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Three Tree Montessori School

Private | PK-6 | 131 students

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Living in Burien

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $315,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $870.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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4 stars

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15 reviews of this school

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Posted February 25, 2014

My son attended Three Tree for four years. In the toddler room he experienced a warm and nurturing environment. However, when he graduated to the preprimary room we began to receive reports that he was having problems with agression. This was like our son but seemed a typical report we heard from other parents of boys. We later found out that rambunctious boy behavior was considered aggressive and that our son was being locked in the bathroom. Our son was growing increasingly anxious and school resistant as he progressed in the classroom. His very young teacher blamed all of his problems on his parents. We allowed him to watch too much or the wrong TV shows. We must be letting him eat to many sweets. The school administrator offered no constructive solutions. Amazingly, since we have moved our son to another Montesorri he has thrived and is doing very well. On another note, this school has no arts and music program, minimal language program and tends to want to charge for every additional educational experience. Many of the parents are very cliquish and the staff seem to cater to parents and families with deep pockets. Better Montesorri and private schools in the area.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 15, 2013

We've done traditional and montessori. The academics were fine in the traditional school but we preferred the academics we were getting at 3 tree and the way the concepts were being taught at 3 tree to the more traditional format. My husband and I felt like the academic rigor was better. At the traditional school 33% of the kids were getting outside help. For us this meant that either the school was pushing too hard or there was something wrong. We love the montessori method - the child pursues their own academic interests under guidance and gets far more advanced executive functioning skillset development. Its the difference between force feeding and allowing their own hunger for knowledge to drive them. While it was a big conceptual switch for us the kids are more advanced than the kids of our non-montessori friends. We saw changes the first year we sent the kids here - we saw it in their thirst for knowledge. My kids come home and want to pursue academic interests rather than me having to force them to do it or turn off the tv. I really feel like this was a result of the modality taught in this school. We've been here a total of 4 years and will stay.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 15, 2013

Tiger mom's and helicopter parents aren't as rampant here. My daughter is in lower elementary. The parents, kids, and teachers are real and not obsessed.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 26, 2013

We switched to this school after feeling like the well known Seattle private school we were in was more interested in their own marketing than our kid. We've been very happy and now have 2 kids here. The teachers don't seem to have jobs they have missions. Administration is responsive. Our kids are happy and love going to school everyday. As far as the previous comments about elementary academics - as a parent who has experienced both with their children I remember worrying about that - all I can say is I'm far happier with what I am getting here than I was with the academics I was paying $18000 for at one of the Seattle "elites". A little more unconventional? Perhaps. Lower quality? No way. Only downside is there is no middle school. I wish I had a place like this when I was a kid.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 23, 2013

It's hard to believe how much we like this school. My daughter is in the toddler program for half days, and is excited to go to school everyday. On the weekends, she wakes up and starts to get ready for school and we have to explain to her there isn't school today, which bums her out. Her class has 12 students and 3 teachers/ guides. In the toddler program she learned to bake, garden, paint, sing, dance, clean up after herself, and was potty trained. Now she's in the primary program and is learning geography, cursive writing, geometry, music, and painting, just to start. The staff and teachers are the most positive, balanced, healthy group of people I've seen in a long time. I didn't know much about Montessori education before we found this program, but if you're looking for a school for your kids, look into Montessori. It's amazing. Make sure it's an AMI accredited program. And beware of places that call themselves Montessori but don't follow AMI standards. From what I can tell, there are only a few really good Montessori programs around the Seattle area, and TTMS is one of the best. We couldn't be happier.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 13, 2012

We've had an exceptional experience at this school. My daughter is now in her second year in the Elementary Program. The real strength of this program is the way that it has encouraged our daughter to challenge herself academically in all areas. She goes to school excitedly each day. Our friends with children that attend more conventional schools have remarked on our child's poise, vocabulary and her ability to stay on task. We've had nothing but success! Our girl began reading novels of several hundred pages at pages at age 6, and was learning the basics of multiplication at age 5. She is a child of normal intelligence. I truly attribute her success to the support of this school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 4, 2012

The toddler program is wonderful, but we found the Pre-school "primary" program to be lacking in some school prep categories. After 4 years at the school, our child did not learn how to write, never even had a pencil in hand in the classroom. Only cursive writing is taught to the older students, printing is not allowed in the primary program. This was a serious problem when transferring out to another school. Enough of an issue that we actually decided to have our child repeat Kindergarten. We were blown away when we saw the academic skill levels of other non Montessori kindergarten children. While our child has some great social skills from Montessori, we found the Primary program to not be challenging and did not give our child the core skills needed to go to Kindergarten. More of a caring daycare. Toddler program is top notch however.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 25, 2012

I agree with the previous parent. The pre-school program is acceptable., but not the elementary. When my child started 1st grade, we were told he was above average, but by the end of 1st grade, we were applying for a different school. My child got tested and found out he was 1 grade behind. It got us out of surprise! I talked to other parents that had tried the elementary , but decided to leave, they all had the same concern. Now my child is in a different school. He learns so much more. Montessori concept is wonderful, but when it is put in practice. Not everything carry out... As other mentioned, school administration has their own favorites one. So don't expect to be treated equally here.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 21, 2011

