October 01, 2015
We've been nothing short of heartbroken by our experience at Waterfront Montessori. The primary school is marketed in a very pretty package, leaving the parents of newly enrolled kids dewy-eyed and throughly impressed, but most second year parents concur that there's little to show for it. The Montessorian idea of play based learning is what draws most parents to the system, but my child has complained of not wanting to go to school and being bored. When asked if he is doing either numbers or sounds during the day, he says no, and tells me he only draws. The drawings he brings home are meaningless pencil scribbles on small cut up squares of computer paper. Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-art per se. In my home, where he is given the right materials, he independently paints beautiful watercolors, but we didn't send him to the most expensive school in JC to do a dramatically poorer job of what he already does at home. The issue is that most teachers have a laissez faire attitude and don't redirect students who get bored easily, which perpetuates the boredom. I feel we'll be lucky if by the end of the year he won't be turned off from learning all together. Four weeks into the school year, my child, who is usually very aware of his environment, didn't even know who I was talking about when I asked about his head teacher helping him during the day. As it stands, I have no hope of them preparing him for next year, and will have to take independent measures to get him help outside of school.
Other parents agree administration is sloppy. Drastic decisions are made for the students without parental involvement. Notification takes place after the fact, via email. The beurocratic policies in effect leave no wiggle room, so read all your contracts very carefully when you commit. Parents have been leaving left and right and the primary class is dwindling, so the rumors of impenetrable wait lists are becoming just that - inflated rumors. Many left for other local schools this summer, and I'm aware of at least 4 families who won't be continuing on next year.
The neighborhood has changed and there are plenty of options elsewhere, so unless the school director can come to terms with the reality of the primary school's state and make the necessary changes, the future looks bleak. We are feeling duped, and hoping our child isn't permanently turned off from learning.
- submitted by a parent