BEWARE-if you live in or near the Bayview area, you likely have heard of or know children who attend Fernwood. It has quite a good reputation in the community. Unfortunately I can say with all sincerity that this has NOT been my family's experience with this school. My child began school here in K3 and struggled through every year that we kept him at the school. We were in regular contact with the teacher and principal throughout the years, however not one recommendation was utilized with any consistency and my family received frequent and very negative complaints about my child-from the time he was three until we left the school when he was six. If your child has any sort of possible special needs or who might need accommodations outside of "traditional Montessori"-this school may become problematic for you. Please be careful in your choice.
Our son has some very minor special needs related to the grief of loosing foster siblings this year. He just started K4 and has a very rigid Montessori teacher unwilling to bend at all to the simple instructions his psychologist has outlined for his success at school. We sat in a meeting with this teacher, the principal, and a family advocate and made informal agreements. Then the teacher refused to follow through because it didn't fit the "one size fits all" Montessori approach. She actually texted me, after the meeting around 8pm at night, to tell me how our need for more praise, a snack that wasn't just a raw unseasoned organic vegetables, and a little heads up before transitions was too far outside the lines of Montessori "science". She then said that praise will destroy our child's intrinsic motivation. Please know that all modern day science and a 30 year study at the Yale Parenting Institute has shown that praise will only increase intrinsic motivation-so don't drink the kool-aid or should I say raw, organic, unseasoned, filtered water! Please beware that if you have a child with special needs you WILL NOT get the help you need at this school without a lot of conflict.
Fernwood has many positives (great kids, engaged parents, location, etc) and I believe the Montessori approach has been the right teaching style for my child. That said, navigating the different teachers can be something of a minefield - for many years the "lower-L" (through 3rd) was considered strong and the "upper-L" (4-6th) not so much. Recently there has been a good deal of turnover, and a number of new and enthusiastic, capable teachers have joined in the 4-6th grades. Unfortunately, my son has had some poor luck, and was assigned some questionable teachers (inexperienced, unmotivated, disorganized, temperamental). I have worked with him at home and with an after school tutor, but am considering changing schools now that he is going into 4th grade and has unfortunately been assigned to one of the "old guard" teachers. The downside of Montessori is that if you get a poor placement, your child is stuck with it for 3 years. If you get a good placement, Fernwood is one of the best schools in the city.
I am proud to tell people that we are an MPS family and I send my son to Fernwood. I'm excited to see how he is being challenged by this school environment and am thrilled with the knowledge that he has acquired. The school's test scores are outstanding. The curriculum is thought provoking and I believe that Fernwood is educating a generation of children to become thinkers. Creativity is seen throughout the school. After school activities includes everything from sports and scouting to yoga and pottery. An exceptional school overall!
I have gone to fernwood Montessori school 11 years now and I have been there from the start sence k3 and I am an 8th grader now. I love fernwood thats why I have stayed so long. they use the the Montessori ways to teach the students there and I will admit it is not for all kids but its a nice learning environment. Fernwood is a great school great teachers nice and super intelligent kids. The kid that leave ferwood a the most amazing and so intelligent people now and I have to say it's a really great place to learn.
My kids have been going to this school for 10 years. The teachers are pretty good but over the years there has been a marked decline in teacher involvement and enthusiasm. There are some that you must steer away from, because they have a different idea of Montessori than what it actually is. Current administration is useless as was the last one. If your child is being bullied herre or sexually harrassed, as a parent you have to co to Central Office to make sure that any gets done. That being said those instances are much fewer than your typical school, and the education that your kids recieve is top notch. I haven't been to a school that i would rather have my kids attend. Be proactive and and advocate for your child and you won't have any problems.
Montessori provides an excellent foundation that will provide the tools necessary to succeed in later on. My daughter went to a Montessori school prior to preschool and she was well-prepared for Kindergarten and first grade!
Great teachers who really care about providing an education based on hands on learning, rather than teaching out of a text book. A very involved PTO as well. This is a great school in a district that has some trouble.