One of the wonderful concepts about Montessori is that children are introduced to new concepts as they are ready for them. Therefore, most children working within the Montessori environment at the age of four are already mastering many concepts that are not usually introduced in a traditional classroom environment until Kindergarten or even First Grade. A carefully thought out Montessori learning environment is designed for all types of learning styles. Sometimes you will have an almost four year old beginning to read and also have a five year old who is struggling in this area. Montessori was developed to help all children succeed. When it comes to whether or not to keep a child in Montessori for Kindergarten or move them to a traditional Kindergarten classroom, parents need to ask themselves what is best for their child.
Children who have been enrolled in a Montessori classroom from the age of three are generally more academically prepared than a child enrolled in a traditional classroom environment. Most children who have been in Montessori, have mastered their sounds and are reading books, can count past 100 and perform basic addition and subtraction by their fifth birthday. Some children have even begun learning multiplication using concrete materials. When you take a child who has mastered all of their sounds, numbers, and who also loves to learn, and remove them from the Montessori environment and place them into a traditional Kindergarten environment you have a child who is not being challenged and may be bored. When making the decision on whether or not to continue in Montessori for Kindergarten it is best to speak with your child’s teacher and see what is the right fit for your child. Each individual child has different needs, what is best for one child may not be best for yours!
Countryside often receives phone calls from parents who have children whose birthday falls after the cut-off date which is August 1st , for most schools. Children who are enrolled at Countryside, no matter what their birthday, are able to follow our Kindergarten Curriculum. However, whether or not your child will be able to move ahead to First Grade, even though their birthday is after August 1st, is not a decision that Countryside can determine. Each individual school district has their own guidelines for accepting children into First Grade.
There are several things that determine whether or not a child is ready for First Grade. Most schools will not only look at academic progress but will also look at the social and emotional well-being of the child. How does the child compare to other children who are age-appropriately ready for First Grade.
If a parent wishes to enroll their child in First Grade, instead of placing them in their age-appropriate grade level, Countryside will perform an evaluation in February to determine the child’s academic progress. This evaluation will be sent directly to the school where the child is requesting enrollment. At this point, it is up to the individual school on whether or not a child will be accepted into First Grade. However, only children who are five years old by August 1st of that academic year will receive a Kindergarten Certificate from Countryside. Because most schools begin enrolling for the following academic year in February, not receiving a Kindergarten Certificate at the end of the academic school year will not hinder their chances of being accepted into First Grade. The important document that is needed, to advance your child into First Grade, is the Academic Progress Report which is performed in February.