This school has wonderful parent involvement and a really friendly staff. There's a dedication to the flow of the school that you can't help but to appreciate. When in the office I feel completely welcomed and at random kids walk around to offer warm cookies they just made in the kitchen with the cooking aid. I love that about the school. Also the parents have the same goals for their children's learning environment that bring us supportively together. The only reason I gave my school 4 out of 5 is because there are challenges for new families to get the hang of the pace of the Montessori curriculum especially if you don't start you kid at a pre-k level. It can be hard to gage where your child stands right away because your not going to see graded work. It would be helpful to have a workshop to coach new families on tips and tools to improve the overall understanding of the learning method before school starts. I would suggest doing research on the lifestyle and learning style of Montessori teachings before you start this school so you can have the tools to encourage your child from home also.
BMPCS is an amazing school. My family and I are so fortunate to have this gem in our backyard. The staff are dedicated , caring , and extremely knowledgeable. I have 5 year old twins, who have attended BMPCS for 2 years, and every day they literally run top speed to school. We LOVE BMPCS!!
Honestly, this school should have been shut down a long time ago. My son is exceedingly bright, and did well above advanced on the MSA. One year at this school, and he became basic in math. How could this happen unless the staff was negligent? And how can we, as parents, help our children when there is no homework and nothing to study? Great concept, lacking appication.
This is an absolutely wonderful school. I love the Montessori style of education and Baltimore is so privileged to have a public Montessori school that students can attend free of charge. The teachers and staff are amazing, the school is extremely well run, and it is a wonderful learning environment for children.
I can't figure out why the school does not offer a full-day program for the 3 year olds. Where is the extra cost? 3 year olds are part of the 3-5 year old classrooms. When they go home, no teachers or aides from those classrooms leave. They stay with the 4-5 year olds. So if there is no additional personnel cost, what is the issue? I understand the difficulty of finding an aftercare vendor for 3 year olds (staff ratio problems for that age), whether the kids are released at noon or 3pm, but with those children already in the building, they have the ability to create their own aftercare program. There are other inner city, public Montessori programs in other cities where the 3 year olds are included in the full-day program, and have an aftercare program. Only certain families can afford and arrange the logistics for the 3 year old program, and it shuts out working and middle class working parents especially. As the entry point to the school, the design of this excludes children of working parents from the school long-term, as those 3 year olds move into the 4 year old slots.
I wish I could abstain from the star rating as my child does not attend this school, but I am not able to do that. I do want to chime in regarding the 3-year-old half-day issue. My 3 year old was accepted to Baltimore Montessori via the lottery, but the fact that it is half day for the 3-year-old class WITHOUT ANY AFTERCARE made Montessori not possible for this working mom. And while it is true that there are no other public school options for 3-year-olds, a 2.5 hour day is harder logistically and more expensive for working parents (assuming you have to hire a part-time nanny) than most day-care facilities. I do wonder what is behind the half-day/no aftercare policy and what effect that policy has on the demographics of the families who accept places in the school.
I have to say in response to the 02/09 post that I have never seen open wires in the school and that I know for a fact that the leadership does send there children there since two of the kids are in my daughters class. Also, where else can you send your 3 year old ALL day? five days a week?? besides daycare. I would venture to say it may be BCPS policy that three year olds can not attend an all day 5 day a week program but I do not know for sure. I don't think it exists which is one of the reasons this school is so popular because it is a free pre-k program.Regardless, its too long of a day for a 3 year old anyway past 11:30. I feel genuinely welcomed.
I once felt the way the person who posted on 2/9 did. Most of what s/he says is true. (leadership does send their kids here and I never saw 'open wires') To bring a free Montessori school into a depressed neighborhood is tough and I don't see a way around the problems mentioned. People who love Montessori are going to flock to the public version of it, and that's going to create a cultural disconnect between 'hipsters' and others. I'm not sure how hard the school is working to fix that. It also is a pretty tough thing to fix. But my daughter loves it, the interactions between all involved are loving and real, the kids seemed challenged in ways I haven't seen ever in public school. I always have a nice feeling in the school despite my desire to be a hater. Montessori education is about the whole child, and that's evident here from top to bottom. I think it may be difficult for kids to come in after several years of regular public education because the focus is on self-motivation, not the system of rewards they are used to. But what more valuable thing could you learn than to be self motivated? When I consider the public school choices, this is the best one by far that we have.
What could be a great school suffers from ineffective leadership, inconsistent teaching, and a social divide between the upper middle class white hipsters and low-income black parents at this school. The school leader is cold and doesn't have control. The half day 3 year old program, the entry point to the school, in effect discriminates against working parents, as those 3 year olds must pick up their children at 11:30am. I believe this is an intentional admissions policy meant to attract a certain demographic to the school. School leadership seems wary of parents. The motions of welcoming parents are performed, but the feeling of being truly welcomed in the school is missing. I think it speaks volume that school leadership does not send their children to the school. The elementary school lacks air conditioning, and the school is filled with open wires. The school does have some positive points: a nice outdoor space with gardens and play areas. The kids have recess. The 2nd graders have the opportunity to cook. The school embraces art. I think with different leadership and a culture that blends the demographic divides of the school, the school could really shine.
The teachers, some of whom are fantastic others just okay, are doing the best they can with absolutely no support from the administration or board. The leadership is erratic, decision-making is sporadic and the sunshine attitude is generally unhelpful. The school is all vision with no means to fully implement the fantastic curriculum the teachers plan. So it ends up being, in so many ways, a dishonest experience for the children. That said, my child is happy and learning from a wonderful teacher. But the school is not what it should be.