Our children are both in the toddler program and have loved it. Their guides/teachers are very much like family, our children enter their respective classrooms with eagerness, and exit in high spirits. The guides and assistants provided us with the best and most reliable advice about all manner of things---from sleep issues, to toileting, to tantrums. The administrators have communicated well with us and even set up a book club at the suggestion of a group of parents. The community of children and parents is diverse ethnically and socio-economically, and has welcomed us with open arms. The school facilities are gorgeous with beautiful Montessori materials and tidy, student-maintained gardens. We have learned so much about Montessori education through the patient modeling of the guides and administrators, who never shy away from finding ways to resolve any problems that come up. We could not be more pleased: our experience here has altered our perspective about what education of the whole child can truly be.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 10, 2011

Three Tree Montessori is an acceptable pre-school but I would caution parents about sending children to the elementary program. Some teachers are good, but turnover was exceptionally high. Tuition, especially in the elementary program, was extraordinary high and when our children transferred to a mainstream school they tested 1-2 grades behind and remedial tutoring was necessary (at added cost to us). We certainly did not get our money's worth for private school education. The administration was mediocre at best and it was apparent to us that favoritism exists between the administratve staff and selected teachers. It seemed like the very best teachers were constantly let go or left. That said, some pre-school teachers are very good and all seemed caring towards the children.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 19, 2010

My daughter attended TTMS from age 3 through sixth grade. She experienced the full academic benefit of a stellar Montessori education (a rock-solid foundation in reading, writing, composition, mathematics, history, science, art, music, geography, social studies, etc.). But her experience was so much more than the 'three Rs'. The mixed-age, collaborative class communities and incredible teachers have supported her and her classmates' growth into compassionate, responsible, empathetic, empowered, self-directed children whose love of learning, creative problem-solving, intellectual inquisitiveness, caring, and ability to think outside the box is seemingly boundless. It has been a joy to see my child transition to the larger social sphere and expanding academic aspects of middle school with relative ease: she is confident in her abilities, has stretched herself with greater responsibilities and leadership roles, and has faced challenges secure in the knowledge that she has the intellectual and emotional tools to meet them.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 19, 2010

Three Tree Montessori School has provided my children with a wonderful learning environment. Our family became acquainted with the Montessori Method of teaching quite by accident and is so very thankful. The child centered curriculum allows each child to be self directed and become life long learners. The children, guides, assistance, administration and the parents of the Three Tree Montessori School community are exceptional.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 31, 2010

This school is one of the wort I've ever been involved in. My son, and my husband and I, are much happier now that we have moved him to a more honest and ethical school environment.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 29, 2009

My kids are thriving at Three Tree Montessori. TTM is a pedagogically-observant Montessori school, which will come as a relief to those parents who believe in the method and seek something more for their kids (and their expense) than a glorified day care. The class sizes are small, staffed with Montessori-trained guides & aides, and feature a full complement of beautiful wood, metal, and fabric Montessori-specific works arranged to allow curious minds instant access to meaningful, self-directed learning. The staff is exceptional, led by a former administrator from Pacific Crest Montessori & Northwest Montessori School. While transparently placing the student experience first (as they should), this administration takes great pains to accommodate the needs of parents by being respectful of the scant spare time available to most parents, and by reaching out to parents with lots of pertinent information & updates.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 7, 2008

TTM is a wonderful school providing an exceptional learning environment for our children. Each staff member loves, nutures and guides our children as if they were their own. The children make amazing progress at their own pace. TTM is a close community that really cares for one another. My son LOVES school. I am thankful to be a part of such a special school.
—Submitted by a parent

Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 47% 60%
Two or more races 34% 6%
Black 13% 5%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 4% 7%
Hispanic 2% 20%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 2%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher resources

Foreign languages spoken by school staff French
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

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Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

School facilities
  • Computer lab

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • French
  • Italian
  • Spanish
School leaders can update this information here.

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School basics

School start time
  • 8:30 am
School end time
  • 3:30 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • After school
  • Before school
School Leader's name
  • Paula Walters
  • Coed
Special schedule
  • Extended/longer school day
  • Year-round
  • Nonsectarian
  • AMI
Fax number
  • (206) 242-5112


Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Montessori
Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish


Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • French
  • Italian
  • Spanish
Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
School leaders can update this information here.

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Neither uniforms nor dress code
Parent involvement
  • We currently require 20 service hours a year to be completed by a 2 parent household (10 hours for a single parent household). over 95% of our parents complete the required hours and the other 5% opt to pay the fee in lieu of completing the hours.
More from this school
  • We offer 2 toddler programs (12 months-3 years old), 3 Primary programs (3-6 years old) and an elementary program (6-12 years old). At Three Tree Montessori School we value the Montessori Philosophy and Teachings which is a non-traditional educational system that is over 100 years old. In this child-centered view of learning, children thrive and grow in ways not found in the traditional school system, therefore allowing their innate ability to absorb and learn math, science, language, geography etc to be infinite.
School leaders can update this information here.



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220 Southwest 160th Street
Burien, WA 98166
Website: Click here
Phone: (206) 242-5100


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