I've always wondered what these people get out of it.
Turns out said facility was a small privately run aged-care home (the horror!), and the campaign was largely bankrolled by some local developers who would much have preferred to turn the waterfront lot in question into condos.
Often there is some underlying motive coming from bigotry or greed. However there is always the person with too much time on their hands who gets a kick out of having power over others.
It's been astounding how well balanced and social all the kids are from that school. I supposed it's anecdata (I only know ~10-15 kids), but there's a lot more awareness and empathy than I've seen from other kids in the 3-5 year old range. Observationally, there is a little less skills development in reading/coloring within the lines.
As a parent, it feels impossible to know the right thing to do for your kids. You have to emphasize something in their education, at the expense of something else. Choosing a school that values the outdoors, empathy, and social development as the basis for teaching seems to complement our tech savvy home life. I hope it works out.
Being adequate is enough. Chose something that doesn't seem clearly harmful, pay attention for signs of harm, pay attention for signs that it's a bad fit and make a change if it is. Really all you need from preschool is socialization, and some exposure to germ warfare.
What I hoped for my child to get was familiarity and positive associations with the school concept. In my mind, it's more helpful if young people enjoy school and feel it is a place where they can do things well than if they have a lot more academic skills early and have developed a dislike of school.
Why? Any Prussian model school will inure them to ranking, tedium, busywork, being ranked and doing things that seem pointless because an authority figure said to as well as another, whether they begin education in a child centred school or not. It’s not like most metro areas even have a child centred school, whether Sudbury, Montessori, Waldorf or other. They’ll learn what school is actually like on exposure to it and develop associations with it based on that whether they went to a child centred school for a brief period or not. The long run effects of beginning schooling in a humane system will fade and the only long run effects will be a few better years in childhood.
I suppose that’s enough justification by itself.
I'm beginning to be faced with these kinds of decisions with my oldest.
2 weeks in the forest (by bus each day) then 2 weeks in the kindergarten. This meant the kindergarten building could support double its capacity as only half the kids were there at one time.
Main takeaway for me was how resilient they became to cold, playing, eating and resting outdoors all day during winter, with far more ailments acquired during the indoor fortnights than those spent outdoors.
It’s been an absolutely wonderful experience.
I strongly encourage every parent in the Western world to get your kids engaged in the natural environment, whatever it takes. City-dwellers seriously need contact with nature, especially kids.
I truly believe a kind of highly damaging neurosis occurs when people don't hug trees.
My boy was outside, no matter the weather, every school day for about 3 hours, and then inside for about 45 minutes.
Large motor skill and plenty of loose- or un-structured play with many other kids seems to be a really great way for young humans to develop. They went on hikes, exploring everywhere, looking for scat, and all kinds of activities during their outside time every day.
If you have the opportunity to let your kid do this or something like it, then I highly recommend it.
-what if it’s cold (40f) and rainy? Do they still go out? What do you dress your kid in?
-what about fights with sticks?
-what about all the stuff in the woods that may or may not be edible (eg mushrooms)?
Just interested as these are some of the “how would that part work?” That come to mind for me.
My son's class of 14 this past year had a teacher, a naturalist, and two aides. This is a public school system. I do not know if private classes would have more or fewer adults.
So, fights with sticks could happen, but they don't seem to any more than any kind of fight in an ordinary classroom might, and the teacher/aids deal with them the same way they would with classroom fights.
When the kids are out in the woods and not in the outdoor play areas, they are more closely supervised. They don't have free roam of the entire forest. Hiking and adventuring is led by the naturalist and assisted by the teacher and aides. They are taught about things like "don't eat the mushrooms" and such. Still, things happen. My kid loved to jump into water, and he always got his shoes/boots/etc wet, even when it was cold. One time he broke through the ice at the very edge of the lake (deep enough to get into his boot). The adults and kids deal with it, just like we had to in scouting when I was a kid. The main difference is that when I was a kid, I only got to do it about once per month on a weekend, whereas my kid could do it all day every (school) day. How awesome is that?
When I was 14 or 15, I slept in a tent in the deep woods in -20°F overnight. It was really no big deal. My kid at 5 is already at least as good of a naturalist as I was at that age. :)
As an anecdote, I went to a school with a decided lack of sticks. Fights were had by throwing building blocks instead. Kids will do stupid things, and sticks aren't inherently more dangerous than building blocks.
This has also made me post-Montessori. I’ve left the faith, but we’ve found the forest.
