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Old 20.10.2011, 14:18
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Does anyone have experience with this Montessori school in Zurich?

http://www.montessori-zuerichsee.ch/

Thanks for any input!
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Old 25.10.2011, 09:52
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Re: Does anyone have experience with this Montessori school in Zurich?

No one?

I was in a hurry and didn't say as much as I would like to. So it is one of the two (if even that) options we have right now for our 2-year-old daughter. (It is "better" language-wise because it's bilingual German/English; the other one - a spielgruppe - is only in German, and also is only 2 mornings a week) But the rather strange thing with it is that they doesn't like for potential students and their parents to visit when the children are there - they say it's like a zoo . So last time when we scheduled a visit with them, we were surprised upon coming to find the classroom vacated - the remaining teacher said the other teachers took the children outside so we could visit. But it is very important for me, as someone who was a student of Early Childhood Education and worked in several daycares/preschools in the U.S., to be able to see the teachers' interaction with the children and the children to interact with each other in order to be comfortable putting our daughter there.

Also, after filing an application form with them, we were told to wait for a call from the head of the school about the first days when she is back from her sick leave "until October 24". It's October 25 today and still no phone call and I called her directly and no one answers. Our daughter is supposed to start at their school next week (we haven't made the payment though until we get to talk to the head).

The school looks neat and rather pretty. The classroom and classroom materials are in great condition. The teacher that showed us around was friendly and gentle. So it's not like our first impression of them is entirely negative. But still, it doesn't feel quite right with all the above-mentioned, and the fact that the admin person, who answered our emails, neither sounds very friendly or is very informative...

You may think I'm a bit particular... but I've seen lots in daycares and preschools (at least in the U.S.), and this is our first time enrolling our child in school, and she's only 2. So it is a big deal for us.
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Old 25.10.2011, 10:01
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Re: Does anyone have experience with this Montessori school in Zurich?

I think you have answered your own question, to be honest. This place obviously doesn't fill you full of confidence and you seem to be looking for some reason to continue with your application there.

I would have a look around for something else. As your daughter is only two and you only want her there for two days a week, is it so important that she goes to Montessori? There are loads of really good bilingual daycare places around the city.

My son went to Little Star which, ironically, says they have certain Montessori influences on their structure and he was really happy there. His happiness was the main thing and we didn't even give the Montessori thing a second glance - to me, daubing paint on a crocodile made from egg boxes, or sitting in a circle singing Five Little Ducks could come from any old teaching method.

Daycares tooting about Montessori for a 2 year old seems to be a good way of squeezing a few extra CHF out of parents.

The staff are nice and they seem to achieve quiet a lot during their days.
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Old 25.10.2011, 14:25
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Re: Does anyone have experience with this Montessori school in Zurich?

Thank you for your reply. Maybe I wasn't clear enough in my post but we wanted her in school more than 2 mornings a day. The school in question is not a daycare with "Montessori influence" but is a Montessori school with a nursery group, i.e. they also have kindergarten groups. I too don't *really* care about Montessori or not at this point (even though based on my *personal* experience I would love to send her to a school with a specific teaching approach - even if just for exposure given how young she is - rather than just a place to care for her, a "daycare".

I may sound like a really bad mom but *one* of the reasons I still haven't dismiss this option is because after staying home with my daughter for over 2 years now I feel really stressed out and would like to start learning again. I'm planning to start with taking (intensive) German courses while she's at school. (We originally planned to have her at the said Montessori school 5 afternoons a week, 3 hours each).

The thing is, of the many preschools in Zurich most, if not all, either have a long waiting list or don't accept 2YOs.

Last edited by vwild1; 25.10.2011 at 15:10. Reason: merged 2 posts into 1
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Old 25.10.2011, 15:07
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Re: Does anyone have experience with this Montessori school in Zurich?

