they have a no homework policy till middle school. Academic learning belongs in school and the time your child has after an 8 hour school day should be about sports / music / reading / playing. That is developmentally appropriate. Spending another hour a day doing busy work homework in first grade is such a waste of the parent and child's time together
The classrooms are all mixed age. The older children are role models for the younger kids. They work with them and often times teach them. Its a great lesson in patience and caring for a 5 year old to work with a 3 year old on a project.
in the lower el classrooms, the children are held collectively responsible for the group's actions. So if one child was out of line, the consequence impacts all the children in that class - It teaches the student early on that his actions have a consequence that extends far beyond him.
They have the concept of a peace jar / bucket - you fill it if ALL members of the class acted in a mature / appropriate way
The teachers have lots of conversations with the children about accountability / honesty etc.
We have 2 children in the school, and have been part of the school for 6 years.
For parents looking at the primary school years, I will say that its structured as a 3 year program. You shouldn't go in expecting linear learning, where in the first year your child will learn his ABCs, the second year he will learn to read and write and the third year he will master astrophysics. The first 2 years of the program are spent allowing your child to follow his interests, to explore all the montessori materials and truly learn how to learn. In the 3rd year (kindergarten), it all comes together - your child will be reading, learning to write in Cursive, will have a deep understanding of the decimal system and place values, and an incredible awareness of the world.
1. Academics: Academically, this school is above and beyond. Both of my children have developed an incredible curiosity that is encouraged and fed by their teachers. As it relates to the Math and Language curriculum, both my children are ahead of their grade level.
2. Specials - they have an incredible range of specials. My child in the lower-el class has Debate, Science, Phys-ed, Art, Music Appreciation, Music and Spanish.
3. The teachers are incredible. They have a strong understanding of each child. They are engaged and work hard to identify your child's interest and customize their learning around it.
1. The primary school administration is top notch. The upper school is still a work in progress.
2. No outdoor play space in the winter months and no real phys - ed curriculum
3. The school just doesnt do a good job on communications - whether its informing existing parents on all the good things going on in the classrooms or to prospective parents.
4. The management gives the impression of not being open to parents' feedback / input - but if you persevere enough you do get heard.
5. While the Spanish program in the primary school leaves a lot to be desired, they have revamped the program in lower-el.
No school is perfect. Every school in the area is new and working out their kinks. What distinguishes Waterfront are the academics and the fact that the school is really all about maximizing the learning opportunity for your child.
For the parents complaining about supplementing and lack of learning, I would suggest engage more with your child's teacher.
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.
Many students are behind in math and science at Waterfront. Hence, many parents supplement their child's education with Kumon or private math instructors. Why are we paying $25K per year? The curriculum is not strong and we need other options in Jersey City.
My child went to this school for two years starting age 3. Overall, school experience in terms of education was okay. However my encounter with the administrative staff was horrible. We made a deposit for an upcoming school year (7 months before school start) only to find out two months later that we had to move out of town. The school claimed that we must pay the full tuition of 25k for the upcoming year because the deposit check was sent in and they cannot find a replacing student. Whatever...I learned later that another student's mom who had her child on wait list got a call from school saying that one spot became available. Moreover the staff told us to send the child to school for the first two weeks in September of that year in order to get tuition insurance coverage. We ended up paying 10k for the education that we didn't even get. This is definitely a school after money.
We are extremely happy with this school. After going to several preschools in the NY area and another Montessori school in Jersey City, we have finally found a place to stay. Founded by a very talented and passionate Montessori mom, you can feel how every aspect of this school is inspired by her vision. The curriculum is very strong, diverse and true to the Montessori spirit. The teachers are highly qualified, experienced and passionate about their work. There are many activities involving the parents and the community, and most importantly, just watching the students in action, in school and outside, demonstrates what a high quality of education, academic and otherwise, is provided here. Our oldest child has been going there for 2 years now and our younger child is just about to start as well. We even chose to stay in Jersey City because of this school. In short, we highly recommend it!
I'm a parent of a primary school child. He loves going to school every day and always comes home with a smile. We can already track his progress based on the little things he does at home; he puts on his own jacket and shoes, cleans up after using toys, and spends long periods of time engaged in puzzles. The teachers are kind and truly care about each child. Any questions or issues we've ever had have been addressed promptly.
The curriculum is fantastic! the children are constantly involved and learn to be independent and all perform at a grade level that is much higher. Our first grader reads fluently already for quite a few months, handles numbers and knows geometrical shapes , and most importantly enjoys learning. The teachers are fantastic, in the elementary school - very attentive and intelligent - and have been so in the primary years, where our child thrived. it is a great school overall!