Has anyone had a child who wasn't a good fit for Montessori? — The Bump

Has anyone had a child who wasn't a good fit for Montessori?

Hi All!

I'm a board floater, and this is my first post here.

I just had a big move thrown upon me (I'm Army), and I'm going to have to have to uproot my family from DC to Washington State. In DC there are tons of great preschools of all kinds. I've quickly learned that the same is not true in Wash State. Without having a lot of time to visit all of them myself, I think the best bet for a solid program is Montessori.

 My concern is that when I visited a Montessori school here a while ago, all of the kids seemed so quietly attentive and dedicated. I wasn't sure my DS (3 y/o) could do it. He is currently in an outdoor nursery program where they embrace his "wild man" side. I work every day assessing children with ADHD, and I am certain that if his behavior doesn't change with age, I will be taking him to my own clinic in a few years. But for now, I want a place where he will be happy and not looked down upon for his free spirit. I guess I envision him tearing through the classroom, stepping on others' mats and using materials in his own ways.


Re: Has anyone had a child who wasn't a good fit for Montessori?

  • YES!  We started our 3 yo in Montessori at the start of the year, and he was constantly frustrated by being told ALL DAY EVERY DAY how to use the materials.  It was a really poor fit for his creative, out-of-the-box, and kinetic style.  I'm really not concerned about ADHD in his case, and I think he really is a pretty normal 3 yo, but he started acting out at home and school and was miserable.  We pulled him after 2 months.  He's now in a Reggio-inspired program and LOVES it, and is really thriving. 

    Montessori just isn't for everyone, especially some boys.

     Also, the "individuality" and "flexibility" of the curriculum were a bit of a misidentification in our eyes--there's actually an AMAZING amount of structure and rules they need to follow in their learning.


    Just my opinion--YMMV...

    Good luck!

  • We toured a Montessori pre-school for our DS and I really liked it.  There were a few things that I wasn't crazy about but overall pretty impressed with the place.  We then toured a co-op preschool and I was shocked that I really liked it; I was hoping DH would have a strong opinion about one of them in particular but he didn't. 

    We decided to go with the co-op since he was starting in January and it seemed to be more social and fun. We thought give him a few months of this, see how it goes and re-evaluate during summer where he should go in fall.  After only 2 months into the co-op I am so thrilled with our decision.  DS needs social skills and the Montessori is pretty focused on independent and individual play.  The co-op also seems to be a lot more free-spirited and big on imagination which is also what our DS needs otherwise he would be in 'time-out' all day at the Montessori :)

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  • It was and wasn't a good fit for my DS.  He does not function well with routine, so it was good that he could do his own thing.  He probably  has ADHD (being evaluated now) and so has the ability to focus well on things that interest him.  Montessori worked well for him in that aspect b/c he was able to keep doing the things he liked until he was done with them, with just some gentle guidance to other areas of learning.  But, he needed a lot more social support than he was able to receive at a Montessori school where the focus was very academic. 

    Have you looking into PS at you school district?  If you suspect your DC might have special needs, this might be a good fit since they will have resources available to help him if he needs it.  I would tour PS's too and see how they treat kids who want to continue to work on things until they finish or who are averse to circle time.  We did visit traditional PS's that were ok with kids having flexibility in their day as long as they weren't disruptive to the class.  They were also really great about giving the kids who needed to be active an outlet for that every day.  One thing I didn't like about DS's school was that it was very small and had no ability to provide indoor gross motor play when there was bad weather (which is common here 4 mos of the year).  So, a school district PS might also be good b/c they have access to school buildings with gyms and playgrounds.

    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
  • I looked into it, but I don't think it would be a good fit for my DD1. 

    She's already got a lot of knowledge -- letters, numbers, shapes, colors, etc. -- but has a speech delay and we're having her evaluated for developmental issues. I think she would enjoy montessori to some extent; she has good focus when she's doing something she likes, and she would have no issue doing her own thing independently all day. In fact, that's the problem -- she really needs a program with built-in structure for social interaction and working with her on imaginative play.

    Our district preschools use Tools of the Mind curriculum, and I really liked what I observed in the classrooms and what I've read about it. It puts the kids in small groups or pairs pretty often, they have a lot of play-based stations -- but they work with the teachers one-on-one first to plan what they're going to do (like, we're going to play grocery store; I'm going to be a customer; I'm going to be a clerk, etc.) and then follow through and do creative play within that structure. It's supposed to be very helpful with getting kids to self-regulate socially and emotionally in ways that prepare them for learning. 

    I think the curriculum is fascinating, really, and I think it's going to be a very good fit for my DD1.  

    On the other hand, if you're really interested in Montessori, I'd start making some calls to places and asking how they handle kids like your son. I have a nephew who is a crazy whirlwind of a kid and he behaves totally differently at his Montessori school than he does with his parents, and really flourishes there.  


    DD1, 1/5/2008 ~~~ DD2, 3/17/2010
  • My DD would not be a good fit for Montessori.  She does very well in a play based pre-k,  but she would be horribly frustrated by Montessori.  My BFF's DD did wonderfully in Montessori.  It just suited her.
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