Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Brisbane Montessori Schools and Day Care Centres: Our Personal Recommendation

Hunter attends a Montessori day care, and a few people have asked me about my personal experiences sending my child to a Montessori school. In a nutshell: It is by far the best decision I could have made for him. 

It is quite interesting to me that Montessori schools are so rare in Brisbane because  I have met so many parents through MumClub who would love for their child to be a Montessori student.  It was in fact the most recent MumClub that made me write this post, and compile a list of Montessori schools and day care centres in Brisbane (at end of article).

Originally Hunter was attending a normal daycare, one block away from home. The first day I left him there I cried because it just didn’t feel right. The sounds of screaming kids and hysterical toddlers filled me ears as my heart filled with a cold leaden feeling.  When I picked him up he seemed to be fine, but was ravenous. The hunger continued every time he sent there. He came home with bruises which the staff would say had been there the whole time, which was definately not true. He came home with nappy rash, something he had never previously had. Labelled clothes and shoes went missing. Lunch boxes came home untouched. The setup was basically a white room with cold lino floors and a handful of godawful electronic toys to play with, as well as a concrete and astro turf outdoor play area that would only be suitable for much older kiddies. Hunter would sleep fitfully afterwards, and almost every week came home sick as a dog. 

At the time I kept telling myself it was all normal and to just let go, but I could never fully relax. The women who worked there couldn’t even remember his name, let alone mine.

After a few sessions I decided I didn’t feel confident sending him there and in fact was feeling sick at the thought of it. At about this same time I found a blog called How We Montessori and was instantly interested in doing something similar for Hunter. I discovered we lived very close to one of Brisbane’s rare Montessori schools. I scheduled in a tour, after which I was so relieved and impressed that I instantly signed Hunter up and told my existing daycare to shove it. Happily my work let me change my days to suit the only available spot, as this daycare has a huge wait list.

I have never had a single regret.

The staff are more than attentive, they are loving and gentle. Even when Hunter was bitten by another child a couple of times at the centre they informed me thoroughly of what had happened and worked with us to move Hunter into another room. They keep me informed, they remember our family quirks and preferences. When we were a bit behind in the fees they didn’t call me up to harass me unlike the other daycare that would complain if there was a public holiday delaying our bank transfer. They report to me how Hunter is doing, and are always so encouraging.

But a good daycare isn’t measured by how they treat the parents. It’s really all about how they treat the kids. Hunter loves being told in the morning that today he gets to play with ”the kids”. He gets dressed with no fuss and gets very excited when we are finally in the car on our way. It isn’t just the kids he loves, but the games and activities and even the furniture and building fixtures.

The entire centre is designed to not just accommodate him, but empower him. All the chairs and tables are his height. A variety of interesting learning toys are on shelves that are at his height, other size appropriate features include a bathroom, kitchen and drink station that are all toddler scale.  He often shows me how he pours his own drink from the (toddler sized) water cooler, and now he is using the mini-toilets, proud as punch!

The games and activities he plays are all designed to help him become a capable little man, and he enjoys them in a big way. Instead of masses of noisy electronic gizmo, Montessori toys are simple thoughtful objects, some abstract like blocks and puzzles, some real life like plants and realistic baby dolls. For example he loves to sweep and wash up. He loves being involved in cooking dinner which I am sure stems from the way the kids at Montessori school help make the meals. He cleans up his mess. He follows instruction.

For what it’s worth the other kids all seem as happy as Hunter. Unlike our first daycare experience, the kids play calmly. Disputes are resolved by communication. Even the problem ‘biter’ was afforded special attention and is no longer such a pain to play with. In the morning we see a couple of kids lose their cool over mum and dad leaving them, but we also see those same kids getting lots of cuddles and quickly being distracted with a calming satisfying activity.

Hunter enjoys day-care and has bloomed under their guidance.

If you are considering Montessori for your kids, call your closest centre right now and ask to go on a tour. If the other centers are anything like mine, they will be more than happy to show off their centre.

Brisbane Montessori School
Mactier Street (Cnr Fig Tree Pocket Road), Fig Tree Pocket, QLD 4069

Building Futures Montessori
33 Brae St, Wavell Heights,  QLD 4012

Building Futures Montessori
15 High Street, Forest Lake, QLD 4078

Montessori Garden (long day care centre)
2784 Logan Road, Underwood, QLD 4199

Habitat Early Learning Centre
54 Hogarth Street, Ferny Grove, QLD 4055

Indooroopilly Montessori Children's House
68 Kate Street, Indooroopilly, QLD 4068

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Childhood Quotes: Alice Cooper

This is the craziest thing about me though. I wrote a song about 99% of the people that hated school. But essentially I was Ferris Bueller, and I basically ran the school. You have to picture what happened - we are freshmen and sophomores in high school. We have the number one band in Phoenix, Arizona where a thousand kids from the schools are coming to see us play at clubs on weekends. Also, three guys in the band are on the unbeatable track and cross-country team. We've got the jocks, we've got the rockers, the girls love us because we're in a band and we're also sports heroes and I'm going, "We OWN this school!" We had girlfriends doing our homework, and the teachers loved us because we made them laugh. So school was like a piece of cake for me. Not that I ever DID anything, I was just the class clown. When I wrote the song, I was like, "Jeez, this doesn't apply to me at all! I love high school, I'd spend the rest of my life here!"
- Alice Cooper

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

MumClub is famous! South East Advertiser Lifestyle section.

The Southeast Advertiser recently ran an article on MumClub! We made the front page of the Lifestyle section! Check us out in the Wednesday August 14 edition or online here.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Free Stuff For Brisbane Mums: MumClub Play Group is on again at Southside Tea Room, this time with even more Giveaways!

Calling all cool parents: Brisbane’s first mothers group for cool mums is on again! Join Me, Sandi D, and a ton of other rad, weird, kooky, eccentric and downright cool mums (and dads- join us!!) from 9:45am this Monday, August 12 for a morning of sweet treats, family friendly fun and GIVEAWAYS!!

That’s right, this month MumClub participants have an opportunity to walk away with loads of great stuff simply by showing up and hanging out with us - yay!

One of two Brauer Naturals Baby Sleepytime Bath and Designer Duck sets valued at $12.99 each.
A First Steps Baby Walker from VTech valued at $82.99.
And for the second time we have a stack of gorgeous Baccarat mini kitchenwares thanks to House.
Southside Tea Room staff will serve us biggies amazing coffees and delicious cakes and snacks, while the littlies purl around safely in a play pen and the medium sized ones busy themselves at the art table and pinball machine (and perhaps enjoy a delicious organic icy pole or milkshake).

If you can’t make it this time, MumClub is held on the second Monday of every month and we would love to meet you. If you can make it but your little one can’t you are more than welcome to join us anyway. You never know who you’ll meet and it really is rad (and validating) to be part of a mums group where your clothes/hair/music taste/body mods/hobbies fit right in our patch work of alternative awesomeness.

At previous MumClubs we have spoken about all kinds of stuff: where to find cheap cool kids clothes, breastfeeding and bottle feeding dramas, day-care and return to work, kid friendly music that doesn’t suck, how to find cool maternity and breastfeeding and post-partum clothes, good kid friendly outings for creative and musical families, fun ways to get fit post baby (roller derby or punk rock aerobics anyone?) and how good it feels to finally meet other cool parents.

Think of it as the mother's group you secretly hoped for, but doubted you'd ever find.

Cool Parents Unite and Take Over,

Sandi D

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