We first faced this dilemma last year, when we were considering moving Emilia into a more formal preschool, and I wrote about my anxiety over the decision then. We decided against it for the time being, but then the school called us just this past week to ask if we’d consider enrolling her for kindergarten. So here we are again, and again, I’m flummoxed.
To Montessori, or not to Montessori: that is the question. Among others.
Soon, Emilia will be old enough to attend the well-regarded Montessori school that is just around the corner from our home. Which means that she would leave the lovely preschool to which we have all become well-attached in the year or so that we have lived in this neighborhood, and move on to a more regimented, learning-focused environment, when she is just shy of four years old.
She’s been pretty happy in her preschool, which she attends three days a week. But she’s a little ways beyond the other children her own age in speech and movement and general activity, and so – with our permission – she was moved into a higher age group where she could move beyond the things that she’d already mastered and not run circles around the other children in the room. And so far, it’s been fine, but my heart does ache, just a little bit, when I see her in there with all the bigger children, her tiny self asserting her dominion in whatever corner she has staked out, defying anyone bigger to treat her as smaller, and I wonder, could we – should we – do better with this? Place her in an environment where she’s not necessarily the smallest or the youngest (or, conversely, where she is not, by whomever’s standards, the smartest or the fastest), but where activities are tailored more to her specific needs?