I have two children here, one in a K-2nd grade class and the other in a 3 years old - K class (all the classes are blended grades). There is a lot to love about this school! It is a welcoming, peaceful environment where kids are trusted and respected. The classrooms are inviting spaces with lots of light and those fabulous, hands on materials. My children have thrived here. Some teachers are not impressive, but some are truly excellent and incredibly talented at integrating the Montessori materials. I wish there was more communication - between the school administration and parents, among parents. One art teacher is quite awful at teaching kids to be creative. The school is racially and economically mixed at the younger years, then white/middle class flight happens. There are many low- income children and kids with learning disabilities, and I am grateful that my own kids (from privileged background) get to learn in a positive, integrated environment. But these factors help to explain the low test scores, which are troubling. I will most likely keep my children here through 4th grade, but not after that. b/c the academic quality really declines at the upper grades.
I am really impressed by this school (I only know about the young classes). The doors are wide open for the parents which is a real comfort (especially when your child is little). It is really big but I was impressed with how the students are walking quietly and how respectful they seem within the premises. The school is working with a population that is not easy, but still a good mix. The teacher are really working with each kid individually at the student own paste which makes it a great alternative for student that do not fit in the "traditional" learning. The teaching goes far beyond what is expected from the state, teaching kids "life skills" and how to live in community. My daughter used to be bored at school, not anymore. The only bad thing I have to say is that they do not allow my daughter to take a nap (which she still needs even thought most kids her age don't) and I wish they were stricter with "good manners". I was very worried at first but now I see her come everyday with something new, she is happy so I am happy. They have a lot of initiative in the school like the mole program (outdoors), or the "one word a week", fall festival. It is a very dynamic place.
We have a wonderful school! The staff is caring and puts their whole hearts into teaching. We teach the whole child, not just the standards. We integrate the arts into our teaching. The children play outside every day, even in the winter. This helps them refocus and learn more in the classroom. We are also a healthy school, which means we only serve healthy foods to our students. The Montessori materials allow students to learn at their own rate and to be successful. We really have a wonderful school and can't wait for my own daughter to come here.
We are a caring community that takes the time to nurture our families and our children. It is the type of place that I want for my children. The principal is an inspiration to children, faculty and parents.
I think this school is a really good place to send your child. Not only do they begin instruction at the early age of 3 years old but they involve themselves greatly in making sure of any assitance and extra help your child may need. My son has been attending this school for 5 1/2 years and I have no complaints.
This school has the potential to be excellent. A public Montessori school - what a unique opportunity! This school has a lot of things picky parents want at the early childhood level - nice facilities, tools and technology in the classroom, a unique Montessori curriculum, many good teachers, pets in classrooms, etc. It suffers at the middle school level. It also suffers from poor culture, morale, and leadership. Upon a recent visit to the school, I entered the main office to find administrators yelling loudly at each other. They were speaking badly of specific students by name. A senior administrator openly criticized individual teachers and policies - she was clearly negative and not in touch with her teachers. Also, it is a large school - 16 classrooms for the 3-5 year old age group. In the hallways, students seemed disorganized, lost, led military-style in lines, and spoke to poorly by teacher aides. The teacher aides I witnesses appeared unkept, did not speak with proper grammar, and handled the children too roughly. I would send my child to this school, but with caution and vigilance. There is a disconnect between school culture and their peace-based ideals.
My two children attend Bennett PArk Montessori Center. I think in terms of the overall condition of the Buffalo Public Schools, that the teachers and principal are doing their best under the circumstances. This school though, is in high demand in the district. I really like that they teach peace in the school. There is quite an active group of parents ensuring that the district deals with any problems the school faces. I also like that there are many diverse views and beliefs among teachers and students and that you can share them without fear. The worsening conditions of the schools does show in tension of the teachers sometimes. Every thing that is wrong with it doesn't have to do with the school itself, it has to do with the wrecking of public education by the government which is happening everywhere.
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