Great school! Our daughter attended the lower elementary (grades 1-3) for 2 years and is now in the upper EL program. She's doing very well, both academically and socially. The school does not teach to any tests, which I like. However, at the end of each year, all elementary kids have to take one standardized test. Since there are no grades, this is a good way to gauge what your kid is learning. Our daughter has been doing very well on this test every year, suggesting that the school's approach to learning is effective. The teachers work very hard and are very committed to the school. There are also a variety of after-school activities and clubs, particularly considering that this is a small school. The music teacher is phenomenal and the extended day staff is also wonderful. The kids generally get along well and are respectful of one another. The older kids (elementary) have the opportunity to help the younger kids (toddlers and primary), which is great for learning social and leadership skills, such as helping to check out and returning books to the library. I agree that a Montessori approach may not work for all kids- however it's worked great for our daughter.
As with any school, observe classes before enrolling your child. As is natural to put the best foot forward, realize that the class your child may end up in may not be the class you observed. While the montessori method has excellent learning materials it's not for everyone. It is suited to a motivated child. Also a point to consider is the class size-expect around 30 children and 2 teachers. Not every teacher is capable of controlling the class and a significant degree of loitering does happen. Since there are no objective assessments it's common to find that your child may be a little advanced in some areas and not know basic skills adequately as it's impossible to give attention to every single child everyday in a class of 30. I can personally testify to this as my child entered kindergarten after 2.5 years in this school and was the only one in his class to not know certain letter sounds!
After having my son attend the toddler program, we relocated to another State. We moved back to the area and tried to re-enroll him along with his sister. He was denied admission because he is a highly energetic boy and the person in charge believed that he would be "labeled" by his peers (3-6 year olds) as being the "bad kid" . We were offered to keep him on a waiting list until he outgrows his high level of energy. My daughter was accepted immediately. Needless to say, we were baffled by the comments about my son, where the school already labeled him without giving him a chance.
The school itself is beautiful. Our child was in a classroom that consisted of at least 26 other children, which our child felt was too much for them to feel like they had the attention they looked for. The school tries to emphasize independence and life long lessons to be learned, great. The way things were handled when our child became unhappy with the school was not professional whatsoever. When it came time to addressing the situation about our child's unhappiness, it all came back to our "cultural beliefs" for why our child wasn't happy at the school. What do cultural beliefs have anything to do with a child's unhappiness? Instead of listening to our concerns, they were overridden by the superior knowledge of the ED. We didn't feel too involved with the school either when they wouldn't allow us to walk our child to class or pick them up from it. We have since transferred our child to a different school and they are performing much more positively. To each their own, this particular Montessori wasn't for us. Great teacher our child had, just not a great ED to handle the situation at all. Made us felt that they cared more about revenue than the actual well being of our child.
Our child attended the primary program from age 3-5. Our only reason for leaving was moving out of state. We miss the school dearly! The support staff and teachers are kind, considerate, well experienced, and flexible. The grounds are absolutely beautiful, and we felt at peace leaving our child. Best of all, in 2 years, our daughter was excited every day to attend school, never complained once, and learned a ton. After moving we couldn't find another Montessori school of this class, and it has pained me deeply. I witness the difference between public school philosophy and the MICH culture. At public Kindergarten, our daughter is now far ahead academically. The teacher is very nice, but doesn't have the flexibility to push her because she teaches all kids at once. The kids are told what to learn, rather than allowed to search and follow curiosity and instict as at MICH. We were blessed to have had MICH and recommend it unreservedly. As for the review about lack of diversity & cultural acceptance, our daughter is half Asian. True, MICH is not highly diverse despite its name, but we were accepted openly and even repeately invited to share our culture at holidays. We loved it
I just observed an elementary classroom. Children were working in groups, working alone, using atlases, categorizing prehistoric animals, coding parts of speech with geometric symbols...What they do at this school is magic.
My son started the primary class when he was 3 and is now in second grade. He loves the school and is excited to go every morning. He is learning skills that are way above his grade level and he is always challenged by new lessons. We love the small class sizes, the close knit community and the parental involvement at the school.
Great School, My child has been there from primary to 2nd grade and is loving it. Highly recommend this school for kids up to 6th grade and recommend scheduling on site visit to experience the school first hand. This school is just want a kid needs to excel and to be prepared for the future.