Montessori for Gifted?

[deleted account] ( 21 moms have responded )

Hello,

My son is 4 and in Pre-K. He was just tested for gifted through our school board and scored 3.4 deviations above the norm. I'm not sure if that's considered highly gifted or not but hopefully you guys can give me some advice.

He is having serious problems in his Pre-K classroom. It's very structured and he doesn't do well with structure at all. His teacher and the administrators refuse to alter things for him. They want him to do exactly what the other kids are doing at the pace of the other kids. That doesn't work at all for him. Ideally I'd like to homeschool him but I work full time so for now I'd like to find other options.

Our public school system has a Montessori school that I've applied for (our school system does a lottery for the special schools to determine who gets in). They only take 40 students but because he's considered special ed I might be able to get him in even if he doesn't win a spot in the lottery.

After that long post I just want to know how many of you have kids in a Montessori school and do you feel it's working for your child? The school isn't 100% Montessori because they still have to take the standardized state tests and have to teach certain things but it's the only Montessori school around here.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Annmaree - posted on 03/15/2009

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Here is a thought...you have your child enrolled in a school...their job is to teach him...make them do their job. Its really not that difficult. 



We didnt have the option for Montessori or any other alternate schooling.  When my daughter was in 6 yrs old, she was tested and found to have the numeracy ability of a 15 yr old...and the literacy level of a 17 yr old.  Her school wanted to put her ahead two years.  I wouldnt allow this as it happend to me when I was a kid.....academically still not a challenge, however, emotionally it was a disaster.



 



I discussed the options with her school - they were participating in unsatisfactory behaviour by taking her out of her grade 3 class and sending her to other year levels to help kids with learning difficulties.  She was spending an hour a day in her own class.  I was not happy with this, not at all!.....So,.....I put my foot down.  I did a substatial amount of research and found that the way to deal with these kids is not to pull them from class or put them ahead of their peers....and certainly not to stifle them....but to continue to occupy them at the same level as their peers. 



The end result was that she stayed in her class with all her little friends but had extra work to do e.g.  If the other kids had to write 3 sentences, she had to write two pages. It worked a treat.  She didnt get bored, she wasnt harmed emotionally, she was not ridiculed.  The school ended up developing a GT program due to the constant hassles they had with me being insistent....but it was advantageous for everyone in the long run. 



 




So, my advice....make the school do their job.  Be firm with your needs and with what is not acceptable for your child.....let them know that whilst you consider their school to be a great facility, you will not tolerate them behaving in an unacceptable and less than professional manner.

Julie - posted on 05/16/2009

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We just put our daughter in a Montessori elementary school, and we are thrilled! They are very flexible, don't have to be totally structured, are encouraged to learn at their own pace, and the curriculum is challenging, seems at least 2-3 grades ahead of public schools, if not more.

Tammy - posted on 03/10/2009

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Not neccessarily.  My daughters boyfriend absolutely hates and resents his mom for homeschooling him.    She goes on and on about how wonderful it was and what an awsome job she did, but when he talks to me and my daughter he says he felt she was controlling and all he ever wanted to do was go to regular school.  He feels that he didn't get the socailization that he needed even though she had "playdates" with other homeschooled kids regularly.  Plus  she is a very smart woman (has a law degree) but he felt for a long time he was teaching himself because as a gifted child he was ahead of her in the areas he was interested in (engineering).  Home schooling is not a cure all or always the best.  Every family has to find what works for them and make sure it also fits with their child.

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Jennifer - posted on 09/24/2010

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Great to read these posts! Our daughter starts Montessori school when she is 18 months. Really looking forward to i. :)

User - posted on 09/22/2010

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Ok...here's my thinking as a public school teacher: If this school only takes 40 kids per year, there is still a chance you won't get in. This leaves us with the question of what are you going to do with your child if he doesn't get into the Montessori school? You say that your child is special ed, and if that's the case then you need to put into his IEP that he needs accelerated curriculum. Most public school curriculum guides come with accelerated curriculum that takes the material and extends it for kids who are accelerated learners. I would say that most of your son's behavior issues stem from the fact that he's bored. He finishes early and wants to move on, but the teachers are waiting for the other kids to finish too. I think that the Montessori method (if done true to Maria Montessori's philosophy) works for many many children (except my niece) and your son would probably do well there, but this is merely an option in case you can't get him into the Montessori school.

