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Mission Bay Montessori Academy

Private | K-6 | 262 students


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Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $277,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,860.

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48 reviews of this school

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Posted August 14, 2014

HORRIBLE SCHOOL. Teachers are punitive and hypocrites. They are cold, unhappy, rigid and they look exhausted. They do time-outs, take-aways, they put shame on the kids, and they blame, threaten, and yell. They never connect with the child; if a child needs more connection, they isolate the child. They punish the child by not letting go for the recess, if they do not finish their work . They want the parents to be punitive, too. There is a constant blaming and discouraging. They never show empathy or compassion; yet, they expect the kids to be compassionate and empathetic. We hated everything about this school; we are still trying to recover from the scars.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 19, 2014

After eight years at MBMA our child is completing sixth grade and like the other sixth graders, will be attending a top San Diego school in the Fall. While recently going through the entrance processes for the next school, it was very clear that MBMA is a strong feeder school. Many of the Students move on to Bishops, Francis Parker and La Jolla Country Day. The sixth grade class is well respected as independent, well prepared and well rounded students. Most have attended for over 5 years. Each grade at MBMA offers a new level of personal development, education and experiences. Though we are excited about our next school we will miss the staff and families that have been such a big part of our student's growth and happiness at MBMA. We are already planning to come back for a visit!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 9, 2014

This school is not safe. We had a tour of this school and decided not to enroll our child. Anyone can enter this school easily. We asked the principle how she ensures the security of the children, she said for the first two weeks of school there is an ID check when picking up your child. Then, the teachers know the parents, so they don't need an ID check. But, we visited the school next day, and entered the preschool side, entered a classroom, no one asked us who we were. The teachers at the gates didn't even seem to be aware of us. They were chatting with other teachers. The gates are really low, even a 3 year-old can jump over easily. The elementary part doesn't even has a gate, you can just walk into classrooms. If children decide to run off from school, it is very easy. Or if someone convinces a kid to walk away with him, I don't think anyone would notice. All the other schools we toured had much better security. There were gates and the gates were locked during school hours. The parents can only pass through an office, so it is not possible for strangers just walk into classrooms. If you are concerned for the safety of your children, do not choose this school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 21, 2013

MBMA is a great school with strong focus on teaching a solid curriculum, as well as building a solid value system in children. We love the Math, English & Science program curriculum. Music and Art programs are very strong. Teachers are highly experienced with at least 10 years of experience in the respective class levels. Children are treated with much respect and their interests are gently honed towards learning concepts that will last a last a lifetime. Children are trained to be responsible at an early age. Bad behavior in children is addressed strictly and immediately, but with compassion. I would highly recommend the school for children aged 3-11. Especially for families with traditional backgrounds looking for overall development.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 31, 2013

MBMA elementary is a wonderful school. It may not be for every family, but if it is the right fit for your child, it will be a great experience. The regular classroom curriculum is challenging, but the children end up being quite independent and know their stuff. Where the school really shines is with the additional classes: All students take music, science, art, Spanish, PE and computer classes each week. These are the important things that are being cut from the public school system, but MBMA has truly outstanding teachers for these additional classes, and the students love them. They also integrate the curriculum across the classes (for example, they learn to use spreadsheets in computer class by using data they collected in science class). I'll also add that it is a great school for working parents. The hours are reasonable (8:15-3:00) and there is on-site after hours care as well as many on-site extra-curricular activities.Hot lunches are organic from Ki's! Cons: Kids who didn't start off in a elementary school like MBMA may have trouble transitioning depending on maturity level. After paying tuition, expect some additional fees ($10-40) esp. at the beginning of the year.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 14, 2013

We have are just finishing our best summer session yet at MBMA and are looking forward to starting the next academic year. I have two active boys and am impressed with the balance between structured classroom activities and unstructured time such as exploratory nature walks to the nearby park and gravity demonstrations/experiments during science class on the playground. My children have learned their multiplication tables at MBMA as well as how to ride a bike. I have been pleased with various teachers ability and flexibility to identify targeted educational approaches in consideration of learning style and individual personality type. There are so many additional enrichment opportunities for the students including Chinese lessons, singing, band, and art lessons that are not available at many schools. I am thankful that my children have the opportunity to attend school in an academically well-rounded and rich environment with a caring faculty.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 5, 2013

Horrible. My chief complaint is that the school isn't really Montessori; true Montessori programs are flexible and make use of the "prepared environment" to stimulate learning. MBMA uses (worn out) Montessori materials in a prep-school atmosphere, even with the youngest. They shove their pink/blue/white reading cards down students' throat and foster competition. There is no tolerance for physical aggression, however, emotional/verbal aggression and bullying are standard fare. We watched two kids bullied over the course of the year, probably both with learning disabilities, and it was absolutely heartbreaking to watch them both withdraw and become anxious/sad. Teachers don't communicate well, don't let you know what's going well or not, and the administration is rigid and uncaring. I've never seen so many children look so unhappy. I think the administrators fancy MBMA as a school for the gifted, which is fine, but they need to be more honest. Lots of turnover and many, many families withdrew during the school year (and even a teacher!). Bottom line: if you have a gifted child who is quiet and compliant, this school may be a good fit. Not a great choice for most boys.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 9, 2013

