The school strives to provide children with an environment capable of self-directed learning, and to foster the love of learning in children. The families reporting the greatest success, we have found, are those that take advantage of the enrichment activities designed to extend the Montessori education outside of the school and into the home. Is it perfect? Not really - they need more space. That said, it is very good at getting children to work on their own. There is very little homework, because the academic portion of the curriculum occurs at school, which is somewhat to the contrary of our public schools. Recent (in the last 2 years) staff and administrative changes corrected some problems, and of course, engendered others, typical of any organization going through a leadership change. That said, I have great faith in the teachers and classroom assistants, and we definitely have a "problem" child, the staff is infinitely patient and loves him notwithstanding his disruptive behavior, and they are helping him to become less disruptive, without the benefit of Prozac or Ritalin, which is the standard public school response..
My son was a student here as a toddler. We loved his teachers but the new head of school lacked empathy and understanding for children that didn't fit the mold perfectly. The staff retention rate is horrible which speaks volumes for the person in charge. It's overpriced and too exclusive for my liking. Part of growing up is learning how to handle adversity and deal with children from different backgrounds/ incomes. It's very elite here and all the children are expected to fit in the same cookie cutter mold and if you're child doesn't exactly follow the rules, he'll be kicked out along (which I have later found through other parents to be all too common). We have since moved out the area but are much happier in our new school.
I am completely confused how this school has only 3 stars. I guess everyone sees things differently. Our experience has been nothing but amazing and supportive. We are first time parents having our child go away for the first time. It was tough, for us, for him. The staff guided us every step of the way. Questions were answered immediately, communication was and always is flawless. Our son has taken giant steps since joining the school, the teachers handle him with the greatest care and understanding. A slow developer in speech/communication, he has truly flourished and grown in confidence under their guidance. The kind of people you want to know outside the school, teachers who greet you with smiles, know you by name, and truly know what they are doing. Is it cheap? No. Is it worth it? Yes. True of most things in life. Tons of support programs for parents and kids, vegetable gardens, outside the school field trips, real world education, small class size...Every day I drop my son off at the front door, I know everything will be ok, that he is not only safe, but that he will learn and experience things that will help him grow up to be an awesome human being.
Follow the Child Montessori (FCM) has exceeded our expectations, for sure. We moved from an out-of-state Montessori school, whose efforts paled in comparison to FCM's commitment to a true Montessori education. The fact that FCM strictly adheres to Montessori principles is a huge positive--as far as the negative reviews go, it just seems to me that those families probably need to find a non-Montessori school. Parental involvement and the support of parents is huge at FCM, but if you don't agree with the principles, then FCM is probably not a good fit. The administration and staff are committed to providing the best structured learning community for each individual student, and their expectations for behavior are appropriate (and a necessary part of an effective working environment.) We have been at the school for 2 years now, and I have the utmost respect for the entire operation. My children are nurtured and challenged each day, and we are fortunate to be a part of the FCM community.
How I wish I had montessori education myself. This is not a school with no limits where the children can do whatever they want. We learn to be a caring and responsible members. Each work has purposes. The instructions are done in group and individually. They are not easy work but it is set up to encourage success. If the child is not there yet then the teacher knows how to step back -- and that is a luxury at this school. The parents get as much or as little as they put their efforts in. Opportunity are limitless for parent education. The more parents understand, the better parents they will become. Before making any judgement, I encourage you to observe a class or two or three. The classrooms are beautiful, peaceful, organized and inviting. That's is how the learning mind should be. If you embrace what montessori and FCM offer for your child education, you should then be as consistent at home too. Good work takes time and you can ask for lessons. My child enjoys purposeful work. She is creative, independent and caring. There is no homework. We spend the rest of the day learning and doing things that encourage our learning - hopefully as purposeful as FCM offers.
We have had our son at FCM since he was a toddler and have been very pleased with the caring, warm, learning environment and the excellent support of parents. I have always felt that the school has had my son's best interests at heart and have set appropriate limits with him, as well as encouraged his attention and focus. I believe it takes a village to raise a child, and I'm so glad to have the staff, parents, and children of FCM as part of his and our village. The last two years of new leadership have exceeded my expectations! We are very happy with the 4 hours of Spanish instruction per week and the Chinese enrichment.
