There are three problems here that make this school unacceptable. One is that they are too rigid in the traditional Montessori tradition. Children aren't allowed to explore their creativity through play and make believe. Another problem - they don't have a playground! When the children play, they must go to a nearby park (that's on a busy street...and the play area isn't fenced). The final straw for us is not only the lack of diversity among the students, but the director's total lack of interest in that aspect. It would be very helpful for the director to take some continuing education classes regarding issues of diversity. She seems to have been educated in the distant past, and her thinking has remained in that era.
I feel that Pacific Crest School is a respectful school that allows a child to overcome any fear of expanding their friendship to peers and adults and increasing their knowledge of different subjects. My daugther who is in 7th grade (going in to eighth) has recently told me that no matter who joins the community they are always welcomed like family; she personally has been at that school her whole life and the teachers and children alike are like a family to her. The principal is always very pleasent and easy to talk to, she has been very helpfull to my children. My son and two daughters have found at least 2 things in that school that could very well help them in the future. This school is very amazing and welcoming to anyone, we will definatly stay in touch with them.
We sent out son to Pacific Crest Middle School. He did very well in high school and college, for which Pacific Crest deserves much of the credit.
Too rigid. No pretend play allowed for preschool & k age kids. Some of the ideas are positive & constructive. However, allowing students to always self direct own learning ends up stifling expansion of skills & self concept. There needs to be a balanced approach to curriculum. We won't return.
My 5th grader and 7th grader have attended Pacific Crest since they were 2 1/2 year old preschoolers, and have received an amazing education. When you first observe in a classroom, you note how unusually focused, calm and happy the students are. The teachers and director are extremely dedicated and there is very little staff turnover. It takes a bit of a leap of faith (unless you are very familiar with Montessori principles) because parents only observe in the classroom once or twice a year. The 'end product', however, are students who are independent, curious, compassionate and aware. The founder/director of the school has a great passion for her work and cares deeply about the students. It is a relatively small private school with moderate tuition, and is lacking in racial and economic diversity. But nothing in life is perfect, is it?
This school is amazing. We have two children attending this school and cannot say enough about the teachers and the community. Contrary to what is noted in other reviews, constant observations of your child and direct and constant feedback are the norm. Teachers work very hard to make sure children are well rounded and working in all subject areas. If one method is not working well, they get out other materials that will tease their intellect. Yes, children do manage their own time but they are also taught how to be self-guiding with gentle reminders and suggestions. There is tons of creativity in the curriculum and especially the elementary materials value immagination as a critical component. Everything is taught with relevance and usually a story. This school helps each child be who they are in a way that is non-jugmental, gentle- using materials and methods that are out-of-sight. Great School!
School has a wonderful parent community and many gifted teachers, but the founder/director is rather cold and offputting and neither open to parental input nor forthcoming with information. A real downside, unfortunately, because it colors the whole environment.
Be careful! My son seemed to be doing well, and very abruptly the school told us they were not a good match for him. They believe very strongly in their philosophy; the environment should solve all of the childrens learning needs. If it doesn't they are unwilling to make even slight accomodations, like giving instructions in writing or having the child do the work that they like less before the work that they like more. If your child would choose to knit or do crafts over working on math or handwriting they will not want to direct them to do otherwise. They will view it as not a good fit. My daughter seemed to be doing well. We had an outside assesment; she was 2 YEARS behind grade level. When I brought it up I was told 'well, she doesn't choose math but it will come together for her next year.'
I went to this school for 11 years and now my child is in it. It is one of the best things for us. we both love it and have had so much fun here. the teachers are so encouraging and nice and there is a real focus on community. it is an amazing school.
My daughter attended preschool here. This is a school that operates in a strict Montessori tradition. I liked this school a great deal, and found the community to be nice, but lacks a bit in economic and ethnic diversity. I think any child could get a good education here if they are suited to the Montessori style of learning.
Great parent involvement, wonderful community. Administration communication is lacking, however, and parents do not recieve much input on the school's direction. Wonderful teachers, at least at the primary level.
We have 2 children in the Primary classes (aged 2.5 - 6) at PCS and we all love it. They both started at about 3 yo. By letting the kids own their work (the Montessori way) they become independent and highly self-motivated. They gobble up numbers and letters, etc at their own pace. Kids play at the local park every day. The diverse, loving and involved parent community expose the kids to various cool music and art activities.
This school is hard-core Montessori. In other words, don't expect to see preschoolers being allowed to pretend here. As involved as the parents are with community building and fundraising at Pacific Crest, most are in the dark as to the day-to-day activities of the children here. I've never seen so many young children look so miserable before. When I questioned my daughter's teacher about why no pretend play was allowed, she told me she could direct me to 'copious amounts of literature that show the deleterious effects of pretend play on the developing psyche' of the young child! Good grief. Needless to say, my daughter is in a new school now, and having much more fun being allowed to be a kid!
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