Because of moving cities, we had our two daughters at 4 different preschools. Montessori Family School was BY FAR the best, really an amazing and special place. The teachers are incredible, smart, compassionate, energetic people. They pour themselves into the children and the classrooms. The afterschool program was just as good as the day class. Our daughter came out of two years there a full year and a half ahead in academics (I know, it's just kinder and first, but still!) and creative, curious, and confident. For our family, this school was expensive, but truly truly worth every penny.
My 3 year old son is in the Redwood class and we love his teachers. They are so patience and kind with him, and he isn't the easiest child to deal with! I've also noticed that he has started to learn a lot. I was amazed when he came home the other day and showed me the African and North American content on the map!
Our child attended upper elementary and middle school at MFS. UE teachers were generally good and caring, but one was particularly insensitive to kids. Middle school was a disaster due to complete lack of structured learning and an unwillingness to recognize that self-directed learning does not work for all kids. Three kids, including ours, were left struggling to catch up virtually on their own. It was an extremely stressful experience for our child and for us parents alike. We left mid-year.
My daughter attended 1st grade at the Kensington location. It's as close to a perfect school as one could get. Warm, caring, attentive teachers. Unpretentious parents (for the most part). Costly but worth every penny, need financial assistant just ask. I totally regret moving to SOCAL & taking my daughter out of this school. Every child shld have an education like this. Beautiful location, deer walk thru the playground, view of the Bay. Hwevr very strict paymnt policies, no flexiblilty and lots of extra fees, but worth every penny. My daughter is in 4th grade now and still talks about her friends & teachers from there. She even wants to go visit next time were in town. I'm practically in tears now thinking how much I miss it and how good it was for her.
Montessori schools are not all alike, and MFS emphasizes the Family part of their name. It's a small school with *committed* teachers giving individual attention to mixed-age classrooms in a classic Montessori prepared environment. For bright, assertive kids, it's a perfect place to move ahead at their own speed. For timid, slower kids, it's a perfect place to gain confidence and a love of learning. For the average kid, it's a perfect place to learn crucial life skills like conflict resolution, to delve into topics that interest them, and to receive a well-rounded education. My only gripe is that they stop at sixth-grade level so kids need to go elsewhere for high school.