Hi Iris Flower, I don't know if you are decided to take your child into a Montessori environment. My daughter was in Montessori in the US (Minnesota) and upon arrival in Zurich we decided to explore further. I have a 5 year old daughter and an almost 3 year old boy. My son (3) is now enrolled at Tandem a bilingual school with 3 locations, and we really like it. It is not a MOntessori but it has a wonderful caring environment with many activities, they take the kids to the park everyday, the farm, etc. My biggest shock upon arrival was the huge difference between US daycares and swiss facilities: no playgrounds, smaller, sometime scrappy. But the amazing thing is that here the daycares and schools leverage the public facilities, parks, forests, public transportation, etc. It's amazing to see 2 year olds out and about... let me know if you want more details on other daycares that I visited. Good luck!
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Old 25.10.2011, 16:32
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Re: Does anyone have experience with this Montessori school in Zurich?

Hi,

I know what you mean, last year I was desperate looking for a place for my little one and no one has a place for her in zurich, anyway all my swiss friends are crazy about the montesori nursery, which is very well know but all they have said that is almost imposible to find a place there..... If you have the chance you should think twice.

If you need further help send me a private message, I have some experiences in looking for nurseries in Zurich
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Old 25.10.2011, 17:59
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Re: Does anyone have experience with this Montessori school in Zurich?

Quote:
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I may sound like a really bad mom but *one* of the reasons I still haven't dismiss this option is because after staying home with my daughter for over 2 years now I feel really stressed out and would like to start learning again. I'm planning to start with taking (intensive) German courses while she's at school. (We originally planned to have her at the said Montessori school 5 afternoons a week, 3 hours each).

The thing is, of the many preschools in Zurich most, if not all, either have a long waiting list or don't accept 2YOs.
Don't feel bad at all. I think kids have a massive benefit from being in daycare, but I am biased - my son was in 5 days a week :-)

They mix with other kids and learn to socialise.
They benefit from an alternative programme to home.
Not sure if it feels like a benefit at the time but they get exposed to all sorts of germs and bugs and it strengthens their immunity.
You get some time to yourself which benefits both of you.
It gets them used to mixing with other adults.

I'm sure my son's developmental stages were aided by going to daycare. He was in daycare from the age of 5 months. You miss them like mad when they are there but if you find the right place you sometimes find that they are hiding when you come to pick them up because they are having so much fun they don't want to come home.
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Old 31.10.2011, 13:49
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Re: Does anyone have experience with this Montessori school in Zurich?

Quote:
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Don't feel bad at all. I think kids have a massive benefit from being in daycare, but I am biased - my son was in 5 days a week :-)

They mix with other kids and learn to socialise.
They benefit from an alternative programme to home.
Not sure if it feels like a benefit at the time but they get exposed to all sorts of germs and bugs and it strengthens their immunity.
You get some time to yourself which benefits both of you.
It gets them used to mixing with other adults.

I'm sure my son's developmental stages were aided by going to daycare. He was in daycare from the age of 5 months. You miss them like mad when they are there but if you find the right place you sometimes find that they are hiding when you come to pick them up because they are having so much fun they don't want to come home.
This is VERY important, isn't it? The thing is, this place in question doesn't feel like the right place to me...

So this is the next part of the story. I'm going to cut and paste from my post in a Mom-to-Mom forum I've long been member to in the U.S. Sorry if the story is long - I'm still nervous, being new to this forum.

Quote:
the admin person, who answers our emails in a not-very-friendly-or-helpful tone of voice, told us after we filed an application form with them, that we would receive by the end of this month a phone call from the head of the school, a Mrs. K., about the first days. Well, we wanted that call *before* we make the first payment, which includes the registration fee and the first month's tuition). Mrs. K. was supposed to be back from her sick leave this week, but we got no call from her. I called several times and was never able to reach her. I was starting to feel like OK I'm going to put my child in this school in a few days' time and I haven't met the other two teachers in the classroom or the children, have absolutely NO idea how we all will go about her first days, and they don't know A THING about my child or our family - that doesn't feel right. I thought we would sit down with us to talk about my child - things like she can't drink cow's milk, she is fully potty-trained and diaper-free but needs help going in a regular potty, and when she needs to go she'll say it in our language (not English or German, the classroom languages) and how the teachers, who doesn't understand it, will know so they can help her, etc. When I was finally able to speak to the head (I called her again this morning, left a message and she called back), I brought this up and she said OK if you want we can make an appointment for you to come next Tuesday (which is Nov 1, meaning we will have made the first payment) so we can talk. I was thinking "if I want?? I thought it's a procedure they have to go through whenever a new child joins the school?". When we were talking for some reason we got cut off, I called back and we talked some more, and then got cut off again, and I called back like 5 times but could only reach her voice mailbox; I left a message asking her to call back but haven't heard back from her. She had mentioned that she was teaching her class. So she can't reserve a time to properly talk to me about my child who is coming to her school? It's like she only called me because *I* wanted to speak to her.