FCM is a place where families are valued. Teachers know your children and are willing to work with you to make sure your children are nurtured and challenged. There is a strong sense of community and purpose. The montessori quality is impressive. I chose this school for my children over others because of the dedicated staff, commitment to philosophy, and community of parents. Perhaps those with issues with the school have found a better fit for their children, family and educational expectations. We have found our place at FCM. The school is full and staff turnover has not been an issue for us for the past 7 years. Come check out the school and decide for yourself!
After four years there, we have moved our children to different schools. I agree with the other reviews here that the school is not inclusive and makes decisions based on "Montessori principles" that make no sense. This was true in cases involving our children, to their detriment. I would advise parents to look at other Montessori schools. One of our children is now at a different one, and doing very well and receiving much better instruction. Though many staff and faculty members at FCM are well intentioned and caring, the retention rate of both faculty and children speaks volumes. I wish we had moved out children to other schools earlier than we did.
Non-inclusive to students with special needs. It's like they would rather not bother. Any child who takes up too much time is discarded. I was told nothing more could be done for my child when previous strategies were halfheartedly tried. Children who are lively, active (developmentally appropriate) etc. are referred to psychologists or occupational therapists. The parents and kids are great, although some families are super-Montessori and a bit extreme about their kids having all wood toys and zero commercial impact in their lives. For such an expensive school, you'd think students would be valuable and yet retention is weak. Look elsewhere!!!
I have to agree with one of the earlier posts. The school's interpretation of Montessori principles is different than most other schools in the area. I have found that the school communicates with parents poorly and fails to take swift action when there is an issue that demands it. The administration is distant and unfriendly and interprets and enforces all of its rules so strictly that common sense is not considered. I would encourage any interested parent to look elsewhere, and if this school is convenient for other reasons, to ask about the school's policy on discipline. I have found that Ms. Sumi, however, is an excellent teacher, earning the school the two stars I'm giving it.
Montessori education CAN be incredible and the materials are amazing...Montessori dogma is at best limiting. While the small FCM setting is charming at first glance, it is not inclusive. The school espouses a very narrow interpretation of the Montessori principles. Ironically, with such a strict approach creativity and independent thought, the very cornerstones of this methodology, are not often enouraged. While the classrooms are well equipt, dedicated facilities for the arts and athletics are non-existent, and the availibility of outdoor experiencial education is inadequate for such an expensive school. As with all schools, the children are wonderful and some of the teachers are as well. However, many teachers are newly trained or are in training while serving the students. Retention of dedicated staff and families is very poor. Entering it's 9th year, the UE program has not matured to full size. In this case, less is not more.
Montessori education is incredible! We love the FCM community, particularly the caring staff. I never even give a second thought about leaving my son there each day. I know that he is loved and cherished by all the teachers. The small size is perfect for our young child. Very literally, every single staff member knows my son by name. The facilities and materials are amazing. The school adheres strictly to Montessori principles. The prior complaint is a little difficult to believe. All of the lead teachers are certified. All staff are trained and schooled in Montessori philosophy. I cannot, in my wildest dreams, imagine that corporal punishment was used on any child at FCM. There are always two teachers in each class and the atmosphere at FCM is the opposite of aggressive or punitive. The push to MSR is a little suspicious too. I'm just saying...
This has been a great school for both of my children. I spent years researching the educational opportunities we have in the triangle, and after 3 years, I'm more thrilled than ever with my choice. The community is great, the size is perfect for my children, the teachers are passionate, the education is amazing.
Our family absolutely loves this school. I have become a much better parent and enjoy a loving and learning relationship with both of my kids through Montessori. Every day is a joy!
Unfortunately, this school just can't deliver. We found that this pricey school lacks quality (or Montessori certified) teaching staff, demonstrates very poor and inconsistent communication with parents, inadequate administrative leadership, and a failure to respond to substantiated corporal punishment charges. I would very strongly encourage any interested parents to look elsewhere, possibly Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR).
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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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