We are a military family recently reassigned to Jacksonville. I was educated in a Montessori school and my children have been as well.
Upon meeting the staff and touring the school, we were saddened to see how far this establishment is from the true Montessori philosophy. As I observed a classroom, I felt for the children as they are missing great learning opportunities. Personally, I've never seen such a glum group of Montessori children which is opposite my personal experience and concerning. Montessori is much more than offering the target activities of learning. It's a process of human development which must be alive in the staff in order to promote growth in the classroom. I did not observe this during my two tours and observations.
With much Montessori experience behind me, my impression is that those involved with this school are more interested in being affiliated with the idea of Montessori rather than the true process of learning and development.
I suggest parents observe other Montessori schools before they commit to this school. Unfortunately, there are many schools that strive to deliver but miss the mark.
The things I did see that were aligned with my experience is the expectation of parental involvement which is always appreciated. We love our little ones.
We've been at this school for almost a decade and have to wonder at the negative reviews. Every experience in life depends in large part on what you bring to it. Montessori is more than a teaching method - it is a lifestyle. Parents who understand & choose it for their families are happy to volunteer and help their child choose healthy snacks for their classmates when it is their "turn" in the rotation. We both work full time and have always had far more than 30 hours of volunteer time. We work with our children, their directresses, and the school in general so that our kids see what it means to be part of a community & how important it is to contribute time and talent. The directresses are highly trained & certified and the individual attention they provide is second to none. If you are looking for a place where your child will be constantly "graded" against their peers, or where you are expected to send your child to school & wash your hands of involvement then this is not the best fit for your family. If you are considering the school, schedule a visit and ask to talk to families who have been here for awhile. Educate yourself on the Montessori method. You won't be disappointed!
I agree with the last review. It sees to me that this school only care about the money and not the student at all! Classroom are crowded! Is a small daycare! For that amount money they ask, and keep asking through the year! Snacks, donations every single month, 10$ a hour per 30 hours a year each family need to pay or volunteer your time to fix a school that YOU ARE PAYING FOR! And Montessori? Really that only using their name but they are not REALLY Montessori. If Maria Montessori would be alive she would be ashamed of this school!!!! I'm glad my kids are out of here.
Coming into this school from another Montessori school I was certain it would be great. However, this school is not a Montessori accredited school. Please do your research. There are 33 children in one classroom with only ONE Montessori certified teacher and 2 that are not certified in the Montessori method. This classroom does not hold true Montessori standards. My children report that they are bored and rarely get individual interaction with a teacher even when requested. I am given no feedback as to their progress and have asked repeatedly. Not only are there tuition costs; but families are also required to purchase snacks for the entire class and also perform 30 volunteer hours or pay $10 each hour. I would gladly remove my children from this school but I will then be billed an additional 90 days tuition. Since my children have been at this school teachers are constantly changing. This school was once a hidden gem, but now under the new 2013 administration it is only about maximizing the classroom size to increase the funding. l should have followed in the footsteps of the many families that wisely left last year! Don't waste your time here!
As a Directress at the Montessori Children's School, I am surprised at the reviews suggesting there is not enough training and "triple" class sizes! Our classrooms have 25 children, and have always had 25 children (since before the new head of school was in place). The Directresses and Directors are all certified. The assistants are not certified, but they each work with Montessori certified leads. We attend more training and have received more wonderful equipment for our classes under our new head of school. Everyone is welcome to attend our training and we often travel to receive more training. The classroom size is ideal, the teachers are trained and certified (and receive training on a regular basis). If we need new materials because something is broken or lost, we simply ask for it. I have a classroom of happy and healthy children with happy parents! Our school is a beautiful campus unlike any other in the area! Come see for yourself!
I absolutely adore this school and school community! The teachers my son is with everyday are loving and sweet. He is learning to read and comes home excited each day. Yes, he is with 3-6 year olds, as a Montessori child should be. I would expect you do some research before you complain that your child is a mixed age class. If you are looking for an affordable, beautiful, loving school... This is it. I am happy to provide snacks, volunteer for the classroom and pay the (cheap) tuition. If you research other Montessori schools, this one is dirt cheap! I cannot say enough about the amazing staff. This isn't just another pre-school. This is a quality Montessori environment.
Not sure of the previous parents surprise that there are 3, 4 and 5 year olds in the same class. If they had done any research into Montessori, they would have known that the Primary class consists of 3, 4 and 5 year olds (Pre-K & K); lower elementary consists of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade, etc. One of the beauties of the program is the younger children are inspired by older students. Older students show responsibility and mastery of work by helping younger students. The Montessori curriculum not only provides the educational component but the social one as well. The teachers love & respect their students and it shows with the deep bonds they form. The teachers will communicate and share their knowledge of Montessori if asked. But interested parents need to remember that this is Montessori and take it upon themselves to work with staff & educate themselves on how to incorporate Montessori philosophy into their lives. While the class sizes have grown over the past few years, I believe the new administrator is working to solve this issue. This school has truly been a blessing!!!