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International Montessori in Ap Lei Chau - DESPERATE

  1. #1
    cheekster is offline Registered User
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    International Montessori in Ap Lei Chau - DESPERATE

    My 2 yr old boy has just joined the Toddler Group at the IMS in Ap Lei Chau, both him and I were very overwhelmed on this 1st day of school. I was surprised at all the rules & how strictly they were enforced in a toddler group for 2 - 3 yr olds. Like they were supposed to push their chairs back when they leave their tables, my son did that with one hand instead of two, the teacher just wouldn't let it go and made him do it over & over again until he got really frustrated. The reason I didn't want to send him to a local pre-school or kindy is because I'd like him to be given the freedom to develop his own character and self and not be told that there's only one way to do things and stifle his imagination. That's why I sent him to a Montessori school because I heard about how much they respected each child and how they're allowed to choose what they like to do, now I'm worried that I've made a wrong choice with all these rules & how things can only be done THEIR way.

    I'm desperate to hear from any parents who have sent their children to IMS HK for a longer period that it does work out better in the long run, and there is hope for a happy & creative child under the Montessori method. Much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Portia is offline Registered User
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    No matter what reassurances you might receive from other parents, the happiness of your child is the most important thing. If you feel that he is not adjusting and not happy after a reasonable period (as it always takes little ones sometime to adjust), then you should consider finding another playgroup.

    A friend of mine had exactly the same experience as you did last year and she withdrew her little boy as she felt that he was not adjusting well and not happy at IMS as it was too rigid for his personality.

  3. #3
    cheekster is offline Registered User
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    Thanks Portia, I think you're absolutely right, perhaps it is too early to judge, hopefully I won't have to pull him out after he's tried so hard to adjust. Every change just cause so much stress for someone so little. Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Portia is offline Registered User
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    Wishing you all the best Cheekster! My LO just started playgroup at another school as well and cried a lot at the first session. I am hoping he'll adjust fairly quickly but will see how he's doing at the end of the month.

  5. #5
    Lyns is offline Registered User
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    Dear Cheekster
    I'm sure the first day of school is very overwhelming for both mother and child. I am not too sure how much research you have done on the Montessori philosophy and methodology but I would like to try and put your mind at ease as to whether you feel you have made the right choice by sending your son to a Montessori School.
    Firstly, I cannot emphasis just how much your son will be respected and loved by the toddler teachers at IMS. Secondly, it is very important to understand that the reason behind showing the children what to do in a specific way is so that the children learn the ground rules that are in place in the classroom. Many believe that the concept behind Montessori is that children are free to do whatever they want, whenever they want. This is true to a certain extent - children have the freedom to choose their activities and move around the classroom but this should be done in a disciplined manner so that the classroom is a calm place to work in. Otherwise it could be quite chaotic!
    Showing the children how to tuck their chairs under the table, or how to roll up a mat, or how to carry a tray with two hands is to help children understand the rules of the classroom. Children learn best by repetition and being shown how to do something again and again. I am sure that your son did get a bit frustrated but I am sure that the teacher was only trying to help.
    One of the goals in a Montessori classroom is to encourage children to become independent individuals. They cannot do this unless they are guided in the right direction. This takes time and patience.
    Please don't feel you have made the wrong choice of schools. Allow your son to develop under the guidance of the teachers. If you would like to have a better understanding of certain concepts, the best person to ask is the teacher. Never be afraid to ask why things are done in a certain way. If you understand how things work in the classroom, you can help guide your son too and be a part of the experience.

