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.)