As an alum of COMS I can tell you that I still look back on my education there as the foundation of my love of learning. I was always happy in school and never dreaded going. That's not to say COMS was not challenging; the exciting part about the Montessori Method is that it allows children who are more advanced to move forward and excel, and also allows children who are struggling to focus on what their own needs are. I went to a competitive college prep high school and had no problems keeping up with the kids who'd been there since first grade. The difference was that I cared less about "just getting the grade" and more about learning the subject. After graduating from high school I attended a rigorous college and received a big scholarship from an independent organization. I'm very proud of my roots in Montessori and find that, everywhere I go, I meet intelligent, motivated, and successful people who have Montessori educations. Although, to me, it's not surprising!
I absolutely LOVE this school and the staff - especially Ms. Lila in the Children's House! COMS provides an effective and well-rounded, academic foundation for children. I not only say that as a parent, but also as an educator. The staff are ALWAYS professional and the parents are very involved. Having gone through the U of C Lab School's admissions process, I can easily say that the quality of the programs is comparable (yet more nurturing) for a fraction of the cost! If there was just one thing that we could have taken with us when we moved out of state, it would have undoubtedly been COMS!It is indeed one of Chicago's finest institutions and one that I recommend for any parent who seeks the BEST for their child.
I am the poster from January 3, 2008. It has been four years and we are still here and loving it. My daughter is in Lower Elementary and my son is in Children's House. Both children love Council Oak and couldn't imagine going anywhere else. Both children are working at or above their level in all areas. As far as I'm concerned, the staff at Council Oak has been nothing but supportive. My suggestion to new parents...ask questions...not only when you are looking into placing your child in a Montessori school, but also after they're enrolled. Do whatever you need to do to truly understand the Montessori method. I've read back over the comments to date and it appears that some parents just never 'got it' and that's a shame.
RE: Disappointed with the level of teaching..10/ 2/2010: Parents need to investigate the method of education before making evaluations like this. Council Oak is a Montessori school which applies the highly researched principles of education originally formed by Maria Montessori. In Montessori education, the teachers are not teachers in the traditional sense. They are guides, directing the children through the use of materials, especially at the younger ages. The children are guided to become self-directed learners. The peer teaching that occurs not only builds social skills but reinforces the skills of the children who already understand the particular material. I have 3 children who have been through this school and I can attest to their success and the dedication of the staff of Council Oak.
I am disappointed with the level of teaching. The teachers do not teach, but hope the children will learn on their own. My son has to ask two other students for help before going to a teacher. This only confuses the child when the other students also do not understand how to complete the assignment. I wonder if the teachers actually know what they are supposed to be teaching. Also, I agree with a previous post that the school seems to spend too much time on focusing on field trips and painting.
After two years of research, I decided on Council Oak for my child and I couldn't be happier with my decision. As an educator, I wanted to make sure that I chose a school that was strong in multiple areas. This school is diverse, nurturing, and provides a strong foundation for future applications. The greatest benefit is the fact that my daughter is excited about school every morning and loves telling me about her day at pick up time. I love it!
Council Oak Montessori School is excellent! The teachers are highly qualified - most hold masters degrees, and all are trained through accredited Montessori programs. When we decided to put our four year old in private school we did extensive research. COMS came out on top on every level - caring & qualified teachers, a dedicated administration, and an academic program that surpasses almost everything else out there. COMS tuition is far below other Montessori schools in Chicago and well-worth the money.
My child currently attends COMS and we love it. It was important to us that she attend a culturally diverse school that focuses on the whole child, and COMS provides that. Our daughter is learning things that I don't remember being exposed to until I reached high school. Also, the school is committed to keeping enrollment to 100 students, which provides a wonderful student/teacher ratio (my daughter is in 2nd grade and there are always three teachers in the classroom!). She has attended for three years now, and we are planning to keep her there through 8th grade.
I love this school. My kid is excited about his learning, the staff is overly helpful, and the parent involvement is superb. The Montessori Method is perfect if you are looking for a school that will help your child grow in all areas.
I have very mixed feelings. I really really wanted to like the school because it was my plan for my kid for K-8....but we only lasted a few months. The school is a warm, inviting learning environment & the teachers are great. But the administration is VERY disorganized and chaotic and needs a serious overhaul, especially in terms of sending a clear, consistent message on school policy and curriculum--especially in the parents' handbook, which, BTW, I was told would only be given to me on the 1st day of school(?!). The HB is also unclear on which parts apply to CH and which to LE/UE. The kids and families are very involved (great!) But the communication chaos led to a lot of nasty surprises on our end, even though we DID our due diligence beforehand. If you apply, be sure to ask tons of questions, and then make your best judgment.
I have nothing but good things to say about Council Oak. My child is also in the childrens house. He initially had anxiety about starting school this fall; but is now eager to get to carpool each morning! The directresses and administrators are very involved, and his education is progressing at an astonishing rate. His reading, writing, and mathematics skills are far beyond his peers enrolled in public school. I highly recommend parents take a look at COMS!
I withdrew my child and put her in another school and he had a hard time keeping up with the rest of the class. I felt that the teachers were not very into teaching my child all that was needed to know
Both my children attended. One is now a senior in a very demanding college, doing very well (recently received a $15,000 scholarship from an outside agency), another completing a Ph.D. in engineering. As he will tell you in detail, the mathematics curriculum at Council Oak was an exceptionally good foundation for that.
A huge disappointment. I withdrew my child after a few years. The teachers, although nice enough, are uncertified or improperly certified. There's little emphasis on serious learning-instead the emphasis is on things like the school play or field trips. Quite a few students leave here & have to have serious tutoring in order to catch up in high school. Friendly atmosphere, but not very good if you're expecting your child to have stellar academic success.
2 of my children attended the school and loved it. They are both in college now, but they still look back on Council Oak Montessori as a favorite point in their educations.
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