This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted December 05, 2014
- a parent
Eton School has been our home for the last 8 years and it has been great to see our children grow, being academically challenged and blossom into healthy young adults. As with every (school) life, there are ups & downs but the way the 'developmental challenges' are handled at Eton is comprehensive and involves staff & parents alike to come to a good result. Teamwork is the key and it shows! Educating the whole child is the school's motto and will help the child become a balanced individual.
I am truly shocked to see that there are such stark reviews about Eton School, as I would describe my personal experience with it as incredible. Parents must be committed to the Montessori philosophy to really appreciate the richness of academia here. As an Eton alum, and a mathematics major in college, I have grown to appreciate how complex the pre-elementary education really is. Students are learning about precursor concepts in euclidean and noneuclidean geometries and basic algebra at ages 3-6! Even though there is academic rigor, it's also such a great place for children to learn about exploring many different subjects. I remember, as a pre-schooler, learning an in-depth unit on geology, so comprehensive that even my high school earth sciences class at public school did not cover the details that we had earlier. Eton is a great school with compassionate teachers who are willing to work with families together to nurture the whole child. It's a fantastic approach that every student should have the opportunity to experience.
I am an Eton School alumna, having attended their pre-elementary program and first grade. Though that was several years ago now, as I reflect on my early education, I could not have been more privileged or more fortunate. Many parents seem to question the benefits of a Montessori education or often be unaware of what exactly it entails, which is truly unfortunate. Staff at Eton are committed to carrying on this learning style philosophy, which instills important lessons that I still find that I reach back to today. For example, at Eton, I first learned what independence, responsibility, and compassion were and how amongst my mixed grade levels, these three values bound us together. The teachers are incredible supportive of inquisitive minds, encouraging students to constantly value learning, exploring multiple interests, and think critically. The "whole child" concept has nurtured unexpected skill sets that have lasted me all the way through my top-ten undergraduate institution education. I would recommend Eton School to everyone without hesitation, as it is a phenomenal environment for students and parents, alike.
My daughter attended Eton's three-year pre-elementary program recently. Her father and I really gave this school the benefit of doubts and a good try to the "Montessori philosophy" by keeping our daughter at Eton for the full three years. The end result is very disappointing. At the annual tuition about $15k to $16K a year for three years, my daughter cannot comfortably do math within 10 and her self-doubt lingered after three years of the "developing the whole child" philosophy. Most teachers and caretakers were nurturing, but not insightful to how each child was doing and how parents could help. We suspect a lack of accountability from the teachers by simply hiding behind the "Montessori philosophy" leaving the children to fend for themselves (there is much bullying by the older children in the same classrooms towards the younger aged ones) and wasting precious years of early childhood learning opportunities. It's a crime to charging this amount of tuition, not holding teachers accountable, and leaving the children to "learn" or not learn "on their own pace." This school should be shut down, or at least the pre-elementary program!
As a parent with multiple children at the school I can speak to our experience. The peer mentoring in pre-K and lower elementary, where multiple grades share a class, is a great model. Watching the children grow from being mentored by older students into role models for the younger ones was a joy. The upper grades (4-8) have been academically challenging but not overwhelming. The teachers engage with the children and provide frequent and clear feedback. The school provided assistance for our one child who has dyslexia. The teachers have managed his learning differences amongst his peers commendably. Beyond academics, trips to IslandWood , Nature Bridge, Mountain School, and Washington DC were great (academically and socially) experiences in 4th-8th grades. The addition of Ultimate Frisbee as a team sport added another dimension to an already good focus on physical health. Socially, friendships have extended past the classroom, though this takes effort due to the broad geographic distribution of the student body. There are too many facets to encapsulate in a short review, but consider Eton if you are looking for an intimate, caring, and thoughtful approach to education.
Whatever else Eton may be, it is not a Montessori school. Look for classes with at least a three year age range, students choosing what to do and when to do it (with help from teacher-given lessons), and adults who emphasize whole-child development and not just academic progress.
Isn't that funny when you see the 5 star reviews, you exactly knew who wrote it? I don't know the reviewer whose daughter was kicked out in a week. But you are so lucky! The longer the kids stay in this school, more distorted and depressed their lives become. Good luck to all Eton kids, no matter they are among the group who are treated extremely "good" by the teachers there or "bad", it is hard for them to grow up healthy.
I was reluctant to put my children in private school and even more reluctant to put them in a Montessori school because of bad experiences I've had in the past. My husband had his heart set on it, though, so I agreed to give our oldest two a year at Eton. The social and academic changes in my children were unmistakable. They have thrived and blossomed. Four years later, we've started our fourth child at this school and wouldn't want them to go anywhere else! One of my favorite moments was being out to lunch with my 1st grader and having her explain quarks and subatomic particles to me. We got such looks! The teachers are very approachable, and welcome the parents into the classroom for birthday celebrations, occasional lunches with the children, and Montessori moments (parents can sign up to visit their children in the classroom to see what they've been working on.) The teachers are so patient and communicative with the children, with such good results, that I've found myself adopting many of their methods at home. The new director (he started in 2012) is also very approachable and I think he will do great things with this school. I would highly recommend Eton to anyone who asked!