Basically, in principle it’s great. Children drive themselves and follow what they’re passionate about (with a teacher’s encouragement). If they’ve got a tendency for math, for example, the teacher helps them develop their own intuitions and keeps those pathways open for them.
In practice, my son believed there was a limit on his abilities to develop because children under 4 years and zero days weren’t allowed to begin learning numbers (or those stations weren’t available to him). You see, it’s still cohort based learning, where cohort is based on age not ability.
So he knew numbers from home, but believed at school he was incapable. It was a strange sort of cognitive dissonance where he could only “count to twenty” as reinforced by his classmates, because he wasn’t old enough to do the number station. And yet, he didn’t realize that meant he wasn’t able to say the numbers greater than 20 - but often times he’d go from 1-200, etc.
Math wasn’t the only topic where this happened unfortunately.
This was at one of the few fully certified Montessori programs in San Diego.
I believe that it was a better program than a median program, but I’m not sure if it’s because his peers came from families who could afford to spend time with their children, or if the program itself was better than median.
However, it’s a different model that definitely did not address my root concern - assisting a child to advance at their own pace (faster or slower). Which just means that my expectations were mismanaged.
Overall, I think the forest kindergarten concept is more rewarding for my kid, and he’s at least happy going to and coming home from school. That’s an oft overlooked part of schooling: ensuring your child isn’t miserable - and there’s quite a bit of misery at Montessori, due to the focus on quiet, individual work.
ouch. someone hasn't been paying attention in their training.
there is no hard date to introduce any activity. if children are interested in an activity, they are introduced to it. or to a simpler one that leads up to it. applying a hard date shows lack of understanding of the different speed of childrens development.
if it's not to late i'd read up a bit on the montessori method and confront the teachers about it. they are clearly doing it wrong. i'd also check who certified that school, or where the teachers were trained.
unfortunately, the montessori name is not protected, and anyone school can claim to be montessori, even if they are not.
Children proceed through Montessori as they demonstrate mastery of developmental materials. The teacher should be closely following each child’s progress and will introduce a new material when they show readiness. Materials are kept organized by domain on accessible shelves but children would lay out a mat or find a table and bring materials there. In fact one thing the teacher is observing is their ability to independently select a material that is of interest, work with that material in a state of concentration, and replace the material where it came from when they are finished with the material. Goals are independence and autonomy in a community that supports respect for others. When it’s done well, it is really beautiful to see a community of little scientists at work.
If in your school progress was age-linked or materials were set up at stations, than whoever “certified” that school does not understand sone pretty basic and fundamental concepts of Montessori education. Or they have gone off the Montessori nap somehow.
Another basic tenant of Montessori is free access to the outdoors. And there is a lot of work about what the outdoor environment should offer in the way of exploration, gardening, etc.
Sorry you had the experience you had. When done well it is difficult to imagine a better way to do early childhood than Montessori. I wish I’d had it.
Doesn’t matter which is true. Early educational interventions fade out universally and we have nothing that effects adult intelligence or conscientiousness which explain pretty much all variation in educational attainment, partly through their effect on SES.
> “Heckman curve” update: The data don’t seem to support the claim that human capital investments are most effective when targeted at younger ages.
> The Heckman Curve describes the rate of return to public investments in human capital for the disadvantaged as rapidly diminishing with age. Investments early in the life course are characterised as providing significantly higher rates of return compared to investments targeted at young people and adults. This paper uses the Washington State Institute for Public Policy dataset of program benefit cost ratios to assess if there is a Heckman Curve relationship between program rates of return and recipient age. The data does not support the claim that social policy programs targeted early in the life course have the largest returns, or that the benefits of adult programs are less than the cost of intervention.
From this you seem to have drawn the surprising conclusion that there is no benefit to greater in investment in early childhood education, a conclusion which the paper you're citing specifically warns against:
> This finding does not imply that there should be less investment in early childhood programs. There are many early interventions that have large positive rates of return, and there are powerful equity reasons for investment in children.
> The data shows that prevention can be cost effective, but in addition, later treatment and amelioration using evidenced based programs can also succeed.
i don't know if that is true.
i believe there are some things that really make a long term difference, however these things are more likely coming from the parents themselves and less from the schools they go to.
dfee's son was denied that choice, and hence the effect that montessori is supposed to have may not take hold.
Montessory was designed for troubles boys originally. The effect it was supposed to have was that the kids that fail get some order and controll at the same time and build good working habits.
It worked for non troubled kids too and had good results, but it was not designed to push kids fast forward.
My point is there isn't one style that works for all kids so you need to try different things until you find what works best for your family.