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 www.bms.qld.edu.au
Mactier Street (Cnr Fig Tree Pocket Road), Fig Tree Pocket, QLD 4069

Building Futures Montessori www.buildingfutures.com.au
33 Brae St, Wavell Heights,  QLD 4012

Building Futures Montessori www.buildingfutures.com.au
15 High Street, Forest Lake, QLD 4078

Montessori Garden (long day care centre) www.montessorigarden.com.au
2784 Logan Road, Underwood, QLD 4199

Habitat Early Learning Centre www.habitatkids.com.au
54 Hogarth Street, Ferny Grove, QLD 4055

Indooroopilly Montessori Children's House www.imch.com.au
68 Kate Street, Indooroopilly, QLD 4068

3 comments:

  1. Do you know if there are any on the South Side of Brisbane?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Iliska Dreams,
      As far as I know the list in the article is complete, however Steiner schools are quite similar to Montessori- try http://steinereducation.edu.au/about/member-schools/ for more info.
      xSandi D

      Delete
  2. It will be very interesting for the people who will attend. It is also useful especially about social media, people can get information because of this. Thanks for sharing.
    best childcare centres

    ReplyDelete

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