My son and daughter love this school. They are excelling at reading and math. The children enjoy fantastic field trips, guest speakers and diverse cultures. They look forward to school everyday and get plenty of practical life experience. The teachers and staff really care and keep in touch with each child and parent. I feel supported and grateful to be here.
Montessori teachers will explain that they give the children appropriate amounts of homework per age level. However they are big on reading for the younger students and more projects as they get older. More homework is given approaching upper elementary.
Absolutely. This school's passion is teaching, loving and I observe that they see each student brings a different strength to the class which makes them stronger as a whole. I've never seen a group of students from such diverse backgrounds play together so well. This is the way the world should be, in my opinion.
My children enjoy attending our Montessori school. They learned how to read at 3-4 years old. They look forward to school everyday and their teachers are not just friendly, but go above and beyond and have a strong bond with all the children in their classes. I know this because I volunteer a lot in the classrooms and see the teachers loving the children they teach. I don't have to drag them out of bed. I love that they eat and play outside and have a lot of recess. The Montessori materials have helped my children understand "why" especially in math. They even learn zoology and botany, along with chemistry. My older child has a project based learning environment. My kids will be staying at here. I only wish it went through high school instead one of stopping at 8th grade.
The teachers are highly trained. Due to the Montessori method, the students share some of the responsibility in learning. It is a good idea to put your child in Montessori school before they are turned off to education, otherwise there may be an adjustment period. If your child can work for reasonable periods independently, or with another student, then the teachers and the Montessori philosophy will be highly effective. If your child needs adult interaction from start to finish in every subject, the method may not be as effective for them.
Homework is reasonable and has meaning when it is given. (no redundant worksheets) Reading, practicing math facts in your child's preferred way, and using spelling words to practice writing is common for elementary school. Sometimes homework is very light, like during a shorter week and before holidays. I am thankful for this, so we can enjoy other home enrichment like reading holiday themed books and cooking together. When homework is heavier, it is because the children are working on a special research project or preparing for a special event.
Children are guided on how to appropriately address disagreements or miscommunications with other students. I've actually witnessed my son's teacher facilitate communication between peers when feelings were hurt and guid children as to how to apologize, forgive and grow from such experiences.
At the end of public kindergarten, my son expressed that he didn't like the rigidness of the curriculum and schedule. After first grade he was frustrated with having to do the "common core" way, and with the frequent testing practice and pressure. When he still expressed these frustrations with school in 2nd grade despite honor role grades, being in the gifted program, and having a wonderful teacher and good friends, I knew it was time to explore other school options.
My son switched to Tuskawilla Montessori after shadowing in the classroom he later joined. There were a lot of children, but the room was large, with two teachers, so the student-teacher ratio was low.
My son likes the flexibility in the curriculum at Tuskawilla Montessori. The children follow a general framework and learn to manage their time. My son's teacher allows flexibility within reason. For example, children can't do just math and science all week and skip grammar and writing. They are directed to balance their education. If they master a skill, they can move to something else or go more in depth. Your child can advance in the areas he or she is willing and able to do so. There is whole group and small group instruction, but the children also work independently and cooperatively with other children. Tuskawilla Montessori may not be the right fit for children who need 1-1 adult interaction to keep them on task all day. Many, but not all, children would flourish at Tuskawilla Montessori. My son loves it and continues to test well, even though that is not a focus.
Band begins in 4th grade. Tuskawilla Montessori has a swim team, basketball, and other after school recreational sports and clubs. I don't know much about those, as my son plays sports with a local church league so he can keep up with his old friends too. Art is not a separate subject, but children can write and illustrate science or social studies books, and they have opportunities to paint and do art projects in the classroom as part of the curriculum. They have hands-on culture and science projects. An assignment was to create a 3D map of Europe and a flag of the country they were studying. I saw this interpreted out of legos, a cake, fabric, paint with embellishments, and one that looked like a piñata. My son also has typing, Spanish, public speaking opportunities and very cool field trips.
After 2 years at a public school, we have been very pleased with our experience at Tuscawilla Montessori. Instead of feeling like our child is just a number that needs to be perfect on tests, the Montessori method allows the child to grow and explore in their own way, with guidance from well trained teachers. He has gained knowledge in language arts, math, science, and history as well as fine arts and music. More importantly, while our son dreaded every day at public school, he has blossomed into a wonderful young man, who dreams big. I wish every child could have our experience.