This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted January 29, 2012
- a teacher
As a staff member who has taught at a number of other schools, both Montessori and non-Montessori, I can without hesitation say that the staff at Mountaintop is, as a group, of the highest quality and most professional that you will find at any school. I also have a child who has been attending the school for a number of years, and I have been completely pleased with the environment, teachers, and program that my child has experienced. Mountaintop offers a truly unique educational experience, and I would urge anyone to go and look for yourself.
Run, don't walk, as fast as you can away from this school! There is little to no community among the parents and families, policies are inconsistently enforced and rarely consider the students' needs (screaming children are pulled from cars during "car line"), and while there are some great teachers, there are also some who are actually rude to parents and students. Add to that the fact that on school tours they will show you amazing facilities that younger children will never even see (the music room, the greenhouse, cooking classes, etc, etc) in most cases unless you pony up the money to pay for a Montessori education through middle school, which is not even what Montessori was designed for at all. The poor middle schoolers are running a school store while many of them lack even basic arithmetic calculation skills. They are mostly nice kids, but there are some misguided practices in place at this school.
My children have spent a combined total of nine years at Mountaintop Montessori. They and my husband and I have been extremely pleased with their experience at Mountaintop. Mountaintop is a school where all members of the community -- children, parents, guides, and staff -- are treated with respect and dignity. My children are thriving academically and socially, and I appreciate their school every day.
I am a former student of Mountaintop Montessori, although when I went there it was known as Montessori Community School. Now I an undergraduate at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. I would not change my time at this school for anything in the world. The teachers and the community atmosphere changed my life and helped me to find my life's passion. From time to time I visit Montessori and I have never seen happier children in a school environment. These teachers really do care a great deal about each and every child. As an alumni of this incredible school I can truly say that any child would be grateful to their parents for enrolling them in this school.
My five year old daughter is in her third year of Children's House and we couldn't be happier about her experience at this school. She is always so excited to go to school every morning and comes home confident and with new knowledge and skills every day. It really is a positive learning atmosphere where all the kids in her class seem to thrive. The guides are absolutely wonderful and the school seems to be well run with plenty of interesting facilities (the relatively new greenhouse/dome, for example). The Fall festival is always a lot of fun, as are the assemblies and shows put on by the kids. We've also taken advantage of a couple of after-school classes such as hula-hooping and an art class, both of which were loved. I really don't understand the hateful messages directed towards the head of school. She has been very professional and seems to take her responsibilities seriously. The spiteful blogger that took over the dot-org version of the school's domain name seems to have a personal issue with her. Judging by his anonymous, comment-less blog he apparently never learned the "grace and courtesy" that comes with the Montessori method.
I hope that any families considering the newly re-named Mountaintop Montessori School will review all of the available information before committing to a so-called "community" that, in my opinion, does not truly follow the child. I am writing as a parent of a former student. Our family left the school at the onset of the new leadership for reasons that still cause difficulty for our child today.
We are so very happy with Mountaintop Montessori - the administration, faculty and parent community have been wonderful. My children are learning in such a safe, inclusive environment and it gives me piece of mind. I frequently read about bullying problems in the local public schools, especially cliques and "mean girls." At MMS my 3rd year daughter is a wonderfully unique individual who is accepted by all of her peers. She is confident and can truly be herself. This school has been such a gift for our family. I only wish it was more affordable for more families to have this kind of experience.
My daughter began at MCS (recently renamed Mountaintop Montessori) in the Toddler program this year. I was very nervous about having my 18 month old begin school 5 days a week, but soon realized that this was a gift for her - she 100% loves coming to school each day, has learned so much, and we as parents have learned an incredible amount of valuable parenting skills as well. The school campus is beautiful and the children are very involved with programs like gardening, cooking, ecology, art, and African drumming, all of which trickles down even to the youngest toddlers. Being that the school goes through Middle School, the older and younger children have many opportunities to interact and learn from each other, which is really unique. It is a warm and exciting school community to be a part of.
Our son attended montessori for 7years and it was once a truly great school. Unfortunately the current head has driven out some of the best teachers. the school is now run by a small group of parent/administrators who retaliate against families who raise criticisms. Plans for changes are kept from the community at large and parents are not welcome to comment. There are still some wonderful dedicated guides so maybe there is hope for the school to get back on course if there were to be a much needed change in adminstrator.