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  • Liechtenstein
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1298

    • February 15, 2019, 04:39:00 pm
    • NE Hemisphere
From Montessori to Cambridge Curriculum
« on: January 15, 2021, 11:57:05 am »
The principal and I have been talking about  how to present ideas and reasonings to parents regarding this switch.

Here's the story:

I teach at an international school. Students can start at 2 years old in the Kindergarten which runs 4 years and uses the Montessori system.

They then move into Primary grade 1 which uses the Cambridge system. We go to P4 now and will have P5 next school year (September start)

Montessori is completely different than the Cambridge system, and we are a recognized Cambridge school.

In Montessori the kids have no assigned desks or seats. They wander around freely. If they don't enjoy what they are being taught they can go do something else. There are no books, tests or anything of the sort. They are babied to the point of absurdity. The youngest ones still wear diapers. They are cuddled met at the gate, carried around and watched over to protect them from...well, life. God forbid they fall and get a scraped knee that needs a magnifying glass to see. That requires forms to be filled out in triplicate. Seriously.

Now, when they get to P1, they sit at a desk and have textbooks and workbooks, some (but not a lot of) homework. They are expected to listen, learn and participate. The teaching system, textbooks and curriculum are all Cambridge approved. The students are expected to be vocal and participate. All the textbooks, workbooks, worksheets and language spoken is entirely in English. The students do speak in their native tongues to each other, and there are several native tongues being spoken, but we teachers try to keep it to a minimum.

The issue is, some of the parents don't understand the switchover from Montessori to Cambridge. Understand, that we are generally teaching first generation money and the parents spoil the hell out of their precious charges. The parents also expect the kids to be babied in primary the same as they are in Kindergarten.

Why do they have to sit at desks?

How come they aren't babied?

Why can't they just roam around?

Why aren't they cuddled and carried?

You get it....

Now, the question I would like some help with is this. How can we effectively explain to the parents the need for the switch in systems. Just saying one is this and the other is that, isn't doing it.

The parents were generally educated locally (and grew up poor), which means their education sucked. Now they have money and they want their kids to exist in this fantasy bubble.

Any ideas? Basically, how do we get the point across that "Life is different now that you are in primary school."?


  • waygo0k
  • The Legend

    • 4346

    • September 27, 2011, 11:51:01 am
    • Chungnam
Re: From Montessori to Cambridge Curriculum
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2021, 12:07:59 pm »
You don't suddenly switch. it should be a gradual process the parents should be aware of and should be preparing for...as well as the school.

Otherwise what you'd get is a bunch of failing first graders.


  • Liechtenstein
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1298

    • February 15, 2019, 04:39:00 pm
    • NE Hemisphere
Re: From Montessori to Cambridge Curriculum
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2021, 12:29:52 pm »
You don't suddenly switch. it should be a gradual process the parents should be aware of and should be preparing for...as well as the school.

Otherwise what you'd get is a bunch of failing first graders.

Fair enough, but how would you do that? It would clearly have to start in Kindergarten. Perhaps a little in the 3rd year then in the 4th year desks and chairs etc. My wife teaches in the Kindergarten and the end of term reports for each child are 17 pages long!

I teach P4 and my end of term report has a short blurb on each subject (Math, English, Science, Global Perspectives, I.T.) then how they are performing with a little "X" beside: Excellent, Very Good....It's 1 A4 page long.


  • Liechtenstein
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1298

    • February 15, 2019, 04:39:00 pm
    • NE Hemisphere
Re: From Montessori to Cambridge Curriculum
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2021, 12:56:00 pm »
But, it's the parents we have to convince that their kids babying days are over. The parents want these kids growing up like Bubble Boy on the Seinfeld episode.


  • waygo0k
  • The Legend

    • 4346

    • September 27, 2011, 11:51:01 am
    • Chungnam
Re: From Montessori to Cambridge Curriculum
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2021, 01:43:58 pm »
I would suggest implementing an hour or two of "structured time" during the Montessori years, where students have to practice the necessary skills needed for the Cambridge program.

Also, the parents should be made well aware of the bigger picture ahead of time (I'd say 2 years) and the challenges their children will face if they suddenly switch programs without adequate preparation. They should have an hour of structured time again at home with their child a few times a week.

All this over the course of 18 months to 2 years (with gradual increasing of structured time) will at least prepare the children for the changes they will encounter. All in all, a medium to long term map is needed.


  • Liechtenstein
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1298

    • February 15, 2019, 04:39:00 pm
    • NE Hemisphere
Re: From Montessori to Cambridge Curriculum
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2021, 02:52:20 pm »
I would suggest implementing an hour or two of "structured time" during the Montessori years, where students have to practice the necessary skills needed for the Cambridge program.

Also, the parents should be made well aware of the bigger picture ahead of time (I'd say 2 years) and the challenges their children will face if they suddenly switch programs without adequate preparation. They should have an hour of structured time again at home with their child a few times a week.

All this over the course of 18 months to 2 years (with gradual increasing of structured time) will at least prepare the children for the changes they will encounter. All in all, a medium to long term map is needed.

This is good and I agree. I'll tell you that most, if not all, the children have live-in maids at home who basically raise them as mom and dad are too busy working. A live in maid here works 7 days a week with a weekend off every couple of months or so. They work from before the kid is up until well after it is asleep. They do everything. A 16 hour day is normal. For this, they get room and board + about $100 month. If they're lucky they don't get abuse heaped on them for being lazy and not cleaning well enough.

Today in ICT I had my students show me their houses on Google maps. They were all impressive to say the least. However, one student, who is a sweetheart but always talks about how poor her parents are compared to her friends showed me her house.

I saw a huge red roof that looked bigger than my entire yard and said "Wow! Your house is huge!"

She panned over a bit as she was saying, "No teacher, that's where the servants live. This is our house."

It looked like it was a football stadium.

LOL