I agree whole-heartedly with their take on homework- it should serve a purpose, it should be catered to the child's needs, and it should not be excessive. The little children are expected to be read to 20 minutes a day at least. The other children end up being assigned to read for up to an hour a day, it scales as they age up. Otherwise, homework is not a daily occurrence and often is a direct continuation of what they were working on in school that day. They believe that children should have the opportunity and time to play- it's good for the body, mind, and soul. Also, a deep respect for family time. Time at home should not be filled with busywork, time at home is to be spent connecting with family and having the chance to be a child. So homework is infrequent and light and I find that to be perfect.
No question about it, respect is a top priority and the children here are far more respectful than I've seen otherwise. Engaging with me, the children are all very polite and listen well and I've seen the same in their behaviors towards their teachers and other school staff. There are very few behavioral problems that go on there and the ones that do are relatively minor and short lived. I spent a LOT of time in the school having stayed on premise while my daughter was in half day PK3 so I was able to quietly observe and absorb exactly what day to day life was like at Annie Fisher quite accurately. The children here are, by leaps and bounds, the most respectful children I've seen at any school and I used to work in Child Protective Services where I visited MANY schools, very regularly. Respect for self, respect for peers, respect for authority, respect for family, respect for community, respect for nature, and respect for the Earth are all constantly recurring themes at the school.
The children across the board are exceptionally compassionate and empathetic towards the others. Older children are given opportunities to mentor and assist younger children. They are entrusted with the responsibility of looking out for the little ones in the group especially. The little ones, in turn, see good examples of the role they'll be in only a year or two in the future. Really, one of the most striking differences between this school and the many others that I've visited is the sense that the children genuinely care for one another and not only do it out of obligation but from sincere desire. They naturally and automatically care for one another and are given enough responsibility that they are allowed to really let that show in all their actions. Even the children that might be labeled as "difficult" or "troubled" have impressed me greatly with how empathetic and caring they are. Children that otherwise would probably have been written off and ignored or pushed on through the grades just to get rid of them are nurtured and, in turn, nurture others. It's quite amazing to see and until you experience it yourself it's unlikely you would imagine the true extent of how greatly compassion is a part of the "life blood" at Annie Fisher.
This is a main focal point in the curriculum day to day. Children are taught to be responsible for their needs and their actions and this fosters integrity both to yourself and to other's. Young children naturally have a strong sense of justice and fairness, this is nurtured and allowed to grow in hopes that the children grow to be leaders in the community and make it a better place as a result. Quite literally everything they do is with these principals in mind.
My daughter started PK3 last year and will be entering PK4 this year. Education is of utmost importance to me, enough that last year while living 40 minutes away I drove her to and from school, remaining in the parking lot since a 1/2 day wasn't long enough to justify going back home. Still, Annie Fisher Montessori was worth it. My daughter flourished there and I feel comfortably with all the staff I've met. I love my daughter's teacher and the assistant in the room. The principal and dean of students specifically are engaged and active members of the community, and all the staff have been friendly, competent, and helpful. My daughter's 504 plan was executed perfectly and I have confidence that the school knows how to properly tend to her special medical needs. The philosophy is great, the learning environment is top notch, parents are active, friendly, and caring. The kids themselves are polite, helpful, go out of their way to be kind to the younger children, and focused. All the kids seemed genuinely happy to be there all year long and sad at the end of the year when it came time for summer break. I feel like my daughter's teacher really knew her well as well as our family. There's a great sense of safety and community there and I love that not only do the teachers know their children by name but so do the other staff members from the school nurse to the principal to the office administrator, to the security guard... all of them were looking out for the kids and took a genuine interest in all of them. I feel like my daughter is being properly challenged but not overwhelmed or overworked. They stress community, care for the earth, compassion, and responsibility which is very important to me. I honestly have no complaints about this school and I feel lucky that my daughter has been able to secure a spot there.
My sons' Montessori school is one of the few public Montessori schools. The teachers and staff have implemented the learning approach with excellence. Using such materials as the golden beads and "stamp game" both sons are multiplying and dividing 3 to 4 digit numbers in the 1st and 3rd grades. And the independence and self sufficiency they display at home is a testament to the life skills they are learning at school. And the reading! - both are in chapter books and reading with gusto.
No school is perfect, but I love this one. I have twins that attend. One of their "guides" actually let me do an extra parent teacher conference when I was concerned for him. The other twin's "guide" has a blog and weekly newsletter. The staff is wonderful. The school is beautiful. All activities and drop off/pick up are well organized. It is really child focused and kids learn confidence, independence and courtesy. Children and their guides become well acquainted as they are together three years. Older children get a chance to help teach younger and younger kids have role models. You just have to see for yourself, it's really amazing.
Annie Fisher Montessori is such a wonderful community. We couldn't be happier with the education and experience our child is getting. This school is a true Montessori, with all of the appropriate materials, and guides that are very well trained and certified. Our child has learned so much in just a year, and, AFM is so much more than academics. The children are treated with respect and kindness, and in turn they learn how to treat others the same way.
My child has been here for 6 years. She has developed academically and socially into a beautiful young lady. AFM has supported her as a whole child, not just through academics. I am amazed at her ability to explore and discover. She is independent, confident, and happy.
AFM is an AMI Recognized which is really important when looking for a Montessori school. I love the dedication to Montessori, the diversity, and the hardwaork that everyone puts in here. My children are excited about learning and have done really well. Everyone is very welcoming here. Staff knows my children and greets them every morning. We are very happy with AFM.