Farewell Montessori

Two weeks ago, I was blinded by fury. I’m no longer mad, and can again see the benefits of the Montessori school system.
Our daughters have been on a waiting list for a local, celebrated academy. Montessori also receives high accolades for teaching and socializing children, but they have a hefty tuition whereas the academy is free. While on the wait list, we placed our children in Montessori. Our oldest daughter attended kindergarten through first grade while our youngest attended pre-K in the spring of 2010.
This past June, we received the call from the academy that our youngest had been accepted to start kindergarten. We were overjoyed! This bumped our oldest from the middle of the second page, to a prime slot on the first page of the wait list.
When I phoned the owner/teacher of Montessori, I was told since both daughters were not attending, our oldest daughter was not welcome. She feared the discussions our daughter would have with the other students, and talks we would have with the other parents. Our good fortune of attending the free academy could poison the waters of her private school.
A child who had done nothing wrong was being punished, leaving her friends and curriculum behind.
Thus our oldest was thrust into the public school system. To say my stomach was in knots would be an understatement. Her new campus was immense, complete with gym, cafeteria, media room, playgrounds, multiple grade levels, and even a school nurse. Montessori, in comparison, was a 2-room schoolhouse, intermingling grade levels from pre-K to 3rd, sharing one playground, one certified teacher and a few aides (parents).
Now that we have two weeks under our belts, I can safely say that Montessori did teach both of our daughters sound reading, math and social skills. This solid foundation will carry them well into their future. They love their new schools, are eager to learn, and have adapted well.
Things Montessori did NOT teach my children:
1) How to navigate a large campus.
2) How to establish a hot lunch account, and enter their 4-digit pin to pay for meals.
3) How to bring home school books.
4) How to do homework.
5) How to share food with your friends.
6) How to take a bus.
7) How to borrow books from the school library.
8) How to use a backpack.
9) How to hunt for ghosts in the school bathrooms.
Speaking of #9, I can’t believe Bloody Mary is still around! Who perpetuates that rumor?
β€’ If you were a ghost, would you hang around a smelly, school bathroom?
β€’ Have your children surprised you by adapting so well to a situation?
β€’ Do you adjust well to change?



Filed under Arizona, Family, IMO

36 responses to “Farewell Montessori

  1. Tammy

    I hope your daughter’s transition goes well. Maybe after school starts, there will be an opening at the academy and she won’t have to stay at the public school for long.

    Your points about the Montessori school are similar to homeschooling. My son would have trouble with 1,2,3,4,6, and 9.

    To answer your questions:
    1. Heck no!
    2. Yes, but not often
    3. Sometimes

  2. OMG, Bloody Mary is the sole reason I *still* can’t go to the bathroom at night without the light on! How ridiculous is that? LOL!

    I hope your daughter continues to make the transition to public school well.

  3. Anje

    Good luck to both your girls this year in school and glad you are 50% of the way in getting both girls in your prefered school. As far as your questions go my kids have proven very flexible and adaptable in all their schools. Though I navigate the waters of public school I have no hesitation in trying to go for the better one in my area and am always getting zone variances for them. They have proven to roll with the changes each time and make me proud wherever they go to school.
    So to answer in order:

    1. Yes I would, the fodder from young susceptible minds that are more likely to see me would be to big a temptation
    2. They surprise me on a daily basis!
    3. Remarkably well which is a good thing as life is always throwing me curve balls. πŸ™‚

  4. Sunny Wishes She Were Shopping

    Boo Montessori!! Obviously they care more about their $$$ then about how their callous decisions affect their own students. Karma, baby, karma.

  5. judegreen52

    …and they get AWAY with it. grrr

  6. Thanks for stopping by! I’m your newest follower! Love the Blog!

    I can’t believe the Montessori school did that. That’s so ridiculous. I’m very impressed with how you handled everything.

    My husband and I do not have children yet (unless you count the dogs and cat :)). So I can’t relate exactly but If it makes you feel any better, I moved to 6 different schools K-12 and I can honestly say that it made me a better human being. I feel I have social and life skill advantages because I was subjected to and taught to deal with the changes and trials that come with moving to a new place/school.

    Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of public school but I can say that it taught me some invaluable lessons, like home work, using a back pack and borrowing library books (Which came in handy in college) and riding the school bus (which erased my fear of public transportation e.g. airplanes, buses, subways(New York City anyone?) and trains.

