montessori for the spanish

I’m trying to find a preschool in our area that would promote foreign language, specifically Spanish (since M is half Mexican as far as we know). Today there was an open house at a Montessori School that we went to. They are actually two schools… Montessori for ages 3-6, and a new partner Montessori that is K through 2nd grade and free through the county public school system. If I switched her it would be when she turns three, in March, if there are openings. If there aren’t openings, it would be when she’s 3 and a half, in the fall. The price there would be the same for three days as what I’d pay at our current place once she moves up to the three-year-old room.

Pros to switching
-Montessori teaching methods are very tactile. At the open house they set up stations of “example” activities, and although they were several levels above a 2-year-old, M enjoyed them a lot. Manipulating things like beads, spools, sticks, shakers, etc is completely what she already loves to do. The teachers there were very engaging with her at the open house, and I liked their style of interacting with her and encouraging her to be active. They seemed like professional educators, rather than just daycare workers
-Spanish is a part of the curriculum on a daily or semi-daily basis (not offered at all at her current school)
-They promote “global” learning, using materials such as puzzles of the continents, globes, and other “world” themes
-They have mixed age classrooms, which I think could be very positive for M, as she rarely prefers children her own age

Cons to switching
-New people and places are hard on toddlers, even though she would be switching to the 3-year-old classroom in March at her current school, the place is familiar to her
-The Montessori school is an additional 15 minute drive away
-The Montessori school for ages 3 and 4 (preschool) is run by Franciscan nuns, and they are for real nuns, in for real black habits with huge crosses. I actually like nuns, but I want to make sure that there is no religious dogma included in the curriculum. From what I can tell, there isn’t, and there is no church connected to the school or bibles anywhere. In the end this isn’t a huge deal breaker for me at this younger age, but she would have to switch to the public school Montessori for Kindergarten, because she’ll be older and I don’t want a lot of “God” speak around her when I’m not there to help her figure it out. Basically, I don’t want her to see God as an old man in the sky who cares about the little things you do, nor do I want her feeling a sense of shame and guilt about making mistakes while she’s so young.

I am pretty sure that I will be switching her, and asking about openings after the holidays. She can start at 2 years 9 months if she’s completely potty trained. I don’t know if she will be, she’s 75% there now, but only about 33% at school.

P.S. She can now count to five in English and three in Spanish! More to follow on my attempts to create a bilingual (well, bi-familiar with languages) child as a monolingual parent. (Well, I speak Nepali so I guess some would say I’m bilingual, but I’m not fluent or even intermediate in Spanish.)

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Categories: parenting

7 Comments »

  1. That sounds great! As long as they are cool with a high energy child montessori programs are really nice. I have heard of some screening for and not admitting high energy kids. You know, normal kids! I would be having the same concern about the possible religious connection but it sounds like it should be okay from your description. Religion and beliefs is one of those things I think parents should be in charge of especially so young.

    • I spent some time talking with the staff about the fact that she can’t sit still for long, or at least not if she’s not fully engaged. The activities there really engaged her though, so she did sit still longer than normal. They assured me that they don’t think it’s natural to make young children sit quietly for long, and it seemed like every learning station was tactile, won’t be kids always had something to manipulate with their senses.

      • Yay! I think that sounds perfect! I really don’t get the classes and things where they expect little kids to sit still. Or force participation for those who aren’t ready. Love the tactile manipulative learning.

  2. Up here, you can choose to put your child in French immersion, so they learn 50% in English and 50% in French. It’s what I plan to do with Evelyn, even though it is daunting to me that she’ll be doing homework in a language I do not understand. Guess I’ll just have to learn along with her!

    I would prefer Spanish, but up here in Canada, that is not offered until the high school years, unless I wanted her to get private lessons.

    I say do the switch, if you can get her a spot!

    • There are no immersion schools in my county and only one Spanish immersion preschool an hour away with a tuition nearly three times higher than I currently pay! So jealous Evie will have that opportunity!

  3. We just decided to switch Zuzu to a Montessori school, although I hesitated because of the idea of change, and because there is a cost difference for us. But I think the curriculum will be a great fit for my Little Miss Independent. And I’d feel the same way about the religious aspect–I respect and admire nuns, but I don’t want someone else reaching my kid catholic dogma!

    • Changing schools sucks, you hate disrupt their sense of stability. But if I do it early enough it will prevent problems… I know it’s for the best and I think I will ask if I can start taking her a few times a week for a few hours in the months leading up to the switch to help.

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