We had a great experience with the teachers in the primary and lower el. However, we have not had a good experience in the upper el. The primary problems I see with this program are a lack of accountability for the students and poor communication with parents when a student is not performing. When we tried to address our concerns, the administration became very defensive. Think long and hard and talk to other parents before enrolling your child here.
In fairness, the early elementary program has a lot going for it and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone with small children looking for a safe and educational public school alternative. The upper elementary leaves a lot to be desired. Communication is poor, the attitudes of the staff and administration are rigid and self-important. If you're blessed with a child who can teach themselves with little to no guidance, you'll do fine here. If you need more, you will leave unsatisfied.
Too small and too expensive since the expansion. Maybe OK for preschool if you want to spend the money, but look critically at the upper elementary. Untrained "teachers" and favorite students based on whose parents serve on the board! Glad we left!
Our two boys, now in Fourth and Fifth grades, have attended the Montessori School of Columbia since preschool. The preschool program was excellent--not mere day care, but a genuine learning environment in which the children were encouraged to develop analytic and life skills. The new, expanded preschool facility--which, sadly, opened after our boys had already graduated to the elementary school--is impressive. Their experience in the elementary program has been consistently positive. It is amazing to visit the classrooms, and see all of the students quietly absorbed in their learning, singly and in small groups, with the teacher providing guidance as needed--a far cry from the regimentation and rote-learning of the traditional classroom. Teachers and assistants are caring, treating each child as an individual, encouraging self-paced realization of their fullest potential. Programs in Latin, Spanish, art, and music, are led by individuals who are enthusiastic and expert about their specialties. Parents are encouraged to participate, and their input is solicited and welcomed by the teachers, administration, and board.. In sum: an excellent school in the true Montessori tradition.
We sent two of our three children through the preschool program before the elementary school program. Our oldest child, who was the first to attend, entered as an elementary school student. We have found the Montessori School of Columbia a school that individualizes our children, and teaches them according to their own level. Each teacher and assistant our children encountered learned our children's strengths and weaknesses, and encouraged them to excel. The children happily learned 1) to work toward their goals, and 2) the value of their hard work. We have been pleased with all facets of this school. The academics are excellent, and there is also a sense of family that we like. The Latin, Spanish, Music, and Art classes are taught by instructors who are excited with their craft and work closely with the lead teachers. I cannot say enough great things about the Montessori School of Columbia.
We have had children at the Montessori School of Columbia since 2005 and have seen the wonderful results this authentic Montessori education has produced. Students are nurtured and encouraged each according to his/her own abilities and pace. The teachers and Board members are always responsive to parents for questions and discussion. My children are happy and thriving and we as parents couldn't be happier with our choice of Montessori schools in Columbia!
Our children have both flourished at the Montessori School of Columbia. We find the academics to be the best in the city. The teachers are very willing to listen to our ideas and opinions about our children's education. We are also impressed with the number of 'specials' that are offered latin, Spanish, Music and Art during the day.
MSC is a Montessori school in name only. Montessori schools are supposed to be places that encourage the 'whole child' to blossom. MSC targets its program around the children whose parents want them to be pressured to excel. The teachers do not get along well with one another, therefore setting a poor example for their students. Its board of directors is unresponsive to the parents who have not been selected to serve on the board. This humorless workhouse is a place where academically 'gifted' children may flourish, but less intellectual children are not appreciated for the gifts they bring to their classes. There is no athletic program. Math and science is emphasized to the expense of the humanities. Unless you want your child to be cajoled and barked into doing their work, heed this warning and look elsewhere.