View Full Version : Montessori & ADHD


beta_k
12-16-12, 11:39 PM
My son has not yet been diagnosed, but all things are leading towards a diagnosis (my husband and I have been reading extensively, especially over the past week, looking at resources shared by this forum, and if our son does not end up with an ADHD diagnosis, he is most certainly "borderline"). Our son is 5, with a late birthday, and currently in a Montessori pre-k. Next year he will be old enough to go to public kindergarten in our school system. We are really torn over what would be the best environment for him.

At the beginning of this year we had a very difficult time with him, and we think it was due to some changes in the school that caused some anxiety and stress, and therefore some really aggressive and emotional behavior from him. It is what prompted us to start seeing a psychologist in the first place. THat behavior has cooled off considerably, but the ADHD symptoms were really brought to light in this process.

We love his current school, but I worry that a Montessori environment is not right for someone with ADHD or strong symptoms of it. I worry about transitioning him though, because he had SUCH a difficult change at the beginning of this year, and he didn't even change schools or teachers. We live in a really great school system (known for being one of the best in the state) and I imagine the resources are wonderful in the public schools (we plan to do a visit at his assigned school in a few months). I worry about him being tagged as a "problem kid" or ending up with a teacher who doesn't have experience working with kids with ADHD. My husband and I also worry a lot about the homework aspect...based on everything we have seen with our son I can only imagine the nightmare that this would be to deal with each day (and our district apparently gets heavy on the homework the older the kids get).

I would appreciate any insight from parents or those with ADHD who may have experience being in an alternative school setting like Montessori. Did it work for you? If not, why? If you are seeking out Montessori's or found one that was successful for you, is there anything you would recommend looking for specifically? Our son could stay at his current school for one more year, but after that he would need to go to public or another Montessori (unless we send him to public for Kindergarten next year).

ana futura
12-17-12, 12:37 AM
I am a product of Montessori. I actually blame Montessori for my making it all the way to my thirties without a diagnosis :rolleyes:

I did so well there, that my undiagnosed ADHD was never an issue. It was a perfect fit for me, and I think my experience with Montessori is a large part of the reason I am as well adjusted as I am. Having those first years of my life be so positive and stress free was a gift I am extremely thankful for.

The one "problem" I see with Montessori is acclimating the ADHD child to public school after the transition. I did just fine, but I hear the work load in public school is much greater than it used to be.

I still struggle with homework to this day (I'm in grad school) I don't blame Montessori for that, homework was not a big issue with me until high school. You might have to incorporate some extra effort in that department after he leaves Montessori. Montessori will encourage him to embrace the subjects he's interested in, but drudge work may get ignored. Still, I think this is the best approach for the ADHD child.

Talk to the teachers at his school, be honest about your concerns.

I am so, so happy I attended Montessori.

Can you tell us why, specifically, you think it wouldn't be a good fit?

beta_k
12-17-12, 01:06 AM
Thanks for sharing your experience with it! I was a Montessori child, but only through Kindergarten. I have such fond memories of my pre-k/kindergarten year and have always wanted to send my kids to a Montessori school because of it.

My main concern about continuing to send him to a Montessori is that most things I have read thus far seem to say that structure is really important for kids with ADHD. I know that Montessori classrooms are more structured than people realize, but they are significantly less than in a public school. On the other hand, I worry that he will not adapt well to the structure in a public school (won't like being told what to do at certain times, will have difficulty transitioning between assigned tasks on demand, etc).

Sandy4957
12-17-12, 01:46 AM
I am like Ana. I went to a Montessori preschool and was reading books long before kindergarten. It clearly gave me a love of learning that is a part of my success to this day.

And I made it to my 40s before I was diagnosed... :)

beta_k
12-17-12, 10:04 AM
I am like Ana. I went to a Montessori preschool and was reading books long before kindergarten. It clearly gave me a love of learning that is a part of my success to this day.

And I made it to my 40s before I was diagnosed... :)

Thanks for sharing your experience too (sorry, my comments are being delayed since I'm new :)) It is good to hear these things. My husband and I were talking last night after I posted, and our son is really enjoying school so much and according to his teachers is at level or slightly ahead of level, so we are definitely inclined to keep him where he is. We just worry that we'd be making a mistake by not taking advantage of the school system we live in (not to mention the impact on the family budget). It is really important to both of us, though, that he likes school, and he certainly does right now.

LynneC
12-17-12, 10:43 AM
Thanks for sharing your experience with it! I was a Montessori child, but only through Kindergarten. I have such fond memories of my pre-k/kindergarten year and have always wanted to send my kids to a Montessori school because of it.

My main concern about continuing to send him to a Montessori is that most things I have read thus far seem to say that structure is really important for kids with ADHD. I know that Montessori classrooms are more structured than people realize, but they are significantly less than in a public school. On the other hand, I worry that he will not adapt well to the structure in a public school (won't like being told what to do at certain times, will have difficulty transitioning between assigned tasks on demand, etc).
My son went to a Montessori pre-K and did very well in that setting (he was very hyperactive and very short attention span). Like all schools, it's very dependent on the teacher. I would go and observe the particular classroom where he would be placed. (whoops, I see that he's already in Montessori :o )

I think the ability to move around the classroom and involve your senses in the learning process is a benefit for most ADHD kids. (all kids, really...)
PS, after reading your opening post, I would keep him in Montessori if at all possible. Sounds like he's adapted well and is happy. Also, as an aside, in my area we have Montessori magnet schools (public school magnet programs) that are free. Might be worth checking out...

Dizfriz
12-17-12, 11:32 AM
To add to this, my son spent his preschool in a Montessori center and did very well there. I feel it helped him quite a bit but he had a very wonderful teacher and this makes a huge difference no matter what kind of school is involved

Dizfriz.

Hml1976
01-08-13, 05:57 PM
I'll be the lone dissenter :)

I was a Montessori kid (through 5th grade), my mom is a Montessori teacher, my daughter attended through 1st grade and did great....my ADHD son has done much better in a traditional school.

For him there were just too many options and too many distractions. It sounds crazy but the environment just seemed to hype him up. He has done much better in a classroom where he can't touch other kids' work very easily and he can be in his own space without interference. Just our experience :)

manismom
02-05-13, 10:45 AM
We are looking into Montessori school for my 7 year old daughter.

She is currently in Public school, but we recently had an outside advisor (kind of an education specialist for kids not meeting their potential) visit her 1st grade classroom. She told us that even though we were looking at less than 4 months left in school, if it were her child, she would change her school immediately. Her current classroom is so far from meeting her needs that she has missed quite a bit of material that she will need for 2nd grade. Her current special Ed team is so invested in the status quo that they won't or can't admit that her current set-up is completely inadequate. We are expected to "make-up" her missed learning in the evenings as homework after she has been at school for 7 hours.

I am meeting quite a bit of resistance from my husband about "alternative" schools and changing schools so late in the school year.

His biggest concern is how the transition back to public school would work. I can't seem to find much information on this that -isn't- written by Montessori. Anyone know a source for more information?

I feel that the multi-sensory approach to learning would be greatly beneficial, but I do worry about the lack of structure. The class she would be in is very small, so I feel that the teacher would have time to spend on one-on-one learning. She is a bright little girl with a HUGE amount of curiosity, so I am not concerned that she wouldn't learn anything. The materials and classroom are set up to allow the kids to explore EVERYTHING. And I particularly liked that the school emphasized both fine motor skills activities and life skills (like cleaning up after themselves).

Is anyone aware of books or articles that compare traditional and Montessori schools that is written by an objective person?