school is starting sooner than I thought…
We visited a private Montessori and I really liked the curriculum and materials. I got a strange vibe from the woman running the place (who is also the lead teacher), though, like she seemed kind of intimidated by the energy level of my daughter, like she couldn’t quite handle her. The classrooms were amazing, but if I don’t have faith in the teacher, forget it. Also, the kids were a bit regimented, like little soldiers. I wondered if M would really fit into a place where she is held so strictly to a routine that emphasizes taking out a mat, picking an activity, sitting there and doing the activity like you’re supposed to do it, returning it the way it was found, and putting the mat away before going on to another activity. I mean, yes I do think M should be able to do this by age 4 to 5, but what about adjusting at first? If the teacher is overwhelmed by a normal two-year-old, can she handle very active, busy three-year-olds? I don’t want my child labeled a “problem child” or “hyper”.
We then re-visited the new Montessori that is opening in September through the local public school system (partnered with a preschool in the same building run by the Franciscan Sisters). Their materials are not all in yet, and they also haven’t hired the lead teachers yet (they assure me they are doing that this week, and currently unpacking their materials). They’ve had a ton of PR about their new program, as it is going to be part of the public school system up to 2nd grade/age 8, the only of its kind in our county. They sure are cutting it close to the wire with getting it set up, though! The building is newly renovated and very nice, though, and the Montessori furniture is all in.
More importantly than the fact that it continues up through 2nd grade in the same building, and that it will be free starting at age 5 (kindergarten), is that I really liked the teachers I met, and the administrators. They had a building open house in July and then a virtual classroom in the mall that we went to the other day. They remembered us the second time, and both times they loved interacting with M, and told me she was very smart and very ready for Montessori (unlike the nervous, anxious teacher we met at the private school). They really seemed to like M, and encouraged her to make a mess while she explored the materials they set up. Rather than getting uptight about the fact that she was ruining the “set up”, they just wanted her to enjoy learning with the activities.
We also met the Spanish instructor, who will be doing the Spanish for both the preschool and K-2nd graders. She is legit, from Spain, and takes a great interest in M, speaking with her in Spanish. Again, it seems like she really likes my kid already and believes in her potential. (The uptight teacher at the other school is married to a Venezuelan and has a degree in Spanish, but I prefer the woman who is actually from Spain, speaks with a Spanish accent, and dove right into speaking Spanish whenever she interacts with M.)
So despite the amazing materials and classroom stations at the private school, I started leaning towards the public, newer program. Even though their teachers aren’t all hired, and their classrooms aren’t yet set up, they seem to truly like my child and interact with her comfortably and enthusiastically. When we saw them last, they not only immediately brought M animal crackers and bubbles (win!), they gave me some great news… they want M in their class badly enough to allow her to enter at 2 1/2 years old, provided that she is 90% potty-trained (which she is). Meaning she could start on the first day of this new school, September 8th. They seem to really want her there, and it doesn’t seem at all like it’s just for the money (preschool age still costs money, since they don’t receive public funding until age 5).
I am 95% sure that I am going to be giving a two week notice to M’s current school, although the thought of doing it makes me super anxious. I already signed a contract until she’s 3 with them, and now I have to break it. What are they going to do, though, yell at me? I don’t know, I guess I just don’t want them to think we haven’t liked it there… we totally have, we’re just ready to move on. I want M to be challenged (albeit in a loving and appropriate way). She’s now counting to ten in English and Spanish, recognizing and writing lots of letters, and able to order things smallest to biggest, by color, etc.
And also? Five days a week, 8-3:30!!! Mommy is going to have a life again!!!