My children have been at Barrie for 10 years. The faculty and staff deliver a rich and rigorous program that teaches students to think. The opportunities offered to students middle and upper school include engaging academic, athletic, artistic, outdoorsy, and international programs. The Campus is beautiful. Students build close relationships with their classmates and their teachers. The proof is in their graduates and current students. You need to visit the campus and see what Barrie is all about!
Not really, I think that would come mostly from home/parents. The Barrie school is so small that it gives a false sense of achievement and thus the students sometimes settle for far less than they are capable of doing or achieving. Also there is less diversity and contact with people who disagree of have different viewpoints/cultures.
For the tuition paid, Barrie does not live up to expectations. In the beginning we were attracted to the school because of the campus (very nice and peaceful like a summer camp), but then we noticed that the focus was mostly on collecting tuition and not enough focus and attention on education/teaching kids to think. Most teachers were just average and the "let the kids do whatever they want" attitude didn't work too well with most kids leading to chaos and lack of organization. That is why after a year of attending Barrie's lower school we decided to transfer our son to a Montgomery county school. Educationally & financially leaving Barrie was the best decision we made because he was able to get a quality education and attend some of Montgomery counties best magnet programs. Our son's Montgomery county public school education lead to acceptance to Stanford, Cornell, and UPenn just to name a few. If you are looking for a place that is sheltered from the real world with a mediocre education... then Barrie is the place. However, it would be far wiser to take advantage of the great public schools and magnet school programs in Montgomery, Howard, or Fairfax county, and save the tuition money for college. In the long run you will have a student that is smarter and better prepared to live outside the protective bubble, thus making them able to better compete in the real world.
We have been at the school for 5 years. Overall, it has been a good experience in the lower elementary Montessori program. We have had some terrific, responsive and caring teachers. It has been an excellent fit for our child. As a parent, you know your child best- so look at the school with her/him in mind and ask yourself whether they would thrive in such an environment? It is a beautiful, calm, safe environment, with small classes and Montessori through 5th grade. Definitely a unique school in the hustle-bustle dc/md/va area.
When I decided to go to the barrie school it seemed like a good idea, but it was the opposite. It's so flipping disorganized I never know what's going on. I am currently a sophomore, and I feel that teachers are always coming down hard on me and my classmates. Their ability to plan lessons is pathetic, and I get scolded too often for not knowing EXACTLY what's going on. I hate the bad attitudes some of them always seem to have, and I'm tired of being in constant confusion.
Barrie's student body changed drastically a few years ago under pressure to maintain enrollment. Students not normally admitted were brought in with issues and problems, some of them severe. Barrie was not equipped to support these students, and results in some cases were disastrous. Most surprising was their lack of awareness of the precarious position in which they put themselves and their students. Shocking examples of student-on-student behavior were know to the staff, but nothing done about it. A dangerous way to run a school.
The Barrie school is a very competitive school to gain admissions. Having said that, I still firmly believe that the school takes students based off of a level of success they seem to display upon "the visit". If you have a child that doesn't "shine" they won't take her/him. They seem to only want kids that have the highest potential and that's NOT at all what Montessori is about. Sadly they do rely on and try to maintain a reputation. I just think they should be honest with parents and caregivers about what they are looking for and why instead of having parents and kids go through an admissions process that's really a dead end street.
We enrolled our toddler in the new pre-K (18 mo-2 yrs) program this year and we have been thrilled with our experience. A typical day has involved classroom work time squeezing fresh orange juice, exploring the creek, making milkweed mud balls to plant food for Monarch butterflies, and feeding the ponies. He just turned 2 and has developed language and gross motor skills through the roof and the ability to verbalize his feelings in surprisingly complex and delightful ways. He has weekly class time with Spanish, music, and phys ed specialists, as well as extraordinary full-time early child development educators. He was pottying and dressing himself at school by the time he was 2. We also love that they have a full-time nurse because he has asthma and food allergies and she has always been very vigilant. The older students come to occasionally work with the little kids, which is mutually beneficial, and students of all ages know our child by name. By the time Spring Carnival rolled around, we realized that our toddler had a social life that far extended beyond his little class of 6 kids. We love Barrie School and are blessed to have it in our neighborhood.