This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Cambridge Montessori School1
Posted March 16, 2015
- a parent
We withdrew our son mid year in 2014 as did other parents commenting on this post. It is not a good school. There are serious problems with administration, oversight and teachers. Boys are clearly at a disadvantaged, particularly black boys and boys of color. A horrible environment for children and parent.
I still think about Cambridge Montessori all the time, years after my experience there, because it was the most positive, loving environment I have ever experienced within a classroom. I was only there for a short time as a teacher's assistant, as an opportunity rose to have my own classroom in another school. To this day, I have yet to see so much love and genuine care for the children in the classroom that I saw at this school! I give a lot of credit to the lead teachers, who showed me how to truly interact with a child; I still use these techniques everyday in my (non-montessori) classroom. One thing that makes this school unique is that the teachers are able to have a close, intimate relationship with their students that you just do not see in a public school, as well as many other private schools. These teachers ultimately spend 7+ hours a day. working intensively with these children, and really love them, and know & want what is best for their development. And, just like ALL other schools, the parents will get defensive when they hear something about their child that they didn't expect. It makes me so sad to see the negative reviews from parents on here.
The school culture is rigid and judgmental, with a culture of pathologizing normal toddler behavior. Some of the things that made us withdraw our 3yo mid-year: In March, a memo forbade parents from speaking to each other at drop-off/pickup. When our son was afraid to use the toilet at school, the teacher forced him to sit on the toilet for 45 min while he cried in frustration. He was criticized for not doing work exactly the way the teachers wanted (e.g. sorting puzzle in the right order). In a parent conference, we were told our son was too literal because asked where rain came from, he said From the sky, not From clouds. He was already reading and adding at 3, but we were told this, along with his shyness, were signs of a possible psychological problem. We were bullied to take him for autism screening, even after a specialist and our pediatrician said he was likely fine. Administration, up to the head of school, either ignored problems or blamed us. When we sent a formal letter detailing our complaints, the school offered us a partial tuition refund if we signed a nondisparagement agreement. We refused. We ve llearned other families had similar experiences.
Parents are not welcome to be involved in their children's education at Cambridge Montessori School. My child was in the Toddler room this year. When parents raised concerns about school policies the administration (all the way up to the board) either ignored the issues, made empty promises, or tried to intimidate parents' --there was never any action or follow through. Parents are leaving the school in droves. It is a very unhappy community.
Our son started in the toddler room last year, moved up to primary, and was there until April of this year when we withdrew him. We had a truly terrible experience. We found the program to be incredibly rigid in what it allowed kids to do and what it expected of them; I spoke to many other parents whose kids had been flagged as "problem" kids because they were too active or (as in my son's case) too shy. The school pressured us frequently for interventions we weren't sure were necessary while refusing to discuss any of our concerns about how the school was run or work with us at all. In fact, a bizarre memo went out to all parents literally telling us that adults were not to speak to each other near the classroom. By spring we had serious concerns about particular teachers and the administration all the way up to the board, and we withdrew our son mid-year. At least 2 other families did the same around the same time (spring 2014). It must sound like I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. I do hope that other families there have had better experiences, but I was startled by how many unhappy families there were there and how severe the problems at the school seem to be.
Our kids love going to their school. We joined this community early on and we feel that our children are being seen at CMS for who they are. No cookie-cutter approach, kids are respected with their different personalities, backgrounds, learning styles and different learning paces. Great teachers, they are all masters in their field and it is quite remarkable how they motivate the children.
Cambridge Montessori School has serious problems with staff supervision, a culture that has little tolerance for boys and leadership that is woefully underperforming when it comes to oversight, communication and principled business practices. I wish other parents, not just the ones on the Board of Directors, had reviewed this school two years ago. We have had a terrible experience.
I have four children at the school ranging from ages 5-13. The oldest has been there since the age of 2 and has grown into a poised, intelligent young lady thanks to CMS. The multi-age classrooms meet children where they are in the learning process and give children the opportunity to learn from their older peers and to teach their younger peers. The hands on learning is incredible. Children don't learn through memorization, but rather truly understand what they are learning through the montessori materials. My children often come home excited to share a new mathematical discovery or artistic endeavor. The teachers passion for teaching and their care for the students is unprecedented. The CMS community is open and caring. Families are down to earth and there is a wonderful shared respect. I appreciate the diversity of the school and its focus on community service. The teachers passion for teaching and their care for the students is unprecedented. We couldn't be happier.
Cambridge Montessori School embraced both of my children and placed them at the center of the learning experience. They love going to this school and their CMS experience has taught them to love learning. My second grader interacts with adults gracefully and articulately because of the skills and confidence this schooling experience has given her. I would recommend CMS to any parent looking for a school that supports a curriculum that encourages independence and confidence in addition to accelerated learning.
Cambridge Montessori School is a fantastic place for toddlers through grade 9. Kids enjoy a safe and dynamic environment where they become life-long learners at an individual pace that ensures the best retention of every subject. The students are natural leaders and considerate members of society.