Jennifer - posted on 06/23/2009

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My son is 4 will be starting preschool in the fall; we have enrolled him in a Montessori School. I work at a public school and could not see him being sucessful in a regular preschool. Things like "carpet time" and "nap time" would cause him some serious stress! He is very active and can sometime dominate a single teachers attention. I can't imagine him sitting quietly through a lesson on colors or shapes when he can read, do math and would much rather know why those shapes or colors have those names....The Montessori school we chose has smaller classes and each teacher is with an aide. There is also the idea that he'll be with a class of kids of mixed ages. I think socially, that will be a better fit for him.



Now, my husband started out in school in a Montessori Program was not sucessful. When he got to public school he was bored out of his mind and an old pro at finding trouble. We are hoping that my son will be excited about school and will be able to move ahead at his own pace so that he does not get bored and find trouble. (We'll keep our fingers crossed)...

[deleted account]

My son attended Montessori school for 4 years, and I wish he could have stayed in it forever! His stopped after 2nd grade. It was a great method for him because he could work at his own pace, and his teachers could give him advanced work in the areas he needed. They enjoyed more downtime than his public school could ever offer, because they were very efficient to have all the students working individually or together in a very organized way, and because they did not have to worry about spending lots of time preparing for state or national testing as public schools do. He felt more freedom in Montessori school and enjoyed a much faster-paced and challenging learning environment. But the other moms are right that you must check out the school and the teachers to see if it might work for your child.

Deborah - posted on 05/31/2009

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We are considering Montessori programs for our daughter but do know that the word Montessori does not mean they follow the structure exact and on top of that you have one in a public school district so I can bet they are loosely following the ideas of it. Questions to ask in regards to a gifted child:

Is she/he required to finish everything in the three step process and get checked off before moving on? A lot of schools work this way and for gifted kids this can be redundant and cause problems.

If the child is on the line between one group level and another level will they be allowed to move on or have to wait until they are in the age range? Most Montessori programs will allow the child to move to the next level no matter what the age but by their ability but some programs hold fast to that rule and in the end is no different than the regular public school room if they are focused on the age and not ability.

Just food for thought...

Dawn - posted on 05/28/2009

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Hi Jamie....When our 8 yr old son was starting pre K, I actually went to the doctor for some information, I was not sure what else to do...The dr. gave me a few options, they were a montessori school or a french immersion school...I called the head mistress at the montessori school, she just rubbed me the wrong way...she was telling me that there are lots of kids who can read before kindergarden, and I am sure there are, but at 3??? not too many I know....so our oldest son was attending a french immersion school, BUT in the english program, (we are not french speaking canadians)m, I went and spoke to the principal...and guess what...we enrolled him into the french immersion and he has EXCELLED and is also in the excelerated french program...BEST decision we ever made!!! Hope this helps, good luck.

Linda - posted on 05/19/2009

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my oldest daughter is gifted and has been in her public schools gifted program since 3rd grade (she is now going into 10th) I did have her in a Montesorri School starting when she was three, sadly I couldn't afford to send both her and her sister so I had to put her in public school by the time she started kindergarten (I didn't think it was fair to send one and not the other) Well anyway I think Montessori schools are wonderful and I think it would of been better for her if it had been an option.

Elizabeth - posted on 04/10/2009

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My 3,6, and 8 year olds all attend a Montessori charter school in our area. We have found it to be a wonderful experience. All children in Montessori schools learn at their own speed and so the school is already set up to allow children to move ahead as they advance, and spend more time with subjects that challenge them. My eight year old was always bored in other schools and homeschooling was not feasible for us. She has never been as happy with learning as she is now. It is not a great option for all children but for children that are independently motivated and need to progress at their own individual pace the Montessori method can be perfect!

Megan - posted on 03/29/2009

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We founf a Montessori in our area that goes through 8th and is able to deal with my HG son. He switched there about a month ago and loves it there. He has to get up early so I can drive him and if he gives me a hrad time about I say he can go back to the old school and boy does he jump out of bed fast. He's able to go at his pace and still stay with his social peers. Also, the jr. high teacher has two highly gifted boys that currently attend the Illinois Math and Science Academy (a high school for highly gifted kids). So there's someone I can talked to if I need a little guidance or advice. If you can swing tuition I think it's definately a way to go. There are 11 montessori schools by my house so I did my homework and so should you. Not every school is going to work for you. It's was definately worth all the time and energy it took to find the right fit. Good luck.

