Today when I dropped Zac off at daycare, there were only 6 kids in his classroom. Which left me wondering: "Where in the hell did the other 8 kids go?" Clearly, I need to talk to the staff.
As for Montessori schools, Aunt Jen and I went to one when we were little. For me, it was a daycare/preschool. It was more of an elementary school experience for her until the school started going ultra-religious. We started praying every couple of hours in class and my Mom says that I came home with a story once about "laying our hands" on a student that had done something wrong. Apparently, a bunch of 3-4 year-olds were praying for the soul our wayward classmate. I'm guessing that I was picking my nose and lifting my dress up during that activity.
When we went into public school, I was 4 and went into 1st grade. My sister was 7 and went into 4th grade. I had to repeat a year because my motor skill development was behind (sound familiar? oh, the irony!). I couldn't cut straight or draw in a straight line and my feet didn't touch the floor when I was sitting at my desk. That last reason was clearly some 'short-kid discrimination' that I've never fully gotten over...Anyways, my first grade teacher found out how old I was and freaked out. I was put in her classroom for the first part of the day and was sent to a kindergarten classroom for the second half.
All I remember from kindergarten was getting to wear one of my Dad's old long sleeve shirts to paint in. The teacher had to roll up the sleeves 6-7 times on each arm and the shirt went all the way down to my ankles. I felt so safe in my Dad's shirt. Kindergarten was full of painting, cooking, coloring, and playing with kids that I ended up going all the way through high school with. At the beginning of the next school year, I had to repeat 1st grade over, even though I could already read and write. On the bright side, I am an excellent scissor-wielder and my juvenile delinquency didn't seem to have any adverse affects on my social or academic development.
I don't remember much from Montessori school. By the time I was in second grade, I was pretty much equal to my peers. I could still reader faster than the other kids, but I learned how to hide it better. In 5th grade, I tested into a G.A.T.E. classroom, which is the epitome of academic tracking. G.A.T.E. stands for Gifted And Talented Education. The aim of the program was to challenge and prepare' us for junior high school while still attending our regular elementary school. Not surprising, all of the G.A.T.E. students immediately went into 7th grade honors classes and then into high school Advanced Placement classes. All of the kids in the AP classes went onto four-year college, even though most of the other kids in my graduating class didn't.
So, if it seems like I take education of young kids seriously, that's why. I was tracked and escorted all the way through my public school education. It wasn't until I got to college that I realized that it didn't matter if you went to public or private school, if you were in an AP or IB program, or if your high school was a magnet school for math and science. It didn't matter how much money your parents had in their bank account. Those things weren't good indicators of academic success. What really matter the most was how hard someone studied and how much time they devoted to school work, rather than -say- acquiring a taste for beer (something that I master by the end of my first year).
I'd be lying, though, if I didn't acknowledge that studying was a hell of lot easier for me because I had been "preparing" for college since the 5th grade.