Montessori school at 2 or 3?

We have an opportunity to send our son to a nice Montessori program when he turns 2. We could also send him to a not as nice play-based school at 2, and have him enter Montessori at 3. He's currently home w/ the nanny. The tradeoffs are: - Cost (Montessori is about 40% more expensive than the play-based school) - Convenience (the Montessori school is a bit further from our home. we're also soon expecting another child soon so have pick up/drop off logistics to consider) - Risk of losing our spot - if we don't take the Montessori spot now I'm worried we don't be able to get in next year or find another program -Transition - do I really want to transition him again in the next year? Part of me likes the "set it and forget it" option of enrolling in Montessori now, even if it means a higher cost. What would you do?

  • Cathy
    Aug 23, 2018

    I honestly think you should also consider the values that you want these schools to instill in him. Both are two entirely different programs. I have an education degree and background and have taught all my life. I am also a Mom. In my opinion, a play-based school is better since children learn through their environment, especially at age two. If you think you want to switch when he’s older you can. He will learn to be resilient through the first school and change builds flexibility and the ability to adapt when you’re an adult. I would then give the Montessori school a call once your son is 2.5 and start the enrollment process. But I strongly urge you to research and consider the differences and if you do choose Montessori make sure it has true Montessori credentials and certificate. Best of luck.

  • Brittany
    Aug 23, 2018

    Montessori actually is still play based but they do a one room schoolhouse philosophy of putting children ages 3/4/5 together with the idea the younger will learn from the older, etc. Honestly, how much and what your child retains is based on his/her brain development and connections. However I would choose the schools that focus more on social emotional development anyway because those are the skills that will make your child more capable and prepared for Kindergarten than anything else. I’m a Director at a preschool program with my Master’s in Early Childhood Education so have been through this topic a few times. I see value in all philosophies. We are Reggio based but I do also like the Montessori approach to education.

  • Priscilla
    Aug 23, 2018

    We had a similar situation and considerations as you (down to the Montessori location being further, more expensive, etc.) and ended up still going with the Montessori. I personally would choose to stick with one school and avoid another transition as well. I think it really depends on your son's personality and where he's at too. For us, it ended up being the best decision. He was almost 3 when we started and the youngest in his class so he'll be in the same room for a good while.

  • Caroline
    Aug 23, 2018

    Montessori for sure

  • Rachel
    Aug 23, 2018

    play based preschool teaches a lot of social emotional, risk taking and problem solving to build your child up to be best prepared for kindergarten ♡ the Montessori may seem the best at the moment with what they have to offer but play based gives your child the freedom to learn through play. they will be given the same opportunities that Montessori school provides through activities and circle time and yes even through play. play based preschool also should provide you with a weekly curriculum so that you could see what they are learning and talking about throughout the week. my daughter is enrolled in play based and she comes home with so many different learning experiences and it has been so beneficial for her! there are some preschools though whether it is play based or Montessori that the teachers are just there for the paycheck. i would do a visit to each school to feel out the teachers. they have a lot to do with how your child will end up enjoying this first introductory to school. good luck with whatever your decision is :)

  • Janet
    Aug 23, 2018

    My son just turned 2. I am clueless about schools. Can someone explain the difference of these two for me?

  • Heidi
    Aug 23, 2018

    I run a play based toddler room with aspects of Montessori integrated into my lesson plans. Personally I prefer play based centers rather than strictly Montessori or some of the other methods. In a play based center you get aspects of all of the different ways in one and the children still thrive and are given different experiences that they might not get in the other schools.

  • Elizabeth
    Aug 24, 2018

    I had already enrolled in play based when I researched Montessori. Frankly it’s too expensive and inconvenient for my family and I already have friends whose child attends his current school and can vouch for it. I enjoy reading the lesson plans that are posted for the week at his current school and it still has Montessori aspects. The application also really bugged me for a 1.5 year old to feel so judged on his language and social development. Have you visited the school and seen how your child interacts? That was another major factor in my decision.

  • Jacey
    Aug 28, 2018

    My child’s godmother was a Montessori teacher and school administrator for many years. When we were seeking a preschool for our 2.5yo son, she advised us to ask about the longevity of the teachers at each school we considered. Not only does a long-time teacher mean more experience, but low turn-over at a school means they treat their teachers well, give them the training they need, and things at the school are generally well-managed/ maybe consider them when deciding between schools.