Ever heard the phrase "you don't know a good thing until it's gone"? Well, I knew Montessori on Elm was a good thing when I had it and I missed it even more when I moved out of the state and it was gone . . .
My son attended school here from 6 months to 21 months and not only did he have a great time in the program, I had a great time watching him grow through the program!
The teachers and directors were like an extension of our little family - they knew he and I by name, greeted us warmly every morning and hugged him goodbye every afternoon. I never felt uncomfortable with leaving him as I knew that each person in the school genuinely cared about him.
Not all Montessori schools are created equal and this school is definitely one of the few that actually focuses on Montessori practices and the Montessori style of learning/developing. I saw this right away when he was in the toddler program - his practical life skills were evident daily within our home; while the focus on his social, emotional, and physical development was also very clear. Additionally, I loved the flexibility of the infant program - they allow the babies to be on a schedule that works best for them, rather than having set feeding times and sleeping times.
Each time I see him throw something away in the trash or push in his chair or use sign langue when saying a color name, I know that Montessori on Elm helped in the development of these skills. And even today (over a month since we have left) he will still ask for some of his little friends by name. All of these let me know that his time there had a lasting impression on him (even at his young age) in more ways than he will ever know.
My son attended this school from the age of 7 months until he turned 4. My job required long hours and it was comforting to know my son was in a fun, safe, and productive learning environment. The teachers are well educated in Montessori and the school has very low turnover of its teachers. The school director is caring, knowledgeable, and responsive to parents. I found a great partnership with the teachers on the development and education of my child.
My child loved his teachers and wanted to stay until the last possible minute, because the kids sing and dance for the last half hour of the day. We were sad for his last day, when we relocated out of the area. When my son joined his new school, he was so well prepared that he was able to join the pre-K class and participate during my school tour and visit of his new school. His new teacher could tell right away that he had come from a Montessori school. We miss Montessori on Elm, be we are grateful for my son's preparation for success in our new location.
My husband and I are so thankful to have found this school. After visiting a few schools in the area we felt they provide the most amount of learning opportunities, value and flexibility. Their teachers are loving, nurturing and firm. All teachers seem to know all children. Their Montessori materials are classic and the parents are down to earth. Ms. Cassandra and the teachers understand both the joy and challenges that come with juggling work, family and life. Ms. Cassandra is extremely approachable and returns our non-urgent calls within a couple of hours. We also wanted to note that Emergency Department at St. Mary Medical Center across the street is specially designated by Los Angeles County as an Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics (EDAP) to care for children.
Their was one outstanding teacher, many really caring to mediocare & a few really terrible teachers. It is extremely clean. One teacher had no ability to comfort my 12 mo old, instead she would say to the children, " Why you crying, don"t cry." She forces them to stay in their chairs for long periods of time looking at flash card and never gives them hugs. Another teacher who teaches 2 year olds yells & shakes the children frequently. The director wanted to fix things but wasn't there enough to visualize what was happening in the classrooms. She also wasn't enough of a leader to make any changes occur.