My son is 2-and-a-half and we are already thinking about kindergarten. Currently, Ev attends a lovely child care where he is consistently engaged in developmentally appropriate activities that I know are preparing him for kindergarten. For me, kindergarten readiness doesn’t mean things like being able to read and hold a pencil the correct way, but getting a good foundation for learning by playing. That’s exactly what he’s getting in his current program. Ev has a real connection with his teacher, and everyone in his program knows his temperament, his fears, his likes and has great communication with us. I really am quite happy with it. However, I’ve never been one to wait for something to break before I fix it.
My husband and I have started thinking about Montessori education, which is an early childhood philosophy neither of us knows much about. I have visited an early childhood Montessori classroom right down the street from my office and really liked what I saw. If we chose this program for Ev, he would start when he turned 3. I know part of the curriculum is to support a child’s development of self-control and many of the materials are self-correcting in order to support independence. I can really see Ev being successful in an environment like that. The classroom is also a mixed age group, ranging in children aged 3 to age 5 or 6, as it includes kindergarten. Again, I think Ev could really learn a lot from other children because he is quite social. If it this were a good fit, Ev could stay though kindergarten, giving us one additional year to find the best elementary school. It is also about 15 minutes less of a commute both before and after school.
This is such a hard decision. Do we pull Ev from a learning environment that we know he loves to try something new that we think he might like? What if he isn’t successful? What if Ev doesn’t develop self-control? Would Montessori still be a good fit? Are we jumping the gun with thinking about kindergarten already? Is location and convenience a “good enough” reason to consider changing programs?
Really, my husband and I just want to do what is best for Ev. Both of these programs are high quality, so the truth is, he would benefit from both. This is a win/win situation. I’ve added our name to the waiting list at the Montessori program, so we have some time to decide which “win” we want.