I spent three years at Heartwood and it was an amazing experience. It is not only a school, it is a community, a family. The students all get one-on-one time with the teachers and can all work at their own rates. Instead of endless hours of lectures and mindless piles of homework, kids get amazing hands-on learning experiences and field trips to connect what they learn in the classroom to the real world. Teachers let students make decisions about how they want to learn, and there is a huge emphasis on individuality and creativity. The students also get to learn both independence and interdependence at the same time. Snacks are served even in the higher grades, and the children are not bombarded with endless testing. It is a great school for any child.
Copy from email to parents on 3/15/2012: At our most recent sanitation inspection we were cited for not having the kitchen door locked at all times. The reason for this official notification is a requirement of the Department of Health and Human Services because we have had three provisional sanitation classifications within a 12 month period . : white-out, rubber cement, WD-40, air freshener, and whip cream were in a teacher cabinet but not locked up in one of the classrooms with 6-9 year olds. The kitchen door was not locked. There was a controversial type of latch and lock on one of the preschool classroom cabinets with hazardous products. I could have appealed this, but it would still have been a total of three 6 point The toddler house bathroom had a Clorox cleaning solution under the sink which had a child proof zip tie type safety latch and a heavy wooden step stool in front of the cabinet doors. This type of lock is not approved. The cleaner was removed to a different locked cabinet that was approved.
To address the "Math" issue here, I informed the director of "not much Math" coming home or as my child stated "in the classroom". He is now at Broughton "doubling up" on Algebra II and Geometry because he was in only Algebra I in 9th grade when he "should have done that at Daniels". Well, Heartwood did not prepare him properly for a good math foundation - today this has knocked him out of Orchestra so he can "catch up" as they recently told him on the Math situation.
My 5 year old attends Heartwood and has for 2 years, and his younger sibling, at near-3, is now also attending. Both approach learning differently and, in the Montessori setting, are valued for their unique approaches/personalities and respected for where and who they are. During these critical self-esteem building years, this is powerful. Throughout our time at Heartwood, we have friends whose children went on to traditional schools in later grades to find themselves well ahead of the "curve" academically as well. Parents are welcome and encouraged to be an active part of the school, in many ways and degrees, and they take full advantage. I recommend Heartwood with no reservations, and enthusiastically any time I have a chance to!
I want to address the "daycare" issue and other claims that the teachers are not skilled or properly trained. Those reviews must obviously be from people who never attended the teacher trainings, saw teacher demonstrations, or looked to see what credentials were and the work demanded to obtain them. Just today I was able to sit an enjoy a presentation on math for the 6 to 9 group by two of the teachers. The process, from a pedagogical standpoint, is complex, but designed using Montessori's brilliant techniques so children can approach the math concepts in visually accessible and fun ways. To the untrained eye, it looks like the kids are just "playing" all the time without any teacher instruction or interaction. To the trained or observant eye, of a person spending a day in the class and being shown the technique behind the practice, the children are learning concepts in creative and repetitive ways that will allow them to internalize and eventually memorize the building blocks needed for advance math and writing/reading. These teachers know their craft.
I hope parents searching for a great school will read all the reviews so they can clarify what is a "parent issue" and a school issue. I want to address the claim that the school is a "dirty daycare;" it is inaccurate and untruthful. I have been a parent with the school for over 6 years and I have done and still do quite a bit of handy man work to help out when needed. I am at the school weekly, helping with projects, making improvements, and fixing unexpected problems. Like all schools, this school is visited by the health department and fire department to inspect it for cleanliness and safety. Most inspections pass without a problem and one's that find a problem ... well ... the problem gets quickly resolved. To point of fact, the school is made of a main building and several small houses, all built over 30 years ago. They are not new construction or "state of the art," so if that is what you are looking for, then the school will not meet those expectations. However, kids feel very comfortable in an environment that looks more like a home than an institution. We picked Heartwood for its "character" as much for its educational excellence.
Totally agree with the previous report. The school is essentially a dirty day care for that much money. The parents do a lot of stuff but the teaching quality and the facilities are SERIOUSLY lacking. If you want to *hear* a lot about 'nurturing & caring' while not learning anything with seriously under-qualified teachers, then go here. For the money you pay there are a lot of better schools in Cary. If you fall for their spin on things and do send your kids there, trust me, you will come to this conclusion as soon as you start visiting daily. Save yourself the trouble and go to other private schools. AVOID - in one word
This is our 4th year at Heartwood and we love the school. The teachers & administration are wonderful. I'm so impressed with the quality of education, educational materials available in the classroom, and the individualized educational plan to meet the needs of my child.
Our sons have been at Heartwood Montessori from age 3 in their preschool and now their Extended Day/Kindergarten programs. Even though they are fraternal twins, we have kept them in separate preschool and now kindergarten classes at Heartwood and have been very pleased with their education in both classes. The curriculum is straight Montessori with all of the works and philosophy that goes along with it. Our children have not only learned appropriate mathematics and reading skills during their preschool years, but have also learned to help others in their classes and socialize with their peers. The school environment is warm and inviting with classrooms that are designed for the children to experience new things while being comfortable. The teaching staff is outstanding and are very involved with the learning of each of the students.
I have nothing but positive things to say about Heartwood - great Montessori curriculum and teachers. We have always felt welcome by the staff and families and the outdoor space is amazing. They have inspired my son to learn which a traditioaly school was unable to do