I examined 8 Montessoris and MBMA was the best. They truly recognize the potential of children. My daughters are preK and reading, even writing short stories. Two years ago they transitioned from a preschool where they were doing arts and crafts. Suddenly they were naming planets, talking about Beethoven's music, and how much fun they have with their practical life lessons. We love the focus on independence and resulting confidence in our kids. We ourselves have raised our own expectations of our kids because of MBMA. The program has great structure. In my tour I saw a room of 20 3-5 year old kids working intently and quietly. They are respectful of the teachers and each other and even study grace and courtesy. The teachers are very knowledgeable and nurturing yet balance that with discipline. We love the exposure to all the subjects (hearing a preschooler speak Mandarin is wonderful) and exposure to the older, inspiring kids on the "big side" (band, plays, musicals, science fairs). The K side director has always been very open to feedback and available for guidance too. This is a beautiful school. I toured and was also referred by a friend/parent. I am so glad I did.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 9, 2011

Our daughter was here from K-2nd grade and we pulled her out for several reasons. While K & 1st grade were good, as the grades went on, we became more and more disillusioned, primarily due to the rigidity of many of the teachers. If our daughter did not give them exactly the answer they were looking for they would mark it wrong, EVEN if she could make a strong case explaining why she had given the answer she had. They also really load down the kids with homework, much of it feeling like repetitive make-work. It all began to quash her creativity and enthusiasm about school. When we discussed this issue with the administration, they said that they knew about it, but that since everyone will have to deal with inflexible people at some point in their lives, they might as well learn to deal with it now. Not when I'm paying for private school , thank you. I want a nurturing, supportive environment that celebrates creativity and encourages learning, not one that just marks things wrong and says to do it again... without any positive encouragement or insight into how to improve. We definitely found this elsewhere.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 15, 2011

My son graduated from MBMA, attended a top middle/high school and graduated with a 100% college acceptance rate. I was so impressed by his education at MBMA that I went on to become a montessori teacher. He received one of the finest educational foundations, and as his parents, we built upon it. Education is important to us. Mission Bay offers a well-rounded education at a favorable cost. The school offers advanced academics, mulitple foreign languages, band, and fine art classes. As an educator, I do not know of many programs in San Diego that have an award winning science program and a gold star level band program. After school programs range from robotics,youth karate, yoga, Chinese class, tennis lessons, and chess. Almost every child in school is enrolled in band. This school is doing a lot of things right! Perhaps it is not for every student; the academic program is challenging. It has educated many students who have gone on to attend some of the finest universities in the country. I know from personal experience that teachers address learning challenges early in the school year with goal setting conferences. It is an excellent school. Go on a tour and see.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 12, 2011

Reply To the posted on October 9 2011. I do make mistakes sometimes but it is a good explanation to it. I am a Foreigner and came to this country when was 19 and didnt speak a word of English but spoke another 2 languages that YOU would never pick up because they are both in 10 of hardest languages in the world. In my case - I have graduated from UCLA with Master (double major) in your Language! If you are a Principle NAN, or one of the teachers, or Mary Sue (Jane) who post positive feedbacks in here just to keep stars UP it is sooo sad. Everything that is sad below is true! The school is a huge disappointment. Please consider alternatives.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 9, 2011

I am very sad to see such poor reviews of such a great school. I just spoke with another parent that decided to put her son into a very well-regarded public school for kindergarten. She told me how much he loves it since he feels like he gets to do ' arts & crafts' at school since he is now reviewing his "ABC's" in kindergarten when he was previously working on reading at MBMA. I also find it funny that parents can give a school a poor review and find it inundating with homework when they themselves cannot proof-read their reviews for spelling errors & grammatical mistakes. Maybe we should start with the basics at home....
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 20, 2011

It s true about teachers most of them are miss. Most of would never tell you in your face that something is wrong in child s academic progress but only at the parents/teachers conferences which are only twice a year. We did have kids whose parents were given a choice to leave the school or repeat the grade. Some parents pulled their children out, some decided to keep their kids at the school but repeat the grade. There a little support if you fall behind. Only support you get is staying and finishing your work after lunch or after school, without extra explanation from teachers. And it is true some kids really pushing extra work by them. We had some kids who were cracking PSAT and ISEE books on the playground instead of playing after lunch. Would not recommend the school to any parent who cares about their child s mental wellbeing due to tremendous pressure from teachers who genuinely have no time to help your child and everything will be on parents shoulder.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 16, 2011

