My child has attended this school for several years & my experiences were consistent each year. Plusses - It has a beautiful environment, & the extracurricular activities & options are strong (hot lunch, gymnastics, music lessons, sports). Festivals & other programs are well done & very cute. However, most attend a montessori school for the montessori methods, which are loosely followed at best. Several issues occurred each year, sanitary/proper hygiene issues with toileting routines (several years); teaching methods (a curriculum was followed & not the child; no push to excel); favoritism (those with the most money & multiple children get the best treatment - if this is not you, your opinion or input doesn't matter). Teachers push their own values/expectations on the students versus the school having policies (ex: dress code). Raising issues with administration will get little or no attention (based on personal experience). The school definitely has its positives, it was ABSOLUTELY not worth the tuition to attend. I am sharing because those looking at this school need to know to look beyond the "shiny exterior" before making a decision to send your child to this school.
I have had a fantastic experience at Safety Harbor Montessori Academy. My two daughters both attended SHMA from 2nd/3rd grade through their middle school years. They both then went to a public school system and were well prepared for the transition. I can't say enough about the caring teachers, administration, and the philosophy of learning that this Montessori school provides. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity for my children to attend this school.
Safety Harbor Montessori is a wonderful school! My son has been there 3 years in the upper elementary program. I find the curriculum is so much richer and comprehensive than the public school that he attended previously (which was the #1 school in the county by the way). The public schools have become too focused on "teaching the test" to children and have forgotten what real learning is-SHMA teaches kids to be self-motivated learners rather than just test takers. My child is happier, less stressed (no more headaches and stomach cramps) and oh, yes he scored well above grade level on the Stanford Achievement Tests. We are very happy with this school and especially Ms. Cindy, Ms. Robinne and Ms. Kay who truly care for my child.
My daughter attended this school from kindergarten through eighth grade. She left the school well prepared to attend the rigors of the International Baccalaureate program as well as receiving a full scholarship to college. The personal attention she had from teachers, the ability to plan and execute her own schedule, and the lessons in respect and responsibility all contributed to her success. Thank you Safety Harbor Montessori Academy for well preparing my daughter for college and life.
My children have attended this school for the last five years. I love the small, community feel of the school. The teachers individualize the curriculum to meet each child's needs, which is really nice when your child can work above grade level but still be with their age classmates. Every classroom has two teachers and they keep the class sizes small. I think it is about 1:10 even in the higher grades. I like that all the families are involved, welcoming, and care about their school community. The teachers get to know the children really well and I feel like they really care about my children. I love that my children get to spend the day in a place that values kindness and acceptance of others and meets individual needs so well.
Safety Harbor Montessori, used to be a great school but in the past 2 years it has declined to mediocre. The money they charge for the level of education they provide is not justified. They move teachers around like ping pong balls. My child has had 4 different teacher in two years and she is about to start her 3rd year with a new teacher, yet again. It seems strange the the cost of tuition keeps climbing, while the owners of the school continue to make poor decisions, including: regularly changing teacher in the middle of the school year and giving the front of the building a face lift, while completely ignoring the parking and car line dilema. Way to prioritize. Shortly after school ends you must sign a binding contract for the next year. Meanwhile, they make changes without letting the parents know. There is no refund once your deposit is received, so if you disagree with anything the school does. You are still obligated to pay the whole year tuition. I feel a good public school would do a better job and for a lot less money. Go figure.
My daughter attended SHMA from age 2 through the 8th grade. She has developed into a very good, self directed young lady. She has not only thrived academically, but also has become a responsible, caring person as a result of her education at SHMA. On graduating SHMA, my daughter had the opportunity to choose between several good private schools, and the public school's IB and ISTEM programs. I was able to volunteer, drive and observe my daughter in the class room. As with any school environment, my daughter occassionally encountered conflicts, and it is true that the faculty does encourage students to work things out among themselves. However, I have also seen the faculty and administration intervene when a situation warrented it. Initally, I was concerned about the middle school, but my daughter found it to be the the most amazing experience. The teachers were very creative in developing lesson plans and were supportive with the students, with a very clear understanding of the students strenghts and weaknesses. I worked in the classroom on several occassions throughout my daughter's years, drove and volunteered. It is a great school.
I attended this school k-8 and for young children I recommend it but for older children find another girl. I started high school completely unprepared. I had no idea how to study. I was a great student at Montessori but in high school I had to teach myself how to manage multiple classes. As much as I would love to say the Montessori method works, it does not. High Schools are getting more completive. The world today isn't what it used to be years ago. In order to succeed you must have a good foundation and Montessori cannot provide that. On a side --- being a girl at this school was very difficult, especially in middle school. It's extremely clique and the teachers don't like to intervene. I also disliked "person reflection" time in 8th grade, like should't we be doing something more productive for an hour?
The primary classes were overcrowded. Even with an extra adult in the classroom, my child did not get enough attention and spent too much time doing nothing. There is overt favoritism towards certain children which could be fueled by the school s practice of letting teachers privately tutor their own students after school on school grounds. The extra money these teachers earn gives them the incentive to provide extra attention to the tutored students in the classroom setting, unfortunately at the expense of the other students. In such a small school, it seems odd that the administration doesn t know about this issue and do something about it. Academics depend on the teacher and how much time the teacher is willing to put into your child. There doesn t appear to be much of a standardized curriculum, and it seems like an awful lot of the students are getting some kind of outside tutoring. This gave me the impression that either the school accepts a high percentage of children with learning issues or that the school does not meet the academic needs of the children. On the positive side, there is cooking, gardening, and lots of crafts. But overall, I cannot recommend this school.