Former parent. My child - kicked out because, among other things, I questioned their evaluation of her performance - is now doing far better at another school. To get her into the other school, we had to have her take IQ and standardized tests: 130 IQ, 98th percentile in language arts...and 35th in mathematics, exactly what I questioned when JBMS said she was performing "at grade level." I have a bright kid who I believe they did a poor job of teaching. Several times, when picking my daughter up, I noted spelling errors on the boards they use to teach; the education at JBMS is nowhere near what we're getting at another school in terms of STEAM or breadth. Where is my daughter now? In the advanced 2nd grade class, even though the instructor noted we lost several months while JBMS brought the new Montessori kids "up to speed" on the Montessori method. They kick kids out of this school so frequently that they have a *protocol* for doing so. Ask what the average amount of time a teacher has been there - at Columbia specifically - is. If you want to trust your kid to somebody who says they're "safe in our hands" - I suggest you might want to look a little harder.
JBMS at Columbia is a wonderful place for students to grow and cultivate fundamental skills of how to learn and to love learning. Our child thrived there and in his future elementary school. His ES teachers consistently commented on how well he had been trained. They noted that he was able to excel so quickly in a new environment and was advanced in many reading/language and math areas. We could not have been happier with the broad based, hands on education he received at JBMS. The parents had the children involved in local community based activities to supplement (music, sports) the exposure at JBMS. I did not find this to be an issue as we would have enrolled in these activities anyway. For us, the school was a great fit.
We're looking at our child's next school. JBMS was ok at the PK-K level, but the instructor turnover and student departure rate has affected the educational quality. They have a new (young) administrator; the previous administrator called occasionally with status reports, and sent home notes when events were happening. The current one sent a note indicating a student had pink eye - and I believe that's all we've received. We ignored some obvious signs that we are now looking for. A music/arts program, an PE program (not simply "let them outside and run around in our tiny yard"), as well as solid science and some type of social studies or history. JBMS said these programs were in place and they really aren't - what JBMS has is superficial, at best. There's also no sense of community fostered by the school. As noted previously, Montessori schools don't encourage parental participation, and JBMS has the same approach. They also don't facilitate family interaction - that would allow the parents to band together and get the school to improve. Their position is "trust us with your child and give us your money." And that would be a mistake on your part.
We have been sending our daughter to this school for the past two years and are very happy with the quality of education provided here. Our daughter has developed well and is learning a lot of stuff from the Directress (Ms. Anderson) and the Assistants and has a good group of kids to learn and play with. Clearly the communication style practiced with the parents is different here compared to other schools and might add a bit more anxiety early on for parents that are sending their kids to a school for the first time (and might expect frequent feedback on how the kid is doing each day/week). Once they are past this phase, this is no longer an issue. Of course, the school encourages parents to set up meetings as often as needed with the Directresses. The one suggestion we have for the school is to add a few more "play area equipment" for the kids. We absolutely plan on sending our son to this school when he is ready.
Parental involvement: When I visited various other Montessori Schools, they all seem to have varying degrees of limited access to the classroom and teachers. It seems they all feel that the parents presence can often be an intrusion or distraction to the daily process. Expulsions: I do agree that the school should give reason for the dismissal of a child. However, in majority of private schools you will find that the schools are able to terminate a relationship at any time if they believe that a child/ parent is not in line with the schools mission. However if no specific reason was given for the dismisal upset feelings are understood. My personal experience: The classrooms are in good order, the teachers & assistants are all involved and the tone is very calm. This is a school environment, so the happy go lucky tone of a daycare would be absent here. The school is on the older, more lived-in side, however due to the fact that the tuition is much (significantly) less than surrounding Mont. schools, give me the clean older environment over a new building any day. I will update as my experience goes further but as for now, I am more than pleased.
Great schools! For those of you who are complaining, remember, you had your chance to check the schools out before YOU enrolled your child! My child left for public schools and could have been placed 2 years ahead of where we decided to place her! Maybe trying to be a parent at home and working with your children on things for their development would be a better idea instead of expecting teachers or schools to do so for you! All I will say is the staff is almost always professional, and the children seem to really mature and develop abilities beyond their years! My advice is to research what Montessori is! It's about teaching children to be more independent, the way the classes are set up, just look into it more! You would be very surprised. My children were in more than one of the locations due to the purchase of a new home and never had anything but positivity and professionalism! They are not a day care center, or parents, they molders of young minds!
JBMS has a history of kicking out students on a whim for any reason. It happened to me and I don't want it to happen to you! I was left without daycare for two weeks and had to stay home from work until I found something for my child. I could do it, but others could lose their job! My BIG offense??-- I asked the beforecare teacher about what activities my child does in the morning. That one question got my daughter thrown out without warning or discussion. I was in disbelief. Then I read on here how they have done the same thing to so many children. They are complete wackos and should have their licensed revoked. I'm considering a lawsuit. Please don't send you child here. There is no stability or security for your child here!!
I am very disappointed with the school. The concept of the school is not right for kids. It is just like a small prison. Parents are not allowed to talk to teachers directly which is ridiculous. The school cares their business much more than kids.