No amount of money can buy the love of learning, The experience my two children had during their years at Montessori Children's House of Durham led them to truly care about their education They came home each and every day excited about what they were doing, and asked daily through the summer months, "When do we get to go back to school." Each day, I am amazed at the individuals I see blossoming as a result of the magic that takes place in the classrooms. The teaching Staff truly cares about each child as an individual and strives to foster their development academically, socially, spiritually and emotionally. I urge all parents searching for a learning environment that will foster the individuality of their child to consider MCHD. For us, it doesn't get any better!
Kids will become lifelong learners only if they are really passionate about learning. But how do you get kids passionate about learning? Tom Sawyer knew how to get other boys interested in painting a fence: not by offering to reward them if they do or punish them if they don't, but by showing them how fun and special painting a fence could be. Most schools try to get students to learn by offering to reward them if they do and punish them if they don't. But the Montessori Children's House knows Tom Sawyer's trick: to get students to learn, show them how fun and special it can be. Both of my kids have been here since the age of three (my daughter has been here five years and my son two), and both of them have thrived beyond my expectations or even my hopes. I wish I could have enjoyed my school as much as they enjoy theirs, and learned as much as they're learning. I don't know what they will choose to do with their lives, but I am confident that they will have the passion necessary to make the choice themselves, and to make their choice work. This school does not produce memorizers -- it produces entrepreneurs (in the original sense of the term).
My wife and I are deeply grateful that our daughter was able to attend the Montessori Children s House of Durham for six wonderful years. She always looked forward to going to school, thrived in the Montessori learning environment, went on to do exceptionally well in high school and college, became a highly respected Montessori teacher herself, and is now the proud mother of three happy Montessori educated children. We owe so much to this school and its wonderful staff. The Montessori Children s House is a Durham treasure. Parent of MCHD Graduate
Montessori Children's House of Durham (MCHD) is a FANTASTIC school. We ve been blown away by just how wonderful the teachers are and equally impressed by the whole school. They ve built an environment in which children genuinely flourish. Our brief experience with other schools makes clear what a gem MCHD is. Our kids are independent, excited about learning, and very well-educated thanks to MCHD. And the beautiful new campus has made things even better, offering spacious, peaceful, classrooms and large, attractive, playground areas. This school has been, for our family, and for our many friends whose kids are there, a real blessing.
Our family has been at this school for 9 years, Preschool - through elementary. We could not be more satisfied with the education our children are receiving. Our children are becoming real thinkers and problem solvers and work well with others and independently. The teachers are experienced and dedicated and demonstrate this not only in the care and education of our children but in their commitment to every aspect of the school. The school built and moved in to a new campus this past year. For anyone this can add additional stresses and may have contributed to the generation of some of these negative comments. The campus is beautiful and provides such a great learning environment. I think if everyone embraced the Montessori philosophy of this school they would see what a great method it is to nurture and educate your children. Experience it yourself through an observation. There are so many families who truly love it here.
My daughter attended another local daycare facility as an infant and toddler, and I was so pleased with that school I was frankly unsure about moving to MCHD when she was 3. After only a few weeks, however, I joyfully discovered that this was the most remarkable educational experience for my child I could ever fathom. It was like going from mud pie to Kentucky Derby pie. I just didn't know what we were missing until we experienced it. The philosophy and materials are especially remarkable, and are supported by all the developmental brain research I study in my personal line of work. MCHD's wonder is about so much more than academics; to me it's also about the peace - both internal and external - that they explicitly teach the children. Here they are equipped to express their concerns, navigate conflicts, and develop self-control in ways some of my own peers have not entirely mastered. Ultimately, despite having access to the "best public schools available," we have consistently chosen to keep our child enrolled at MCHD, and encourage any parents who want to see their children become community leaders who live satisfying, fulfilling lives to join us.
We regret starting our children at this school. Getting out is much more difficult than getting in. This is more of the "church of Montessori" than it is a school. Everything is secondary to the school's misguided interpretations of the montessori method. The head of school and some of the staff are "true believers", and they put the furthering of their message ahead of the welfare of the children. This church needs a major revival, as many of the staff are burned out, and just give up on students who struggle with their message.
Our last child to attend this school will be finishing this year. Sadly, this school is not what it was 3 or 4 years ago. The move to the new campus went horribly wrong. The school administration is completely out of touch with the lack of harmony among the children, as they are primarily focused on the challenging financial situation. The playground is a mud pit, and the focus of the teachers is on forcing all students to follow a rigid interpretations of Montessori principles. Our older children had good experiences at the school, but I am glad our youngest is getting out early, and want to let other parents know to investigate very carefully before sending a child to this school.
If you want to see an example of what our future leaders look like, visit MCHD and sit in during a class meeting in which the children discuss and solve class issues, watch a second year student confidently recite a poem in front of a whole roomful of parents, observe a knowledgeable third year student explaining the states of matter, or listen to a poised sixth year student talk about her experience at the Montessori Model U.N. MCHD provides an excellent education to its children and prepares them for a future of success. I think this is what education is all about!
Not clear to me any of these reviews present a balanced view of this school, which is where my son and daughter both went. Our experience with MCHD was that there is real magic that happens in the classrooms with the teachers, especially with the younger children. However, the school struggles with how to handle active boys and defaults to assuming any energetic young boy must have a need for counseling or medication. The women who run the school have difficulty connecting with boys as they get older, which is why many leave while in the lower elementary to seek out better situations. I understand from friends that the move to the new location has been extremely difficult and made existing issues worse. I hope they figure things out.