    1. Nope. I would be on the playground!
    2. I don’t have children but my husband always amazes me with his cool and collected demeanor. I swear nothing gets him riled up.
    3. Yes, extremely well.

    • Hi Plus Size Barbie! I just love your name and your blog! Thanks for the link to Yankee Candle today. Boy, did I spend a lot of time there!
      Thank you for the compliments. I had to calm down before ranting. That wouldn’t have helped anyone.
      I DO feel better knowing you moving around a lot. You turned out fine!
      LOL – yes, you did learn those valuable lessons like my daughter is now learning. πŸ™‚
      So great to find your blog today. Enjoy your Sunday!

  7. Joy

    I do feel really bad for your daughter. I know for an adult to pooh pooh it but you know, I’ll bet that was just huge for her. She learned now that she can persevere. What a great lesson. What courage she must now feel.

    I’m the opposite of most people. I think public schools get a lot of beatings and I’m not really sure why. All these things you mentioned that daughter #1 learned, we all need those skills. I often feel that a lot of private and home schools miss the whole “melting pot” of America. There area lot of things that they miss out on. I’m not in any way saying they’re bad but just different.

    I worked in a public school for 15 years and it was the perfect job for a mom and I had a really good experience.

    But the way they did this to your daughter was really icky. I’m glad she overcame. What a honey.

    • Thank you, Joy.
      I don’t know why public schools get knocked. It’s what I grew up with, and what my husband grew up with.
      Melting pot is a great way to describe it.
      It is good to hear your point of view as you actually worked the front line.
      I’m relieved Natalie is transitioning so well.

  8. This makes me mad…they never should have treated your family that way. That sounds elitist and overly controlling to me.

    I’m sure your daughter will adjust over time. Kids are so incredibly resilient. And besides, Bloody Mary is always an important skill to have for girlie sleepovers πŸ™‚

    • I agree, Gigi. The Montessori teacher must have been overcome by anger, and couldn’t make a rational decision. It wasn’t fair, but I have a feeling this is a blessing in disguise.
      That darned Bloody Mary. LOL! I wonder who/what will pop up next?!

  9. Do I hear a “Yelp” coming down the pike???
    How rude!
    Well, we did OK with public schools, we did have to move away from one high school because of the gangs, but I bet you don’t have as many choices in a small town. They will excel wherever they go, I’m sure:)

    • Hi Lisa! Yep, you sure DID hear a YELP! LOL! I yelped right away. This particular Montessori’s 1st review. I do love a good yelp.
      You’re right about not too many choices. We have 2 public elementaries, 2 charter schools, and 1 private. So far, so good, with the choices we’ve made.
      Thank you, Lisa! Happy Sunday!

  10. well, handled, sounded like a nightmare!
    Sorry I never heard the #9 Bloody mary story,
    my daughter starts pre-school nursery in sept, it’s going to be tough, especially on me wife !
    all the best gareth

  11. Sedate Me

    1) If I were a ghost, I would probably spend a lot of time hanging around the girls’ showers.

    2) No kids. Not now. Not ever. However, my dogs do impress the hell out of me sometimes.

    3) I hate change! If I could still get laid, I wouldn’t even change my underwear.

  12. S. Le

    I wanted to send our eldest to a Montessori school but thankfully there wasn’t one in our area.

    Were I a ghost I’d only hang around in cool places.

    My children are clever and brilliant. What more must I say?

    I adjust well to change if I’m given a heads-up in advance. Sudden change doesn’t always suit me.

  13. Sedate Me

    As for Monte-Burns-Assouri, fuck them!

    There’s one in my neighbourhood. I’m forever seeing these spoiled little rich kids being paraded to and from the park like the “precious” little bundles everyone claims they are. They have dozens of young, bright-eyed, wranglers speaking to them in calm, soothing, tones. Meanwhile, half the kids in my district are in schools at risk of closing while the other half sit in rat infested, mold encased, outhouses. Almost all are constantly being watched by Big Brother’s cameras, preparing them for a lifetime of being treated as a “suspect”. (Funny how there’s always money for that.)

    Generally speaking, I think private education is a bullshit con-job designed to reinforce a system that benefits the elites at the expense of those that aren’t.

    I went to one of the worst public elementary schools in my district, yet I was found “deserving” of attending allegedly the best private high school in my nation. (The bribes didn’t hurt.) I also did some public high school courses, just for comparative value.