  6. #6
    Olusia is offline Registered User
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    Toddler program at IMS

    Dear Cheekster,
    I am so sorry you are disappointed in your child's class at IMS.
    My 22 months old daughter joined IMS in July and I have been able to see her progressing in the class very nicely but I do see what you mean saying that the classes are very structured and the teachers are very serious about the classroom rules.
    Generally, as I learned, in Montessori the rules are very important as they teach the child about the order which is so important to them. Montessorians believe that the children of our kids' age are in the sensitive period of order and thrive in the environment that is organized, beautiful and child - friendly. That is why Montessori classes are all about the child. If you look around the classroom you will see all those little materials that fit just right to the little hand ? little puzzle, little sponges, little pitchers, spoons...
    The kids are so determined to master the environment around them and do what they see us doing. Here they can do it without the restrictions of an adult - size home where everything is soooo big and inaccessible. But they have to be safe in there and that is why the teachers have to be serious about the rules. A little chair is still big for the child and it should be pushed with two hands to handle it properly and not to put strain on their little muscles. They are still learning about coordination of movements and it is easier for them to use both hands to support the materials than one. And it works!
    It is so adorable to see how my child builds up her confidence in her ability to be independent although she is not yet 2.My daughter learned pushing her chair in and now at our home she is always doing that in her own room :) she also brings the materials back when she is done working with them and is very enthusiastic about washing her hands and teeth by herself. I am so proud seeing her putting her shoes on all be herself.
    Montessori is nothing like playgroups that we are accustomed to, I know, but it concentrates on teaching children how to feel self ? sufficient from the very early stage. I am sure you saw your little one observing you and coping what you do. I have always thought that they firmly believe that they should learn from us.
    So please give the class a chance and please speak to one of the teachers. They are so very friendly and helpful. Also, the Parent - Teacher Association at IMS is always ready to help and give advice so please feel free to call one of the Moms that work with PTA.
    I believe you will be happy in Montessori if you learn more about it as it is really the right program for our dear little ones.

  7. #7
    joannek is offline Registered User
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    my daughter also went to the same group, but she was the first batch of students back in last Feb when they first started the toddler program. I had the same experience & totally agree with you. I had even worst experience than you, my daughter actually freaked out after a certain traumatic event that happened at that school. I still let her stay at Montessori, just made sure i was there everytime she was because i believed that there is a reason why they're doing it & everyone is praising how good the M method is. She spent 10mths there, throughout when i wasn't 100% satisified with how the teachers were, and how they kids were treated. (i saw a 3 yr old girl sitting bare bump (she took off her panties) on the floor in the girl's toilet, just wiggling around on the floor in the bathrm for like 5 mins!) I let my daughter stayed because of the mandarin (she was in the mandarin group).

    anyway, when the time came for her to move on to kindergarten, we left. i just didn't feel safe for my daughter to b going to that school by herself. i always hear the teachers shout crossly at the children in the indoor playground, which i didn't believe was the right way to discipline children.

    I believe small children should be given the freedom to safely explore within boundaries & to be disciplined in gentle ways. like i believe there are many ways to play creatively with stacking blocks & you don't always have to put the biggest block at the bottom. if you share my views, cheekster, then i highly recommend you pay a visit to highgate house at the peak. it's a waldorf school. the kids are well disciplined, very creative, atmosphere at the school is calm & no one raise there voice. they have a wesbite & you can check it out. my daughter's been there since she 13mths. she's now 3.5 yrs & flourishing.

    good luck!

  8. #8
    cheekster is offline Registered User
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    Dear All Who took the time to reply to my thread, I am truly touched by all your willingness to be so earnest & helpful. While it is too early for my to be convinced that continuing Casa is the right move for him, I am however remaining optimistic, since I am his primary caretaker, I accompany him to every class and we are both enjoying every minute, I must admit that I was too quick to jump to conclusion about the teachers, I have noticed how incredibly patient they are and I do see the upside to enforcing discipline, I was mistaken to think that they're not allowed to play creatively and use their imagination, but I have seen that that's not the case, they are however very strict about rules in the classroom which I absolutely think is necessary. I do look forward to seeing results of him being more confident & independent.

    Thank you again for all your advice. JoanneK, thanks for the detailed account of your experience, I will definitely give Highgate a visit as per your suggestion.

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