Missy - posted on 03/24/2009

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My son goes to Montessori and it is wonderful. We started at a preschool affiliated with our church and it was a disaster in every way possible. I pulled him out when they told me he needed to see a behavioral specialist. Ever since, he's been in the Montessori classroom. The methods of Montessori are simply better for gifted students and the teachers are prepared to handle students at all different levels. The public schools are not this way. I taught in the public school system for six years. You teach to the middle of the class. You HAVE to. You don't have time with thirty students in your classroom to give everyone an individual lesson. Sure, you are supposed to take every student into account, but I taught high school and had 160 - 180 kids a day. It was tough! I LOVED my job and the kids, don't get me wrong, but the public school system at large has failed the teachers AND the students in many ways. You may be really lucky and have a great PS system, they're out there and it's WONDERFUL when things work the way that they should, but if your school can't cut it, Montessori is a great option. Our Montessori school goes up to 7th grade and there is also a Montessori high school in the area. Homeschool is also a really good option for gifted kids who have the personality for it.

[deleted account]

AnnMaree - I love that philosophy! And esp if you are paying for that education - you should have the right and ability to demand they follow through.



*wow* what an eye opener!!



thank you thank you thank you!

[deleted account]

I love the montessori methods. Aiden will start at our montessori school in Jan next year (thats when our school years begin). We chose it as he will have more freedom in what he wants to learn and also in that he can mix (learn and play) with kids older than himself.

Kelly - posted on 03/10/2009

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Both of my kids are gifted and both of them have gone or are going to Montessori.  I love Montessori - I plan on keeping my son in it as long as possible.  This fall he'll be going to kindergarten and will be staying in Montessori.  I think it provides much more than the public schools in terms of individualized attention and fostering a love of learning, among other things.   I highly recommend it.

Meryl - posted on 03/09/2009

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Both of my kids are Montessori Grads mainlined into public school (we have awesome schools here). The Montessori foundation they got was great. But, you have to make sure that it is not a "military" type Montesorri school (many of them are). We called ours "Montesorri Light". They followed the teaching methods but the kids still had freedom and were not required to "be like everyone else". Good luck!

Phoebe - posted on 03/07/2009

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I feel that Montessori is often a better option for gifted children. I think if you can get him in it will be better than your other public school options. I was able to have my son in a Montessori school for only about 3 months and then had to move. I wish that we could afford to have him in Montessori school here. The most important issue for my son was needing time to work at something until he was ready to be done. Our typical school system focuses so much on following directions and being compliant. I hate for him to be told what to do every minute of the day.

[deleted account]

Homeschool him! A friend taught her son to read while he walked up and down the hall. He wouldn't sit still in school, but let him move and give him a book and he excelled! Don't take your round child and stick him in a square school. Give him what he needs and wants: YOU! Go to discovery museums (buy an annual pass and get in free at museums all over the country!), keep a nature journal, learn math by counting apples and weighing them at the grocery store. Learn fractions measuring ingredients for cupcakes or dividing by figuring out how many cookies he gets if there are 4 and he has to share them with you. Look into homeschooling in your area and get into a support group with other private homeschoolers. You will not regret it. Even on your worst day, your son will know you love him, you want the best for him, and that he's important enough to have Mommy want to teach him and learn along with him!

Rebekah - posted on 02/07/2009

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My son attends a Montessori which is pre through K. We are considering keeping him in Montessori in elementary and we have 2 options here, public or private. I believe they go up through jr. high.

He really likes his school, although I do think we have been especially lucky with the group of teachers we have this year because they seem to enjoy finding challenges for him and bringing new materials into the classroom for him. The other day when I picked him up they were excited that they had found something that wasn't easy for him right away. :)

We have not yet toured the elementary Montessories to see the curriculum for the upper elementary, but so far we have been very pleased with the fact that they can make special allowances for him without it seeming like too much of an allowance since everyone is doing their own work. The only problems we've had are that the other kids want to be able to do his work too, because it is new and different. This upset him for a while. I think the classes of grouped ages could also be a great aspect, although I do wonder what will happen when he is at the top of the range rather than the bottom.

I do agree that it will depend a lot on the individual school, the teachers and the rest of the staff/administration. I would expect that they should be willing to meet with you to discuss your concerns and tell you about what sorts of things they would be able to do for your son. If they're not interested, then I would say it's not a great option.

Jerin - posted on 02/06/2009

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It really depends on the individual Montessori school.  If the method is used like I was trained, then it would be a great place for a HG child, because they would be able to continue at whatever pace they master the materials.  But many "Montessori" schools have been infiltrated with a lot of the same "keep everyone on the same pace" stuff that you're already experiencing frustration with.  It's definitely worh going and talking to the Montessori teachers and seeing what their methodology is before fighting for the placement.

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