My third-grader transferred to Armatage from Kenny after we had a disastrous experience there. Within the first three weeks, his teacher was coming to me with concerns about his writing when at Kenny his issues were considered classroom control issues. Now, we have a good plan in place, and we're confident my "Advanced Learner" can actually thrive. I cannot say enough good things about our experience so far.
Our 2 kids went through Armatage Montessori. I can't say enough about the incredible teachers at this school. Our two kids had very different personalities and academic abilities and I feel that they both had their needs met and were pushed to do their best. I wasn't necessarily drawn to Montessori in my school search, but I like how it's used in the classrooms and teaching style. I always call it "Montessori Light" because I don't think they are able to follow the style as closely as a private school can - this is still a Minneapolis Public School and they have to operate within the district guidelines. But the teachers all go through the Montessori certification program which is pretty rigorous from what I can tell. Both of our kids were very well prepared going in to middle school. I have heard from a few parents who felt that Armatage wasn't the best place for their kids with special needs or learning disabilities. I can't speak to that, but it does concern me and it's something to be aware of. Also, I was always disappointed that the class sizes were not kept smaller, but that's not a fault of the school. Overall, we were very happy with our experience at Armatage.
We sent our daughter to the pre-k program last year, but lasted only about a week. Prior to the program, our daughter was tremendously excited about starting "real school," and and both my husband and myself thought Armatage seemed like a stimulating, nurturing environment. Unfortunately, when we picked her up after the first day she seemed very withdrawn, and that night started crying and saying that both teacher Connie and the aide yelled a lot -- not at her but at others. The next day she came home crying, saying that the aide was yelling at her this time and telling her to get on the bus, when in fact we were to pick her up. My daughter had been through other programs before and now since, and has always loved her teachers, so I do believe this was "over and above." We decided to remove her after she continued to break down upon being brought to school -- it was heartbreaking to see her go from excited to discouraged in such a short time, and have her first entree into school be so miserable for her. Yelling at the preschool level seems highly unnecessary. She went to another program and thrived. Perhaps Armatage isn't the best fit for a more sensitive child.
We selected this school because of the "work at your own pace" philosophy, however, the work is just not challenging for above average and motivated kids. Yes the parents are involved but very cliquey. If you're not an upper middle class white family, forget about it, your views aren't welcome. God forbid you have a disability. The principal is difficult to deal with. This might be a great school if you are white, upper middle class and have kids of average abilities. Anybody else should look elsewhere.
Our family has been extremely happy with Armatage! We have had 1 girl graduate and the 2nd is starting her last year. The Montessori style of education really teaches critical thinking and accountability. My eldest daughter credits her time at Armatage for her success in middle school and feels she has an edge at organizing and is confident due to the Montessori technique. The teachers are smart and caring, the parents are involved and inclusive, and the building is safe with all doors locked and a camera at the entrance. My experience with the principal, Joan Franks is that she listens, cares, and runs a "tight ship."
I have a Kindergartener and fourth grade student in this school. I agree with the other reviewers that the teachers and parental involvement in this school is amazing and what makes it a very special place. The administration has done an excellent job in creating and nurturing a calm and creative working environment for all students. We are very fortunate to have such a great school in Southwest Minneapolis.
We have a Kindergatener at this school. The teachers are fantastic, engaged, energetic. The principal is delightful. The parental involvement with this school is amazing - nothing bad to say. Wonderful place.Montessori also allows your child to grow at their own pace and can excel past 'normal' grade level standards. Also is helpful for children who may be a bit behind in some areas because everyone is working on their own projects and work.
My kindergartener loves to go to school every weekday morning and that says a lot. The teacher is very involved and communicates very well with me and my child. We think the principle is very involved as well, which seems good.
We've been very happy with our choice to have our children attend Armatage Montessori. All her teachers have been tremendous. The teachers are very accessible and do a great job communicating with parents and tailoring the program to your child. Parent involvement is strong. The demand for the school is booming and they were able to create two new classes this year so class sizes didn't get large. We looked at schools with 'nicer' facilities but liked the smaller class sizes, full day kindergarten, and Montessori approach. A big bonus is the in-class bathrooms/sinks. The principal has started the process to be a School of Excellence too. My daughter loves the MPLS kids after school program and begs to go there on release days. The program provides access to the computer lab, homework help, arts & crafts, nature hikes, athletics, etc. The attached community center also offers sports programs (soccer, baseball,etc.)