Transitioning to Primary
When children reach their 6th birthday they will move on from Titoki to their next stage in learning.
Titoki Montessori has a very good relationship and partnership with a number of local schools on the North shore. For years, our 6 year olds have transitioned very well from the Casa environment and moving into primary school life. The local schools have happily received our students and come to value, understand and respect this 3 year cycle at Titoki.
Some of these local schools are listed below:
Occasionally some of our parents, as their children approach the age of 5, question whether they should pull their child out of Titoki a year early to start primary school at the same time as many other children.
Through feedback we have had from local schools we have put together this page to help reassure parents that your child is not "losing a year" when they remain for their crucial third year at Titoki Casa. This is a stance supported not only by the Titoki teachers and the many testimonials of past parents, but also teachers and primary school leaders from the many local schools.
Throughout the world New Zealand has one of the earliest starting ages of primary school at 5 years old. In countries like South Africa, Finland and Singapore, the starting age for school is 7 while that for Australia, Canada and Korea is 6. Auckland and especially the North Shore has a vast range of different cultures settling in from overseas and our local primary schools are already catering for children starting school at different ages and with different first languages.
We recently followed up with local schools and they provided this feedback to help answer some of the concerns parents have as their little ones move into the next stage of learning. There were a number of common themes –
Parents should not be stressed by the National Standards.
Children will be joining their similar aged cohorts, whether they are coming in as a 6 year old Montessori child or as an older child who has just immigrated into New Zealand.
National standards and reporting of children as “above, at, below” national standards and even “at risk” of not meeting standards are a requirement for mainstream primary schools.
Children are not “tested” as much as being assessed by teachers on their literacy/numeracy skills at regular intervals so that they are placed in the right learning groups.
The school leaders are mindful that children are not "taught to the test" but to their ability. All school leaders mentioned that every cohort whether from Montessori, mainstream preschools or immigrants coming into their schools would have children above, at or below prescribed National Standards. Children will be supported with additional help or extended learning, where necessary. All agreed that children catch up with reading by Year 3 and that parents tended to be more anxious than children and teachers about the National standards.
One school leader mentioned that there should be no surprises for children assessed as “at risk”. Teachers seek to partner parents in supporting their child’s learning; whether the child is “above”, “at” or “below” national standards.
School leaders agreed that every child is unique; with different strengths and abilities. They seek to support every child's transition wherever they may be on the "academic" spectrum, supporting each child's learning with either more assistance or more challenging work, as the case may be.
School leaders agreed that the summative reports and e-portfolios from Titoki were very useful in helping them prepare for the child's transition and requested that these be shared with the new-entrant teacher in the term before they enrol at the primary school.
They were happy to share expectations of 6 year olds joining their schools - either at Titoki parent evenings or at the schools' new entrants' parent evenings.
Two of the schools requested for their teachers to observe children at work in Titoki - an idea we gladly agree with! One of them shared how enlightened she felt when she witnessed children's independence and interest in learning during her own observation at Titoki.
So, please be assured that your child is not "losing a year" when they remain for their crucial third year at Titoki Casa. As one of the school principals expressed "We count Montessori as school. We don’t look at Montessori children and think ‘they’ve missed out a year’". Another principal said "Children at 6 are treated as having done a year of school at Titoki".
We want to provide your children with the best start and foundation to life long learning and to further assist with the transition to primary school. We also can offer to:
- share your child's e-portfolios and provide summative reports of children's overall learning and dispositions to support their transition
- invite primary staff to speak to Titoki parents on transitions as 6 year olds at our parent evenings
- invite primary teachers to observe children's learning at Titoki
We were very keen to find out how some of our former students are doing as they moved into Primary school life. Please read the following comments from primary teachers and leaders of Titoki children who have transitioned to them:
Our former students were also very enthusiastic with their thoughts on moving on from Titoki:
When asked how their children transitioned from home to Titoki Casa parents have shared these comments with us:
Many parents have been thrilled by how their 6 year olds made smooth transitions to primary schools. Some of their experiences have been shared here on our testimonials page...
“At the end of her time at Titoki, Olivia was a confident, respectful, capable and empowered young person who took to moving on to primary school with enthusiasm. She was ready and approached the new challenge in front of her with no anxiety. I truly believe that staying for the 3-year curriculum was critical in preparing her for the next plane of development, that and Titoki’s philosophy to nurture the ‘whole child’.”
— Christine Cechova