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Montessori Or Playschool? How To Make The Best Choice For Your Child

Sending your little one to pre-school or Montessori is a big milestone for parents and their children. 

Playschool environments or Montessori style pre-schools are both popular choices among parents for their child’s early years.
 
The philosophy behind Montessori is that play is a child’s work, and allows children to choose activities based on their interests. While playschools are based on the belief that children learn best through play, and although playtime is unstructured there may be more teacher direction.
 
There are advantages to both environments, and obviously it depends on the child. One of our community members recently posed this question about whether to send her two-year old to a  playschool or a Montessori. As we all know, it’s always good to get feedback and tried and tested tips from other parents when it comes childcare and early years education. 

"Hi moms, my son is due to qualify for free preschool from next September. I have his name down in a Montessori and a regular playschool. The Montessori is very close to my house and seems to have a very good reputation but I've heard people saying that a regular playschool with less structure is better for this age. I'm very confused about what to do and afraid I will make the wrong decision for my son. He will be two and 10 months starting. This also means he will be four and 10 months starting school and I've heard a lot of people saying to wait until five, but I think at five and 10 months he will be a bit old. Any advice appreciated! Thanks."

 

Here is what some of our Facebook members had to say:

Be Open To Both Options

Tracey: “Give it a whirl, if he is not happy or doesn't settle, you can always take him out and just go to local mum and toddler groups. Start with a few days and maybe a short morning - every child is different. Trust your instincts if child happy go with flow.”

Venessa: “Go and observe both settings. Most Montessori preschools are moving away from the structure routine and moving towards a more flexible play role as children learn best through play. In saying that, there are some great methods of Montessori, which I use in my preschool. But preschool is and should be about fun, socialising and learning through the child's emerging interests. So check their curriculum plans and photo display books. If they roll out the same learning lessons every year it's not an emerging curriculum.”

 
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Melanie: “My son was two and six months starting in a Montessori I sent him three mornings a week his first year and while he was definitely one of the youngest there and it took him a while to settle down with the messing in his first year. He got on great for rest of the year and the second year too. He was four years and five months going to big school then and is absolutely flying it now socially and academically - he was well ready. Every child is different but I personally don't think sending them to a playschool over a Montessori or vice versa will do any damage in the long run, just go with the one you like more.”

Jodie: “I had done both with my two eldest boys and I have noticed no difference in how they are in school one is now 11 he went to Montessori and the other is 10 he went to play school.”

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Structure of Montessori Can Help Kids

Kathleen: “I loved my daughter’s Montessori as did she! She was able to read before she started school and gave her a great start for junior infants.”
 
Jennifer: “I would prefer Montessori myself. My little girl was the same age starting last year and it was no bother to her. It's structured but not rigid. They still do play and outdoor time (weather permitting).”
 
Gillian: "My daughter went to Montessori. She was in the social room for the first year then they put them in Montessori room for second year! I think the structure prepares them well for school. I'm keeping her back extra year so will be five and a half starting school but sure wait and see and talk to preschool closer time and they'll tell you what they think! My daughter started two days a week at two and a half.”
 
Francine: “My son was two and 10 months starting Montessori. He is starting primary school this September. I'm so happy I sent him to Montessori. My daughter is in junior infants and he has no problem completing her homework. He can do her alphabet sound book perfectly and is able to spell a lot of words already. He knows his numbers up to 100. He can also add up to a certain point. Yes, Montessori is structured but they have so much fun too. It's just fun while learning. I would definitely recommend it.”

Age Matters

Katka: "My girl will be five years and eight months when she goes to school and I am not planning to send her to school year earlier. Every child is different, it will be your choice after all but she is kid once in her life so let her be a kid." 

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Laura: “My son was four and a half starting school last September and will turn five next month. He had spent two years in Montessori and was bored of it. He was ready for school. Every child is different and develop at different stages. You as his mother will know if he is ready or not for school when the time comes.”

Ciara: “You will know if your child is ready for primary yourself my daughter started at four and a half and was well able my son is five in April and is not starting primary till September he was not ready so did two years in preschool every child is different I don’t believe in sending them too early if they are not able it’s not fair on the child.”

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