When searching for a school for my kids, we looked at many different schools. Within just a few minutes of observing at the Montessori Schoolhouse kindergarten, my child said "This is where I want to go to school!" The school absolutely cultivates an atmosphere of learning, where kids can enjoy learning without the pressures of "getting it wrong", tests or hours of homework. While I was initially skeptical of this, when I saw that the school was ranked #1 in the entire state in 2014 (among traditional schools) for highest growth of learning and highest test scores, I doubted no more. If the kids can learn that well without tests and homework, then something is being done right!
I like that the students are taught how to be independent, managing their own "contract" of different subjects of work to do each day. They also get to participate in chess, yoga and choir; and, they are offered on-site piano or violin lessons. Preschool through upper elementary, my children have loved going to school there. When I asked my child why she liked school, she said "My teachers love me," and my other child noted a love learning new things.
There are a few things I would've liked to have seen changed. One is more emphasis on spelling and handwriting as my upper elementary student would commonly misspell simple words. Another is more focus on preschoolers - it seems that whether they're super bright or could be falling behind, not much academic attention is given to them. Additionally, it would have been nice to have more frequent and easier parent-teacher communication. While I'd prefer e-mail, its not an option. If I needed to speak to a teacher, I park the car, walk across the street and try to hunt down the teacher and hope she has a few minutes to spare to talk to me (which she almost always did and was happy to talk). And we've had only very positive experiences with the director, administrative assistant and all the teachers. I also would have liked to have seen more parent involvement (still unsure why we can't have a PTO? We parents would have loved to do nice things for the teachers and the school). In spite of the above, when your child is learning a lot, and feels both loved and excited to go to school - that outweighs the rest, and is a winner in my book. I highly recommend this school!
There is a no-homework policy. I love this! This makes evening family time enjoyable and not stressful. The fact that the students are doing all the work in school and still able to achieve such high test scores and growth of learning (school was ranked #1 in the entire state for this in 2014) tells me they don't need the extra work in order to grasp the concepts!
Both my children attend the Montessori Schoolhouse and our family loves this school and what our children have accomplished. My daughter has had amazing state testing scores the past three years and is a confident test taker. The most valuable thing this school has given my children is confidence; they are both learning important social skills and my daughter is already able to give presentations in front of her peers with ease- a skill that I did not have until college!
I am grateful my children attend this school- it is the best thing I ever did for them!
Our daughter attended the school from grades 1-5. If we could have sent her there for middle school as well, believe me, we would have. The habits she learned there have served her beautifully since, and we have wonderful memories of the school. I see that several people have complained about the school being uncommunicative with parents, but that was never our experience. We always found the teachers and director responsive, and the feedback we got at conferences was wonderfully detailed and personal--there was never any doubt they understood our daughter and what made her tick. Five delightful years.
Our children both completed their preschool and elementary school years at the Montessori Schoolhouse, and absolutely loved it. The curriculum is rich and stimulating, and the hands-on materials are highly engaging. There is a strong emphasis on freedom with responsibility, and students are allowed to move freely and work at their own rhythm and pace while within certain guidelines. Our kids learned a lot of self-directedness and ownership of their own education through this approach. In addition, we found the school to be in alignment with not only the Montessori philosophy, but also with the state academic standards. They don't blow their own horn about it much, but this school consistently achieves among the highest state test scores in math, language, and science-- and they do this with no homework, no grades on assignments, and no tests (except the state standardized tests.) Cooperation is emphasized instead of competition-- it's a loving, encouraging environment where kids can be kids and enjoy the love of learning. We could not be happier that our kids spent their formative educational years at the Montessori Schoolhouse. They have gone on to thrive at their next schools after graduating from the Schoolhouse, too. Thank you, Schoolhouse teachers, admin, and staff!
My son currently attends the school in lower Elementary and loves most of the curriculum. I think he's getting a great education there - learning self motivating skills, working in groups as well as learning academia. We got used to the Montessori methodology on parental involvement which is something I missed from Preschool and Kinder. Our main issue (as parents) was with the Director, including her approach to bullying. With regard to bullying, we complained about our son getting bullied (head locks, getting his head shoved to the desk, etc.) and there never was a defined plan. They stated that the bully was separated when he acted out but that was about it, I'm not sure if he was actually disciplined in any other way (i.e. parent conference, one on one discussion with bully). With regards to the Director, she accused us of providing a verbally abusive environment because my son was withdrawn, angry. A very bold statement since she doesn't know our family life. My son doesn't exhibit these behaviors outside of school - at home, with play dates or with teammates in sports activities. We are putting him in a public school next year which he's very excited about!
I'll agree with what several others have said about The Montessori Schoolhouse. They DO NOT want any parent involvement in the school. There is zero communication with parents about students' progress outside of parent-teacher conferences, which are once or twice a year. And there is no electronic communication of any kind about school events or school updates (dates for conferences, dates of days off, holidays, etc.). So if you miss the white board of paper handout, you are out of luck. Academically, I found the teachers to be conscientious, and my child learned a lot. But there's much to be desired in terms of communication and parental involvement.