Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Yet another pre-school post

Phew...my husband and I have just concluded our 6th of 8 pre-school visits and are thoroughly confused. While we know that Little G will thrive at any of the schools that we choose for him for next year, we are finding ourselves stuck as we consider his future. On the one hand, he's just over two, so we don't want to over-think it. On the other hand, we both see how important a good education is to advance in life and we want to provide the best that we can and that means starting early.

Here is what we DO know: We are definitely leaning towards NOT sending our kids through Boston Public Schools (BPS) for high school, if not starting as early as 7th grade.

With that in mind, here are the variables that we are facing as we consider pre-schools:

1) Montessori vs. traditional preschool - we visited our first Montessori school today and left with a few impressions. Mine was that I totally believe and can see that the kids who start with a Montessori background come out of it ahead of the curve...but what do they do when they get to 'regular school'...not necessarily how do they integrate, but how do they continue to stay motivated to STAY ahead of the curve? Also, what about the home environment? I am admittedly not as willing to do child-led activities in my own home because quite frankly, I'm a control freak. For example, we have a rice bucket, and I rarely let Little G use it because I don't feel like cleaning up the mess and he's not that great at cleaning it himself - as in he tries to clean it but really makes it worse and then gets mad if I try to help...yeah...so I'm sort of the anti-child-led learning at home parent and yet, I can totally see the benefits of child-led learning as long as someone else is doing it. Would this type of disconnect be detrimental to his thriving in a Montessori school environment?

2) An independent, 2 yr preschool feeding into BPS vs. a school that takes him through 6th grade and beyond - Like I said, we don't expect Little G to continue in BPS through High School for a variety of reasons. We haven't ruled out sending him to BPS for K-6th which means that a traditional preschool that lasts 2 years seems like it would work well for him to transition into kindergarten...conversely, there are some preschool options where the school extends to 6th grade that aren't Montessori (like the school we visited first or a local Christian school). If we're hoping to send him to private school after 6th grade, will he have a leg up from having attended a private school already up until that point? Will he be at a disadvantage coming from BPS up until that point?

Anyone have some any insight or advice since at this point we are just feeling completely overwhelmed!

Thanks in advance for your wisdom.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. I was educated in a Montessori school from age 3 through 6. My Montessori school was part of a larger private school that educated through Grade 12.

    My Montessori peers and I were prepared throughout our last couple years of Montessori as to what the expectations would be once we moved onto a more traditional classroom structure in Grade 5. Once we got into the traditional setting we continued to excel and were usually, as a collective, at the top of our class. My completely unprofessional opinion on why this occurred is that we had learned at a very young, formative age to have a thirst for knowledge and how to be self-motivated. This self-motivation remained for most of us throughout high school and university - I imagine because it was ingrained in us at such a young age.

    In my family's experience, we also found that whether or not Montessori was right for a child depended greatly on that child as an individual. I thrived in Montessori and my teachers told my parents I was a "textbook Montessori child," whereas my brother foundered in Montessori and ultimately transferred to a more traditional classroom setting.

    I realized that my experiences are entirely anecdotal, but based on my experiences and those of my classmates I have a great deal of confidence in the Montessori system - so long as it jibes with the individual child's learning style(s).

  2. Oops - just realized my error as I clicked "Post." I was educated in the Montessori system from ages 3 through 9, not ages 3 through 6.