Parent with Montessori experience
My daughter has attended LCMCS one year as a preschooler, and then from Kindergarten to third grade. Our two boys just started this year and our other daughter will start next year. We have gone through some of the hard times that the school has seen in those years (mentioned in other comments) and we are happy that we did.
My husband and I had bad experiences in public and private schools that made us very serious about finding an environment that was set up support our children emotionally. We also feel very strongly that regularly measured academic "successes" such as meeting a test score is less important than instilling a strong curiosity and a confidence to explore that curiosity. We have found both of those things here, and we are pleased.
There is a "grace and courtesy" section of the curriculum, which teaches what to do in conflict situations or difficult interpersonal situations. They practice it, in class. We feel confident that, unlike we did in our public schools, our children have a teacher culture that will look out for their emotional needs. At one of my daughter's parent teacher conferences last year, her teacher and I discussed how she and the class could support my daughter emotionally while my daughter tried to cope with her grandmother's death.
I would also disagree that there is no homework. There is no conventional homework, but my daughter is constantly working on something - she gets sparked at school and becomes interested deeply in something she has discovered in class. She then wants to go to the library, write reports to present to her class, dive as deep and wide as she can. This is Montessori through and through, and what we were hoping most for for our children. My husband and I are similar because of support at home in our youth, and consider ourselves life-long self started learners. We are thrilled that our children are learning to do the same.
Our daughter is behind in spelling - she's pretty bad, frankly, but she's improving all the time and she reads voraciously. I have faith that she will learn it in time. I know many of the older elementary and middle school kids, and none of them have spelling issues.
It's a very human program, with all that that could imply. I'm grateful to be a part of it.
Caring teachers. Wonderful staff. Fabulous classroom layouts. Warm environment. Amazing lunches. Long recesses. The school reaches out to the community to help. Most importantly, my kids are happy at this school and thrive in the Montessori environment. We are very grateful we found this school after trying some others.
We finally decided to leave after 4 years. If there hadn't been one year with an exceptional teacher, we would have left earlier. Even though there is sometimes a waiting list, that masks how many people leave. There are fewer than 50% of the kids that my child started out with in Kindergarten still at the school in 4th grade and there are reasons for that. Huge class sizes, disorganization, and noisy classrooms has been our experience. There are assistants to help, but for the past 3 years my child had one that didn't speak English well, one that focused on the boys, and one that focused on the youngest in the classroom. The "revolving door" of staff included many who were Montessori trained but not all had teaching licenses. 3 out of 4 years my child had a teacher who was new to the school. The Montessori elements that we were hoping for- delving deep into a subject, exploration, and "going outs" just didn't happen. For some reason a library full of books sat idle for 2 years with fabric covering the shelves. The school almost had to close in the spring of 2015 due to overspending by the admin and lack of oversight by the board. The parent community had to come up with $200,000 in about 3 months & several provided loans to the school. Be prepared to be asked constantly for $ and to volunteer, although don't expect to spend time inside classrooms. That is reserved for people who are invited & they seem to be the same parents year after year. My kids also went to school in a different location for 3 out of the 4 years, as the school had to move to accommodate other district plans. Luckily the school was able to find space but we are uncertain of where they will move to next. With good intentions, the school has spent considerable effort investing time & resources into various community causes- farmers markets, feeding seniors, adult yoga, etc. but we feel the efforts should have been focused toward the classrooms and children. If your child is average, they may do well here, but if your child is particularly bright or faces learning challenges, there are not adequate resources or emphasis placed on their education. Look at the test scores (below district), the state report card (level 2), and read the school board minutes before selecting this school. There are many lovely parents & teachers, but not worth the risk of your child not learning the basics.
My son has attended LCMCS for 6 years. He will be starting their Middle School (MAC) program this fall. He has had an amazing experience and education. Montessori has truly give him a whole child education. He wants to be a physicist when he grows up. He's well on his way! The staff and parent community here are also amazing!
This was our first year at the school and it has been a wonderful experience! My son didnt even want school to be out for the summer, that says a lot right there. His teacher was great in every way and I completely trusted him. We will be having a new teacher next year and I hope its as good as this past one.