Many of the reviews regarding MBMA pertain to the lower school, which is good, but a very different experience than the upper school. This review is for the upper school. I have experience with both the upper (1-6) and the lower (preschool) schools. In the upper school the relentless pressure begins, both on the parents and the students. There is an unreasonable about of homework daily. The teachers are mostly a miss. The principle is cold, unempathetic, and uninterested in the children. We quickly learned to avoid her. And, yet, she is the leader and sets the tone for the school. The positives for us was the wonderful music teacher, Miss Deb, the Boo Festival, and some good educational tools in the classroom. However, there is a certain joylessness and coldness to this school and, for us, we (child and parents) didn't relize how unhappy we were until this school was no longer a part of our lives and the principle, atmosphere and pressure was gone. Now we are smiling again and our child is enjoying school and learning once more.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 16, 2011

I agree with some parents in here who are not satisfied with overall academic performance in this school. I would agree that Lower school has high Montessori background but when it comes to grades 1 6 you will start seeing gaps in their education system. Of course according Stanford Tests that they publish on their website for 5th and 6th graders look impressive with above average students performance but in majority of times it is not school s credit. Many kids study on their own at home, some have tutors after school, and many parents who are well educated make extra academic work typical routine after school. If you as a parent have ambitions to get your child into a good school after Mission Bay Montessori don t rely on their academics, get the best tutors that you can afford to prepare your child for ISEE.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 15, 2011

This is a wonderful school with rigorous academics and a rich curriculum. The teachers are very kind and loving but firm and expect a lot from the kids. The elementary school stays true to Montessori philosophy that learning is an individual endeavor rather than a group activity. Unit work is taught in a more traditional, group setting while reading and math are more one on one, especially in the lower grades. The student to teacher ratio is very good - often a 1:5 ratio due to how the childrens' day is structured. If you are considering this school, you have to see beyond the exterior; there is no beautiful landscaping or state of the art facilities. The beauty of the school is the educational program itself.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 2, 2011

This school has some great strengths: Science, Language, Music, Art, Computers. The teachers in these subjects are simply exceptional and are what keep us at this school. The big weakness of this school is instruction in 2nd and 3rd grade. The academic work is piled on and there is little opportunity for creativity. A few of the 2/3 teachers are great, but many are not. Complaints to the director and teachers are heard but they are unwilling to make changes, so nothing happens. If your child can get past these years this school can be a great experience.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 14, 2011

Our family are huge fans of MBMA. I'm sorry to hear others had a less than rewarding experience. I agree, the summer program is lacking a little in structure. But overall, it's a wonderful program and I feel all the teachers go out of their way to get to know the kids. My daughter is in K6 and started when she was just 2.5. After two years in the preschool program, she's reading 3- and 4-letter words, can tell me all about whales and the solar system and frogs and clean up after herself. She also surprised a friend from Shanghai with a little Chinese song she knew. They teach a lot of self-control and responsibility for yourself. Yes, I've had many lunches come home uneaten because she was talking during lunch and the natural consequence of that behavior is no lunch. It may seem harsh but I wouldn't change it because she is so well behaved and knows at her tender age what is expected of her.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 10, 2011

I took my daughter to MBMA in this summer, starting on Monday June 27th 2011, unfortunately, three days later it ends up with deeply disappointed! When I picked up my daughter the third day, she looks very tired and sad. She told me that she omitted during lunch time. I doubted because you can t really "trust" everything child says at this age. So I opened her lunch box and saw some staff. I was shocking that none of the teacher mentioned it to me! Are these teachers responsibility to let parents know what was happened during the day? If the teacher doesn't communicate with parent, shall I suppose everything go well? It's tough for children to take the first step to preschool, when I took my daughter to school, she cried so hard. I told myself that I should leave as soon as possible, otherwise she will cry harder. when I left the school, I noticed that none of the teacher come to take care of her(even come to ask), left my daughter alone crying in the huge play ground. After I discuss this with the admin, she told me that "We don't hold/carry children in school". Academic is important, but caring is more important for kids at this age! One mom who loves her daughter
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 10, 2011

I can't agree more with other parents who had bad experience with the admin, this school is money driven instead of work with parents to find the best solution for children. Although the tuition is low compare to other Montessori, but you get what you pay! You don't want to put shadows in your children's heart and accompany with entire life!
—Submitted by a parent

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Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 52% 26%
Hispanic 7% 52%
Black 1% 6%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Two or more races 0% 3%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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School Leader's name
  • Ms. Nan Madden
  • Coed
  • Nonsectarian


Instructional and/or curriculum models used

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  • Montessori


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  • Computer lab
  • Library
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2640 Soderblom Avenue
San Diego, CA 92122
Phone: (858) 457-5895


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