I love this school. I chose it before I even gave birth. I knew I wanted to find a school that promoted my daughter's self esteem and taught her independence and a love of learning. This school is more than I hoped because they actually have over night "Earth Experience" trips every year. They teach foreign languages. They offer physical education. Every year they put on performances. The kids start giving speeches in front of their classroom at age 6. My daughter knows more than I ever did about science. I wish I had this option as a kid. I feel like it's Portland's best kept secret. If every parent knew about this school they'd have to double in size.
Wonderful teaching methods, warm and nurturing environment. Educates the whole child.
I think it is important to note that FMES is not only a great Montessori school they are also the only accredited pre-K through grade 8 Catholic Montessori school in the nation. They are accredited by the Pacific Northwest Association of Independant Schools. There are only 8 private schools in the Portland area with this accreditation. The schools listed are some of the most elite schools in the area. Check out the list at pnais.org. This accreditation sets FMES apart from the rest of the Montessori schools. Additionally, FMES was founded in 1977, they are tried and true to their teaching. It is important to note that although FMES does have religious studies, it is not part of the everyday classroom. The students who elect religious studies take theses classes separately from the other students. I am thrilled to have found such a great school for an affordable price.
The Franciscan Montessori Earth School (or just "Earth School" as we parents call it) is simply amazing. After moving to Portland, Oregon from Arizona about a year ago, our first priority was to find a great preschool for our then three year-old son. We searched all of the web sites out there, drove around the city, asked neighbors and friends, and came up with several that seemed worthwhile. We kept seeing this "Earth School" on all of the lists, and after reading many of the parent comments online we decided to check it out further. Now, I have to say, we are NOT wealthy...far from it. Back in Arizona we used to pay $140 per week ($560 per month) for a good quality day-care/preschool for our son. After a year we have to say that this school is AMAZING...check it out. You won't be disappointed.
The teachers and the administrators genuinely love the kids. The school maintains a good relationship with the community and encourages a spirit of giving and service.
I check this sight regularly to see what is being said about the 'East Sides best kept secret' and finally, I felt compelled to add my 'two cents' after reading the previous review: AMEN! My child also has a learning disability/behavioral issues and I cannot say enough, how well this school has dealt with him. The other children in his class are so well grounded and responsible that his Guide(teacher) can spend literally, hours working with him alone. I must admit that the tendency on the part of the staff to openly discuss individual childrens issues with one another and other parents took some getting used; it is odd to come around a corner and hear your child being talked about :) but I see now, that this type of open behavior is one of the ways the school fosters a family-like atmosphere---- Bravo to FMES
How truly blessed we feel to have found this wonderful school! My Partner and I searched long and hard for a school that would accept our Special Needs child and I am so pleased to say that we did. FMES takes to heart the idea 'that it takes a village'. Everyone, including students, is responsible for creating an atmosphere of learning and growth. My only 'issue' has been my daughters feelings of exclusion during some events and activities(i.e. Mass); we aren't catholic and the obvious iconography, everywhere, is uncomfortable at times---that said, I strongly urge parents whose children have had 'trouble' fitting in elsewhere to give this school a look!
Finally a Catholic school that is not ashamed of true Christian values. I was a little hesitant at first because of (just being honest) the possible image that FMES was too 'hippy!' But, this is just not the case! The nuns who run FMES gently weave the Bible and Jesus' important teaching through literally every part of the curriculum. I was astonished and so pleased when my daughter came home after only a few months at her new school to know exactly why priests wear purple during advent. These crucial lessons are often not even found at schools that take greater pains to portray themselves as Catholic. And with all the dubious and subtle educational changes infecting public schools, my husband and I found that most Catholic schools have started to buckle under that pressure--not FMES. Hooray for a return to a real education!!!!!
The staff is generally enthusiastic and are concerned about their students. However, FMES does not follow all of the tenets of a typical Montessori education, and this is greatly disappointing. For parents interested in a gently guided educational platform, FMES is serviceable. For parents looking for an educational philosophy grounded in the Montessori method, you would do well to keep looking. FMES is well meaning. But FMES is an experiment-in-progress.
I used to work at FMES and can tell you from experience that the teachers and entire staff care deeply about the students education and well being both physically and emotionally.
You'll be hard pressed to find another Montessori in the Portland area that offers organic gardens along with a huge gymnasium with performing stage, soccer fields, three playgrounds and a full library. The guides are skilled and involved. Some lower el classrooms are more chaotic than others so make sure you visit each guides' room and choose accordingly. That said, parking is a problem and the school seems particularly biased toward families with money just like other private schools. Also, don't fall for the notion that your child won't be exposed to many of the same issues that plague public schools, like rough, crass playground talk and many of the electronic and commercial trappings of popular culture. Montessori students may be better behaved in the classroom but are typical contemporary kids outside of school who love their Ipods and Game Boys and television. FMES, at least, provides a counterpoint environment.
Hi, this school is good for some but disgraceful for others. If your child has a problem with bullying at the school, the administrators have been known to deny that the problem exists at all. This would be a good school if the administrators actually cared about students; instead they seem to be concerned only with the next month's tuition. If your child runs into a problem you can count on this school to act as if you are making it up or your concerns are unimportant.
My five-year old son will begin his second year at the Earth School's Childrens House in Fall 2006. The Montessori method, along with easily accessible materials and encouraging guidance from his teachers, have resulted in him learning geography, botany, mathematics (addition, subtraction, and multiplication), letters (including cursive writing), music, foreign language, and religion, among other subjects. And this is his first year at FMES! He loves the school, his instructors, the administration and extra-curricular activities (art classes, instructional soccer and intstructional T-ball); the occasional hot lunch gets a thumbs-up, too! Any parent interested in sending their child to FMES should speak with an Earth school parent. Ask, 'Why do you send your child to FMES?'. NOTE: Be prepared for the FMES parent's passionate, heartfelt response. In my opinion, aside from your own parenting, having your child educated at FMES is one of the SMARTEST investments you'll make in his/her future.
This is our 6th year with FMES. My boys are thriving. This is an environment, I am proud to have my children part of. This is not just a school but a community, working together to better the lives of our children. My boys love school. They are involved, motivated to learn and courteous. This school compliments our parenting style. Their favorite extracuricular activity....the Chess club. What more can I say!
I attended FMES for 9 years. These years were spent learning not only academics, but how to work with other people. I had many off campus experiences that helped in all of my learning; I went to retirement homes and entertained the residents, I worked on a farm in the fall, and I went to Germany and San Francisco to learn about the world. FMES/SFA is a wonderful school, with a caring and intelligent staff. FMES is the premiere Montessori school in the Portland Metropolitan area!
My son has attended FMES for 3 years and is now entering St. Francis Academy for middle school (7-8th grades) This has been a great experience for him. The school provides opportunities for individualized learning paths for each student. It is a more structured school than some other Montessori programs (he has been in Montessori schools since he was 2), but ultimately does a great job preparing each child for the next level. They test to the SAT each spring from 4th-6th grades and have consistently upper quandrant marks for their students. They offer languagues (spanish, german, japanese), music, PE, art and drama as well as traditional academic studies. They also offer secular and non-secular studies as an option.
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