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Santa Fe Montessori School

Private | PK-6 | 135 students

Our school is best known for its caring and experienced teachers.
 
 

 
 

Living in Solana Beach

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $702,500. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,870.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 3 ratings
2013:
Based on 3 ratings
2012:
Based on 13 ratings
2011:
Based on 3 ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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School Official Point of View

Posted April 8, 2014

Santa Fe Montessori School is a unique gem of a school successfully supporting and encouraging children s growth and development in coastal North County continuously for the past 43 years. Toddler, preschool, kindergarten and elementary programs are offered for children ages 18 months to 12 years. All of the teachers are Montessori trained and certified, enthusiastically embracing this unique educational method. The school climate is in sync with the Montessori philosophy of caring, nurturing, respectful and educationally stimulating interactions. The teachers will tell you that they are happy to come to work because the administration is always available to help and support them whenever they need it. Come for a tour anytime, watch the children at "work", talk to the Head of School and the teachers and decide for yourself if this school is right for your child and your family. Many hundreds of parents over the past 43 years have been thrilled to have discovered us!

26 reviews of this school


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Posted April 19, 2014

I cannot say enough good things about SFMS! My son has attended both the Toddler Program and Children's House. From the teachers to the administration, I find the school's culture to be consistently professional, empathetic, and highly qualified. Teachers and staff are passionate about children thriving - both academically and socially. After touring many area schools, it seemed obvious to both my husband and I that SFMS had a "vibe" that was superior to all the other choices we vetted. Now, after our son has attended SFMS for 2 years, we are so happy with our choice. We love it here.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 27, 2014

In a word wonderful! Notice the word is not perfect and my view is that nothing is perfect. As a parent I bring years of history, both knowingly and unknowingly to my kids place of education. My kids are learning and understanding academically and personally because of the style of Montessori and the environment in which it is delivered. This includes the teachers and peers plenty of room for improvement but plenty of room for praise. Thank you Santa Fe Montessori for taking the daily challenge of working with us crazy parents and our kids who are trying to figure out life while learning. Note: Fellow parents, please use your anonymity with wisdom and thoughtfulness before making public comments.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 29, 2014

My daughter has attended SFMS for the past year and I plan to send my son next year, when he is of age. My daughter has blossomed as a person in her time in the toddler program. The quality of the teachers and their style of intuitive guidance has really impressed me. Her communication, sense of independence, and practical life skills are amazing for a toddler. I get complements on her abilities all the time from family and friends. The school seems to maintain a strong respect for core Montessori teachings/materials and has fabulous indoor/outdoor spaces for the children to explore. I have only wonderful things to say about the school and highly recommend it to other parents looking for a school community focused on respectful, practical, creative thought and actions.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 17, 2013

As a parent, I always ask myself "What I am expecting from the teacher and school?" Now, I am 100% sure that I found all answers here at SFMS. First of all, I want my daughter healthy and happy! I still remember when my daughter first started at SFMS at age 3 without any English experience. Her teacher established a warm bond with her from the very beginning. She seldom cried in the first week compared to the school I took her to before. In addition to that, my daughter s English began blooming starting the second month. Secondly, I want my daughter to build her skills, age appropriately. The teacher s professionalism and knowledge about education, her enthusiasm and unselfish personality keeps inspiring me and the children! The teacher is familiar with each child and teaches them at their own pace. My daughter builds up both academic and social skills every day at SFMS. Lastly, I want my daughter to have a beautiful heart to help others and society. Her teacher gives her tasks that build up her confidence, provides the opportunities to help others, and always thinks out of the box. We love the school. We love the teachers!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 29, 2013

There is a great tool available when researching a school. Anyone can call the San Diego County Licensing board at (619) 767-2200 and request a background check of the school over the phone. It is quick and easy, and anonymous. The agency can give you the last few years of operations and safety information for this and any other preschool you are considering. Even if you have a child in elementary school, it is still useful to call and find out about the school's preschool record as the administration and policies are usually campus-wide. It is an important piece of information to add to the school tour and marketing brochures. It really helps make the right decision for your child.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 22, 2013

I have been the Junior II (upper elementary) guide at this school for the past year. My ten year teaching experience has associated me with three other Montessori schools and I have visited and observed numerous others. This is a school that is committed to the ultimate Montessori experience which includes academic excellence as well as helping students deal with emotional development, guiding them through problem-solving skills, demonstrating moral values, and growing social skills. Our school prides itself in embracing the principles of positive discipline that never shames, blames, or punishes, but rather emphasizes the need to problem solve, finding a solution that works for all. I made the decision to join this school because the head of school, Teresita Leimer, is dedicated to these principles that create great Montessori schools and because of Santa Fe Montessori's reputation as an excellent school.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted August 9, 2012