I am a former teacher at this school. Many of the teachers at the school are dedicated professionals, focused on bringing out the best in the children and helping them to explore understanding who they are. Unfortunately, the teaching level is quite uneven between classrooms and the head of school is out of touch with what goes on in many of the classrooms. I understand that the negative atmosphere that existed on the staff while I was there still exists. The head of school has her favorites, which are generally the women who she has known for over 20 years. This gets in the way of her effectively evaluating their performance, and she does not listen to other staff members or parents. The head of school also has issues with treating members of the staff with respect, especially when someone disagrees with her. It is unfortunate this atmosphere gets in the way of some of the beautiful work happening in some of the classrooms, and is much worse than other places I have taught.
My husband and I toured the school a few weeks ago, as we are looking for a pre-school for our daughter. We very much enjoyed the pre-school classroom environment. It was peaceful, and the individualized approach to teaching each child is wonderful. However, we could not get over significant concerns with safety at the school. It is very strange that at the school's new campus, they decided to have a pond just below a large drop off wall. This wall is right next to where the youngest children are, and there is only a small railing at one point separating the two, if a child was to get out of the playground area. We were also suprised that we showed up early and wandered the grounds of the school and were not challenged by anyone. There were children playing on the playground and very little adult supervision. We talked with a few parents we know and they say this is consistent with a loose atmosphere at the school, and it helps create independence in the children. However, we could not get past the safety issues this causes, and while we liked the school's approach to instruction of young children, we have decided to apply elsewhere.
Our child attended MCHD from age four through 6th grade. In short, our experience was spectacular! From the young age learning of Montessori tenets of care and respect; and feeling out what's appropriate behavior, to our child's transition to a Public Middle School, we are steadfast in our conviction that a Montessori education at MCHD was a great decision for our child's future. One of the salient features of the MCHD experience that shaped our child's personality is the instilled desire to live in harmony with her friends. From the early lessons of grace and courtesy to the 6th grade trip to the United Nations in New York, an MCHD child has been supplied with the tools and confidence to make successful real life choices outside the school environment. The dedication and involvement of the long-time teachers, administration, and alumni parents fosters an environment in which we feel that, even after our child's graduation, we are part of the MCHD community. The recent move/expansion of the MCHD campus was demonstrative proof of how successful the school has been in educating students, remaining financially stable in a difficult economy, and giving parents something they call home.
My daughter is in the Upper Elementary class (grades 4-6) currently. MCHD has done a wonderful job of educating the whole child. In some academic areas she is challenged and in others she has an easy time of things. She is regularly taught how to get along well with others, how to respect their feelings and their rights, while at the same time exerting herself--basically how to be assertive and sensitive at the same time. She enjoys her class and her classmates. I feel MCHD is doing a good job of cultivating her whole person, not just the academic aspects of her personality.
Both of my boys attended MCHD. I am glad they no longer do so. Given the nature of MCHD's program, it is difficult to assess how your child is doing. I discovered with both of my boys when they transitioned to different schools, that even though they were quite academically succesful at MCHD, they were substantially behind when they got to their new schools. In short, the academic program at MCHD is quite weak. A larger problem with MCHD is that bullying is rampant in the school as children get older. The school's approach is to ask the children to resolve the issues themselves. By the time the children reach second grade, they understand how to game the system, and the classroom turns into scenes out of Lord of the Flies. The head of school affirmatively states this is a strategy to teach children how to project an image that they should not be bullied. A survival of the fittest approach. The administration refuses to recognize the issues, even though many parents have left because of this difficult environment that prevents learning. The school board is even more out of touch, and does not even talk with parents as they withdraw their children.
My daughter attended MCHD for a few years, and we regret choosing the school. The lower elementary was passable, although boring for an academically strong student, but the upper elementary was a disaster. The program there is weak and the teacher is inflexible. However, the largest problem with MCHD is the head of school, who does not listen to parents, and does not stay in touch with what is happening in the classrooms. There are better alternatives in Durham, and I am happier now that my daughter is somewhere else.
My son and daughter both attended MCHD. The pre-K program was strong and fostered independence and respect in both of our children. However, the academic program drops off substantially as the children get older, and the upper elementary has significant issues. The problem for may parents is that it can be difficult to transition out to a different school, and moving to a more structured traditional environment gets more challenging with each year the student is part of MCHDs loose system. Unfortunately, the school does not seem to recognize these issues and does not assist parents with the transition out. If you are going to pick MCHD for your child, have a clear plan on where you will move them as they get older.
Our daughter started at MCHD when they launched their infant/toddler program and is about to complete her 5th year at the school. She has thrived in a loving, caring environment created by teachers who have inspired her and nurtured her love of math and reading. The multi-generational classroom and attention to individualized learning has given her ambition to go beyond in everything she does. She has learned how to be kind to others and how to notice and appreciate the world around her. The teachers really know your child, and their perceptions and partnership has helped us be better parents.
Our 5-year old daughter has been at MCHD for two years now, and has learned even more than I had hoped she would, and vastly more than I had expected. It's been remarkable to see her intellectual growth. If her elementary education there is as good as her preschool education was, she will end up being a very well educated teenager. Part of her success there has been due to the extraordinary attentiveness of her teachers. They are not just perceptive, but they are also communicative: they have taught us a great deal about her, and about how we can help her eventually to become a confident, independent, happy adult.
Our son has been at MCHD's preschool since September. He just turned four. I wish we could have started earlier, because here we've found the best lessons in parenting we've seen so far. Things like: Don't do for him what he can do for himself. Equip the house so he can open his drawers, get his milk out of the fridge, etc. Try to imagine his perspective on things. He loves learning to master tasks like sponging the table, handing around snacks, folding napkins. He is learning appropriate boundaries: Getting himself dressed for school is his job, not ours. His teachers help us get to know our child much better than we would otherwise. And to set a tone for our relationship that is more likely to make him want to appreciate us and be with us.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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