Choosing a preschool shouldn't be this hard! A Montessori question. — The Bump
Pre-School

Choosing a preschool shouldn't be this hard! A Montessori question.

I have asked something similar a few months ago, so sorry for the repeat but we are revisiting this and I was hoping for some more opinions. 

We have the option of going to a Spanish Emersion Montessori preschool but it is $$$, especially because we are putting two in at once. We met with the owner again today who said something along the lines of "if you value a Montessori education you will do what you can to make it work." She gave us options for helping out at the school to take a bit off the tuition, but in reality it didn't seem like enough bang for the buck. It would be the equivalent of getting about $10 an hour. (Which I suppose isn't bad but a fraction of what I would make just working).  I would probably have to pick up one extra shift at work to send the boys there. There is another non-Montessori Spanish Emersion preschool nearby as well that is a bit cheaper. 

I am so torn. I don't know if I value a Montessori education enough to make it work. Sure, I've heard good things and I like the idea of it, but enough to be away from my boys more to make it happen? (I do work part time but I also don't want to get caught up into working more just to pay for things because I think that me being there for my kids is of value too.)

I obviously know it is my decision, but would value any input from you all. Is Montessori really better? Did any of you struggle with a similar situation and what was your thought process in making your final decision? 

 

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Re: Choosing a preschool shouldn't be this hard! A Montessori question.

  • Have you looked at traditional non-Montessouri (sp?) preschools?

    My DD is at a tradtional preschool, w/ lots of playtime, lots of pre-school/social skills she's doing great - I'm happy with the progress she's making. 

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  • imageKathrynMD:

    Have you looked at traditional non-Montessouri (sp?) preschools?

    My DD is at a tradtional preschool, w/ lots of playtime, lots of pre-school/social skills she's doing great - I'm happy with the progress she's making. 

     

    We have looked at two other traditional preschools. The kids seemed happy and the teachers were nice at all of them. I think the Montessori school stood out because it was based on a philosophy of some sort that the owner talked a lot about. The other schools didn't have philosophy to share, mainly just we play a lot and do an hour of stations then lunch. Not that that means it is inferior to Montessori, it is just that the Montessori lady had more to talk about so it seemed better. Does that make sense?

    In reality I just think I'm making this more complicated than it should be ;) I'm sure my boys will thrive wherever they go....

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  • I'm no expert, but of course no one at a Montessori school is going to be indifferent about their school.  I'm sure they think its the bestest thing ever.  and, it may be, I don't know.

    Having your kid in preschool is good, for some kids I'm sure the Montessori philosophy is super helpful, but I'm sure for the vast majority of kids, they would thrive in any kind of environment.

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  • We are trying to decide on a 4k school for our daughter for next fall (enrollment begins in January). We are choosing between a German Immersion school which is one of the best schools around and is only 1 mile from our house, but if we don't get in, I am looking at a few private schools, as the other public schools near our house aren't that great, and I am not shipping my child 45 minutes across town every day to go to school.

    My husband is an educator, and he is not a fan of Monterrosi education. So it's not an option for us, but only you can determine that for your family! And no, Montessori is not better, IMO.

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  • The spanish immersion part sounds awesome! We toured a public Montessori program here along with traditional play-based preschools, and ended up chosing a creative curriculum, play-based program. We love it and DS has really thrived there. So personally when I see such success at a non-Monetssori program, I would never feel like it would be "worth it" to pay extra for that.

    ETA: Were you able to see the Montessori class actually in session? That might make a difference. It was different, and you should be able to get a feel for it quite quickly on whether or not you think your child would enjoy that.

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  • imagejalaiaa:

    In reality I just think I'm making this more complicated than it should be ;) I'm sure my boys will thrive wherever they go....

    Yes.  I don't think I'd go to such great lengths to make the Montessori option work.  Time with your kids is important!

    We have DD in a Montessori and in some ways it's been great for her.  But after issues with the director's management style we're going to pull her out at the end of the year and we don't have another Montessori option that works for our schedules. (We seem to be at a Montessori that's more rigid than some.)  I'll miss having DD in a mixed-age classroom, but I think there will be other positives to a tranditional preschool that will offset what we lose.

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  • imagecmeon_the_water:

    We're very happy with our traditional (non language immersion) Montessori for our kids.

    You do need to consider hour-per-hour program cost when comparing Montessori to other stand alone preschool programs. Since true Montessori is always 5 days a week, you're going to get more hours a week than programs that only run 3 days a week, for instance. I know our school's pricing becomes very competitive when compared to the other stand alone programs, when hours are considered. Throw in the MUCH higher education levels, teacher certifications, and the $$$$ for materials, and it really becomes a bargain.

    That said- if affording it put us in a financial bind, we'd definitely reconsider other options. We are starting our daughter in January as a 3yo, though- and with our son still in the primary program (in K), our monthly tuition could easily afford us another house. So, obviously, we find value in it.

    It would be a house payment for us too. DH and I were talking about dividing it up by hourly rate, essentially, and doing it that way pricing is a only a bit more than the other 3 day a week programs or ones with shorter days. But at the end of the day the total is still more.

    Can I ask what aspects specifically that you find value in that you wouldn't find at a traditional school?   

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  • My DD is in Montessori school and we love it.  It also happens to be one of the most expensive in town.  However if it was going to be a huge financial stretch for us I would most definitely consider non-Montessori options.  I don't think any one method or philosophy is best and I think my DD would do well in a variety of environments.
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  • My DS is in a Spanish Immersion Montessori and he is flourishing. For us, the Spanish was incredibly important.
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  • I researched montessori preschools and traditional preschools, and I personally significanlty prefer traditional preschools over montessori preschools. However, a good friend of mine is head over heels for montessori vs. traditional.

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  • My son is currently at a Montessori school and we are pleased. He was at a traditional preschool before and he was doing great there too. I love a lot of the tenets of Montessori and have tried to implement many in our home life. That being said, Montessori, is not the be all end all. I would not send him if it put us in a financial strain. Maybe you could try the traditional one and see if you like it. I like the language aspect of the program you mentioned but again I am not a fan of paying more than I can afford. GL with your decision. 
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  • My girls have/are in a Regio Emilia program that is run through our public schools Early Childhood Education department and I pay for the program - about the same as I was paying for the daycare center.  For me, it is worth every penny that I pay but if I had to pay anymore than this for the program and work more to do it - I would pass.  Montessori is only 1 of many different styles of preschool and honestly, its preschool.  Do you really want to go into debt or work extra hours to pay for preschool?  Look at all of your options and then make a decision.  My kids are in a full day, 5 days a week full school day and before/after care and all meals and field trips are included.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • My daughter has been in both (and is now in Montessori), as well as I spent almost 2 years working in a traditional preschool.  Children can flourish in either situation, assuming the staff is good - so my rec is to talk to the staff, find out their training, history, how long they are normally with the center, etc.  From my experience, the centers that have long time staff are going to provide a better environment, regardless of the overall philosophy.  Any national chain type place should have a curriculum and you should be able to tell from looking around the center and classroom if its being followed.  Also, how do the classrooms sound when you visit - do the children seem happy, sad, chaotic, calm, etc?  Now, while I love Montessori, I would not sacrifice home life to "afford" it assuming there was another preschool around that I felt my child would be safe and happy at.  Go with your gut.

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