For the past year Sheena and Nina have been comparing notes on schooling options for their kids. Sheena is a “montessori mom” through and through. She believes in their learning method and it fits in very well with everything she wants for her children. Nina on the other hand is a “daycare mom.” She loves their system and believes it is the best for her girls. Sheena did give daycare a try for 6 months when her twins were very young, and wasn’t a huge fan. In the same respect, Nina recently gave Montessori a try with her girls and decided it wasn’t for them.
In true RAR style, Sheena and Nina have very different personal opinions about why each chose their preferred method of schooling for their children. While they were comparing notes, it was incredible to see how different their schools of thought are when it comes to how they want their children to be taught. We thought it would be interesting to share this with you guys and get your opinions as well. Below are a few reasons why each of them chose montessori or daycare for their kids.
Samir and I are true bred Montessori parents! When our twins were 15 months old, we enrolled them into daycare. A few short months later, we were forced to take them out because Saiyan was born and the twins were bringing home too many germs to be around a newborn. Once Saiyan was a little older, we started looking into schooling for the twins once again. Through some local friends, we were introduced to a Montessori school. We payed the school a visit, and it was love at first sight. We knew that this was where we wanted our children to learn and grow. My top reasons for choosing Montessori over Daycare are:
- Individualized Learning – I am a huge fan of individually based learning, which is the method that is followed in Montessori. All three of my boys learn at a different pace and the fact that each of them had a specified curriculum for their learning pace worked perfectly for them. Each student is taught lessons according to the capacity they are ready for and that was a huge plus for us. I appreciate the daycare way of group learning as well, but that just didn’t work for my boys.
- Quiet and Peaceful Environment – The first day that Samir and I walked into the Montessori school when we went to visit, there was silence! It was like heaven on earth. All the children were doing their lessons and the teachers/assistants were circling the room teaching each child one by one. There was no screaming and no running around. Everyone was concentrating on what they were doing. It was work during work time and play during playtime. We were actually shocked to see that and immediately were huge fans. Our boys are incredibly active and loud at home, so to have this environment at school was great. We believe it gives them a balance of both worlds. It created a sense of discipline when learning.
- Teaches Independence – I love that Montessori schools teach the kids to be independent. I am a mom who loves to coddle my boys and do everything for them. At school, not so much! They learn to dress themselves, clean up after themselves, teach themselves to a certain degree and most importantly be leaders. As they get older, they are given the chance to teach the younger children the lessons they have mastered. This leadership created a sense of accomplishment and does wonders for their confidence at such a young age. It also develops them socially in this tender age.
- Montessori Certified Teachers – A huge downside I experienced with daycare was the teacher turnover. While I completely understand that is possible at any place of education, I was more comfortable knowing that the montessori teachers go through training and certification to be teachers and therefore have a commitment to this teaching. My boys become attached to their teachers quickly, so it was comforting to know that the same person would be there to guide my boys throughout their journey and know exactly where each boy is in his learning path.
- Education – I love the fact that the Montessori education is broken down into such age specific departments (Practical Life (fine motor skills), Math, Geography, etc). There is an array of lessons in each area that teach the children that specific skill. Each of my boys has a specified curriculum dependent on his skills set and is taught as per his pace. It made a world of a difference for my boys, because even though Shaan and Shailin are the same age, they learn at extremely different paces. I almost image that if they were taught in the same group, one of them would be left behind because he just didn’t understand it when it was taught to the group.
I had the opportunity to send the girls to both, daycare and montessori within a short period of time. I heard so much about montessori from Sheena and other friends that I thought it was only fair to give Naya and Niva the chance to try it out and see if they liked it. They were at an age where they would be able to tell me what they liked in their own way so I figured it was time to see how they learned best! Here are my observations of the two schools. Of course these are my personal thoughts and in no way are intended to generalize either school structure.
- Learning Method: Montessori was too “structured” for my liking. I want my kids to be running around playing and learning instead of being “tame and quiet” as the montessori put it. My kids get enough discipline at home, and I prefer that at day school they should have freedom to be kids.
- Expectations: I think the “one activity at a time” was too rigid especially for my 2.5 year old. My girls, like many other kids, have short attention spans, so that if my 2.5 year old was not able to clean up her activity she was working on before moving to the next, it was okay. I felt the expectation of “one thing at a time” was too high given her age.
- Leadership: I like that kids have teacher led activities as opposed to self led activities because eventually when the girls go to a traditional school system, it is likely to be teacher led. I believe, being directed in groups towards activities teaches them how to take turns, how to socialize appropriately and learn patience and understanding of others’ feelings.
- Grouping: I like the girls being grouped with kids their own age as per the traditional school system. While I understand that younger kids learn from older kids, I appreciate more how each girl is doing compared to her peers. I feel that both of my girls learn more from their like aged friends than they did in their age grouped classrooms.
- Environment: I liked the more lively vibe I got walking into daycare verses the more mellow vibe of montessori. That is a very personal experience for me. The montessori school the girls went to didn’t have kids put on plays, sing songs together or have dress up days – things our daycare is very big on! I feel that the left side of brain development is essential enrichment as well.
We just want to mention again, that these are 100% our personal opinions, observations and experiences. This does not generalize any school, teaching method or child in any way. We just wanted to share the different reasons each of us chose what we did. We would love to hear what schooling method you chose and why. Please share with us!
For those that would like more information on the Montessori education method, please visit here.