We waited two years to get our son into this school and I can truly say it was worth it. What truly separates this school from others is that you genuinely experience and feel the great support the school has for your child. They almost bend over backwards to ensure your child is happy and is in a nurturing environment. The teachers are not condescending or tired like you experience at other schools. They are cheerful, enthusiastic and genuinely love their students. They go out of their way to accomodate students from nearly every angle. They offer vegetarian, vegan and diet specific meals. The school is very diverse and that is reflected in it's students and faculty. The class sizes are small and there is a great deal of one on one teaching. There is a real sense of community and that is apparent in the Harvest festival and other events. There is a lot of demand for this school so if you are interested, I would be aggressive about interviewing and getting on the waiting list early.
we have 3 kids in 3 different classroom at this school and we love it. After trying out 2 other "good" Montessori schools in the valley before coming to DGM, this one is tops. For starters, the environment is always clean and organized---evidence of "walking the walk", how can a school have expectations of order for a child and have a messy school environment? You wont see that at DGM, but will likely see at the other "good" schools that emphasize testing. The children are highly communicative--emotionally healthy, spirited, engaged, and in harmony with their environment. we love the teachers we work with--we are partners, real partners. we'll be leaving for a 1 year for work and cant find another school that comes close to DGM. DGM has definitely raised the bar for Montessori education! The principal is also wonderful--she's quite a brilliant and compassionate educator/social worker--which means she looks at the whole picture in making decisions. Also, I have no idea where else teachers have a choice to debrief before an optional Yoga group session, after school, on campus--as a part of their job. Lastly, great location for ASU Faculty/Students to consider.
I have two daughters who have been attending DGM since they were two. We have been at the school for over 7 years and absolutely love it. The academic environment has been continuously evolving and now they have an excellent music and art program as well. DGM offers a warm and caring community where the children thrive. The teachers are amazing and they truly care about every child's development. The organic lunch program is a blessing as it teaches the child to eat healthy and also exposes them to a variety of food options. The school offers a true Montessori environment which celebrates the uniqueness of each child and. The teaching in the earlier years is signed to capitalize on their sensitive learning periods. The curbside cafe run by the children and for the children is a brilliant entrepreneurial venture wherein the money raised is used towards the annual Big Trip. This is also a great opportunity for the kids to learn first hand how to run a business.
DGM is a great school, an outstanding environment and a strong community. My daughter was enrolled there from grade 1 until grade 5, when she went into the public school system for grade 6. She was extremely well prepared academically at DGM, receiving straight As from the first month in the public system. However, my daughter and I made the decision to return to DGM for grade 7 as she was missing out on life skills development, community focus, and giving back. She loves being back at DGM, still getting As, and is developing great life skills and great lifetime friendships. ;
We have 3 children in this school and we are in our first year. I read the reviews before my children started attending DGM and was concerned about the tuition cost and the remarks regarding the quality of education. Currently I have 1 in the infant room and 2 in primary. I couldn't ask for better teachers and staff. DGM has options for payments and if you or family members have time for volunteering they are more than happy to work with you. This is more than a great education, it is a community that embraces children and offers wonderful experiences that encourage kids to grow to their fullest potential. For those parents who felt their children didn't do as well in a 'normal' education system I have to believe it was because they didn't' fully understand the true building blocks of a Montessori education.
My son has been at D.G.M. since infancy. He is now in his first year in the lower elementary program. All the teachers that he had are still there and when they see me, still ask me how my child and family are doing. Although I have to admit that I miss the closeness I felt in the primary with teachers and other parents, elementary has been exciting. My son is blossoming each day. Parent involvement is centered on me being their to support my son in any way they feel is necessary. My family is looking forward to being at D.G.M. as long as it meets our sons needs.
This is my family's second year at Desert Garden Montessori, and my son continues to grow beautifully in his understanding and awareness of the world, himself, and how he relates with others. He is still quite young, and the kindness and emotional nurturing he receives every day from his teachers and everyone at the school is incredible; I feel it's a second home for him, and he loves going in each morning. The staff are friendly and professional, responsive to feedback, and really seem to welcome the ideas of parents. There are many involved parents who make the community strong, and the teachers really know how to reach students as individuals. Every child should have the chance to learn and explore in a school like this!
My children attended this school for a few years in both primary and elementary programs. Our experience was very disappointing. DGM is very weak academically. Now, at a Kyrene school district, they are learning a lot more then they ever did at DGM. There was never any homework and the teachers were not willing to give more challenging assignments to kids who where strong academically. In addition to this, DGM raised its tuition last year to pay for its 'organic garden', for which most parents did not care for. I never liked their lunch program. Kids would eat outside all year long, in the heat with temperatures of over 100 F in the summer time, and in the winter time, when it was too cold to do so! I know many families that left the school this year.
