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Is 5 years old a hard transition age from a traditional classroom to a Montessori classroom?
My son just turned 5 last week he is currently enrolled in a PreK program at the local Jewish Community Center . Yesterday he was accepted into the local certified Montessori school. I am concerned how Montessori will be able to transition him at this age.

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  1. I think that is still young enough to be transitioned. How much do you remember from before you were 5? He probably couldn't tell you what he did two weeks ago unless it was something extremely specific like his birthday. He would probably be just fine - if not better, I think a Montessori school would not just be a good transition, but a relief to some children.
  2. Kids are very adaptable creatures. Unless you're yanking a 12 or 13 year old out of traditional school and putting them into a Montessori or Waldorf program the shock is going to be pretty minimal. He'll probably be a bit shy at first but I bet the first day of school when you pick him up he'll be bursting to tell you all about his new school and friends!
  3. I've had many students transition at 5 years old into a Montessori program and the students have done really well. Realize a lot of this has to do with the chemistry between the teacher and the student. The real issue I have had deals with the parental expectations. Your 5 year old will usually not be doing the same things that other 5 year olds are doing. This is because the ages of 3-6 are viewed in the Montessori world as being a time when children begin to really develop their own sense of order and refine a sense of order. Most preschools and kindergartens do not place the same emphasis on this. So your son may be more interested in the "easy" practical life work - pouring, scooping, tweesing, etc. This sense of order HAS to come before the "more advanced" works can happen. So if you accept where your child is and enjoy it, it should be a good experience. If you expect your child to be doing xxx because everyone else that age is doing xxx, it will become very difficult for you (not necessarily for the child). As far as a student being shy, that depends entirely on the student. I know it's terrible to generalize students, but there are some generalizations which help us understand students. The personality types can definitely help with this. I like looking at students in the personality types of Amiable, Driver, Expressive, and Analytical. If you google those 4 words, you can come up with a few good resources on what they mean. At age 5, you should be able to determine what personality type your son is in most of the time (there's some variance, usually). You'll see how the people with the certain personality type deals with a stressful situation. Amiable - these are the people that try to "calm the water." In stress, they act like a mediator between people. They tend to focus more on relationship building. The hard part here is they often sacrifice what they feel is best for them, so they need to learn that balance before it overflows. The amiable in a new school situation might be looking for friends to make connections with. Driver - the opposite of Amiable. While the Amiable is trying to calm the water, the Driver is trying to get things done. The Driver usually deals with stress by trying to get stuff done. The Driver will usually have no trouble jumping into a new situation because that's what they do. Analytical - thinks things through. This is where many of the shy people are. They might be a combination of analytical and amiable, but you see them thinking things through. I remember helping an analytical into our classroom by showing her a work she could do. I work in a Montessori school in Taiwan. She knew no English and I knew no Chinese at the time. I showed her how to do the cylinder blocks and it gave her "permission" to try the other works on the shelf. She was probably thinking, "I don't know what I can and cannot do." Expressive - these people talk. In a new situation, they'll just talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and ... well ... you know. These are the social people. In a new situation, it is good to get them with an expressive/amiable. Generally, if you're open to the idea of taking your son where he is and accepting that and not worrying about where "everyone else is" academically, your son will do wonderfully in a Montessori environment. If you start to worry about "this person is reading" and "that person is doing the 1000 chain," you'll miss out.