we want a spot in the free elementary...and I was really planning to keep DD at her current school for the next 3 years because she is flourishing there.  Also, her current school is $225 less per month - significant difference in my book!

So I feel rushed to decide the fate of my 2 year old's academic career!  If we want her to stay in Montessori until high school, then the charter school is the way we want to go, BUT we have to move her in the next 1-2 years.  If we decide that traditional schooling is the better option, then we can keep her in the current school.

Reviews online are mostly positive: 4/5 starts. Reviews of the local traditional elementary school are also mostly positive: 4/5 stars.

Knowing how DH and I responded to traditional school my instincts tell me that she would be better off in Montessori.  BUT my perception is that she might not be as well prepared academically to face the challenges of math and science...and with DH and I both in these lines of work I really want her to be a contender if that is the course she chooses to take in her own career.

Large team sports in school isn't important to me because I know we can supplement with whatever she decides to pursue (within reason and with limitations, of course)

We are lucky to have two solid choices.  But how do parents make up their minds?!

Re: elementary montessori vs traditional - not an clear cut choice!

  • I'm a regular on August 2013 and was lurking here when I saw your post. I'm a high school teacher at a private high school, and I know how parents looking at our school as well as other private and public options help narrow down their choices. They look at what colleges the kids are getting into. For grade schools, they often look at what high schools the students are getting into. Since you're thinking ahead, maybe that could help?

    On a side note, I've found that happiness in the atmosphere also goes a long way toward student success. Students who are unhappy in top notch schools don't always do well. It's just a thought. Good luck!
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  • I would make sure to check out multiple classrooms. I would want to see how the academic rigor compares to a traditional school. How are they ensuring students are prepared for college? I would be very wary of such a non-traditional school for that long. At some point, students (unfortunately) have to get used to lectures, note taking and test taking. How do their students transition to a traditional high school?

    Maybe the Montessori preschools I toured were the exception, but I felt like there wasn't much structure. I'm not opposed to that when they are younger but it would be very concerning to me as students get older.
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  • Make sure you visit both schools.  Try to meet some parents from each and also if you can, interact with some older students or graduates of each.  
    One of the biggest selling points for me when looking for schools for DS was my impression of the kids that went through those schools or those like those. 
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