Not certain I will refer this school for my niece. Conversations held by instructors in the presence of parents, regarding another instructor (not present) being too touchy/feel w/ kids, making them feel uncomfortable. Kids are the priority, not coworker relationships.
My daughter attended kindergarten at Okemos Public Montessori last year. I was impressed with the family/community feel of the school. My daughter responded well to the Montessori style. The staff offer parents opportunities to learn about the teaching techniques used. I have found the teachers and principal responsive to concerns and willing to work with the children and parents to resolve issues. I would definitely recommend this school.
My son, now in 6th grade, says that Montessori is about learning, not about teaching. He loved this program, and plans to stay in the district's Montessori program through 8th grade. The teachers provide materials to open the door for students to conduct independent learning at their own pace. This is a great environment for self-starters who are curious about the world and love to learn. Those who want their kids spoon-fed by their teachers should not send their kids here. The free-structured classrooms also may not be a good fit for kids with behavior and attention issues. The gifted and talented coordinator for the district works closely with the Montessori teachers to provide advanced materials for many of the Montessori students. A great setting for the gifted student who needs more of a challenge, as they are given much more opportunity to spread their wings, work beyond the average, and explore areas of particular interest. Many good and some truly great teachers here.
My son's first grade teacher was incompetent. She only provided review worksheets; no instruction. The principal could not understand the problem with this and could not define the difference between "review" and "new instruction". I am teacher myself and was shocked at the incompetency of both. I think this school gets high ratings by parents who aren't educators themselves and who are dazzled by the Montessori environment. But, if you scratch the surface you find a total lack of deep instruction. We left this school district and now my son is in a gifted program in another school. He would still be doing review worksheets if he were at Edgewood.
The impression I am left with after years of being with Okemos Public Montessori is the sense of family. Having a child with a teacher in 3-year intervals really forms some close relationships between teacher and students and families. You can't help but feel like one big family. Now that I have a child in traditional public schools, I can now really appreciate how valuable it was to my child's education and develpment and to me as a parent to have that long-term relationship with a teacher.