Oh, I did try asking her again if we could visit one more time with the other teachers and children in so we can meet them and see them in action, etc. she said I will see what I want to see when I drop her off there everyday. That would mean we will have made the full commitment and payment for her to be there, and I wanted the visit BEFORE that. (Sorry I keep mentioning the payment thing, but it's EXPENSIVE) At another school we visited here, they have a clear procedure for first days - they want a parent to remain with the child for a decreasing amount of time during those days while the child get acquainted to her new caregivers while remaining passive so the teachers can work with the child, etc. but still providing the necessary sense of security for the child, etc. I think that sounds reasonable and thoughtful. But at this Montessori school in question, when I asked about the first days she said I should stay for 10-15 mins and then should leave if my child seems OK because "it's very hard with the mother there." I don't think I agree with the point.
Quote:
On Saturday the head of the school (whom I spoke on the phone to on Friday) had a teacher call me (why didn't she call herself? We were cut off in the midst of our conversation!) and offered to make an appointment to see us this Thursday to "talk". I said if it's just to talk then please ask her to email or give me a call since we live pretty far from the school (I said so partly because a "talk" on Thursday, Nov 3 wouldn't solve any of my problems with them.). I explained to the teacher very clearly the issues we have that make us not quite comfortable putting my child in their school, and the teacher said she would pass my message on to the head and she (the head) will call me back today. Well, I haven't heard from her till now (almost 1.30pm - and I had asked her to not call between 1pm-2pm because of my child's nap).
Added to all of that experience we've had so far with them the fact that while they're not so close to where we're living, putting her in this school makes finding new housing (we're only staying where we are until Feb) very stressful - my husband has been looking intensively and not much is available less than 40mins by tram from that school.
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Old 31.10.2011, 14:01
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Re: Does anyone have experience with this Montessori school in Zurich?

When we were looking for child-care we visited loads of places (always with prior arrangement) and there was one place which really didn't seem right to me. I got such a bad impression I didn't even bother putting our name on the waiting list.

As a mum you will know when you find a place you are comfortable to leave your child.

I would have dropped this place like a hot brick after the total disinterest they seem to show. True that daycare's are a seller's market due to a shortage of places but the competition is also fierce. I would get a few suitable alternatives checked out if I were you.
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Old 02.11.2011, 13:42
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Re: Does anyone have experience with this Montessori school in Zurich?

Thanks for your reply. We dropped it too. There're so many reasons to. Well, I guess if I've been able to stay home with my child the past two years I sure can do so for another few months or so. We'll get to know Zurich together.
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Old 02.11.2011, 18:56
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Re: Does anyone have experience with this Montessori school in Zurich?

Hey IrisFlower. I have no idea about the pros or cons of Montessori schools, but just as an input from my childhood: both my parents are from the US and moved to Switzerland. I was born here, and my mother put me in a normal (German speaking), local Krippe when I was about 1 or 1/2 years old. In my opinion, it was probably the best thing she could do. I lost some of my English but got it back with ease later on in Gymnasium. I made local friends and learned the language in a very short time (as I've been told). I am an only child, so I was glad to have some company, and I would even go as far as saying that it helps you be more independent (in a good way ).

This was about 20 years ago - I guess much has changed, but I don't think you should feel bad at all for wanting to put your child in a daycare. It might even do good!
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