I honestly have to say that I have never felt smarter. I had a few terrible years before I cam to this school and one of the upper elementary teachers helped me catch up to my level. As of today I am ahead of my work. Even when I toured, my hostess (my future teacher), gave me a smiling face which helped me feel welcome into the environment of First Montessori. Even when I forget to turn in homework, she still assists the situation, but doesn't use a harsh tone like most teachers do. What's good about First Montessori is that it's a great, smiling environment with educated teachers. I will continue to stay in the program till I enter 9th grade.
This has been a wonderful environment for our son. We've been there now five years and fully expect to go through the Middle School program. It seems to get better and better with each year. I am most struck by his increasing ability to manage his time and work assignments. I think this speaks to the Montessori method's emphasis on self motivation. What we have also appreciated is the social development that I believe comes from the combined clasrooms and the reiterations of "community" -- knowing your part and impact within a group, be it a classroom, a school, a family or a world at large.
January 28, 2012 Our daughter has attended FMSA for the past two years (will turn five in February) and we cannot say enough good things about her experience. Everyday when we pick her up we ask how was school, and for two years she enthusiastically says "great." Our daughter is a very fast learner (thanks to the excellence of the staff) and the school has continuously worked with us to customize lesson plans to keep her excited about learning. For parents that have a child that excels academically and loves to learn FMSA is exceptional.
We have been part of the First Montessori community for 6 years with our two children and we plan to stay all the way though 8th grade. What we hoped to find is a place where our children could become prepared for life not only academically, but in their sense of community, interaction wth adults, and activities outside the classroom. While I am thrilled with my daughters' mastery of the academics, I am more happy with the people they are becoming. Multi-age classrooms mean they interact with younger and older, learning while teaching other children. The teachers' attitude as guides (as opposed to grantors of information) means that their relationships with the kids are genuine and mutually respectful. I can't say enough good things about the school, faculty and staff.
This school is excellent! My son began in the Toddler Class and is now starting his second year in Primary. It is amazing to watch him grow into such an independent young child. FMSA is a caring community that provides an excellent education for him socially, emotionally, academically and environmentally. I mean, my not-quite-four-year-old is constantly reminding me what needs to go into recycling at home! My biggest motivation for my child s education is to be his best self and to have a true love for learning and for the people and world around him, not a motivation based on what the Jones s kids are doing. You must do your research, visit the schools, and make a decision based on what works for your family.
FMSA is an excellent school - my child is challenged and responds well to the opportunities to choose her work, work collaboratively and push herself for excellence. The faculty is skilled and experienced, the arts program offers excellent opportunities unlike any other school Pre-k to 8 school I've seen, the governance is strong and the leadership is committed - even willing to make tough choices that are in the best interest of all students. I have added confidence in FMSA due to its 3 accreditations and little faculty turn-over. I highly recommend FMSA!
My only comment on the "carriculum" is that we too were very proud that our child excelled at Fist Montessori until we moved to another Montessori school and learned she was almost a year behind the students there. I also agree with the post below that about as involved as you are going to be at Fist Montessori is getting feedback from the teachers. You will not be participating in any school activities the way you would a most schools that encourage parntal envolvment. The only envolvement First Montessori seems t want is financial. This is the last place I would want my child learing social responsibiliy. Our experience was "don't stick your nose in the school's affairs (i.e. the education of your children) and we will let you stay and financially support us". It may have been a good school at one time, but our experience, and that of a dozen families we knew there, was not a pleasant one.
We have a fifth year, a primary student and we are going on our 9th year at the school. I can't say enough great things about the carriculum, students, parents, teachers, admin, and head of school. We feel this school puts our childrens education, social developlement, parenting needs, and social and evironmental needs above other schools. The knowledge our children come home with overwhelms us. Our four year old constantly asks us questions such as " mommy why does the moon circle the earth and not crash into us?" Unfortunately, I need to attend the school to know how to answer the questions! One of our favorite things is the constant communication and feedback we get from our childrens' teachers. That makes us feel extrememly involved in what is going on in their lives. My favorite quote from my kids is when they come home from school and say, "today was the best day ever." This happens quite offten.
We only wish we had discovered earlier what many of the unhappy parents have posted here. In retrospect, we would have looked harder at the retention rate, one of the lowest of the Atlanta private schools. Dissatisfied parents walk with their feet. When you consistently lose a substantial percentage of your students each year, it speaks volumes. Listen and do your homework. We didn't and literally wasted over five years of our children's precious elementary education years.
