This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Free Horizon Montessori Charter School5
Posted October 15, 2014
- a parent
Pros: Free Horizon Montessori (FHM) engages the individual child on a journey of learning - the teachers are really good at meeting the child where they are at both intellectually and socially. My child's teacher last year spoke of how each child in the classroom has a "big work" for the year - my child's was "sitting still long enough to complete an assignment". The teacher wasn't upset or worried about my child's wandering mind or body - she simply, and gently, worked every day to help my daughter be a bit more independent. Cons - While the turn over at FHM is low for a charter school, families and teachers leave the school more often than they would a neighborhood school because people have choice.
Free Horizon Montessori Charter School has exceeded my expectations. My 3 year old and 6 year old are learning so much and enjoying every minute of it. The parent participation is very strong and the principal is committed to the school and the children, as is every teacher there. Teachers, principals, and parents go above and beyond here because we all believe in it and want to make it the best place for our kids to learn and grow.
My family has been at Free Horizon Montessori for many years. Several years ago there were many changes that happened at FHM all in a short period of time and it was a challenging time for the school. I can say without a doubt that for quite some time things have steadily moved in a positive direction for Free Horizon Montessori. The Board of Directors, Administrative Team, and Teachers are all working well together to create an optimal learning environment for the students at Free Horizon. It is an amazing learning environment that produces creative, critically thinking, responsible students that will be life long learners because they aren't just learning facts, they are learning to love to learn. I encourage you to take a tour of Free Horizon Montessori to learn more about the Montessori teaching method and to determine if FHM might be a good fit for your family. I can't imagine a school that would be a better fit for my family!
I am a Montessori kid, and as such, was looking for a school that met my high expectations for inspired learning, while balancing my son's natural ability to learn, and very normal learning challenges. In our 5th year at Free Horizon, we have embraced a vibrant, caring community. My son couldn't be more delighted about jumping into school every day, learning and most importantly learning to function in a community. His latest parent/teacher conference reported that he had outstanding citizenship --- really, what more could we ask for? This doesn't come from a test, it doesn't come from homework, it comes from trusting calm adults who understand and support children and their natural ability to learn and thrive. Montessori is about guiding, not about cramming in facts and figures. As a Montessori kid, turned into an adult, I wouldn't give back that educational experience for anything. So glad that my son is able to share that same experience.
My daughter went to Free Horizon for preschool and is in kindergarten there now. She LOVES school. At her age, we really want a school that will foster her love of learning and let her explore things that interest her while still having structure in her day. Her teacher is awesome, and the assistant teacher is an integral part of a fabulous classroom environment that promotes personal growth and learning. We have no experience with the upper level grades at this point.
FHM does not just pay lip service to individualized learning they actually put it into practice. There has been lots in the news about teaching children to think critically about the material they are learning and I have found this to be the case for both of my children at FHM. Balancing a Montessori curriculum with the demands of a public school system can be tricky and challenging for teacher and administrators. FHM strive to balance these sometimes competing interests. If you are looking for a school where standardized test scores are placed at a premium this may not be your school as there is no teaching to the test and materials are not presented in the same order or modalities as more traditional public schools. However, if you are looking for an enriching environment that challenges your child to be their very best this could be the right school!
In my experience, they didn't understand the needs of my child, were not willing to work with my child, and communication between the teachers and staff involved was non existent. They knew what to say to get us to sign up. Their action reflected none of their promises.
I can't say enough about how this school's approach to learning has benefitted my children. My daughter is extremely high achieving, a little OCD, and tends to stress herself out seeking perfection. The Montessori model gave her a weekly to-do list, which allowed her to feel in control, structured, and focussed. She has been so successful there (I still remember the day she brought home a division worksheet in Kindergarten, her teacher just wanted to see if she could do it - she aced it!). My son has a completely different learning style. He is more social, and easily talks himself out of hard work. And yet somehow, the same education model has worked wonders with him. He has become a little leader, helps his friends, and works on the same "work" over and over again until he gets it. I think the teachers spend an unusual amount of time evaluating each student (compared to other education models). They stress individualized learning to the extent that two very different kids can both be extremely successful - academically and socially. I am so impressed!!!
My child attended PreK and Kindergarten at FHM. We will be attending a new school beginning in Summer 2014. After being tested for the 1st grade level, my child may have to repeat Kindergarten because she is so unprepared after her education at FHM. Two years and over $12,000.00 in expenses to educate her and we have absolutely nothing to show for it!! I would never recommend this school to anyone who is serious about their child(rens) education - you will be incredibly disappointed with the results. They hide behind the "Montessori" philosophy as an explanation to why their students can't measure up to the rest of the county when in fact they just don't teach your child anything. I truly believe that this school should be shut down and the attending children be moved into better learning environments. TERRIBLE!
My child has been a student at FHM for 4 years. 4 years ago, FHM was ranked as one of the best schools in Jefferson County. Sadly, this is no longer the case. Although my child continues to rank in the 90th percentile on standardized testing, I no longer feel confident that this will continue to be the case. FHM's proficiency ratings continue to fall the higher the grade level. The turnover rate of their teachers is horrific and the quality of their teachers along with their test scores continue to decline. I can no longer trust that my child's education is a priority at FHM. We will be leaving this school at the end of the school year.