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Why isn't my daughter adjusting to the Montessori method of teaching?

Q: My daughter is 3 years and 5 months old. She has been going to a Montessori school, since she was 2 and half years old. Everything was okay and she appeared to be happy until about 5 months ago when she progressed into a CASA class, which is like junior kindergarten. Every morning when I drop her off to school, she starts crying. I am very concerned and not sure if this is the right place for her to be. I don't believe that she is still adjusting to this new environment since it has been 5 months. When I ask her whether she likes it, she says yes sometimes. I asked her if she likes her teachers or friends at school, she would reply yes most of the time. I am very confused. What could possibly be wrong with the Montessori method?

A:There is nothing wrong with the Montessori method. It seemed to have suited the child earlier, after all. There may be some aspects of the new class that she does not like and it is best to find out from her teachers on whether she is happy in her class. Perhaps someone teases her or pulls her hair! Her distress may be connected to any episode in the family, like the arrival of a new baby. Or a favourite grandparent may have gone away, to visit another part of the family. You will have to consider all possibilities. Does she eat well, with a good appetite? Does she get adequate sleep? Is TV watching part of her schedule? Everything that the child sees or hears is as much part of the curriculum as her school activities are. Make sure that she goes to sleep early enough to get her full quota of sleep. If she is woken up roughly to get ready for school, a bad mood and some crying could follow. You should play with her after she comes back from school and you will be able to pick up more about how she feels. A direct question on whether she likes school is difficult to answer. One would have to study her feelings more indirectly. Discuss the matter with the school and if they permit it, watch her in her class, without being seen. You may not be able to pinpoint the problem easily and knowing how schools function, they may not permit it either. Mainly, treat your child as a person with her own likes and dislikes, rather than as a child who will bring you credit by doing well in school. Her happiness should be your main focus and your relationship with the child should be so warm and non-judgmental, that she will talk to you about how she feels.

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