Leaving disappointed and at last minute. We had two children at First Montessori for 6 years. Our teachers were wonderful and the method worked for us. However, we left because we distrust its current leadership. If you love the school and are thinking to enroll your kids, I would recommend meeting its leaders as well. Once you sign your contract, you will give up your rights to the head-of-school and she will have the only say. I would ask for FMSA's attrition rate, too. Good luck.
One of Atlanta's oldest Montessori schools has, in my opinion allowed an underqualified meglomaniac head of school to sqander its once great reputation. The facility is great and some of the teachers are wonderful, but the environment is not one we would permit our children to remain in. If you are considering this school, read the contract well. I was told by one of the Trustees at FMSA "facts don't matter, only the perception of the head of school matters." She has the only say around there. There are many other great schools: Arbor, Casa, High Meadows, Galloway, Paideia.
Our 8 year daughter has been in the FMSA environment for the past 4 years and our 13 year old son for the past 8 years. Their academic interests and their way of learning couldn t be further apart, but what they have in common is indisputable love for school and learning! FMSA has been instrumental in nurturing each child based on their unique interests and capabilities. Most importantly it is not just about what they learn but also about how they go about learning that constitutes a valuable and joyful experience. FMSA and the Montessori system bring the best in our children! They look forward to the experience each and every day, and so do we!
This place is MAGIC!! Yes, by all means, DO TALK TO ALUMNI! They will confirm what my family has known for 7 years now -- FMSA is a superior school.
My children attended this school for too many years. It was ok through the 3rd year of primary (kindergarten/equiv.) but after that there was no accountability and minimal teacher feedback. The student/teacher ratio is too high in elementary grades, imagine each of 25-30 plus children 'working' on something different. If a child doesn't turn in assigned work, you won't know this since the teacher doesn't either. In the early to mid elementary years, you only discover educational deficiencies by accident since there are no grades or assessments given. The big secret is that when transitioning to another school most parents have to hire private tutors to teach fundamentals which the school doesn't. Don't talk to current parents for recommendations, talk to alumni. Ask about the attrition rate-this is key! The successful Mont/elementary child is the exception, not the rule. Unfortunately, most parents learn this the hard way.
This school is a waste- why should I invest close to $15k a year- they don't provide lunch to the students. Also there are a lot of what I call extertions fees. They nickle and dime you.
My entire family loves this school. I have 3 children in 2 different levels. They have excelled and look forward to going to whatever high school we choose when they finish 8th grade in 2 years. Teachers and administration are friendly, responsive and genuinely caring. The Landschool in Summerville is an added benefit.
I have 2 children attending this school. One about to enter the middle school program and another about to enter UE. They have been attending this school since they were 2 1/2 years old. I cannot recommend this school enough. I believe it is one of the most diverse schools in the city. Teacher / student ratio is 12 to 1 or below in our classes. The new $4mm classroom buildings are some of the most advance / sustainable in the city. The 86 acre Land School in Summerville is an amazing retreat. If you want your children to be well rounded citizens of the world, then you should look at this school closely. My only complaint is that they don't have a high school.
My son attended First Montessori frm age two until twelve and now both my daughters (age 6 and 4) are there. The attention, care and overall education they have received there is excellent. Some people believe the Montessori way is not for every child, I completely disagree with that train of thought. My three children are all completely different with individual needs and First Montessori has found a way to help each of them thrive. My son who attended from age 2 to 12 was born weighing 1.5 lbs and was diagnosed with developemental delays early on. He now attends a Private Preparatory High School, is an accomplished pianist and speaks two languages. First Montessori gave him the best possible learning environment. I would highly recommend First Montessori to any parent looking for a school that is completely focused on the childs best interest.
I have 2 children that attend this school. One is excelling and One is not. As with all schools, it comes down to the teacher. The school offers a loving, respectful enviroment, and parental support is apparent everyday.
I have two children at First Montessori and can not say enough wonderful things about the experience we have had over the last several years. The community is very tigh knit with parents, teachers, and administrators all working together to guarantee that the children not only have the best possible academic education, but also that they grow to be confident, motivated, self directed, responsible young people conscious of the world around them. I am continually impressed by the maturity and joy of the children with whom I interact. My boys love their school time so much they complain when there are holidays, and I have even overheard our middle schoolers (blossoming teenagers!) talking together about their appreciation and gratitude for the educational opportunitites they have been given! I think that says it all!
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