CMS has continued to provide my children with a true Montessori experience for the last two years and we are excited to have new leadership in place to take the school to the next level. Plans for a Capitol Campaign and all-new facilities is in the works. While the current facilities are not the most beautiful-the tuition is very reasonable, the children have top-notch educational materials and the teachers truly care about their students. It is certainly not traditional-but the method's ability to meet each child's individual needs is brilliant. Its unique method is not one that sends home worksheets every night and constantly "tests" your child's ability to memorize - but it is one that has my 4-year-old understanding math concepts like fractions and multiplication. The outdoor garden (which the children maintain) provides ingredients for their lunch. It makes "work" take on a whole new, refreshing meaning. We always feel like its the best kept secret in Birmingham! (And with a wait list of over 30 for the preschool program-the secret must be getting out!)
My child has always loved school, until this school. He would cry every day that he didn't want to go and that he didn't like the people there. I would pick him up and he would have random scratches on his face, and when I would ask the teacher what happened they would tell me that he must have done it to himself while he was napping, he is 4! I even tried to have a teacher conference where they told me that somehow it was my fault he wasn't doing well there. Bad communication, and bad leadership.
My child has really thrived in this school (upper elementary level). PROS: they teach intellectual curiosity and self-determination. They allow children to progress pretty much at their own pace and work on their own projects but encourage them to help each other at times and have group projects and presentations. They go above and beyond the state curriculum, teaching kids how to learn, study and problem-solve - NOT just facts and figures. I particularly love the goal setting every 2 wks or so. (They set their goals in all areas and then they reflect upon how they met those goals - all this with the guidance and feedback of the teacher.) I feel like it's good preparation for real life! CONS: parent-teacher communication (by phone & email) is really not great, but there are 2 P-T meetings during the year. They tend to over-communicate about events and fundraisers (probably this is coming from parent/community members) and under-communicate when it comes to replying to particular questions or requests. It is not cheap, but it's reasonable as compared to the other area private schools and a far greater value than many.
I have two children in the preschool and couldn't be happier. The teachers are fantastic and unbelievably dedicated to the children. I am amazed at my 5 year old's understanding of math and only wish I could have had this type of education as a child. Most importantly, my children are developing a love of learning in an environment rich in diversity. They love to independently work through the lessons. I highly recommend this school to anyone looking for an excellent Montessori education.
This school has gone downhill over the years. The school is clearly struggling while surrounding schools flourish and expand. Their parent communication is legendarily bad. Their facilities are decapitated with kids walking by dying roaches. They clearly need new leadership.