It was horrible. I wasn't expected to do anything. Most days were spent bored to tears.
There was no oversight of the teachers; in fact the principal herself was the "teacher" for grades 1-3.
We were expected to keep a journal of our activities and show it to a teacher at the end of each day, who would sign it and let us go home. (The point was to encourage us to do things, rather than nothing.) There were two teachers on duty each day (the principal and her assistant) so I would simply lie; I wrote "did X at 9:34AM" "did Y at 10:53AM" etc then forged the assistant teacher's signature and showed it to the principal, who dutifully approved it (or vice-versa). Since there were about 60 kids and 2 teachers, there was no chance of them noticing.
A classmate intentionally smacked me in the head with the edge of a metal shovel and got off with a light warning, even after my parents came to explain the severity of the situation.
The activities that you could do in 1st grade were exactly the same as those you could do in 3rd grade. The next "transition" (room with different activities) was grade 4.
In my experience, the purpose of this particular Montessori school was to be a daycare, not to educate.
It was just awful. I'm not saying all Montessori schools are awful; I'm saying the one I was forced to endure was awful.
Sorry your experience sucked so badly. I hope someone fixed that school.
I can't think of a more anti-Montessori environment than one where it's possible for a student to lie about daily activities. The central focus of a Montessori teacher is observing and directing students.
My daughter went to a Montessori school for pre-K. Based on my observations of the school it was great for pre-K and K, but awful above that. There were a lot of the same problems you describe. Half the kids seemed to have ADD and parents opposed to medication. Groups of kids tormenting others so that the class will consist only of their group. And teachers that just stand by and let this happen. And in my case, the owners of the school were complete idiots.
Still, for that year in pre-K my daughter got a great education.
We've sent our daughter to Montessori for a year and a bit, and it's been a joy to watch her blossom. We're moving soon, and keeping an eye out for a Montessori school that goes up to 6th grade.
This extremely well behaved child (I wish my kid was as calm and well behaved) came home every day stressed out about how he was rated behaviorally - kids either get put in red (bad), green (normal), blue (very good) and the teacher never put him in blue. He never said anything about learning.
So they moved him to a Montessori school and when he came home, he excited about what he learned or did that day at school.
This anecdote led my wife and I to enroll our child in the same school, her first day was yesterday. I really hope my kid comes home excited about what she accomplished and learned as well.
It's not that it enabled me to do well in conventional school (I suppose I would have qualified as gifted if I wasn't so extremely lazy), it's that it gave me an enthusiasm for learning and a realization of the broad horizons that were open to me.
Athenian: "Physical training was seen as necessary for improving one’s appearance, preparation for war, and good health at an old age."
Spartan: "The pursuit of intellectual knowledge was seen as trivial, and thus academic learning, such as reading and writing, was kept to a minimum. A Spartan boy’s life was devoted almost entirely to his school, and that school had but one purpose: to produce an almost indestructible Spartan phalanx."
Education does not need more opinionated "humanitarians". It needs randomised controlled trials, and lots of them.