« Back to compare
/ / School Profile

Contact this school

1010 Solana Drive
Solana Beach, CA 92075

School website
(858) 755-3232
(858) 755-1460
Nearby homes for sale
Map of Santa Fe Montessori School address.
April 20, 2015
***NOTE*** Santa Fe Montessori will cease to exist after Summer 2015. The Santa Fe Montessori owners have sold the school to a Montessori chain called LePort Schools. The LePort staff just had their "open house" on Saturday (April 18, 2015) to introduce the new faculty and administration which will be running things when the school opens as a LePort School in Fall 2015. So far, so good. It will still be Montessori curriculum, plus LePort offers a "Spanish Immersion" program. I've enrolled my son, and am looking forward to seeing how the new owners & staff run things.

- submitted by a parent
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
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
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
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
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
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
August 09, 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
August 09, 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
August 06, 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
August 06, 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
June 06, 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
March 08, 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
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
November 10, 2011
I can't say enough great things about this school. Our 2 daughters are in the Elementary 1 and Toddler program. We came here because our older daughter wasn't getting the education she needed in public school Kindergarten. Although we had never intended to pay for private school after preschool, coming to SFMS was the best decision we made. She is excited again about learning, doesn't say "I hate school" everyday, and isn't being "dumbed" down because she has surpassed the standard public school curriculum. Her teachers are phenomenal - very caring and nurturing. They have helped to foster her independence, respect for others, self-motivation, and self-direction. At 6.5yo, she is able to read chapter books, do single digit simple multiplication, touch type, learns Spanish and other interesting things such as the parts of a protozoa and Native American Indians. This is the best kept secret for getting the most out of your money if investing in a private education.

- submitted by a parent
October 25, 2011
We re very disappointed about our preschool experience at Santa Fe Montessori School. We believed in the Montessori philosophy that kids aged 3 through 6 could be together in the same classroom, with the older kids mentoring the younger kids. However, the majority of kids enrolled in Children s House are 3 years old; there are few 5-6 year olds because they have left. This throws off the classroom dynamics. The teachers can't control their classrooms, and classrooms can be loud with yelling and crying. This will get worse before it gets better because the toddler classrooms at SFMS are the only ones with wait lists, so the school will move toddlers to CH before they are ready in order to create openings for new toddlers. Our CH teacher only worked with a few favorite kids on a regular basis; the others received little guidance or compassion. Learning to read was handled by parents, not teachers. I feel strongly that a skill as important as reading should be taught by the teacher, not a parent. There is very little discipline at SFMS and what discipline they provide is not effective. Academics are taught, but not social skills the kids will need in the future.

- submitted by a parent
May 15, 2009
I have a PhD in Early Childhood Education and I have seen many schools in SAn Diego. This is among the best. Leave your child there and have peace of mind.

- submitted by a parent
January 19, 2009
SFMS is a wonderful school with great teachers! Both of my children have attended the elementary program and have benefited from the experience. I would highly recommend the Santa Fe Montessori School.

- submitted by a parent
February 19, 2008
The Children's House program is wonderful and I recommend it highly. The teachers in the elementary program are exceptional but the program is affected by the lack of leadership and management at the school. Montessori education is extremely valuable at the pre-school level and this school does it well. However, the limited parent involvement, lack of financial resources and poor communication should be considered before proceeding to the elementary level.

- submitted by a parent
January 08, 2008
This school is wonderful. My daughter attended SFMS since she was 3 and now she is 8 and in 3rd grade. The Children house (pre-school) is geared toward the development of your child. The school is like a second family to us. I know my daughter is safe and well looked after. The teachers are kind and very well qualified. They not only care about learing and teaching your child but also care about their social development. My daughter has become a well rounded child who loves to learn but also cares about other kids (younger and older) and the enviroment. I strongly recommend this school. They truly value the children and how special they are.

- submitted by a parent

Profile Completeness


Want to improve this school’s profile? You can!

All schools on GreatSchools begin with BASIC completeness, which includes important information like contact details and test scores. It’s up to the school community to take the next steps. As a parent or community member, you can share what you know with other families by writing a review or answering a few questions about what the school offers. As a school leader, you can upload photos, describe school programs, and more with an Official school profile.

The completeness meter moves to INTERMEDIATE, then ADVANCED, and finally HONOR ROLL as you complete the following: 10 or more reviews, at least 1 photo, and 9 program questions parents find helpful.

Want to improve this school's profile?
for Parents
for Schools
Need help choosing a school? We can help »

Media Gallery

About 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.

Rolling deadline

Nearby homes for sale


Last modified: April 20, 2015

Sign up for email updates

Connect with us

Translate this web page

About GreatSchools

Our mission is to help millions of parents get a great education for their kids. GreatSchools.org is an independent nonprofit and the leading national source of school information for families.

GreatSchools.org 1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1100, Oakland, CA 94612

©1998-2015 GreatSchools.org All Rights Reserved. GreatSchools is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization | Ad Choices

Santa Fe Montessori School
1010 Solana Drive, Solana Beach, CA  92075
(858) 755-3232
Last modified Santa Fe Montessori School is a Private school that serves grades PK-6
Santa Fe Montessori School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 27 reviews. Top