For the past 35 years, I have had the pleasure of leading a school community of children, parents, teachers and staff at the Bergamo Montessori School. We have created a unique, child centered learning environment, based upon the principles of Dr. Maria Montessori, that challenges each child according to his or her individual skill level. Our goal is to prepare children for life and help them develop the academic, social and emotional skills necessary for success in the 21st century. Pamela Lynn Head of School
Bergamo has a nice, spacious, up-to-date campus but, it has been disappointing. As a private school, I expected to pay a premium. However, the additional fees are ridiculous. Then, you have to bring in snacks for the class. Make no mistake about it, this is run as a business. If there is a conflict, the vocal parents get the benefit of the doubt instead of an investigation to find out the truth. Meetings are set to tell you what is going to happen, not to find out the other point of view. You are also told that follow-up will occur but it does not happen. When it turns out that the validated complainers were wrong, there were no apologies from the administration. We were lured into this school for the language immersion program which was really non-existent. We stayed for 3 1/2 years because some of the teachers were caring and great. There is a very high turnover rate for the teachers. Look closely and carefully when you are considering this school. Ask critical questions about the extra fees, how they handle specific conflicts and get very specific details about the programs. You may be surprised after digging thru the superficial layer at what lurks underneath.
We have two boys currently attending Bergamo (age 5 and 3). We are so pleased that we found this school a year ago. Our boys are thriving here and enjoy their teachers and fellow students very much. My wife and I work full time and our boys attend school from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. I usually have to pry them away from some cool project in the afternoon because they are not interested in leaving. The entire staff is friendly, supportive, and genuinely interested in the wellbeing of their students. Bergamo schedules parent-teacher workshops on a regular basis that help to reinforce what is being done in the classroom and educate parents on current topics. We are very pleased with Bergamo and would highly recommend this school.
Where do I start?? I am a Montessori advocate and went to Montessori myself. Our three children started at 3 years old aclimating amazingly to the wonderful world of Montessori. Our oldest just finished 6th grade here at Bergamo and at his graduation speech I was in tears. This boy has thrived and LOVED school and all his teachers. I couldn't be more thrilled with the sound base education that he has and his amazing knowledge he couldn't get anywhere else. This school has kept the traditional Montessori method alive and through their support and guidance it has prepared my children beyond my wildest expectations. My children LOVE going to school each day. What this school has given my children is not only apparent in their love for going to school but in what they have been able to learn. When my eldest could tell us about areas of the world we as parents didn't even know and when they all were reading high above their grade level, we knew this school would give them a free pass to learning as fast and furious as they desired. I LOVE that about montessori....the childs pace. No child is forced to move ahead without feeling 100% comfortable each step of the way!!!
The best educational decision we ever made was when we joined Bergamo in 2005. Our eldest son began the pre-K program and stayed through 4th grade and our youngest was just about to finish the pre-K program when we left the country. Their teachers were always supportive, committed and clearly loved our children. The administration was responsive to us and truly worked with us. Their teachers challenged them academically and they developed wonderful friendships with caring, respectful, and kind children. We found the parents to be great. The school is committed to a true Montessori philosophy. Our advice - be an active parent, attend the parent workshops (esp. if you didn't go through Montessori yourself), and become involved in field trips. Also, know that Montessori is not for every child, but, it was truly a great fit for us. Now, we are in a wonderful Montessori in a country with higher test scores than the US and our eldest is among the brightest and our youngest (finishing K) has begun multiplication and reads at a third grade level. WE have NO DOUBT that their Bergamo education is a HUGE part of their academic success. We will never regret this decision.
Our child is still at Bergamo; however, we will be leaving this school next year and we are already looking forward to the change. We have only stuck it out this long because the other options in our area are even worse and our child likes her friend. For younger children the school is o.k., but not fun at all and the kids are expected to be little adults. For the older children this school does not have the social or academic climate that is required. It seems like this school only attracts families for a few years and then the families move on. High turnover in staff and it is clear that the focus is on how much profit the school can make vs. the focus being the children. There is something off about the administration; however, it is hard to put a finger on it exactly. Just not quite right. Save yourself the headache, there are much better schools out there.
Our son has done excellent at Bergamo Montessori School and we are so thankful that we found this wonderful school. Our son moved up to the Elementary program from the preschool/kindergarten and I have been amazed at some of the things he has learned and how advanced he is in comparison to his friends who go to other private schools. All of his teachers have exposed him to a wide variety of curriculum and they have given him the opportunity to follow up on what he learns and let him take it as far as he wants to go. I love that about this school! I think the rules and regulations are fantastic, it teaches him dicipline and responsability. The structure also teaches him he must work hard and not to feel intitled. Most importantly, our son is happy and thrives in his classroom environment, that is the most important thing to our family! I can't say enough how great this school is.
My child loves her teacher. And only for that reason am I considering staying at this school. She seems to enjoy and thrive under the Montessori program. But parents beware: This is a for-profit school. Administrators nickel and dime EVERYTHING and it is not cheap to attend. Many parents grumble at their lack of parent sensitivity and their rigid and sometimes ludicrous rules. Talk to parents first before you sign up. Can be VERY frustrating.
My children have been attending the Bergamo/Montessori Day School since 2001. I am extremely pleased with the sense of community that was fostered in my 3 children. Academically, they have more than prepared my childen. I am a public high school teacher and can say that they teach far more than the California Content Standards. Recently, my 13 year old went to a public junior high and she has almost all A's with a few B's. She fit in socially and she is well liked by her peers and her teachers. As a math and science teacher I am most impressed with the Montessori methods around math. My children don't just follow the math rules without really understanding why they are there. The most important think that Bergamo has done for my children has been to encourage and nourish, not stifle the love of learning!
Our experience at Bergamo has been fantastic. I am a wholehearted proponent of the Montessori Method. Children develop self-motivation and a love of skills acquisition. The teachers at Bergamo have treated our children with respect an have shown an appreciation for their unique strengths and personalities. The administrators and staff have been open and responsive. The school has been wonderful for our family.