I feel fortunate beyond words to have my son attend Lake Country School. Not only is LCS academically rigorous but the values are fantastic. Grace and courtesy is instilled in daily activities and you can see it in the kindness the kids share for each other. For instance, my son's class (grades 1-3) celebrates a classmate's birthday by having each child write a letter about what the classmate appreciates in the birthday child. When it was my son's turn, I was impressed with how well written the letters were - filled with thoughtful and meaningful comments. Every single day as I drop off and pick up my son, surrounded by amazing teachers and loving and hard working classmates, I am reminded how incredibly blessed we are that he attends this school. My son loves the materials in the classroom - the learning is a joy. He comes home telling me all about his research projects with classmates - and I am wowed by how much he is learning.
This is a wonderful school that is great at developing creative independent thinking, wonderful working skills, motivation, love of learning. The kids have a chance to remain themselves and do what they love in this caring and educated community. They are taught in non-competitive, natural way, while building trust and respect among kids and teachers through great things that they do together: doing community work, older kids helping younger, working at the farm, traveling for two weeks together on the annual educational trip through the country, while camping in the most beautiful National parks, annual bike trips (Junior High). The community of families is intellectual, inclusive, greatly interested in learning. The kids develop real friendships, feel confident and motivated.
We visited Lake Country School and left after observing the 3, 4 & 5 year old room. It was awful. The teachers were working only with a chosen few students. There was one little boy, about 3, who walked around the whole time aimlessly, pulling his shirt on/off. He looked lost and lonely and not one teacher ever noticed or engaged him. My husband and I were appalled at the rampant cliques and bullying with oblivious teachers. The kids kept coming over to us starved for attention. It was like a bad day care. We ran.
After our child's recent graduation from college, we had extra time with him this summer before he headed off to graduate school. He is a Lake Country School graduate and that was what we noticed and remembered most as we listened to him talk about his experiences in college, his values around education, and his hopes and dreams for the present as well as the future. In his statement of intent to graduate school, it was also a pleasure to read his reflections on his experiences at Lake Country School and how growing up in a Montessori school gave him the opportunity to explore, discover, and to see his responsibility to self, to others, and to the earth. Lake Country School helped shaped his future and in so doing, shapes the future of the world for us all. This was such an eye-opener for us again this year. Thank you Lake Country School! Your work is a constant reminder of what education can be!
Sometimes I wonder if there's more value in sending my child to a park district preschool where they can sing songs, dance, etc. I don't know how beneficial it is to do 3 hours of metal insets or polish. Yes, I know there's a method to the Montessori curriculum and it helps prepares the child for next steps like, handwriting and reading... I don't know, I guess I haven't fully drank the "juice" as some of these parents call it. I'm still on the fence. Don't get me wrong, the teachers are wonderful and nurturing, but I do think they focus a lot more on the kindergartners and let the 3-4 yo's roam around freely and sometimes aimlessly. And what's up with the constant fundraising solicitations and calling people out if they haven't donated enough.
Parents looking for a fabulous Montessori school for children and a supportive community for parents should look at Lake Country School. Our daughters attended Lake Country School from three years old through Junior High, They were encouraged to be the best people they could be, to be scholars and explorers, to be mathematicians and artists. My husband and I owe a great debt to Lake Country. Our daughters will meet the adult work world with integrity, courage and curiosity, the ability to lead and to listen, to collaborate and to take on big work.
I observed in the classroom and saw some very concerning things. There was total chaos in the early childhood classroom. One child (3years old) found a plastic bag ad put it on his head. The teacher eventually noticed this and removed the bag. Another child was totally ignored in the corner sleeping and disengaged. Another child ran out of the classroom and it took the teacher a while to notice he was missing. The experience was very disappointing.