    Was the curriculum better? Somewhat. Was the teaching better? Somewhat. The best explanation is that the private school had a “deeper bench”. However, the education itself was largely irrelevant. Two other differences made ALL the difference.

    First, the raw material. When private (or religious) schools can decide what kids they will bestow their superior educations upon, it seems they choose the ones that are already “destined for greatness” no matter where they go; not the ones that desperately NEED all the help they can get. Schools go through great lengths to exclude kids who might drag down their test scores.

    The second is attitude and expectations. Private schools try to set up an “environment of learning” by choosing students and parents who take learning seriously. They select students with successful, conscientious and demanding parents. Most people largely live up to (or down to) the expectations set for them. Expectations drive results.

    Like using a planes as a missile, who could have possibly imagined that filling a school with smarter, more motivated, kids would result in a school that produces smarter, more motivated, kids? Such kids succeeding in life is about as surprising as the Dallas Cowboys defeating the South Park Cows.

    In short, private schools tend to have the two biggest keys to educational success covered before the first piece of chalk hits the board. Raw material and a proper attitude account for more than anything else. (Guess which one I lack?) Anything else is a bonus.

    Private schools are generally little more than an exclusionary, self-fulfilling, PR sham that allows all involved to pin ribbons to their own chests for a job well done. If a private school was randomly assigned students, the results would probably be a lot closer to that of public schools.

    To me, the entire philosophy of separate education is flawed. Instead of subjecting the cream of the crop to the “indignity” of a common public education where neither students, parents, teachers, school boards, politicians, nor society itself gives a flying fuck and everyone is equally treated like shit, the basic premise of a two-tiered educational system is as follows:

    Skim that precious cream off. Isolate it. Protect it. Nurture it. The milk can be left to spoil.

    The problem is that, as they say in prison, everybody eventually is released back into “the outside”. Once there, most have trouble adjusting and find themselves segregated from society again. This problem adjusting is why, once outside, elites isolate themselves from the Gen Pop as much as possible. And because everyone has been raised on the idea that they’re better and more deserving than ordinary folk, the slanted treatment continues for their entire lives. For example, folks working in corner offices of financial industry skyscrapers just expect massive bonuses, special rules and bailouts when required…and they get them.

    If I were in charge, every school would be a public school and every public school would be worth going to. And every single one of these worthless little motherfuckers would be there until they deserved to graduate. I don’t care if they celebrate their 40th birthday in Grade 8 English class.

    • Sedate Me, you make me want to stand up and cheer. Screw that. I AM. So help me, I’m up and applauding. Your intelligence cuts through the b.s.

      • Sedate Me

        You’re welcome. (Hey, what’s with all the flattery? You trying to seduce me or something?)

        Yes, my intelligence can cut through BS, but the BS reconfigures like the liquid metal Terminator in Terminator 2: Electric Boogaloo and carries on like it never happened.

        It also comes with a heavy price. I can see the bullshit in almost everything and everyone. It’s almost impossible to ignore and is really draining. I feel like this poor bastard…

        Got a spare Blackberry Basil Smash or two (or seven) lying around?

  14. Wow! Not only was the post incredible, but the comments were gold.

    This actually all made me feel much better. When my kiddo was getting ready for schoolish age, I REALLY wanted him to attend a Montessori, but there wasn’t one in our small Kansas town. I always felt very guilty for that.

    Now I feel slightly less guilty. Thanks!

    • I’m glad you don’t feel as guilty, Leslie. πŸ™‚
      The only reason we started at Montessori was because the owner/teacher was our neighbor. We actually boarded her horse for one year after her husband died.
      We are repaid with drama.

  15. I had to supress a slight chuckle then. sorry. lol
    I am a ghost. whooooo

  16. I am so sorry you had to go through that – how enfuriating! I have one word for you – Karma. I think that what they did is completely absurd and borderline cruel (like they were ‘punishing’ you for pulling your youngest).

    And after all that stress and frustration, I think you should treat yourself to a full body dump. Next on Jean’s agenda: MUST find a local spa near you with full body baths!!

    xoxo, Heather

  17. Pop

    Wait, what?! 4 digit pin to pay for meals? You mean kids no longer have to pull out a crumpled out dollar bill + coins from their pockets?

    And wow…bloody mary is still around!

  18. You are tooooo cool 8) 😎

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