I am extremely happy with my experience at SFM. My son attended this school and I was very happy with how much he grew in so many different ways.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 9, 2012

Several of my collegues put their kids through SFM, and always spoke highly of their kids' experiences. One said - by the time they're through (children's house), they're ready (for grade school), in terms of their ability to learn and in terms of social skills and self-care skills. Another said that their kids found a wellknown private school downtown wasn't challenging enough after CH at SFM. So naturally I enrolled my daughter here after visiting several schools. So far we've been with the school for almost 2 years, and our daughter thrived and loved the school. She's almost trilingual (she learned Spanish at school entirely), and likes to talk about continents and planets. More importantly, she is maturing socially and emotionally, which to me is even more important at this age. That should accredit to the excellent and experienced teachers, and school administration and staff who put children first. The school's environment - both indoor and outdoor classrooms are the best, and kids are taught to help take care of that. Naturally, we're returning and we'll also enroll our younger daughter at the toddler program as well.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 6, 2012

What a great school! There are always disgruntled parents, for whatever reason. This school has served my families three children over a 5 year period. Never has there been a time when I regreted my decision to have my children attend this school. The results are amazing. My kids have thrived and enjoy the experience. They are well cared for by a wonderful staff who work to createda loving and safe enviornment that encourages the children to explore and discover their potential. What more could you ask for?
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 6, 2012

SFMS is an authentic and excellent Montessori school located in a gorgeous setting. The grounds are nicely maintained, with gardens that invite the children's participation in its upkeep and our parent volunteers. The teachers take pride in providing an environment that supports the development of the child. Our teamwork serves one purpose: Children. Our wonderful parents support us and value our many years of experience. Come visit and witness the harmony between our staff and administration; the trust and respect between us, for the children, and for the parents who have chosen us to teach and nurture their children. The core of the Montessori philosophy is love, and our teachers work with passion and joy when educating. Our work is our life's mission, not merely a job. SFMS is our "home away from home," and we maintain a professional, yet family-like atmosphere. We are looking forward to beginning a new school year with much enthusiasm and especially gratitude for our current SFMS families and the many new ones that will join our school. We welcome you! Come meet us where we are and see the many special qualities that make this school an outstanding choice.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted July 25, 2012

The school buildings are run down. Mold is a concern. It is difficult to bring in new ideas for parent involvement and program enrichment with the leadership entrenched in "the way it's always been done".
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 22, 2012

Every organization has it's ups and downs. This is an excellent Montessori school and has been around for 40 years to prove my point. All politics aside, change can be both difficult and inspiring. Yes, Santa Fe Montessori has had a lot of change this year. The most important fact is that Santa Fe Montessori school has a caring, well educated and experienced staff that is, and always has been, decicated to bringing an excellent educational experience to all students.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted July 19, 2012

Too bad that such a once admirable school is doing so poorly. iIt's a shame because A HOS would know how to keep good teachers and how to appreciate the staff, children and families. This school could be a treasure in North County. Help to turn this school around! It's 5 to 12.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted July 18, 2012

The teachers at Santa Fe Montessori School provided my children opportunities that just aren't available elsewhere. The teachers are amazing and the elementary allows for accelerated learning while still providing a nurturing, safe and fun atmosphere. Children have the same teacher for 3 years so they develop lasting friendships. My kids love learning and have the skills to finish work on their own. Bravo!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 23, 2012

I have attended this school for well over a year and never had any concerns with my childrens safety. My children have excelled in all areas of development. Our teacher is amazing! Please understand that this was an unusual year with a Board that created a lot of conflict. I hope you visit the school. I have been grateful in finding this excellent school and for the teachers and staff.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 21, 2012

I have 2 children at Santa Fe Montessori School and they both LOVE going to school and LOVE their teachers. Both are excelling academically. I must credit the teaching staff and the methods of teaching within the nurturing, peaceful environment in both of my children's classrooms. We are very happy with the school and will return with happy children and outstanding teachers. Visit the school and see for yourself.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 13, 2012

I have known the principal for the last one year, and my children's teachers for several years. My children have been loved and respected. The school's performance has always been above average especially in regards to teaching. Even though there has been tension in management over hiring, the present head of school Teresita is competent and has the support over the majority of the teachers, unlike the preferences of the board which were unpopular with parents and teachers alike. Now that the board has thankfully dissolved, the school is running well again.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 6, 2012

