At Arbor, our mission is to develop the unique capabilities of each child through supportive relationships, joyful learning and meaningful work in a Montessori environment. We seek to foster independence in each child, preparing him or her to contribute with integrity to the community of the larger world.
We always welcome phone calls and visits to learn more about our school. We also encourage you to visit our website, www.ArborMontessori.org,, to learn more about why we are the preeminent Montessori school in the Southeast.
December 16, 2015
This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
The school has historically had specialists to address special learning needs but referred many such students out. Recently, the administration has put tremendous resources in addressing this concern; certain administrators and all teachers are (or soon will be) certifying in programs for students with learning differences.
Recent studies have confirmed what Arbor has long been saying for years- homework is not effective, and even harmful, for elementary aged children. It is hard to overstate the benefit to our family to have stress-free evenings without homework. Arbor's middle school homework assignments are, in contrast, quite demanding, but appropriately so.
We have had children in every level of this school. The primary years and lower elementary years are magical, and I highly encourage a tour of these classrooms to witness the quiet hum of these busy, happy learners. Children move freely about the class room, working at various learning stations on mats, small tables, large tables, and standing at counters. All classrooms have attached outside gardens. Children work at their own pace, spending as little or as much time as they need to complete their tasks. Contrast this with traditional learning where children as young as three or four sit at a desk all day doing worksheets ("if you finish early, put your head on your desk"), have homework heaped on them at young ages, and have recess taken away as punishment for restless behavior in the classroom. Arbor is ideal for all curious learners, equally suited for introverted, disciplined children and eager, active children. My children literally leap from the car to run into class, eager to work on their assignments. As some concerned parents have noted, the upper elementary classrooms are more crowded, and like others, we had a child fall (briefly) behind in a subject in part we believe due to the large class size. Parents of upper elementary children should be aware of this drawback and attentive. Despite this drawback, the overall educational experience from primary to adolescence is warm, encouraging, and my children have thrived educationally and socially in this environment.
Finding the right school for your family and trusting your decision is stressful. We have analyzed every year of our daughter's life and education this far. Regardless of your choice, it is always a partnership. School isn't where we send our kids to be educated, it's only a part of the equation. We have to be involved and engaged in our children's education every step of the way.
Our child completed three years of Primary at Arbor and is now in 1st grade of Lower Elementary, which is equivalent to grades 1-3 in a combined classroom. Her cursive handwriting is better than most adults I know, including capitalization and punctuation. She is reading chapter books like Magic Treehouse with ease. Her favorite subject is math where she can correctly work through long addition and subtraction problems including borrowing! She is learning fractions and many other advanced concepts. Montessori is about removing obstacles from children and allowing them to follow their interests in depth. At the age of 6 she even chose her own historical figure, researched and wrote a one-page report IN CURSIVE and presented to 28 peers and 50 parents without hesitation. I am sharing all of this not to brag about her accomplishments, but to help parents see what is normal at Arbor. Montessori is not right perhaps for every child, and does take self-direction, but when the values are mirrored at home and parents understand the process, children thrive and excel. Our child is a strong, confident, articulate, and caring human being and we know it is due to our family values being supported by a Montessori pedagogy at the best Montessori school in Atlanta. Teachers and Administrators have always been responsive and willing to hear our concerns, when we have had them, and partner with us in the best interest of our child, which is our shared priority.
Nothing is a perfect utopia, but this is a wonderful learning environment and community of families.
Read down the list of reviews past the PR-organized by the school to get a fuller picture. The repeated lack of capitalization, punctuation and poor spelling in the postings by students should raise a red flag to all. We found the early years to be wonderful, then the academics sorely lacking in upper years of the program. You can do MUCH better for your private school dollar; however, if your child needs a small school for upper elementary and middle for social reasons, it could be a great option. Plan to tutor for the basics in math, English and sadly, even science.
The teachers that I have had experience with have been wonderful. The fact that my child has the same teacher for 3 years at a time has been an advantage as there has not been any down time in her learning and development, but rather a continuation.
I knew nothing about the Montessori educational system before my daughter attended other than my experiences with students of Arbor. I have family practice dental office and have cared for a great number of children over the years. What I can tell you is that every child that has come through my practice that attends Arbor has been a delight to see in the office. They have been articulate, engaging, mature, and can be in the conversation rather than one word answers or less than enlightening behavior. I've observed them through the years move on to higher education and careers and I know that they are successful in part because of the environment they have been educated in at Arbor. My child is now a 3rd year and can measure up academically with any child her age, but excels socially.
Our children have both attended Arbor since beginning in the primary program. They are currently both in the elementary program. Both of them enjoy going to school and seem interested in and happy about the work that they do. We feel fortunate that both children have, so far, experienced placement in classrooms where they have been nurtured, challenged and encouraged. We have felt that our parent teacher conferences show that the teachers have a good understanding of our children and of their needs and any difficulties that they may be facing. We have felt, especially in these elementary years, that we are part of a team that is working together to help our children be their best selves.
For us, the overall experience at Arbor to this point has been overwhelmingly positive and we feel that "the proof is in the pudding" as we see our children learning and growing in very positive directions. They love their school!
As a graduate of the Arbor Montessori Adolescent Program who is currently in my junior year of high school, my experience of arbor was sub-par. Some of this probably had to do with my health, but truly my experiences with some of the teachers were horrendous. some of these teachers have left, but they were still in the school for a matter of years. The eighth grade math teacher ignored the needs of her students and physically snatched objects from my hands, which was completely inappropriate. A humanities teacher told me that I could not have the role of robin hood because i was a girl, as she said it would have too many "lesbian undertones". As a closeted trans and gay person at that time, it was absolutely disheartening. Overall, most teachers barely payed attention to students and often let us out into the central area of the classroom unsupervised, expecting us to work on our own, which of course we did not. I had to work with a math tutor for supplementary lessons from my lack of learning from my math class. I was also harshly bullied by many students, and upon telling the teachers, nothing was done. At all.
This school might have just not been a good fit for me in particular, and i cannot speak for the other classes and programs, but please consider this review before sending your child to the adolescent program.