Wednesday, August 19, 2009

From Hunky Dorey to Montessori

After four weeks of summer school (where he was the only constant) and two weeks at home with Mom, the little man started his new dagis on Monday.

Boy what a difference from his first daycare experience. Background Break: The dude had a nanny for the first two and a half years of his life. Then we moved to Sweden and he started daycare at a school a 30-second walk from our front door. Convenient, yes! Then we found out the school was likely closing for a myriad of reasons, mainly financial and due to the fact that the school is housed in converted apartments not ideally suited to a daycare facility. The parents continue to battle on to keep it open and have made enough of a stink that the local media has picked up the story.

I decided I wasn't that thrilled with the school anyway so figuring we'd have to move schools, I started looking around and happened on a Montessori school. For those unfamiliar with Montessori education, in a nutshell, it's about empowering the individual child to reach his/her full potential by allowing them to be independent and building their self-esteem. Teachers don't "teach" in a Montessori environment, they guide, direct, observe and redirect. After receiving an in-depth hour-long orientation and hearing stories like, "Oh yes, the children make coffee for us." "They help teach the younger children" "They know how to multiply by the time they're ready for school", how could I say No?

For one, Montessori schools in North American are EXPENSIVE. Here, I pay the same low monthly cost of 1260 SEK for 35 hours/week, which is about 200 Canadian dollars!!! Ok, so I also have to clean the place twice a year. But hey, what's a few pee-stained potties in exchange for a super genius son? (slight exagerration on the genius expectation but not the cleaning toilets part). Anyway, I can job out the cleaning to some kid for 750 SEK.

I digress (as usual)

Anyway, today was Day #3. We won't go back to Day #2. That was the day my angelic son changed to devil spawn: saying "No" to every request made by the teacher, constantly running out into the hall screaming, refusing to listen. I was mortified. But that was Day #2 (which involved me sitting in the hall outside the classroom for an hour). Day #3 involved me dropping him off outside and leaving for almost 2 hours. He cried but apparently not for long (his teacher called me an hour later with a report). I think my mother-in-law was right. He was probably wondering on Days 1 & 2 where the heck all the kids were. The first two days, no kids, just him and the director, one-on-one.

As per strict instructions, I arrived on time and waited outside. His teacher, let's call her Anna, came out to brief me on the day's events. A play-by-play: He read a dinosaur book, he played with a dinosaur puzzle. He was consoled by another English-speaking boy when he cried after I left. He played with blocks. She must have spoken to me for a solid 10 minutes and THEN informed me that there would be up to 5 parent/teacher evenings where we'd meet with her to discuss his development. WTF?!

All this for the rock bottom price of $200/month? (yes I realize this all comes back to us in heavy taxes, but still). His last school, though the teachers were kind enough, they NEVER paid that much attention to us! In fact, they didn't pay much attention at all, as evidenced by a few incidents where I freaked out over blatantly inadequate supervision.

Digressing again...

My point is this: Cautiously optimistic about this opportunity for the little man. It's gonna be a huge change for him AND for me but we're up for the challenge. I just hope they are...


H F W said...

Sounds like a great schooling opportunity! I went to Montessori schools, and I recall my days there fondly. :)

septembermom said...

I hear wonderful things about a Montessori education. I think your son will probably shine in this new environment. Thanks so much for your kind comments on my blog today :)

jennifer said...

Thanks for the support HFW and Septembermom. Currently sitting on the couch with an hour to go before I pick him up. Let's see what this day brings.