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Old 02-21-2013, 07:49 AM   #11
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Re: Montessori vs Waldorf schools

Interesting! My husband is a tech guy, so there's no way that we could do away with TV completely. I do limit TV and see the benefit in it, but I also think that she learns things from it also, as long as it's wholesome. I think we will homeschool anyway, but like learning about other teaching styles.

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Originally Posted by jenn.mcc View Post
I am definitely not an expert, but I want to see where this thread goes (I'm super curious too!) so I'll share what I've heard...

Montessori focuses on learning as a cumulative process. A child masters skill X, then moves to master skill Y, then on to skill Z. Kids don't jump from X to Z. So in that sense it's sort of strict. The skills (aka "work") are all quite specific. Kid 1 may spend a month trying to master, say, object sorting with a certain set of blocks, while Kid 2 does it in a week. So Kid 2 moves on before Kid 1. So while the process of montessori work is sort of strict, the timeline seems to be flexible.

Waldorf looks at learning in a more holistic way. Instead of mastering core work, kids are taught creative skills, like knitting, singing, story telling, etc. Waldorf seems to be very strict regarding outside influences. Kids are discouraged from listening to popular music, watching TV, wearing logos or corporately branded clothing. They also aren't expected to read or do much math before age 7. There's also a whole spiritual element to Waldorf that doesn't work for me personally, lots of time in nature singing about God.

I don't absolutely love either one, but I like elements of each. I don't like that montessori feels regimented, and I know one kid who is in the 3rd grade of montessori but WAY behind everyone else in his class in reading--a problem that wasn't addressed for years. I like the creativity part of Waldorf, but as an atheist the spirituality stuff bothers me. So I'm a bit torn.

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Old 02-21-2013, 08:14 AM   #12
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Re: Montessori vs Waldorf schools

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In a Montessori school the day has more flexibility, but each activity is highly structured.
It is my understanding that in a Montessori school the teachers endeavor to have all activities available at all times to allow the child to choose. Thus:

*There is always a snack table available.

*Children may choose whatever activity strikes them at the time, whether it is math or reading or some other skill.

*Each activity has a "right" way to do it, and the teacher's job is to show the child how to do it correctly. The child then follows what the teacher has shown them how to do. A child will be corrected if they are using the activity incorrectly or if they decide to use it in a way that it was not intended to be used.

* There are no toys in a Montessori class room. And since most activities have a particular purpose, not much room for open ended play.

*A child may move on to another activity when ever they are moved to do so, and there is no need to finish one activity (except for putting it away) before going on to the next.

*I am pretty sure there is a good focus on being out doors in Montessori schools as well.

*I expect that there are creative activities in a Montessori class room (like painting, coloring, clay modeling, etc), but they may not have the same reason for being there, ie, to foster imagination. Their reasoning may be more along the lines of "art is fun", or "art is cultural".

I know this is in no way exhaustive, and, of course, each class room will be a little different, with different emphasis and interpretation of the given philosophy, but I hope it gives a good picture of the differences.
My youngest goes to a Montessori school and I like most of your explanations.

The Practical part of the curriculum is very interesting to me. Everything is glass/pottery/ceramic. There are child size versions of everything - cups/plates/saucers/pitchers/silverware and they set up their lunch table (including getting their bag out of the fridge) and then all kids assist in clearing up.

DS1 goes to a special pre-school where he gets speech therapy, but we had DS2 in a "typical" daycare/pre-school setting and the energy at his Montessori school is completely different. It is so relaxed and quiet. He is so much more self-capable since switching.

I also love that the language is taught not by rote memorization (although that is sometimes used) but by understanding the names and labels for things around them so that they have relevancy. Instead of just the ABC song, they are learning what the letters look like, what they mean and how they are applicable to things in their environment.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenn.mcc
There's also a whole spiritual element to Waldorf that doesn't work for me personally, lots of time in nature singing about God.

I don't absolutely love either one, but I like elements of each. I don't like that montessori feels regimented, and I know one kid who is in the 3rd grade of montessori but WAY behind everyone else in his class in reading--a problem that wasn't addressed for years. I like the creativity part of Waldorf, but as an atheist the spirituality stuff bothers me. So I'm a bit torn.
As a Secular Humanist, I can say that I have experienced spirituality at our Waldorf school, things like thanking the earth for our food, but I have never heard reference to God. Perhaps it's particular to the school? I actually like and appreciate getting children more in tune with gratitude to the earth.

Personally, if we could afford it, I'd put up with vague spiritualism if I could keep branding, artificial colors and screens out of my kids school.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:04 AM   #14
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Re: Montessori vs Waldorf schools

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As a Secular Humanist, I can say that I have experienced spirituality at our Waldorf school, things like thanking the earth for our food, but I have never heard reference to God. Perhaps it's particular to the school? I actually like and appreciate getting children more in tune with gratitude to the earth.

Personally, if we could afford it, I'd put up with vague spiritualism if I could keep branding, artificial colors and screens out of my kids school.
Oh good! I've heard that it really depends on the particular school, so I'm glad you've had good experiences as a secular parent. My coworker has 2 children in Waldorf schools and he says they often talk about God during school, so that had me a little worried. Sounds like I would need to look into individual schools.
P.S. I'm also a secular humanist!


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Originally Posted by EmilytheStrange View Post
You'd be surprised at what technology types could prefer for their kids

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/te...nted=all&_r=1&
I LOVED that article! I read it aloud to my husband while I was still pregnant. We had been telling people we wouldn't allow TV or computers around our baby until age 2, maybe 3, and people would respond with such outrageous predictions, "Your child will be an outcast. Your child will be weird. Your child won't learn to spell." We still get reactions. On Sunday an aunt tried to show my son photos on her iPhone and I asked her to please not do that, that we prefer printed photos or to just describe people, and she got really defensive and argumentative. He's 1, he doesn't understand what you're showing him, just that it's magical-light-up-moving-fun. So I've made a decision that it isn't allowed until he's older. Call me crazy, that's the parenting choice I've made, and I doubt he will end up emotionally stunted because of it.
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