Today we toured another amazing school in our kindergarten hunt. This one subscribed to the Montessori method. It was so cool to walk in and see all these kids actively engaged in projects. One kid was baking, another making words out of weird cursive letters, another was doing some funny number chart, one was doing math on an abacas, another was running around without pants (not sure what that was about).
The school is everything I ever wanted as a child. They develop a program that meets the individual's needs working both in groups and individually. I think Stella could really thrive in a school like that.
What are the cons? Well, they mix all of the 3-5 year olds together which I am not sure is a con but it is different. They also don't have a gym sponsored by Nike and are not surrounded by ancient royal forests. The children bake their own bread for snack at this school versus the pastry chef on staff at the other school.
Seriously I feel like I am choosing between gold and gold because both of these schools are amazing.
The con about the Nike sponsored school? It would take my little Stella away for ten hours. Yup, she would be at school for eight hours and spend two hours on the bus every day.
That is a long day for a five year old. A really long day.
Then I have to ask myself this question: what is best for Stella?
We don't know where we are going next. It could be Antarctica for all I know (although diplomatically that is probably unlikely since our ties there are pretty frozen), but I worry. I put these kids through so much change and I worry that if when we go to another post she is going to have to do a new country, potentially new language, and then a new schooling system.
Oiy, my head hurts thinking about it all.
So here are the pros to Montessori:
- Develops an individual learning plan and fosters independent play (she could use this)
- Not a two hour commute
- It is 50/50 French/English so her French would get better (Nike school only does 30 minutes of French a day)
- They have music instrument lessons during school and we have a violin that is dying to be played, this is part of school not after school (Nike school it is after school)
- We get a 15% discount if we put Tiger there, although even with the discount it is still more than my university tuition (and this includes grad school), hmph...this would force me to get a job to pay for preschool
- More international feel
Here are the pros to the Nike sponsored International School
- The campus is amazing
- The playground is amazing
- The teacher to student ratio is good 1:10 Montessori is 1:12
- There are computers for each kid
- Great library
- Ease into American system if we go back to U.S. or another international school
- Pastry chef and awesome cafeteria
- More families like us (this could be a con)
Really I am not sure what we will do. Either way I am excited for Stella. And please watch that YouTube video of Max Fischer's clubs in Rusmore. Best. Movie. Ever.
For those who have had experience with either the traditional international schools or Montessori schools please chime in.