We sent our daughter to the COOP and became disenchanted but are proud to call ourselves alumni. The school's greatest asset and biggest weakness is its teachers. They are very dedicated and some of their practices are solid but as a group they are against being held accountable and some of the teachers are ineffective. In addition, a select group of the teachers collectively work against the best interests of the school unfortunately. Understanding the curriculum can be difficult. The greatest asset is the passion of both the teachers and the members. The school is a cooperative and the members are the key to making it all work, although some parents do much of the work. Overall, great community of parents. Hopefully the school can find its footing and take off.
The Co-op is a great little school, especially for the nursery-K grades. The early ages teachers are some of the best teachers I've ever seen. They are warm, creative, and nurturing. Unfortunately the Co-op lags in the later grades. There is no curriculum, every teacher has a different agenda and there is no accountability for what the children are learning. The Co-op lacks qualified teachers for their foreign language program and there is no organized sports program or theater/arts program. Unfortunately the school seems to hire a lot of relatives or friends rather than more qualified candidates. In theory, parent involvement is encouraged because it is a "cooperative", but there is a very small clique that runs the school and makes it difficult and uncomfortable for new parents to really get involved. We knew our kids would go to public school and so weren't too invested, but there are parents who are there that are very disappointed by this dynamic. On a positive note, the Co-op is a warm, progressive environment for children with mild special needs/ADHD/etc.
As a past parent of children at the Montclair Co-Op School, I wanted to share how wonderfully open and creative this school was for my 2 children that are now in their 30's. The thought process, and ability to question and navigate, math, social studies and english courses was individually based and also used team co-operation. The basis of this eduation helped many children to become THINKERS and DOERS as they went on to colleges and life. As a former parent, even I learned many Co-operative ways and used them in life. Thank you Montclair Co-Op for all that you have given to the children who enter your gates.
Our family moved to Montclair for the proximity to the city and the strong reputation of the public schools. Our children started in the public schools, and we switched to the Co-op for smaller class sizes, a warmer, more progressive environment, and a more challenging academic program. The public schools are good, but the lack of resources and large class sizes are a detriment. The Co-op teachers are incredibly gifted. They work to reach and push each child to their fullest potential. The small ratio of teachers to children allows for enhanced, leveled learning within the classrooms - we get individualized learning that works hand in hand with the cooperative approach brilliantly. The Head of Schools is a deep, critical thinker who is working to push the Co-op to become even stronger and to ensure the children are being successfully launched into the world as critical, creative thinkers themselves.
Montclair has pretty good public schools which is why we moved here from New York City. But after a semester in a class of 25 kids, my happy, social, curious kindergartener had become quiet and disengaged. And he just wasn't enjoying school - a terrible thing for such a young kid who should love seeing his friends and discovering new things every day! By chance we found the Coop. My son is thriving - academically, socially and emotionally. Project based learning supervised by gifted committed teachers. My daughter will go next year and I can't wait. over and above what the kids get out of the experience the parents are suddenly part of a community of diverse and hugely interesting people frmk investment bankers to writers to farmers! My husband and I are agreed. If we had to, we would sell our house, forego expensive vacations, work multiple jobs - anything, to keep our kids in this school. They simply won't get a better start in their educational career and in their development as people, than here at the Coop. But all that sacrifice will be unnecessary as, because it is a cooperative, the school fees are half those of the other local independent schools.
The Co-op is an amazing place, a genuine community of learners. The teachers are beautiful role models and they care deeply about each child. Community service is a given and students are encouraged to connect across the grades. Progressive education is a global education. No rote learning here, critical thinking, creativity and cooperation through project based investigations. The expectations are very high for children to be independent and responsible, in many ways it has more "real life" rigor than any prep school. Everywhere we go my children stand out as capable and confident, they are socially fearless, believing that they have something to offer or gain in every situation. I am so glad we found the Co-op!
MCS (the Coop) is a wonderful little school. The teachers could not be more dedicated to providing kids with the best thematic learning experiences. Our child went from being a kid who HATED school, until we were lucky enough to find the Coop. He is now entering the sixth grade and he has never asked to skip school since entering the school in the middle of second grade. His test scores are great but most importantly he wants to be there.
The Co-Op is the most wondeful GIFT you could ever present your child. The gift of expanded thought processes, exploration of their very own environment, encouragement of individual expression -- These gifts allowed my two children to become strong minded young adults. They face the same challenges as other teenages after leaving The Mtc Co-op yet with a sense of self confidence and respect for others. I'm proud to have sacrificed a few of life's luxuries to have given this experience to my children.
This school is great for families who have children with learning disabilities and/or social emotional issues. No labels, just a warm caring environment. Th
This school offers a warm, magical environment in which children learn to be creative, critical thinkers. The new 7th/8th grade is working out quite well. It's academically demanding but the kids are truly engaged and excited about learning. And - here's the best part - these are middle-schoolers in an emotionally safe (but not unrealistically so) environment. The school is not perfect - especially because it is a true co-op and parents are so involved that political issues pop up at times. However, those problems exist everywhere and at the Co-op they are offset by the fact that, overall, it is a warm, supportive, very special community. Sending our daughter to the Co-op has been one of the greatest gifts we could ever give her.
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