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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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....
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
This my daughters 2nd year at MBMA. She started in the 2 yr old transition class ( which is not offered anymore). She is now 3 yrs old and has progressed so much when compared to when she first started. Her class academics consists of Montessori structure with Chinese and Spanish lessons. She has great teachers (Malia and Viviana) who are so careful and loving yet strict enough to teach the children. When I drop my daughter off at school I feel so safe with them that they will not only teach her but also take care of her as I would . Your child will have the same teacher until they move to the elementary side. The school academics is amazing! Recommend to anyone interested in a Montessori education. One of the best schools academically.
We love this school. It is amazing how kids learn to love 'work' and how quickly my 1st grade son is progressing in his reading and math skills. The teachers take time to really know my child and keep him motivated to want to learn more all by himself. And the families at the school are down-to-earth good people who I want my child to be around.
My son is 5 years old and this is his second year at MBMA. A great school indeed. The teachers are rigorous with high expectations but also caring and attentive. The child can learn at his own pace. I can't wait to start him in first grade this fall. Some parents complain about the rigorous academic standard in elementary grades. I look forward to it. When people complain about how tough it is, or how it affects self esteem, I recommend "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua, Yale Law Professor. MBMA definitely prepares children well for the challenges of a globalized world. I also need to mention that MBMA Parent Group is a great organization and there are many extracurricular programs.
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