My child attended this for the elementary program. There was a different teach each year. Also, after we transfered to a new school our child was academically behind all of the o the students. After talking to othe ex-DGM parents their children were also behind. I am very disappointed in the education standards at the school and feel like I was ripped off.
I'm puzzled by comments that this isn't a good school for kids with working parents.? I work -- a lot. Yes, you have to drop off and pick your kids up on time. Town hall meetings r no more than once a month. If your children r important to you, I suspect you can find the time to make it. We've been at the school going on 4 years. Parent involvement has gone way up. May be expensive compared to other options, however here are some of the trade-offs...DGM has an organic hot lunch with wonderful vegetarian AND meat options, unbelievable Spanish Language program, & a great after school program that lasts until 6 pm. I'm not a 'high profile' client & I'm a full-time working mom -- never felt ignored or neglected by the administration. Challenges I agree with: elementary program -- needs to up the quality to retain students.
I have two children that have been there from preschool through 5th grade and it has been an oasis. The teachers are all very active and positive in the childs development. The school really does live the environmental path and the children grow up with it as part of their life. They are shown respect and taught respect for each other. it is a kind and intellectually stimulating environment.
DGM is a great pre-school for infant and todler except the tuition cost. Elementary program is way below the standard and very poor environment. I saw elementary kids got boor, have not much activies like other elementary school. Town Hall meeting time is a pain for working parents. 4pm is not a good time. For working parent, school website is the only tool that they can browse to find school information and their kids activities information. DGM website is very basic construction. Poor information. DGM website should have more dynamic tool such as teacher/parent forum so working parent can keep track/know what have been happened for their kid in DGM. Finacial team is very poor skill set. Should hire a professional accountant.
I really think this school is the best in the area, however the cost is too high! I gladly pay it because I absolutely love the teachers and quality of education my children are getting. It really is a true Montessori, which is very hard to find. It can be a little cliquey but so can everywhere else. I myself am a working mother (how else could I afford it!) and have found friends at the school that are like me. As far as cons go, I do not like having to pay extra for lunch and extra-curriculars given the very high tuition, and the fundraising is a bit extreme. All in all, I wouldn't send my children anywhere else! The infant and toddler program far surpass anything I've seen!
I wish we had paid more attention to the comment about the teachers never being wrong and the financial part because those are both very true. We had 2 children there and the cost is very considering all extracurricular activities are an additional cost as well as lunch. The school moved toward a very 'high profile' type of parent and every thing cost extra. As for the teachers, there are some great ones but if one of them does something wrong, no matter how wrong it is, DGM is not in support of the parents at all! They will easily watch you walk away rather than hold teachers accountable. The parent involvement is very click-ish if you are a working parent. If you are a non-working parent, you will love it.
My son has been at DGM for over 3 years now, and I can not say enough about the quality of education that he is receiving. He is not yet 4, but can count to 20, knows the alphabet by site and their sounds, and can write his name. He is very confident, independent, & loves to learn. The staff is very loving and dedicated to making the children's experience the best it can be. There are some exciting changes happening at the school. This is not a daycare; this is a school even at the Infant level. If you want your child to be independent, self-confident, and love learning, look no further. If you do your homework and understand what Montessori is all about, you will soon discover the value that lies behind the Desert Garden Montessori doors.
Overall, we are satisfied with DGM. We have two children in the program. Both children really enjoy going to DGM each day and are often sad to leave. This says alot about the atmosphere for the children. Our biggest issue is the cost and lack of flexibility from the school leadership. Doesn't provide flexibility for working parents who have to balance working (to make the money to give to the school) and spending time with thier children. DGM doesn't always seem to run like a non-profit. Would like to see more openness regarding budgets, spending and other programs.
This school has some great teachers, but the teachers are never wrong in any situation which makes it difficult to address any concerns.
I have a toddler in the program and he is already starting to count! I am impressed by how much focus they give to social and developmental skills. The reports I receive are detailed, but they do not come very often. I make a point to talk to the instructors to get the information I feel I need. There are several extra curricular options, for a fee. Overall the staff & administration are responsive.
Before placing your child in the toddler program, consider this. I am amazed at the things my child has learned and is able to do...drink from a glass, throw things in the trash, put things back in their place...However...Every other good preschool in this city provides parents a daily report, outlining the events of their child's day. Not here. When I pick up my daughter at the end of the day, the teachers on the morning shift are gone, and those in the afternoon know only what has gone on since their arrival. How long was her nap? Did she eat much lunch? Did she poop? What did she learn today? Unless there was a problem or an injury, nothing. Also, the staff and teachers there (and especially the director) tend to be very condescending toward parents. They have no compassion at all for working parents.
Great alternative to standard daycare. However, elementary program leaves much to be desired, curriculum and instruction is way below public school standards. Very expensive, well worth it for pre-school and infant care but not for elementary program. Additional to the high tuition parents are asked to participate in numerous fundraising efforts and events. Teacher student ration is very high for an expensive private school.
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