The teachers are kind and caring, but also firm when they need to be. Mostly, though, I've been so pleasantly surprised by how well they know each individual student and how he or she learns, behaves, etc.
What a beautiful place, inside and out. I wish I had had this kind of experience as a child - socially, academically, community-wise...it's stellar. Love the outdoor education, field trips, volunteer work, the fun they have with academics, the INDIVIDUALIZED education (they know my child so well that I can't believe it sometimes), and how the families all help each other. It's five stars all the way!
Follow the Child is such a warm and educationally rich environment. Knowing that she required a little more challenge and stimulation, we transitioned our daughter from a traditional daycare setting to FCM in the Children's House program and could not be more pleased with the results. The number one asset FCM has is the staff- they are warm, inviting, and caring and balanced and backed with strong education direction. It was challenging to know when to make this inevitable transition... it was also very confusing to know which option was the best for our little girl. Now it all seems so obvious. I encourage all parents in the Triangle/ Raleigh area who are looking for something a bit more meaningful for preschool and beyond to take a look at FCM- you may find the perfect fit in the hidden jewel!
We love FCM! I believe the school is exceptional in so many ways: adherence to the Montessori philosophy; academic excellence; dedication of the faculty (most of whom have been there for many years - I think most lead teachers have been there at least 7 years); encouragement of independence, grace, and courtesy; enthusiasm for the outdoors; a close-knit community (events, community service projects, play dates, etc.); and how the children learn to resolve conflicts, problem-solve, and always find joy in what they are learning. My son has some behavioral challenges, but his teachers know him so well and guide him in the best way for who HE is and how he learns. They have discussed with us that he will move up to the next level when he s ready (academically, socially, etc.), which may be before or after other children his age. When we have struggled with parenting, his teachers have come up with innovative solutions to help, and the parent education classes have been wonderful! Their campus is older, but pretty, and we were excited to learn that they are building a new school and planning to be there in Fall 2015! Our family will be forever grateful for FCM. It is a beautiful place.
This plucky little school continues to try to do their best, but the facilities are limited. Though they will hopefully be moving to a new location in the future, their stated core values do not match the experience many children are given. It is unclear how the school "Follows the child" when learning differences and giftedness are not recognized. Program seems to be based on age rather than ability. Not what I expected of Montessori. The classroom and curriculum are not flexible in regards to the individual student.
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.