There are two Montessori schools within a reasonable distance from my house and work. One is a public school that gets awful reviews and test scores, not a "real" Montessori school. The other seems to follow the methods fairly strictly and I've been obsessed with the thought of it since Ryann was born. She will be three in September so if she's going to a Montessori school, now is the time to enroll. Ack! When did she get to be old enough to go to school?
The school held an open house last weekend so I went to check out the facilities and ask some questions about tuition. I had a fairly good idea of what to expect after dissecting their Web site over the last couple years, but I have to say it was really amazing seeing the facilities. The classroom was just beautiful, with clearly defined areas for each type of work. They had lots of pets, Degus, frogs and a tortoise. Ryann mostly liked the pets but she was also allowed to work with the materials. She got to make a yarn picture with paste and scissors to take home. And she made a big mess out of the other materials.
The only thing I didn't like was that the teachers would just say, "if you have any questions let me know." I asked a couple questions here and there, but I couldn't think of anything really probing to ask and I really wish they had interacted with the parents more proactively. I did, interact with one teacher a bit and I loved the way she talked to Ryann, like she was a person who could understand everything that was going on, which is how she is treated at home.
I also talked to a couple parents of students at the school and of course they raved about the methods and the school. It was really neat to talk to other parents who cared so deeply about their children's education and had the same goals I did. Before then, I hadn't realized that one of the perks of a Montessori school would be that the children Ryann went to school with would have similarly hands-on parents. The school really reaches out to parents and has lots of community events, one of the parents said it's like a big family atmosphere.
Overall, I *loved* the experience and I hope Ryann will be able to attend in the fall. I plan to continue with our at home Montessori activities and lifestyle, but I'm excited about the new learning opportunities she will have at this school.