Sadly, the management does not behave in a professional manner, and inevitably this catalyzes conflict at the community level. Our child will not be returning to this school in the Fall, as there are many other higher quality options in the area.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 8, 2012

I am not confident that my child will be safe at SFMS. There were two occasions so far during the 2011-12 school year when the new Head of School closed school without properly notifying parents (in early September and early January). Because so many parents had not been notified about the changes to the official school calendar, the parking lots were full of cars and everything looked normal, except that all the buildings were locked and there were no teachers or staff or the Head of School anywhere! Elementary students were dropped off and stranded on campus, left in the hands of random parents wandering around campus trying to figure out what was going on. When the Head of School was notified she blamed the parents and teachers, and took no personal responsibility for what happened, and DIDN'T EVEN DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY THE SECOND TIME!!! Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. There are plenty of other great Montessori schools in the area (Mission Bay Montessori, Maria Montessori, Scripps Montessori, Encinitas Country Day, Montessori Arts and Sciences, ...), and as a bonus, many of them even charge lower tuition. There's no reason to send your child to SFMS.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 12, 2011

Most of the teachers are great, many of the parents are involved, but the school's leadership is remote and hands-off, so teachers are on their own to manage their class and students without support or guidance from above. This means some teachers make poor decisions and no one is there to help guide them, and teachers who make fantastic decisions are working in a vacuum. Last year some disgruntled teachers encouraged parents to send their children elsewhere and as a result enrollment for this year dropped 25%. In addition, all of the upper level teachers and students chose not to return and the school now only goes up to 3rd grade.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Oops! We currently do not have any student information for this school. We rely on the state Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and in some cases school administrators such as registrars and principals for this data.

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Computer specialist(s)
Music teacher(s)
PE instructor(s)
Teacher aid/assistant teacher
Tutor(s)
Foreign languages spoken by school staff American sign language
Arabic languages
French
Spanish
Urdu
Hindi
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Staff resources available to students
  • Computer specialist(s)
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Outdoor learning lab

Arts & music

Staff resources available to students
  • Music teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Music room
Visual arts
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
Music
  • Bell / Handbell choir
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Theory
Performing and written arts
  • Creative writing
  • Poetry

Language learning

Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered
  • Spanish
Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • American sign language
  • Arabic languages
  • French
  • Hindi
  • Spanish
  • Urdu

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • PE instructor(s)
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Access to sports fields
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")

Gifted & talented

Extra learning resources offered
  • Acceleration
School leaders can update this information here.

School basics

School start time
  • 8:30 am
School end time
  • 2:30 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school: starts at 7:30 a.m.
  • After school: ends at 6:00 p.m.
School Leader's name
  • Teresita Leimer
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
  • Phone
Age at which early childhood or Pre-K program begins
  • 2 years old
Gender
  • Coed
Boarding options
  • Day school
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • American Montessori Society
Fax number
  • (858) 755-1460

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Montessori
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • None
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • Spanish
Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • Teacher aid/assistant teacher
  • Tutor(s)
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • American sign language
  • Arabic languages
  • French
  • Hindi
  • Spanish
  • Urdu
Extra learning resources offered
  • Acceleration
  • Differentiated learning programs
  • Remediation
Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Access to sports fields
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Internet access
  • Library
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
  • Music room
  • Outdoor learning lab
  • Playground
School leaders can update this information here.

Sports

Boys sports
  • Playball, Ballet, Yoga
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
Girls sports
  • Playball, Ballet, Yoga
  • Soccer
  • Tennis

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
Music
  • Bell / Handbell choir
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Theory
Performing arts
  • Creative writing
  • Poetry
Media arts
  • None

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • Chess club
School leaders can update this information here.

Photos

School culture

Dress Code
  • Neither uniforms nor dress code
Bullying policy
  • This school does not have a bullying and/or cyber bullying policy in place.
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Organize cultural events
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Present special topics during curricular units
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Volunteer time after school
More from this school
  • Santa Fe Montessori School develops habits of mind and heart in children that last a lifetime. In safe, nurturing yet stimulating environments, children, ages 18 months to 12 years make choices about what they want to learn and when they want to learn it. This opportunity to guide one's own learning from such an early age fosters independence, self-motivation, and self-determination. Large windows reveal patio gardens and allow abundant natural light into beautiful, well equipped classrooms.
School leaders can update this information here.

Apply

 

This school accepts applications on a

rolling basis

 
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What does it cost?

Tuition range for the 2013-2014 school year
$8000 - $12000
Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
La Jolla Country Day
The Grauer School
Skyline Global
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

1010 Solana Drive
Solana Beach, CA 92075
Website: Click here
Phone: (858) 755-3232

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