We had a very bad experience with the elementary level at Highlawn Montessori School. Our son attended 1st and 2nd grade, when it become apparent to us that he was not learning anything. Other parents we spoke to had the same concerns about their children. We pulled our son out and sent him to a private Episcopal school for 3rd grade. Our son was very behind in all subjects and it took him 2 years to catch up. The same teacher is still at Highlawn today, and I met a woman who worked as the elementary assistant at Highlawn, (after we had left the school), and she told me the elementary level was not much more than expensive day care. She said the children were not learning anything, and the teacher was not teaching. The pre-school at Highlawn was a great experience. I just wish we had moved our son out after kindergarten.
I have had 2 children at Highlawn for a combined total of 8 years. It is an excellent value for the cost of tuition when compared to other private schools in the area. I feel that the teachers and staff here genuinely LOVE their students. When I drop my children off each day, I know that they are going to learn, have fun, and be well taken care of. I love that the Montessori method teaches grace and courtesy as part of the curriculum. Children also learn to respect adults, their peers and their environment. At any public gathering place, I can spot the "Montessori children". They are the ones who are well behaved and respectful. The mixed age classrooms allow children to become leaders as they progress. I also love that they teach "practical life" skills. My kids have learned many important skills at young ages (tying shoes, zipping coats, dining etiquette, etc.) due to the reinforcement of these lessons at school. The academic teaching is excellent. In addition to the traditional "3Rs", kids are exposed to foreign language, fine arts, science and geography. My only slight complaint is I wish they had more in the way of a PE program or other activities such as sports.
I have two children who have completed the Children's House program and continued to the elementary class. The teachers are so focused on the students. There is a strong student/teacher bond which facilitates the students learning at their own pace. My children are adore Highlawn and excel in academics.
My two sons have attended Highlawn. My oldest recently graduated after attending for four years. My youngest is in his second of a three year program. Both boys started as 3-year-olds. I am so impressed with the teachers, the administration, the parents and the children. My oldest loves to learn. He will enter first grade in the public school system with confidence and a love of learning. The Montessori method also instills respect for others and the environment. Because the children attend for three years in the same classroom with the same teacher and the majority of the same students - with an infusion of new kids replacing those who graduated - there was never any separation anxiety. The children return with enthusiasm to reconnect with friends, their teacher and the classroom pets. What a wonderful place.