We have three daughters who all started at Forestville Montessori School from the age of 18 months. Two of our girls are now in High School. Isabella is in Year 7 and Gabrielle is in Year 8. Our other daughter, Maree is a level 4 student in Datevig’s 9-12 class.
When our eldest daughter started High School I was feeling apprehensive with questions running around in my head about how she would cope.
“How will she transition from non-mainstream to a mainstream school?"
“How will she cope with homework and formal testing?”
“Will she cope with the workload?”
It didn’t take long for me to realise that she had been taught how to be a learner at FMS and so she was going to succeed with whatever was coming her way. Of significance was also the way she had been prepared by FMS with her organisational skills and her high level of independence. Being independent was something she had learnt at FMS from the very beginning and it was such a bonus for her. In no time at all she was scheduling her workload, managing her homework expectations and assessments with ease.
Noticeably, our daughter and other children from a Montessori background are confident learners with a strong sense of self. This of course underpins how she manages High School but it is also a strong foundation as she moves through life.
With assessments and test which happen regularly in High school, I’m pleased to say that my girls adopt a relaxed attitude as they understand it’s not always about getting a mark, it’s also about the preparation and enjoying the learning process.
We laughed to hear both our girls talk about homework as fun because it was a novelty for them. They view homework as an extension of what they were learning at school rather than a chore that has to be completed separately to hand into the teacher.
“Will they be behind other students academically?”
“Will they know as much as other students?”
We were surprised to see that in most of the subjects especially math and science, they are far more advanced. This is because learning at Montessori is not limited by one’s age. Gabrielle for example was doing math work in the 9-12 class which was equivalent to a Year 9 level. Isabella was surprised that most in her class had done no long division before.
We really encourage parents to attend the parent education evenings run by the FMS staff, the math one in particular. You won’t be disappointed, you’ll be blown away by the way the staff teach complex, abstract concepts using the materials. The visual of the materials and the use of hands on learning has certainly helped my girls to think mathematically.
As parents, we are so glad that our girls have had the opportunity to lay strong foundations with a Montessori education at FMS. We always knew it was the right education for them but now we see that even more clearly with two girls in High School. The benefits of their wonderful Montessori education are crystal clear.