great nurturing environment. Due to small class sizes, teachers and directors are accessible. 3rd party therapists (IEPs) go to the school (as per the DOE) but the school and classrooms themselves are NOT set up to support LD students. Teachers are not trained in special ed and can not recognize signs and teach a child with LD. LD students lose playtime a lot. No special accommodations (but many general ed private schools we spoke with are like that). LD students rarely move up. They will not have children back if they cannot keep up with the academics in the upper elementary (grades 4-6) and especially junior high school (grade 7-8). They will not invite them back and will tell them to find another school more suited to their "level" or interests. This may be that they cannot keep up with the academics or if behaviorally they are not suited to their peaceful montessori environment. They sometimes ask that students repeat a grade. They also assign a LOT of homework (e.g. sometimes takes about 4 hours to finish homework.) Pre-k has no homework but Kindergarten may be assigned reading homework. There IS bullying and disagreemts and teachers/directors do address it. NOT all teachers have montessori certification. You may want to verify which ones do. They meet the minimum requirements of being a member of AMS. Teachers do not get yearly professional development. School dislikes social media. Big focus in humanities. No science fairs but have school plays and song fest every year. Junior high school plays can at times go on for 2 hours (sometimes 3). The offset is that many montessori materials and lessons are Math and science based. Parent community is close and active. For our current needs, we are satisfied with the school. Best experience for Pre-K and K but it would be best to explore better options in the upper grades.
Not set up for kids with learning differences. For Pre-K and K, kids learn at their own pace but are taught pretty much the same way. No deviation from their method. Kids can learn at their own pace...and advance to higher grade work. Under performing kids don't have the leisure to learn at their own pace, they lose playtime and may be asked to repeat or even not be invited back . No dedicated child psychiatrist or dedicated special ed person. Therapists do come in thru the DOE for kids with IEPs.
We are so lucky to have found such a nurturing environment for our son! Our 3 year old started a few weeks ago in the Stepping Stones class (the classroom for the youngest students). His teachers and everyone at the school make each child feel special and respected. The classes are small and enable the teachers to cater to each child’s needs. The teachers are so incredibly warm and caring, they truly act as though our child’s well-being is their number one priority – and they manage to do that for every single child at the school. They are always happy to work with parents on whatever issue parents want addressed. Everyone from the teachers to the director (Ms. Liza) to Mr. Arnald to all the teachers (music, extended-day, etc) treat each child like loyalty. It’s so heart-warming to know that my child spends his day where he is respected and loved.
Two additional points I would like to elaborate on. Our 3 year old attended a day are for the first part of the year and switched to Windmill in January. He did not speak at the daycare after 4 months there, even though he has been talking up a storm at home for years. After the warmth he encountered from his teachers at Windmill, he was talking with the teachers within a few days and with other children within a week. He asked to go to school on a weekend – after only two weeks at Windmill!
Another one of our children had the pleasure of attending Windmill for Pre-K. He had an amazing year there, and I was incredibly sad not to have discovered the school earlier. His teachers showed the love and devotion rarely seen, and besides forming many lasting friendships and developing the love for learning, he really excelled academically. The teachers saw and appreciated all his special qualities and quirks.
What a gem of a school!
My son is in first grade, and has attended since PreK3. We love the small, homey environment, the loving teachers, the kind and respectful environment. It doesn't have a lot of fancy bells and whistles and does't need them. My son is challenged and respected and loves going to school.
I am so happy we found this wonderful school. It seems that every minute of my (first grader) child's day is used productively and she is excited to go to school. I am astounded by how much she is learning and her teacher appears adept at presenting her with the appropriate challenges at the appropriate time. The children are also taught how to be decent human beings which is important to me. Although she scored in the highest G&T percentile, I now appreciate that she is with a mix of ages and abilities. For us at least, the Montessori model works well (at least if you have great teachers, which we do). It certainly doesn't have the luxuries of other private schools but we are not paying the prices of other private schools. In later years, I feel we may need a bigger school but for now my child is in a safe and kind, but challenging environment. A wonderful introduction to the world of education.