This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
The Patchwork School2
Posted December 15, 2014
- a parent
We love my daughter's teachers as people -- they're all very sweet -- but I have to agree with a lot of the criticisms here. Sort of wishing we hadn't enrolled. Bottom line: the school does not provide enough structure to keep the kids safe or successfully encourage appropriate behavior. The instructors' children exhibit the most aggressive and problematic behavior in the school (a red flag), and my child has started coming home with some troubling language and behavior on school days. I also back up the folks who talked about chaos; the place is filthy, my kid is soaking wet from playing with the hose (even in the winter months!), her feet are embedded with wood chips when she comes home from walking around barefoot outside, she might be covered in marker/paint so I can't plan on going anywhere with her after school, etc. This year has also required parents to provide (unprocessed gluten, grain, dairy free) snacks (that kids will eat?!) nine times per year and commit to a cleaning task once a trimester. Tuition is expensive and a lot of us work full-time, so this is an additional burden. I like a lot of the people, but I don't feel that the school is a good fit for us.
I am really disappointed with this school. Its chaotic, the children are often unsupervised, and my son comes home nearly every day with bruises or scratches. He is 5 and they allowed him ( or didn't supervise him) to skateboard without a helmet and he fell and hit his head on a fence. Often times the teachers don't know where the students are. On more than one occasion I had to look around the school for him...usually without his shoes or with muddy dirty clothes. Many of the children seem to have aggression issues, I have witnessed more bullying, name calling, and swearing by young kids in my limited time there, then I did during his entire 2 year preschool experience at another local school. The philosophy may sound appealing, but in practice and application, for the average student, I am not convinced it works. There are many better options in our community. I am assuming this is a school designed for children that didn't connect with other traditional education models. Lovely caring staff is the redeeming factor, just wish they had a stronger/ safer program.
After visiting several daycare/preschool centers when my son was a toddler, I went with Patchwork immediately after visiting, because my gut said so. I felt the most genuine love and affection came from teachers at Patchwork to the small kids and at that age it was most important to me that my son's caretakers be trustworthy and loving before I was concerned about academic anything. After 2 years we did move on for cost, location reasons mainly but I his new school I do see where the lack of structure and direction would potentially be hard as he is older and very bright. Overall I agree with comments about sometimes feeling unsafe and chaotic, but it is a great place for open play learning and some lovely teachers, and a strong community and parent support system.
This school is basically like daycare, but more chaotic. More than once, I went to pick my child up and they didn't know where she was. Half the teachers are good and the other half are terrible. I did NOT feel safe leaving my child here at all. Anyone could come in (if you got through one coded door) and pick up my child without anyone knowing. There is zero structure, which I thought would be good but it was NOT. So many parents had huge issues with this school but none of them have written reviews. Please, choose ANY other school than this, especially within our community, there are so many that are just insanly better than Patchwork.
The philosophy of this school is wonderful but it is not for everybody. The teachers are fabulous people - very caring and responsive. The environment is best for kids who would not do well in traditional structured environments. Aggression and other behaviors that might be punished in other schools are treated as legitimate responses to strong feelings, and these feelings are worked through. Unfortunately this also means that more sensitive students may get excluded, called names, hit, bitten, etc, fairly regularly as the group works out social dynamics in some messy ways. The teacher-student ratio is inadequate for the scope of the project, and a lot of stuff falls under the radar despite everyone's excellent intentions.
After visiting many schools in the area, this is the only one I wanted my child to attend. Two years later, I'm certain I made the right choice. The children in this school are involved and often self-directed, as well as well-loved. The teachers notice the individual children and create activities targeted toward helping them learn and grow. The pay attention to what the kids are interested in and build activities around those areas. They invite and welcome parent involvement in many ways and have a parent meeting area in the school. At other schools I visited, the kids were often standing and waiting for teachers to tell them what was next. At this school, kids are actively involved. They learn social skills, friendship skills, and community building skills. The teachers are very involved, but equally as important, they don't interfere with children's natural learning process. Additionally, they use the same open approach in their communications with parents that they teach in the school. In other words, they walk their talk.
It's hard to find a pre-school or toddler program where so many factors are all integrated: the quality of the teachers, the real passion and love for learning and for kids, quality outdoors time with shade, open minds and respect for children. Mi kid has had a great experience. The Patchwork is in a category of its own.
This environment is not for every child. The philosophy seems great on paper and in presentations but the implication can often look loose, unsupported, chaotic, and lazy. Although I do believe the teachers care tremendouly about the children, many do not have a background in education and lack in helping support social skills. Often I had found my child unattended, unsupported, and left to figure things out a preschool child is not capable of. Teachers often do not greet children at entrance or even know where your child is at depature. There is little structure and often the environment seems chaotic and overwhelmeing.